The New International Encyclopædia/Denmark
DEN′MARK. The smallest of the three Scandinavian kingdoms of Europe (Map: Europe, D 3, and special map). It comprises the northern portion of the Cimbrian Peninsula, called Jutland, the Danish Archipelago east of the peninsula, the island of Bornholm, and the Faroe Islands, making a total area of 15,300 square miles. Not reckoning the Faroe Islands, it lies between latitudes 54° 33' and 57° 45' N. It is almost surrounded by the sea, Jutland being connected with the Continent only at the southern frontier, in which place the peninsula is less than 40 miles wide.
Topography. The western and northwestern coasts of Jutland, which are washed by the North Sea, and the Skagerrak, are low and girt by dunes and sand-bars. Behind the dunes there are several large lagoons or inclosed bays, but they are usually too shallow to serve as harbors. The northern extremity of Jutland is formed by the Skagen, a long, curved sand-pit. The east coast along the Cattegat lies at a somewhat higher level, and is indented by a series of inlets (fjords) that penetrate deeply into the interior; Limfjord, the most northerly, reaches across the peninsula and communicates through a tortuous course with the North Sea. Some of the inlets may be entered by ships of light draught. Between the south of Jutland and the southern extremity of Sweden are Fünen and Zealand, the largest islands of Denmark, dividing the outlet of the Baltic into three passages—the Little Belt, between Jutland and Fünen; the Great Belt, separating Fünen and Zealand; and the Sound between Zealand and Sweden. Both islands have an irregular and sandy coast line. The surface of Denmark is uniformly low. A ridge of hills crosses the middle portion of Jutland from the southern frontier to the Limfjord, the highest points of which are less than 600 feet above the sea; and this elevation is not exceeded elsewhere. The ridge constitutes the water parting between the North Sea, which receives the Stor Aa, the Lönborg Aa, and the Varde Aa, and the Cattegat, which receives the Guden Aa. The last named is the largest river of Denmark, and has a length of about 100 miles.
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Climate. The climate of Denmark is like that of eastern Scotland, but it is somewhat warmer in summer and colder in winter. The mean temperature at Copenhagen is about 60° F. in summer and about 32° in winter. In general the islands have a milder climate than Jutland. In winter the Sound and other channels are sometimes filled with drifting ice; the blockade, however, does not continue for any length of time. Heavy rains are frequent in autumn, and mists in summer, especially on the western coast of Jutland.
Flora. The flora of Denmark includes many of the common European plants, and a number of species peculiar to the moorlands. Formerly there were extensive forests of pine and fir, but these trees are now practically limited to cultivated lands. The trees most commonly found are the oak and the beech. About 5 per cent. of the total area is forested.
Fauna. The fauna has no noteworthy characteristics. Fishes and aquatic birds abound. Salmon are found in the Guden Aa, and oysters in a few localities.
Geology. With the exception of Bornholm, which belongs physically to Sweden, the entire area of Denmark may be regarded as a continuation of the plains of North Germany. The surface consists of boulder clay and sand, resting upon stratified rocks of generally Cretaceous age. The clay was deposited during the Pleistocene epoch by the Scandinavian ice-sheet. In the west and north of Jutland there are large tracts of moorlands which yield peat, but no metallic ores occur in any part of the country. Bornholm is formed by Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks, and has the same geological structure as the southern part of Sweden. Kaolin and a poor grade of coal are mined on this island.
Agriculture. Denmark proper is essentially an agricultural country. About 80 per cent. of the total land surface is productive, and of this area about 35 per cent. is arable, 41 is pasture, and the remainder is mainly forest. Nearly 47 per cent. of the population are engaged in agriculture. The laws forbid the uniting of small farms into large ones, and favor the parceling out of landed estates. The peasant proprietors are consequently increasing both in number and importance. The division of the land into very small holdings is successfully associated with a well-developed system of coöperation, which enables small farmers to use the most improved and expensive machinery, etc. Tenants in good standing have absolute charge of their land. Of the total area in crops in 1896, about 17 per cent. was in oats, 12 per cent. in rye, and 11 per cent in barley. Wheat, potatoes, and beet-root are also important products. The value of the grain and hay crop for 1899 was about $85,250,000. Stock-raising is a prominent industry. In 1898 there were 449,264 horses, 1,743,440 cattle, and 1,074,413 sheep in the country. The dairy industry is fostered by the general coöperative plan mentioned above, and has reached a high degree of development. Denmark butter is of a superior grade, and the trade in it has increased at a remarkable rate.
