The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Denmark

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DENMARK (Dan. Danmark, Ger. Dänemark, Fr. Danemark, “the land or mark of the Dane;” called also the Danske Stat, “state of Denmark”), a kingdom in the north of Europe, situated between lat. 54° 30′ and 57° 45′ N., and lon. 8° 5′ and 12° 45′ E.; the small island of Bornholm, in the Baltic, lies in lon. 15° is bounded N. E. by the Skager Rack, and E. by the Cattegat, the Sound, and the Baltic, S. by Femern strait, the Little Belt, and Schleswig, and W. by the North sea. It consists of the peninsula of Jutland and the islands of Seeland, Fünen, Laaland, Falster, Langeland, Möen, Samsö, Läsö, Arrö, Bornholm, and many smaller ones; besides it possesses the Faroe islands, Iceland, and Greenland, and the islands of Santa Cruz, St. Thomas, and St. John, in the West Indies. The following table shows the area and population of Denmark and its colonies in 1870:

sq. m.

 Seeland, Möen, and Samsö 2,834  637,711 
 Bornholm 225  31,894 
 Fünen, Langeland, and Arrö  1,315  236,311 
 Laaland, Falster, &c. 640  90,706 
 Jutland 9,738  788,119 

   14,752   1,784,741 
 Faroe islands 510  9,992 
 Iceland 39,758  69,763 
 Greenland (region free from ice)  46,774  9,825 
 West India islands 119  37,821 

Total 87,161  127,401 

The Danish colonies in the East Indies and Africa were acquired by Great Britain in 1846. The duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg, which formed more than one third of the kingdom, were lost by the Danish crown in 1864.—The seacoast of Denmark, along the North sea, the Skager Rack, the Cattegat, the Sound, the Baltic, and the Little Belt, is more than 900 m. long, and generally low, flat, and sandy. Next to Copenhagen the principal seaports are Elsinore, Odense, Aarhuus, Aalborg, and Frederikshavn. The fiords or arms of the sea which indent the coasts are among the most remarkable natural features of the kingdom. The Liim or Lym fiord entirely insulates the N. part of Jutland; it was formerly separated from the North sea by a narrow strip of land, through which in 1825 the sea broke in two places. The Ringkiöbing fiord in W. Jutland and the Ise fiords in Seeland are also notable for their size. The lakes are numerous, but small, and some contain excellent fish. Since the loss of the duchies, the only rivers deserving mention are the Varde, flowing into the North sea, and the Guden, 80 m. long, flowing into the Cattegat. The broad passage called the Great Belt lies between the islands of Seeland and Fünen, and the Little Belt separates Fünen from Jutland and Schleswig. The surface of the kingdom is an almost unbroken plain, in most places but a few feet above the ocean, and in others below the level of the sea. The N. W. part of the peninsula is a desolate region, over which tempests and drifting sands sweep with destructive fury. To consolidate the soil and break the force of the winds, various kinds of trees and shrubs, of which the improvidence of former generations had nearly stripped the country, are now planted here, and their destruction is forbidden under severe penalties. From the promontory of Skagen, at the extreme north, a low barren ridge runs through Jutland, attaining an elevation of upward of 500 ft. The island of Fünen contains a range culminating at the height of 400 ft., called the Fünen Alps, and Seeland has eminences of about the same height. All the rocks belong to the tertiary and upper secondary formations, and, with hardly an exception, are disposed in regular strata. Several species of chalk are found, above which is an extensive bowlder formation traversed by seams of lignite, and above this again beds of clay and marl are spread over a large part of the country. The soil is almost wholly alluvial, and in the E. part of Jutland is covered with rich vegetable mould. The N. and W. parts of Jutland, however, are sandy wastes, and for 200 m. along the coa-t there is an almost continuous line of sterile flats called Klitter. The larger islands are fertile and characterized by a rich marshy loam, interspersed with occasional tracts of moor. The climate, owing to the low and almost entirely insulated position of the country, is temperate and humid, the cold being greatest in Jutland. The winters are seldom severe for that high latitude, and rather milder than in the northern parts of Germany, though in January and February the thermometer sometimes falls to 22° below zero. The extreme heat is about 85°. The shortest day is 6 hours, and the longest 17½. The weather is very variable, but thunder storms