Here you will find a comprehensive list of key years and events in Danish history.

The Viking Age, c. 790–1050

777 The Saxon prince Widukind fled to the Danish king Sigfred
793 Sacking of the monastery in Lindisfarne
804–810 Godfred’s wars against Charlemagne
823 Beginning of Bishop Ebbo of Reims’ Christian mission in Denmark
826 Baptism of Harald Klak
843 Partition of the Frankish empire
845 First Viking attack on Paris
854 Horik I killed
865–878 Viking armies in England
934 Danes attacked by the Saxon king Henry I
c. 958 Burial of King Gorm at Jelling
c. 963 Baptism of Harald Bluetooth and Denmark’s official conversion to Christianity
974 Otto II attacked the Danevirke
c. 975–980 Construction of the Trelleborg fortresses
c. 987 Sven Forkbeard’s rebellion against Harald Bluetooth
991- Sven Forkbeard’s raids on England
1013 Sven Forkbeard’s conquest of England
1014 Death of Sven Forkbeard
1016 Conquest of England by Cnut the Great
c. 1018 Cnut became king of Denmark
1027 Cnut participated in the coronation of Emperor Conrad II in Rome
1035 Death of Cnut the Great
1042 Death of Harthacnut

The High Middle Ages, 1050–1340

1061 Division of Denmark into eight dioceses
1086 Murder of King Knud the Holy
1103/1104 Lund upgraded to an independent Nordic archdiocese
1131 Murder of Duke Knud Lavard
1146–1157 Conflicts between Svend, Knud, and Valdemar
1157–1241 ‘Age of the Valdemars’
1167 Construction of Copenhagen castle by Bishop Absalon
1168 Danish conquest of Rügen
1219 Danish conquest of Tallinn
1227 Danes defeated at the Battle of Bornhöved in Holstein
1250 Murder of Erik IV Plovpenning in Schleswig
1282 First royal håndfæstning
1286 Murder of Erik Klipping in Finderup Lade
1332–1340 Interregnum

The Late Middle Ages, 1340–1523

1340 Valdemar Atterdag elected king after the interregnum (1332–1340)
1360 Conquest of Skåne provinces and Gotland (1361) by Valdemar Atterdag
1365 Redemption of the last mortgaged territories by Valdemar Atterdag
1370 Peace of Stralsund: the war between Valdemar Atterdag and the Hanseatic towns ended
1385 Oluf, son of Margaret I, came of age and was proclaimed king of Denmark and Norway
1387 Death of King Oluf; Margaret I elected ‘regent lady and master’
1397 Foundation of Kalmar Union; Erik of Pomerania proclaimed king
1412 Death of Margaret I; rule of Erik of Pomerania
1424 Emperor Sigismund confirmed Erik of Pomerania as Duke of Schleswig
1432 Erik of Pomerania defeated in the war over Schleswig
1434 Rebellion in Sweden
1436 Erik of Pomerania exiled on Gotland
1443 Christopher of Bavaria crowned king of the union
1448 Accession of Christian I as king of Denmark and Norway
1457 Christian I became king of Sweden, deposed in 1464
1460 Christian I became duke of Schleswig and count of Holstein
1471 Christian I defeated at the Battle of Brunkeberg near Stockholm
1474 Holstein elevated to the status of duchy
1490 Division of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein between King Hans and Duke Frederik
1494 Denmark declared by diet to be an indivisible elective monarchy
1497 King Hans’ conquest of Sweden
1500 Defeat of King Hans and Duke Frederik at the Battle of Ditmarschen
1501 King Hans expelled from Sweden
1520 Stockholm Bloodbath
1523 Christian II deposed and exiled

Reformation and power state, 1523–1660

1523 Christian II deposed by the nobility and Frederik I crowned king
1526–1528 Reformation in Haderslev and Tørning districts
1526 Danish Church organized as a de facto territorial church, without the need for papal approval of the bishops
1530 Violent iconoclastic attack at the Church of Our Lady, Copenhagen
1533 Death of Frederik I; interregnum
1534–1536 ‘Count’s Feud’ (civil war)
1536 Reformation; Catholic bishops imprisoned
1537–1539 New church ordinance issued in Latin (1537) and Danish (1539); 1542 in the duchies
1559 Accession of King Frederik II
1563–1570 Nordic Seven Years’ War
1573 Publication of Tycho Brahe’s De nova stella
1582 Marriage ordinance
1588 Christian IV became king; regency government
1596 Christian IV came of age
1611–1613 Kalmar War
1617 Statute against witchcraft
1625–1629 Christian IV’s intervention in the Thirty Years’ War (Kejserkrigen)
1629 Church statute regulating morality
1643–1645 Torstensson Feud
1648 Frederik III crowned king
1657–1660 Wars with Sweden (first and second Karl Gustav Wars)
1658 Peace of Roskilde – Skåne, Halland, and Blekinge ceded to Sweden
1659 Swedish attack on Copenhagen
1660 Introduction of absolute monarchy