Manufactures. The manufacturing industries are chiefly on a small scale. The census of 1897 gives the number of industrial establishments as 77,256, employing nearly 177,000 wage-earners, or about 7 per cent. of the total population. Of these establishments but 1062 had a working force of from 20 to 100, and only 105 employed over 100 hands each. The principal manufactures are furniture, foodstuffs, articles of apparel, and metal products. The textile industries are confined chiefly to the rural districts. Manufacturing is increasing in importance, partly in consequence of the industrial schools. Most of the important plants are in Copenhagen. In 1900 the distilleries in the whole country numbered 52, the sugar factories and refineries 25, and the breweries 42. In that year 49,678 tons of beet sugar and 18,254 tons of margarine and oleomargarine were produced. There is some manufacturing of machinery and of pottery; also a little iron-smelting. The industrial joint-stock companies of Denmark are a significant feature in its manufacturing development. Their combined capital nearly doubled during the last decade of the nineteenth century.
Transportation and Communication. Most of the towns of Denmark are situated on the coast or on navigable rivers. Steamboats ply constantly between the islands. The first railway within the present confines of the country (Copenhagen-Roeskilde) was constructed by a private company and opened for traffic in 1847. Prior to 1880 the State railway lines were confined to the mainland and the island of Fünen, while private companies controlled all lines on the islands of Zealand, Laaland, and Falster. In 1880 the Government passed a bill authorizing the acquisition of the Zealand lines. In 1901, out of a total of 1810 miles, the State owned 1108 miles, the total cost of which up to March 31, 1901, was over $66,300,000. There were 2413 miles of State telegraph lines at the end of 1900. The merchant marine of Denmark and the colonies comprised, at the same period, 3773 vessels with a total registered tonnage of 408,440, including 52 steamers with a tonnage of over 250,000. During 1900 there entered the Danish ports, aside from coasting vessels, about 33,400 vessels, with a tonnage of nearly 3,000,000.
Commerce. The commercial expansion of Denmark during the last decade of the nineteenth century was very considerable. The imports show a gain from $82,300,000 in 1890 to over $141,000,000 in 1900, while the exports increased from $62,600,000 to nearly $105,500,000. These figures exclude precious metal. The exports of Denmark consist almost entirely of animal and dairy products. The imports are chiefly cereals, animal and dairy products, coal, metals, and hardware, textiles, and groceries. Germany occupies the first rank in the import trade of the country, furnishing about 30 per cent. of the imports. Great Britain follows (20 per cent.), then the United States (15 per cent.), Sweden, Norway, and Russia. In the export trade Great Britain stands first, taking nearly 60 per cent. of the total shipments—mostly butter (nearly $40,000,000 in 1900), live stock, and eggs. The other countries importing from Denmark are, in order of their importance, Germany, Sweden and Norway, and Russia. The trade of the United States with Denmark has increased with very great rapidity. In 1895 it amounted to about $3,300,000, while in 1900 it reached nearly $23,000,000, of which amount only about $1,850,000 represented exports from Denmark. Among the principal imports from the United States are corn, cotton, iron and steel manufactures, cottonseed, and oil. The value of the fish caught in 1899 was about $2,000,000.
Banks. Denmark has 81 banks. The assets of the National Bank approximated $38,000,000 in 1901, about 42 per cent. of which was in specie and bullion. Its note circulation was over $26,500,000. Its capital is about $7,250,000. The number of savings banks in 1900 was 535, with 1,150,233 accounts and more than $177,000,000 deposits. Nearly 47 per cent. of the population are depositors, with an average individual deposit of over $154.
Government. Denmark is a constitutional monarchy based upon the fundamental law of June 5, 1849, as revised in 1866. The law-making power is vested in the King and in the National Legislature, or Rigsdag, consisting of an Upper House (Landsthing) and a popular chamber (Folkething). The Landsthing is composed of 66 members, of whom twelve are appointed for life by the Crown, and the remainder are chosen for a term of eight years, partly by the representatives of the highest taxpayers in the towns and rural districts and partly by the representatives of the people at large. The Folkething is at present composed of 114 Deputies, the constitutional ratio being one Deputy for every 21,000 of the population. Members of the Lower House are elected for a period of three years by all male citizens above the age of thirty not engaged in menial household service and resident for a year in the district in which they enroll. Legislation may be initiated in either House, but financial bills must be submitted in the first instance to the Folkething, and only on the initiative of the Crown. In practice the Upper House enjoys a very large degree of influence, owing to its feature of comparative permanency; and in conjunction with the King, who wields an absolute veto on legislation, it is frequently in the position of directing the action of Parliament. The executive power is vested in a council of eight responsible Ministers, who preside over the departments of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Interior, Justice, War, Navy, Public Instruction and Worship, and Agriculture.