seldom occur. Violent winds, rains, and fogs frequently occur, and drought is rare. The mineral products are of little value, and are confined principally to fullers' earth, potters' and porcelain clays, freestone, and salt. Coal mines were formerly worked in the island of Bornholm, but are now abandoned; peat is abundant, and amber is collected on the shore of the North sea. The fine forests which once adorned Denmark have decayed or been cut down, and of the scant woods which remain, chiefly on the coast of Jutland and in the island of Fünen, one fourth is the property of the crown. Pine, beech, oak, and birch are the principal varieties of timber. The crops are wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, peas and beans, potatoes, other common vegetables, and fruits. A great portion of the land is devoted to pasturage, and the rearing of horses and cattle forms a considerable source of national wealth. Cattle are valued chiefly in connection with the dairy, from which is drawn the principal revenue of the farm. The breeds of horses are excellent for cavalry or for draught; sheep are kept more for their milk (of which butter is made) and their flesh than for their wool; there are three species of swine, and poultry of all kinds abounds. In 1866 there were 352,603 horses, 1,193,861 horned cattle, 1,875,052 sheep, and 381,512 swine. The rivers and fiords furnish valuable fish, among which are the herring, cod, mackerel, and salmon.—More than half the population are engaged in agriculture, which is conducted with great industry; but from the subdivision of land into small farms it is seldom carried on with appliances requiring much outlay. The art of husbandry, however, is steadily progressing. Manufactures are also making progress. They comprise silk, linen, woollen, and cotton goods, leather, lace, gloves, straw hats, sail cloth, thread, paper, soap, glass, earthenware, plated ware, iron ware, saltpetre, gunpowder, arms, refined sugar, tobacco, soda, potash, brandy, and malt liquors. The peasantry make most of their wearing apparel and domestic utensils with their own hands.—Lying between two seas, in easy communication with all the maritime nations of Europe, commanding the entrance to the Baltic, abounding in good harbors, and possessing a large body of hardy and excellent seamen, Denmark enjoys unrivalled facilities for commerce, and besides its own import and export traffic conducts a large carrying trade for other countries. The principal articles of export are grain, butter, cheese, brandy, smoked and salted meats, horned cattle, horses, skins, hides, whale and train oils, fish, eider down, woollens, tallow, and bristles. Among the imports are wines, salt, drugs, silk, wool, cotton, cotton fabrics, timber, coal, iron, colonial produce, spirits, glass, flax, hemp, coffee, rice, tobacco, and whalebone. During the five years 1868-72 the average annual imports from Germany and England were respectively £2,000,000 and £1,500,000, and the exports to those countries £3,500,000 and £2,300,000. The trade with Sweden and Russia is also extensive. In 1871 the entrances were 41,411 vessels of all descriptions, of 1,064,582 tons, and the clearances 41,705 vessels, of 644,052 tons; for the foreign trade alone, entered 18,457 vessels, of 745,264 tons; cleared 18,298 vessels, of 347,478 tons. The merchant marine consisted of 2,727 sailing vessels over 4 tons each, of 176,093 tons, 88 steamships of 12,007 tons, 11 tugs of 642 tons, and 10,610 boats under 4 tons. Until about the close of the 18th century the commerce of Denmark was oppressed by legislative enactments which tended more to the immediate emolument of the crown than to the general prosperity and wealth of the kingdom. Imported manufactures had to be sold at auction by the revenue officers, and the importer received the proceeds after the duties had heen deducted. These duties were excessively high; monopolies were often granted to rich companies for trading even with the colonies; and heavy taxes were also laid on the domestic traffic between different provinces. But at the close of the 18th century a more liberal policy began to prevail; the customs regulations assumed the form of a more permanent tariff; many of the most burdensome restrictions were taken off, and commercial treaties have since been made on a basis of reciprocity with the United States and other nations. Connected with the commercial regulations was the question of the Sound dues, which a few years ago acquired considerable prominence. The Sound is a strait leading from the Cattegat into the Baltic, between Seeland and Sweden, its