5th June

 

World Environment Day: Every year there’s a different theme. Last year there was an art competition to make your local landscape or seascape with recycled materials. Find out more here.

Seychelles Liberation Day (from UK, 1976; see 18 June)

President’s Day (Equatorial Guinea – see 12th October)

Denmark Constitution Day

Denmark has been inhabited since about 12,500 B.C. They made lurs (bronze horns) in the Bronze Age and traded with the Romans in their Celtic era.

In the 8th-10th centuries the Danish, Swedes and Norwegians were known as the Vikings. (For Viking activities, see 17th May). They colonised a lot of the western world, including Normandy in France, England, Canada and Iceland. There are more Anglo-Saxon coins in Denmark than in England.

The Danes were united in 965 A.D. by Harald Bluetooth, who converted to Christianity.

In 1016 the prince of Denmark, King Cnut, invaded England and became our king, and later became king of England, Denmark and Norway.

In 1397 Denmark became the Kalmar union with Norway and Sweden, although as Margaret I treated Denmark as the best country, Sweden kept breaking away and being reconquered, until Sweden finally broke away in 1523.

In the 1530s they had a civil war (called the Count’s Feud), because some people wanted to be Protestants. The Protestants won and Denmark became Lutheran.

Then Denmark kept trying to invade Sweden and vice versa, trying to get colonies but failing, trying to invade Germany in the 30 Years’ War but failing. They tried to stay out of the Napoleonic Wars but that just annoyed Britain and we attacked them, setting fire to Copenhagen and attacking all their boats until they went backrupt and had to dissolve their union with Norway. They still kept Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

In 1849 Denmark decided to become a constitutional monarchy.

After WWI, during which Denmark remained neutral, the Versailles treaty offered them Schleswig-Holstein back, but Denmark asked the inhabitants to vote on it (how civilised), and so was given only Northern Schleswig. This is celebrated on the 15th June on Valdemarsdag.

In WWII they signed a non-aggression pact with the Nazis but they invaded anyway. Of course. The Danes fought for two hours before surrendering. Iceland severed ties with Denmark during WWI and became independent.

After WWII Denmark became part of the EU, but Greenland and the Faroe Islands didn’t because EU countries have their fishing quotas limited.

Celebrate Denmark by playing with Lego (it’s Danish)! Read Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales (The Ugly Ducking, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen). It has the best restaurant in the world.

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