Absolute monarchy, 1660–1814

1660 Absolute power conferred on Frederik III at a meeting of the estates
1661 Sovereignty Act confirmed absolute power of the king
1665 King’s Code – written constitution for the absolute monarchy – signed by Frederik III
1670 Death of Frederik III; succeeded by his son Christian V
1675–1679 Skåne War
1683 Danish Code – standardized legal code (Norwegian Code 1687)
1688 Great Land Register – land tax standardized
1699 Death of Christian V; succeeded by his son Frederik IV
1700–1721 Great Northern War – Denmark involved in 1700 and 1709–1720
1708 Poor law
1721 Arrival of colonialist Hans Egede in Greenland
1730 Death of Frederik IV; succeeded by his son Christian VI
1733 Introduction of stavnsbånd – movements of rural males restricted
1736 Confirmation obligatory for all children
1739 Schools law: compulsory primary education in rural areas, and reform of Latin schools in the towns
1746 Death of Christian VI; succeeded by his son Frederik V
1766 Death of Frederik V; succeeded by his son Christian VII
1770–1772 Christian VII incapacitated; power assumed by German physician Struensee
1773 Treaty of Tsarskoye Selo (Mageskiftetraktaten): resolution of the so-called Gottorp question; Schleswig and Holstein under the Danish king
1788 Stavnsbånd abolished (in force from 1800)
1792 Transatlantic slave trade banned (in force from 1803)
1799–1815 Napoleonic Wars; Denmark involved 1807–1814
1801 Battle of Copenhagen
1807 British bombardment of Copenhagen and confiscation of the Danish fleet
1808 Death of Christian VII; succeeded by his son Frederik VI
1813 National bankruptcy
1814 Treaty of Kiel; Norway ceded to Sweden

From absolutist composite state to nation state, 1814–1914

1814 Denmark was a composite state, consisting of the kingdom of Denmark and the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg; Holstein was a member of the German Confederation
1814–1815 Congress of Vienna
1831 Law establishing four advisory assemblies of the estates
1834 National liberal newspaper Fædrelandet published for the first time
1835 First meetings of the advisory assemblies of the estates
1839 Death of Frederik VI; succeeded by his cousin Christian VIII
1840 Law on the use of language in Schleswig: Danish was the language of administration where it was also used in churches and schools
1842 Language question politicized in Schleswig; ‘Denmark to the Eider’ proclaimed by Orla Lehmann’s National Liberals
1846 Increased polarization and radicalization of the two national movements
1848 Death of Christian VIII; succeeded by Frederik VII, the last absolute king
1848–1849 Absolute rule abolished and replaced by a constitutional monarchy
1848–1850 First Schleswig War
1849 Constitution 5 June
1857 Freedom of Trade Act (Næringsfrihedsloven)
1864 Second Schleswig War; duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg ceded
1866 1849 constitution revised
1870 Foundation of the political party Det Forenede Venstre
1871 Foundation of the Social Democratic party
1875–1894 Government of J.B.S. Estrup – constitutional struggles
1880 Foundation of the conservative party Højre
1882 Foundation of the first co-operative dairy
1886 Fortification of Copenhagen began
1891–1892 First social insurance legislation
1899 September Compromise following a major labor market conflict
1901 ‘System change’ – first Venstre government formed on the basis of parliamentary majority in the Lower House
1905 Foundation of the Social Liberal Party (Det Radikale Venstre)