width at the narrowest part being about 3 m. Both coasts were once owned by Denmark, which has consequently from a forgotten period claimed the right of imposing tolls on all vessels navigating this passage. This exaction was from time to time resisted by various nations, and several obtained exemption either by payment of an annual commutation or by treaty. In 1848 the United States government declared its purpose not to submit any longer to the old usage. The Danish government offered to renounce its claim for a sum the interest of which would equal the annual revenue derived from the tolls; and the result of this offer was the assembling of a conference of the European powers at Copenhagen in the first months of 1856, at which Denmark agreed to accept as compensation for the removal of the tolls the sum of 35,000,000 rix dollars ($19,145,000), payment of which was to be apportioned among the various states interested in the trade of the Baltic. The proposal was accepted by the United States as well as other powers, and a convention between the former and Denmark was signed in Washington, April 11, 1857. Great Britain paid 28.90 per cent. of the indemnity, Russia 27.80 per cent., Prussia 12.60 per cent., and the United States 2.08 per cent. or $393,011.—The domestic shipping trade of Denmark is very large, and as no inland point is much more than 40 m. from the sea, most of the internal communication is carried on by water. The Daneskfold canal is in the island of Seeland, and that of Odense connects the capital of Fünen with the sea. The principal railroad line runs from Copenhagen via Röskilde to Korsör on the Great Belt; another line goes through the island of Fünen, and there are several lines in Jutland running from Aalborg to the frontier of Schlesvig with branches. The total length of railroads at the beginning of 1872 was 530 m. In 1870 there were 1,225 m. of telegraph, with 3,160 m. of wire and 150 stations. The high roads, which are wide, macadamized, and well kept, are under the care of a corps of royal engineers.—The inhabitants of Denmark are almost entirely Scandinavians. The business language is everywhere Danish, even in the West India islands. In Iceland, and less purely in the Faroe islands, the old Norwegian or Icelandic is spoken. The Danes are an industrious, patient, and contented people, and make good soldiers and seamen. They have regular features, blue eyes, and light hair. The religion of Denmark is Lutheran, but all creeds are tolerated. The national church is governed by seven bishops nominated by the crown. It embraces almost the whole population, and has at Copenhagen a missionary college founded in 1777, and a seminary for approved candidates in divinity. According to the census of 1870, the Lutherans numbered 1,769,583; Jews, 4,290; Baptists, 3,223; Mormons, 2,128; Roman Catholics, 1,857; Reformed, 1,433; free congregations, 1,211; other sects, 811; and 205 were without any creed. The Baptists have about doubled their number during the last ten years. Some progress was also made by the Catholics, who are under the administration of a vicar apostolic. In 1873 this office was filled by the Prussian bishop of Osnabrück. Great attention is paid by government to education, and there is in the ministry a department of public worship and instruction, under which are superintendents for the several divisions of the kingdom. The ministers appoint teachers and regulate the course of studies in the public schools, of which some are free. Every village has at least one school, and there are moreover 22 gymnasia and 7 normal seminaries. There are asylums for the deaf and dumb, and literary and scientific institutions of various kinds are established throughout the country. Every child between the ages of 7 and 14 is obliged by law to attend some school, and it is rare to meet a Danish peasant, however poor, who cannot read and write. The university of Copenhagen, which dates from 1478, has 40 professors and upward of 1,100 students, and there are colleges in all the large towns, besides 2,940 public schools. The number of periodicals is large in proportion to the population.