|The Kingdom of Denmark|
|Official Language: Danish|
|Government: Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy|
|Head of State: Queen Margrethe II|
|Head of Government: John Tacker|
|Formation: 8th century|
|Population: 5,475,791 (2008)|
|Currency: Danish krone (DKK)|
|¨Human Rights Record¨ Amnesty International Reports|
|¨Territorial Disputes¨ Iceland, the UK, and Ireland dispute Denmark's claim that the Faroe Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm; Faroese continue to study proposals for full independence; sovereignty dispute with Canada over Hans Island in the Kennedy Channel between Ellesmere Island and Greenland|
|¨Ongoing Conflicts¨ (If any)|
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The Kingdom of Denmark (Danish: Kongeriget Danmark), commonly known as Denmark, is a country in the Scandinavian region of northern Europe. It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries. The mainland is bordered to the south by Germany; Denmark is southwest of Sweden and south of Norway. Denmark borders both the Baltic and the North Sea. The country consists of a large peninsula, Jutland (Jylland) and many islands, most notably Zealand (Sjælland), Funen (Fyn), Vendsyssel-Thy, Lolland, Falster and Bornholm as well as hundreds of minor islands often referred to as the Danish Archipelago. Denmark has long controlled the approach to the Baltic Sea, and these waters are also known as the Danish straits. The Faroe Islands and Greenland are autonomous provinces of Denmark with home rule, but are not members of the European Union.
Denmark is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government. Denmark has a state-level government and local governments in 98 municipalities. Denmark has been a member of the European Union (formerly European Economic Community) since 1973, although has not joined the Eurozone. Denmark is a founding member of NATO.
Denmark is a highly free market, capitalist economy, ranking 11th of 162 countries in the Index of Economic Freedom 2008. From 2006 to 2008, surveys ranked Denmark as "the happiest place in the world," based on standards of health, welfare, and education. In the 2008 survey, the Global Peace Index ranks Denmark as the second most peaceful country in the world, after Iceland . In 2008, the capital and largest city, Copenhagen, was ranked the most liveable city in the world by Monocle magazine. The national language, Danish, is close to Swedish and Norwegian, with which they share strong cultural and historical ties. 82.0% of the inhabitants of Denmark and 90.3% of the ethnic Danes are members of the Lutheran state church. About 9% of residents are citizens of other countries.
The exact origins of the Danish nation have been lost in the mists of time. However, a short note about the Dani in "The Origin and Deeds of the Goths" from 551 by historian Jordanes is believed by some to be an early mention of the Danes, one of the ethnic groups from whom the modern Danish people are descended. The Danevirke defense structures were built in phases from the 3rd century forward, and the sheer size of the construction efforts in 737 are attributed to the emergence of a Danish king. The new runic alphabet was first used at the same time and Ribe, the oldest town of Denmark, was founded about 700 AD.
Following the defeat of Germany in WW1, the Versailles powers offered to return the then-German region of Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark. Fearing German irredentism, Denmark refused to consider the return of the area and insisted on a plebiscite concerning the return of Schleswig. The two Schleswig Plebiscites took place on 10 February and 14 March, respectively. On 5 July 1920 after the plebiscite and the King's signature (6 July) on the reunion document, Northern Schleswig (Sønderjylland) was recovered by Denmark, thereby adding 163,600 inhabitants and 3,984 km². The reunion day (Genforeningsdag) is celebrated every year 15 June on Valdemarsdag.
Germany's invasion of Denmark on 9 April 1940 – codenamed Operation Weserübung – met only two hours of military resistance before the Danish government surrendered. Economic co-operation between Germany and Denmark continued until 1943, when the Danish government refused further co-operation and its navy sank most of its ships and sent as many of their officers as they could to Sweden. During the war, the government was extremely helpful towards Jews living in the country, and the resistance managed to get most of the Jews to Sweden and safety. Denmark led many "inside operations" or sabotage against the German facilities. Iceland severed ties to Denmark and became an independent republic, and in 1948 the Faroe Islands gained home rule. After the war, Denmark became one of the founding members of the United Nations and NATO and in 1973, along with Britain and Ireland, joined the European Economic Community (now the European Union) after a public referendum. Greenland gained home rule in 1979. Neither Greenland, nor the Faroe Islands are members of the European Union, the Faroers declining membership in EEC from 1973 and Greenland from 1986, in both cases because of fisheries policies.
Despite its small size Denmark has been participating in major military and humanitarian operations, most notably the UN and NATO led operations on Cyprus and in Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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