Justice is administered in the first instance by the judges of the hundreds in the rural communities and by the city magistrates in the urban districts. Appeals from such courts lie to the superior courts of Viborg and Copenhagen, and in the last resort to the Supreme Court of 24 judges (Hojesteret) at Copenhagen. Together with four judges especially appointed by the Landsthing, the Supreme Court sits as a tribunal for the cases of impeached Ministers.
Army and Navy. The Danish army is raised by conscription from among all citizens above the age of twenty-two. Substitution is not permitted. The terms of service are eight years with the regular army and its reserve and eight years with the supplementary reserve. The standing army in 1900 approximated 825 officers and 10,000 men. The war footing of the nation is estimated at 60,000 men. The navy is maintained only for purposes of coast defense. See Armies and Navies.
Finance. The national budget for 1902-03 balanced at about $19,000,000. Five-sevenths of the revenues are derived from indirect taxes, for the most part customs and excise. Direct taxes and the income from national assets furnish nearly all the remainder. Of the expenditures, the following are the largest items: Improvement of State property and reduction of debt, about one-fifth; Ministry of War, one-seventh; interest and expenses on State debt, one-tenth; Ministry of Public Worship and Instruction, Ministry of Marine, and Ministry of Interior, each about one-twelfth. A noteworthy feature of the finances of the kingdom is a reserve fund of comparatively a large amount, being about $4,800,000 in 1901. It was formerly very much greater, having been about $31,155,000 in 1867. The fund was started after the war of 1864 and is designed to furnish means for the Government in case of sudden emergency. The public debt is relatively small, amounting in 1901 to about $58,000,000, and being less than the value of the State railways alone. Over 70 per cent. of the debt is held abroad and is mostly at 3 per cent.
Colonies. Of the Danish possessions, Iceland, with an area of about 40,000 square miles, has about 70,000 inhabitants; Greenland (the portion free of ice, which is but a small fraction of the territory belonging to Denmark), with an area of about 35,000 square miles, has about 10,000 inhabitants; and the Danish West Indies (Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, and Saint John), with an area of 138 square miles, have a population of about 30,000. In 1900 the value of their imports into Denmark was about $885,000 and of the exports to them from Denmark $910,000. Of this total trade Iceland furnished 80 per cent. and Greenland 17 per cent. For further particulars, see Iceland; Greenland, etc.
Population. According to the census of 1901 the population of Denmark was 2,447,441, showing an increase of nearly 13 per cent. since 1890. The urban population (five-twelfths of the total) increased during the same decade about 30 per cent., while the rural population shows a gain of but 4 per cent. There were 3570 emigrants in 1900, mainly to the United States. The emigration figures for the last four or five years of the nineteenth century were quite below the general average for the country since 1881. Almost the entire population is native-born. The Danes are a Teutonic people of the Scandinavian group. Height, 1.685 meters; hair, wavy, light brown or chestnut; eyes blue; complexion pale white, swarthy or very light brown. The established Church is the Lutheran, but its seven bishops in Denmark have no political powers. Primary education is free and compulsory between the ages of seven and fourteen, and is very thoroughly diffused. The numerous high schools, mostly private, have an attendance of over 56,000. Denmark has one University, that of Copenhagen. There are also an agricultural and a veterinary college, 21 agricultural or horticultural schools, the Royal Academy of Art (founded in 1754), the Polytechnic Institute, two academies (Sorö and Herlufsholm) , and about 100 technical and commercial institutions.