—The government of Denmark is a hereditary constitutional monarchy. By the constitution of June 5, 1849 (which was modified in some important respects in 1855 and 1863, but was restored, with various alterations, by a statute which received the royal sanction July 28, 1866), the king must confess the Evangelical Lutheran religion, and give his oath to the privy council of state that he will maintain the fundamental laws. He attains his majority at the age of 18. All his ordinances must be countersigned by the minister of state, who is appointed by him, and is responsible to the king or diet before the supreme court of the state. The king appoints officers, declares war, and concludes treaties of peace, alliance, and trade; but he cannot alienate the territory or essentially modify the political relations of the state without the consent of the diet. By the organic law of 1866 the Danish diet or Rigsdag consists of two chambers, the Folkething or lower house, and the Landsthing or upper house, which assemble every year on the first Monday in October. The proportion of representation in the lower house is one deputy for 16,000 inhabitants, the deputies being elected for three years. The upper house numbers 66 members, of whom 12 are nominated for life by the king, the rest holding their office only for eight years. The diet proposes laws, which are not valid till sanctioned by the king; and taxes cannot be imposed without its consent. The supreme court of the kingdom consists of 15 members, 5 of whom are chosen from the diet, and 10 from the high courts of the country. Personal freedom, freedom of the press, religious freedom, the inviolability of private residences, and the right of public assembly are secured. The highest court of the kingdom is the privy council of state, presided over by the king. The administration of the government is carried on by eight responsible ministries: of foreign affairs, of interior affairs, of justice, of public worship and instruction, of war, of naval affairs, of public works, and of the finances. The budget of 1873-'4 estimates the net receipts at 23,736,161 rix dollars, and the expenditures at 22,989,633. (The rix dollar is about 60 cents.) The chief source of revenue is from indirect taxes, which bring nearly 10,000,000, while the greatest expenditure is for the payment of the interest on the debt, which with the sinking fund demands upward of 7,000,000. The national debt, March 31, 1872, was 114,660,781 rix dollars.—Every able-bodied male inhabitant of the age of 22 is bound to enter the army, the term of service being four years in the line and four years in the reserve; and every person who has served his time is also liable to be enrolled under the second call. The infantry numbers 20 battalions of the line and 10 of the reserve, besides a battalion of royal guards; the cavalry consists of 5 regiments; the artillery of 2, forming 12 batteries, and 2 battalions of sappers and engineers. The numerical strength of the army on a peace footing is 36,782 rank and file, with 1,058 officers; on a war footing, 47,925 rank and file. The navy in September, 1872, comprised 25 screw steamers (6 ironclads, 12 unarmored vessels, and 7 gunboats) and paddle steamers. The commercial navy in 1871 numbered 2,735 vessels (exclusive of those of less than 4 tons) with an aggregate tonnage of 181,494. The principal arsenal for both army and navy is at Copenhagen, the capital and principal town.—There is no authentic account of the early settlement of Denmark, but the Cimbri seem to have occupied the continental part of it toward the end of the 2d century B. C. Some three centuries later the country was occupied by the Goths, whose chief Skiold, according to the legends the son of Odin, is mentioned as the first monarch of Denmark. During the 8th and 9th centuries the Danes, then the foremost among the Northmen (see Northmen), began to acquire renown by their maritime expeditions, in which they invaded England and Scotland and conquered Normandy. In the 9th century the different states of Denmark became united under one monarch, and in 1000 and 1014 Norway and the greater part of England were added to the kingdom. In 1017 Canute, under whom Denmark became Christian, completed the conquest of England, where his race continued to rule till 1042. The feudal system was introduced into Denmark in the 12th century, and contests took place here between the sovereign and the barons similar to those which convulsed England during the same period. In 1387 Margaret, styled the northern Semiramis, widow and successor of Haco, king of Norway, and daughter of Waldemar III., a descendant of Canute, mounted the thrones of Denmark and Norway, and, claiming the Swedish crown also in right of her husband, vanquished a competitor in that country, and united the three powers by the compact of Calmar in 1397. But the Swedes always resisted this union, and after a series of contests, which they were finally led by Gustavus Vasa, seceded from it in 1523. During this period the population dwindled, the seas swarmed with pirates, commerce fell away, and incessant quarrels between the king and his nobles or the latter and the clergy added to the disasters of the kingdom. On the deposition of Eric, Margaret's successor, in 1439, the states elected Christopher of Bavaria, and in 1448 Christian, count of Oldenburg, king, from whose grandson, Christian II. (since whose time all the kings have been alternately named Frederick and Christian), the crown passed in 1523 to Frederick I., duke of Schleswig and Holstein. Frederick's son, Christian III., united these two duchies to the crown 11 years later, and divided the greater part of them between his brothers, a measure which caused a long series of disturbances. In his reign a code of laws called the “Recess of Kolding” was promulgated. In the 17th century Christian IV. sided with the Protestants in the great religious war, but was worsted by Wallenstein in 1626-'7, and compelled to sue for peace. Toward the end of his reign he waged several wars with Sweden, which lasted till 1645, and cost Denmark some of its provinces. A few years later the Swedes under Charles Gustavus overran Holstein, crossed the frozen Belt into Fünen, took Odense, and invested Copenhagen, but were successfully opposed by Frederick III. In 1658 they again besieged Copenhagen, and continued their operations until the death of Charles Gustavus in 1660, when Denmark secured a peace by the sacrifice of territory. The same year was marked by the restriction of the power of the nobility and the extension of the royal prerogative. The succession, too, which had formerly been to some extent elective, was by the commons, who sided with the king in his struggle with the nobles, acknowledged hereditary in the family of Frederick. A new war with Sweden terminated in 1679, and another was occasioned in 1699 by an attempt of Frederick IV. to invade the dominions of the duke of Holstein, an ally of Sweden. Copenhagen again became the seat of war, when the Danes, terrified by the energy of the young Charles XII. of Sweden, bought peace by the payment of a sum of money, and remained neutral until the disasters of the Swedes in the Ukraine tempted them to renew hostilities. The war lasted until the death of Charles XII. in 1718, after which Sweden began to decline and Denmark to pursue the wise policy of peace. The latter half of the 18th century, embracing most of the reigns of Frederick V. and Christian VII., was the period of great reforms, under the lead of the two Bernstorffs and the unfortunate Struensee. But by a defensive alliance with Russia, Prussia, and Sweden in 1801, Denmark involved herself in a quarrel with England, suffered severely in the naval battle off Copenhagen, and lost her colonies in the East and West Indies, which were restored to her, however, by the treaty of peace which followed. In 1807, when England suspected Denmark of entering into an alliance with Napoleon, an English fleet was sent to the Baltic to compel the surrender of the entire Danish navy. The British landed near the capital, and soon forced the government to give up its fleet. A war of exasperation naturally followed. Hostilities were carried on by sea, partly at the entrance to the Baltic, partly off the Norwegian coast, the Danes fighting with spirit, and sometimes with success, and both parties suffering severely in their commerce. After the reorganization of Europe by the treaties of 1814 and 1815, Denmark was obliged to cede Norway to Sweden, as an equivalent for Pomerania, which province Denmark had received from Sweden, and which in 1815 she made over to Prussia, in exchange for the duchy of Lauenburg and a large sum of money. Serious complications, caused in part by the fact that Denmark by the possession of Holstein and Lauenburg became a member of the German confederation, now arose between the crown and the duchies. The population of Holstein especially sympathized more with Germany than with Denmark, and an antipathy of races sprung up, which various political measures deepened into an alarming disaffection. A prominent subject of complaint was the royal succession. The expected extinction of the male line in the reigning family afforded a prospect of rendering the duchies, in which the Salic law of succession prevailed, independent of the Danish crown, and the project of annexing Schleswig to the German confederation was openly advocated in the provincial assembly. In this state of affairs Christian VIII. in 1846 issued letters patent, proclaiming that with the exception of certain parts of Holstein the laws of succession should be uniform in all parts of his dominions, the effect of which was to add greatly to the popular discontent; and when Frederick VII. mounted the throne in 1848, the duchies, emboldened by the revolutionary outbreaks of the time, resorted to arms, and appealed to their German brethren for assistance. Frederick William IV. of Prussia, then forced to yield to the current of revolution, sent a large force into Schleswig under Gen. Wrangel, which drove out the Danes, who had found little difficulty in putting down the insurgents there, and followed up its success by an invasion of Jutland. Meanwhile England and Russia interfered; an armistice was signed at Malmö, Aug. 26, on terms highly displeasing to the duchies; and although Prussia undertook a second campaign in the spring and summer of 1849, Schleswig and Holstein thenceforth relied mainly on their own resources. They placed their army under Gen. Willisen, and maintained a spirited resistance, until signally defeated at Idstedt, July 25, 1850. Prussia had now definitely withdrawn from the contest, and with Austria gave her influence on the side of Denmark. The Holstein army was disbanded, the duchies were forced to submit, and the question of succession was referred to a convention of the plenipotentiaries of the principal powers of N. and W. Europe. By a treaty signed by these representatives at London, May 8, 1852, the succession was settled upon Prince Christian of the Sonderburg-Glücksburg line and his male heirs; an arrangement which gave great dissatisfaction both to Denmark and to Schleswig and Holstein, as in the event of the extinction of this family Russia reserved the ancient right of succeeding to a portion of the duchies. The new order was announced to the diet in October, 1852, and was at once rejected. It met the same fate before a new assembly in February, 1853; but the king, guided by his new prime minister Oersted, feeling himself pledged to the foreign powers, resolved upon a second dissolution, and the measure was finally adopted by a third parliament, June 24. The settlement of the succession, however, failed to produce a real state of peace. Holstein continued to protest against the acts of the Danish government, and the agitation was communicated to Schleswig, where the German population were a small minority, and which never formed part of the German empire. Holstein carried its complaints before the German diet, which willingly exercised its right of interference and decreed a “procedure of execution,” that is, compelled the Danish government to make concessions. In the midst of these troubles King Frederick VII. died (Nov. 15, 1863), and was succeeded, according to the treaty of 1852, by Prince Christian of Glücksburg, who was crowned as Christian IX.; but Holstein refused to acknowledge the new sovereign, one party supporting the pretensions of the Augustenburg family, another asking the independent union of Holstein and Schleswig, and a third desiring a union with Prussia. An Austro-Prussian army, under the command of the Prussian general Wrangel, entered Holstein early in 1864, crossed the Eider, took Eckernförde, compelled the evacuation of the Dannevirke (Feb. 5), marched through Schleswig and Jutland as far as the Lym fiord, and captured Düppel, a strong position opposite the island of Alsen, fortified with four different lines of trenches, after a two months' siege (April 18). Soon afterward the fortress of Fridericia surrendered to the Austrians. After protracted negotiations, peace was concluded at Vienna, Oct. 30, 1864, by the terms of which Denmark ceded her rights over Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg to Austria and Prussia. By the convention of Gastein (August, 1865), between Austria and Prussia, the temporary management of affairs in Holstein was assumed by Austria and in Schleswig by Prussia, while Lauenburg was sold by Austria to Prussia for 2,500,000 rix dollars; Prussia besides receiving the right to occupy the port of Kiel and Rendsburg, the use of two roads through Holstein, and the right to make a canal through that country. In the treaty of Prague between Austria and Prussia, in 1866, was inserted an article providing for the retrocession of northern Schleswig, if the people by a vote should declare their wish to return to Denmark; but no vote has yet been taken. Denmark was dreadfully exhausted by the war, but has since been gradually recovering from its prostrate condition. The marriage of the Danish crown prince to the only daughter and heir of the king of Sweden in 1869 revived the idea, long cherished by many on both sides of the Sound, of a reunion of the three Scandinavian kingdoms.