D was a hard one. Seriously.
Along with the Norwegians and Swedes, the Danes were better known as Vikings, but since I’ll be discussing them later, I’m going to focus more on the history and people. Religion will be the other post.
Befitting their culture, the viking age began in a very burny and violent way on June 8th, 793, when vikings destroyed the abbey on Lindisfarne. The abbey was a famous learning center across the continent, and its destruction angered a lot of people and was widely regarded as a bad move.
During their time, they terrorized (and settled. They weren’t all bad) their way across Europe and into Africa and the Middle East, and even going as far as Greenland and Newfoundland, where they created settlements long before Columbus. After the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent spread of Islam, trade in the Mediterranean was depressingly low, which opened up the way for Viking trading and expansion.
Interestingly, despite having a history of raping and pillaging, Denmark was united with Norway and Sweden under a woman. In 1397, Queen Margaret I of Denmark, married Haakon VI of Norway and Sweden, forming the Kalmar Union.
The Saxons also thought the Danes were excessively clean. Well, in comparison because they took weekly baths and liked to brush their hair. A lot.
And then there was Hamlet…
Book recommendations for reading challenges: