Denmark History  

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DENMARK

Denmark controlled an enormous swath of land in the 1000s: Iceland, Greenland, Britain, Norway, and more. Several hundred years later, Britain was out of Denmark's orbit but Sweden and Finland had been acquired. But through the succeeding centuries, Finland, Sweden, and Norway all took different paths -- Finland and Sweden to independence and Norway to the control of Sweden. Other possessions went to Prussia (Schleswig-Holstein) and even the United States (Virgin Islands, sold in 1914). Iceland became independent, too, in 1944. Before World War II, Denmark signed a nonaggression agreement with Germany which was broken months later when the Nazis invaded Denmark. Despite this occupation, the Danes managed to save over 7,000 Jews by sending them to safe haven in Sweden. Post-war, Denmark has enjoyed peace and fluctuating economic fortunes. As in many of the Scandinavian countries, Denmark's comprehensive social welfare policies requires high taxes and even Denmark's generally impressive economic growth faltered in the 1970s. But, along with the rest of the world, Denmark's economy improved in the 1980s.