The world war era, 1914–1945

1914 August laws – increased state regulation of the economy
1915 New democratic constitution giving women and servants of both sexes the right to vote in parliamentary elections
1917 Sale of Danish West Indies to the USA (US Virgin Islands)
1918 Iceland recognized as an independent state in personal union with the Danish crown
1919 Smallholders’ act guaranteed cheap government loans for new smallholdings
1920 Reunification of northern Schleswig after a referendum, establishing the current Danish–German border
1920 Easter Crisis following the dissolution of the government by the king
1922 Collapse of Landmandsbanken
1924 First Social Democratic government, led by Prime Minister Stauning
1926 Liberal government led by Prime Minister Madsen-Mygdal
1929–1940 Social Democratic–Social Liberal coalition governments led by Prime Minister Stauning
1931 First crisis agreement between the government and the Conservative People’s Party
1932 Exchange Control Office (Valutacentralen) founded
1933 Kanslergade Agreement
1935 Peak support for Social Democratic Party, with 46% of the vote
1935 Opening of the first bridge across the Little Belt
1938 Holiday Act gave workers two weeks of statutory holiday a year
1939 Social Democratic government’s proposal for a new constitution rejected in a referendum
1939 Non-aggression pact between Germany and Denmark
1940 German occupation of Denmark
1941 Denmark joined the German Anti-Comintern Pact
1941 Danish ambassador to Washington formalized a treaty with the US government putting Greenland under the control of the American military
1942 Emergence of resistance groups carrying out acts of sabotage against the German occupying power
1943 Major strikes directed against the occupying power; collapse of policy of cooperation
1943 Deportation of Danish Jews to German concentration camps; approximately 7,000 rescued
1944 Danish police force dissolved
1944 ‘People’s strike’ (folkestrejke) in Copenhagen

The post-war era, 1945–1973

1945 Denmark liberated by British troops 4–5 May, with the exception of Bornholm
1945 Denmark became one of the founding members of the UN
1948 Receipt of American Marshall Aid approved by parliament
1949 Denmark signed the NATO Treaty
1951 New defence agreement with the USA for Greenland
1952 Establishment of the Nordic Council
1953 Greenland’s status as a Danish colony ended
1953 New constitution
1956 Universal old age pension implemented
1959 Foundation of the Socialist People’s Party
1964 Beatles concert in Copenhagen
1966 Contraceptive pill legalized
1967 Foundation of Left Socialist Party
1968 Student revolt at the universities of Copenhagen and Aarhus
1968 Establishment of the Central Person Register (CPR)
1969 Denmark became the first country in the world to legalize pornographic images
1970 Foundation of the Christian People’s Party
1970 Municipal reform
1972 Foundation of the Progress Party
1972 Referendum on Danish membership of the European Communities (EC)
1972 Social Democrat Anker Jørgensen became prime minister
1973 Free abortion introduced, giving all women the right to an abortion within the first twelve weeks of pregnancy
1973 Foundation of political party Centre Democrats
1973 Denmark became a member of the EC

Global times – after 1973

1973 First oil crisis
1973 ‘Earthquake election’; number of parties elected to parliament doubled
1973 First comprehensive environmental law
1976 First law on equal pay for work of equal value
1978 Coalition government of Social Democrats and Venstre
1979 First European Parliament elections; home rule for Greenland
1979 Second oil crisis
1982 Poul Schlüter took over from Anker Jørgensen as prime minister
1982 Greenland voted in a referendum to withdraw from the EC
1986 ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum on Single European Act
1986 Law on TV2, breaking the Danish Radio (DR) television monopoly
1987 First law on aquatic environment
1988 End of the so-called ‘footnote policy’
1990 Danish warship Olfert Fischer sent to the Gulf during the first Iraq War
1992 Danish UN peacekeeping soldiers sent to Croatia and Bosnia
1992 Maastricht Treaty rejected in a referendum
1993 Conservative prime minister Poul Schlüter resigned after a scandal over the family reunification of Tamil refugees in Denmark; replaced by Social Democrat Poul Nyrup Rasmussen
1993 Majority ‘yes’ vote in a referendum on Edinburgh Agreement
1995 Foundation of Danish People’s Party
1997 Great Belt Bridge from Fyn to Sjælland opened for rail passengers, and for motorists the following year
1999 Danish aircraft participated in NATO action in the Kosovo war, without a UN mandate
2000 Euro rejected in a referendum
2000 Øresund Bridge opened
2001 Anders Fogh Rasmussen replaced Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as prime minister; a new ‘system change’ in Danish politics
2001 Danish troops sent to the war in Afghanistan
2003 Danish troops sent to the Iraq war, without a UN mandate
2005 Cartoon Crisis
2007 New municipal reform introduced
2011 Helle Thorning-Schmidt elected as the first female prime minister
2011 Denmark participated in the international bombing of Libya, with a UN mandate from the Security Council
2015 Terrorist attacks on a cultural center and synagogue in Copenhagen
2015 Denmark ratified the UN’s Paris Agreement on the climate
2015 EU opt-out on home and justice affairs rejected in a referendum
2019 Election: heavy defeat for Danish People’s Party and Liberal Alliance; new government formed under prime minister Mette Frederiksen (Social Democrat)
2020 First comprehensive climate law adopted by the Danish parliament
2020 Start of COVID-19 pandemic in Denmark
2022 Danish EU defense opt-out rejected in a referendum, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine