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Copenhagen History, Denmark

Copenhagen began as a simple herring fishing village over one thousand years ago, although various settlements in the region have been reported to have existed as much as 6000 years ago. It was first known as Havn, or harbor and was made up of a number of mud huts scattered around what is now the Rådhuspladsen, or Town Square.

From the 8th to the 12th centuries, Denmark was represented by the Vikings, bands of sailors who began traveling and pillaging other countries in search of food, but later became important navigators and explorer who visited and defined much of the world's then known geography.

The first written record of Copenhagen occurred in 1043 and the official date of the city's founding is given as 1167. Prior to this date, Germans attacked the city several times but Copenhagen was always recovered and rebuilt. The city formally established itself and wrote the city charter in 1254.

When the  Danish Queen Margrethe, who was also Sweden's monarch, married the king of Norway, the Kalmar Union, an alliance of the three countries was formed in 1397. Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in 1417. Copenhagen castle was rebuilt and Copenhagen University was founded in 1479.  Copenhagen continued to prosper, especially under the reign of Christian IV, which began in 1596. He was popularly called the Architect King, and Rosenborg Castle, the Round Tower, and the Stock Exchange, as well as, several others of Copenhagen's landmarks were built during his time. Unfortunately, he was also responsible for bringing the city on the verge of bankruptcy.

He later declared war with Sweden in 1611 which continued after his death until 1648, whereupon Sweden, the victor, annexed much of Denmark's properties. Adding to the citie’s misfortune, there were several fires during 1728 that caused a huge loss of lives and many buildings. At the end of the 18th century, Denmark, Russian, Sweden and France allied against England which resulted in attacks by the British navy, beginning in 1801 land recurring again in 1807.

During the 20th century, Copenhagen was occupied  by the German army from 1940 to 1945, despite a vigorous Danish resistance movement. Almost 7000 Jews were evacuated out of Denmark to safety and Copenhagen was finally liberated by the British in 1945. During the German Occupation, in 1940, Queen Margrethe II was born. Her reign has  continued to the present day and has seen Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark prosper.

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Copenhagen City Ratings

  • Rating96%
    City Rank41
  • History & Culture: rated for 100%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 90%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 100%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 100%
  • Food: rated for 90%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 100%
  • Shopping: rated for 90%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 100%
  • Must visit this place: not rated
Copenhagen is one of the top 50 cities in the world to visit. This rank is based on our travelers' reviews. Please also take the time to rank Copenhagen or write a Copenhagen destination review or travel tip to share your opinion.Copenhagen is one of the "must visit" tourist destinations in the world. This rank is based on what other travelers shared about their experiences in Copenhagen.
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