History. Of the primitive history of Denmark nothing is known apart from the revelations made by investigators in the field of archæology. The kitchen-middens and other primitive remains of a very ancient character indicate the early presence of paleolithic man in the Danish peninsula. The sagas hand down myths and traditions of later but still early ages, when the original inhabitants had been crowded out by wandering tribes of Germanic stock, and Jutland and the islands had become the homes of Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. The Germanic occupation was complete about the second century of our era, but this was followed by an invasion of the Danes in the fifth and sixth centuries. Less influenced than the other Teutonic peoples by the Romans, the inhabitants in the Scandinavian countries developed a striking and characteristic civilization, marked by a warlike and adventurous spirit, which sent them as Vikings and conquerors over all Europe and as far as America. Christianity made its way into Denmark as early as the fifth or sixth century. After the ninth century we find a united Danish kingdom growing out of the petty principalities into which the country was divided. We hear of Danish kings as early as the beginning of the tenth century, when Gorm the Old (c.900-35) showed himself a bitter opponent of Christianity; but the first Danish ruler of prominence was Svend (Sweyn) I., of the Forked Beard (985-1014), a redoubtable sovereign who for a brief period imposed his yoke upon England. Svend's son, Knut or Canute (died 1035), King of England and Denmark, was a really great sovereign, under whom the conversion of the Danes to Christianity was completed and much was done to civilize the kingdom and bring it into order. After his death the northern empire which he had created fell apart, and the Odinic dynasty of the Skjoldungs became extinct in 1047.
Svend Estridsen, son of Knut's sister, now ascended the throne. Internal dissensions and external wars led here as elsewhere to the introduction of a feudal system. A new era of brilliant achievements began with Valdemar I., the Great (1157-82), and continued under Knut VI. (1182-1202) and Valdemar II., the Victorious (1202-41). These kings extended the conquests of Denmark far into German and Wendic lands and made the Baltic little more than a Danish sea. The jealousy of the German princes and the treachery of his vassals combined to rob Valdemar II. of these conquests. His death in 1241 was followed by a century of anarchy, during which the kingdom was brought near to destruction under the vicious rule of his sons and grandsons, under Valdemar IV. (1340-75), the last of the Estridsen line. Denmark recovered for a time the conquests of the elder Valdemars, and the national laws were collected into a well-digested code. From 1375 until 1412 Valdemar's daughter, the great Margaret, ruled Denmark, at first as regent for her young son Olaf, and after his death as Queen. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden were united under her sovereignty, and this was confirmed in 1397 by the act known as the Union of Kalmar. Margaret's successor, Erik (1412-39), the son of her niece, undid her work with fatal rapidity, lost his triple kingdom, and died in obscurity. After the short reign of his nephew, Christopher of Bavaria, the Danes, on the death of the latter in 1448, reasserted their ancient right of election to the throne, and chose for their King Christian of Oldenburg, a descendant of the old royal family through his maternal ancestress, Rikissa, the great-granddaughter of Valdemar II. Christian I. was the father of the Oldenburg line, which continued unbroken till the death of Frederick VII. in 1863. Christian was chosen ruler by the estates of Schleswig and Holstein in 1460, promising for his successors that they should forever leave the two lands united. As rulers of Holstein (which was included in the Holy Roman Empire), the kings of Denmark became members of the Germanic body. Christian I.'s reign was followed by half a century of continuous warfare and anarchy in Scandinavia. The tyranny of Christian II. (1513-23) cost him his throne. His bloody atrocities in Sweden were followed by the successful vindication of the independence of that country by Gustavus Vasa. Christian's subjects chose his uncle, Frederick I. (1523-33), to be their King, while Sweden was forever separated from Denmark. Under Christian II. Denmark first began to enter into extensive treaty relations with other European States. Christian III. (1534-59), in whose reign the Reformation was established, united the Schleswig-Holstein duchies in perpetuity to the Crown. His partition of the greater part of these provinces among his brothers became a source of much mischief. Frederick II. (1559-88) further complicated matters in regard to the duchies by making additional partitions in favor of his brother, the founder of the Holstein-Sonderburg family. He was succeeded by Christian IV. (1588-1648), who was one of the ablest of Danish rulers, although his foreign wars were disastrous, while his liberal and wise internal policy was cramped in every direction by the nobles. He fought for Protestantism in Germany in the Thirty Years' War and was utterly defeated. Toward the end of his reign he engaged in an unsuccessful war against Sweden, which now became the dominant power on the Baltic. In the reign of Christian's son, Frederick III. (1648-70), Denmark had to surrender all her possessions in the Swedish portion of the Scandinavian peninsula.
In 1660 Frederick III., with the assistance of the clergy and the burghers, who had joined him in opposing the pretensions of the nobles, declared the crown hereditary, and the royal authority absolute, and ushered in a new régime. The power of the nobility was reduced, but the peasantry and burghers profited little by the change. Many improvements were, however, effected in the mode of administering the laws, and the Danish kings, although autocrats, exercised a mild rule. The abolition of serfdom was begun in 1767 by Christian VII. (1766-1808), but was not finally completed till twenty years later; it was extended to the Schleswig-Holstein duchies in 1804. The misfortunes due to the relations maintained by Denmark with Napoleon brought the country to the verge of ruin, by plunging it into war with Sweden, England, Russia, and Prussia, and although it speedily rallied from the losses inflicted in 1801 by the battle of Copenhagen, the fresh rupture with the Allies, which ended in the compulsory surrender to the English of the entire fleet, after the destructive bombardment of Copenhagen (September, 1807), completely paralyzed the nation. By the Peace of Kiel in 1814 Frederick VI. of Denmark (1808-39) was compelled to cede Norway to Sweden. The discontent that had long been prevailing in Schleswig and Holstein developed after 1830 into mutual animosity between the Danish and German population. The anticipated failure of heirs to the throne complicated the questions at issue, and in 1848, immediately after the succession of Frederick VII., the German element in Schleswig and Holstein, being encouraged by the Frankfort Parliament (which voiced the revolutionary movement in Germany), and perhaps still more by Prussia, rose in arms against Denmark. After alternate hostilities and armistices, the first Schleswig-Holstein War, in which the Danish troops fought bravely against the forces of Prussia and other German States and of the rebellious duchies, terminated in 1851, Prussia having abandoned the cause of the duchies, and Austria and Prussia having finally intervened to restore the former order. The liberal Constitution which Christian VIII. had in the meantime granted to his subjects failed to reconcile the Germans in Schleswig-Holstein.
On the death, in 1863, of Frederick VII., Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg ascended the throne under the title of Christian IX. (q.v.) in conformity with the act known as the Treaty of London (1852), by which the European Powers had settled the succession to the Danish crown on him and his descendants by his wife, Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel, niece of King Christian VIII. of Denmark. With Frederick VII. the direct Oldenburg line had expired, and at his death the question of the succession to the duchies acquired an importance which it had never before possessed. Schleswig and Holstein declared for Prince Frederick of Augustenburg, a scion of a branch of the Oldenburg line, and appealed to the Germanic Confederation for support. The Germanic Diet sent an army into Holstein. Prussia and Austria had in the meantime concerted with each other to take the settlement of the Schleswig-Holstein affair into their own hands. Christian VIII., reflecting upon the way in which the cause of the duchies had been betrayed by the German powers in the war of 1848-51, and relying upon the support of England, allowed himself to be dragged into a war single-handed with Prussia and Austria, whose forces advanced into Schleswig in February, 1864. After a brave but utterly futile attempt at resistance, the Danes saw their country overrun by the troops of Prussia and Austria, and by the Treaty of Vienna (October 30, 1864) were forced to submit to the terms exacted by their powerful foes, and resign not only Holstein and Lauenburg, but the ancient crown appanage of Schleswig into the hands of the two Powers. As a result of the war of 1866, the duchies became permanently possessions of Prussia. The record of political occurrences in Denmark since 1864 is mainly concerned with the struggle between the Conservative and Liberal parties, the rise of a powerful Democratic party, and the development of the system of parliamentary government. In external relations the two most important events have been the agitation leading to the concession of constitutional government to Iceland and the question of the sale of the Danish West Indies to the United States, which was broached as early as 1870.
Bibliography. Otté, Denmark and Iceland (London, 1881); Frisch, Schweden, Norwegen, und Dänemark (7th ed., by Jonas, Berlin, 1886); Weitemeyer (editor), Denmark: Its History and Topography, Language, Literature, Fine Arts, Social Life, and Finance (London, 1891); Dahlmann, Geschichte von Dänemark (3 vols., Hamburg, 1840-43), vol. iv., by Schäfer (Gotha, 1893), the standard history of Denmark; Philippi, Geschichte von Dänemark (2d ed., Leipzig, 1846); Worsaae, The Danish Conquest of England and Normandy (Copenhagen, 1863); Sidgwick, The Story of Denmark (London, 1885). See Armed Neutrality; Continental System; Nelson; Political Parties, paragraph Denmark; Schleswig-Holstein.