The history of North Jutland | VisitNordjylland

The history of North Jutland

Denmark, and North Jutland of course, has a rich history.

The Viking Age is a particular famous period in the Danish history, which started around 750. A.D. Throughout its early history, Denmark had many contacts with the outside world, but it was with the beginning of the Viking Age that the country really became part of European history.

The Vikings, who dominated Scandinavia from the 700s until 1042, were the forebears of the robust, hard-working, seafaring nation of Denmark. And the Danes became most notorious as the Vikings plundered churches and monasteries, but behind this rather one-sided picture lies a far more complex interplay of political and cultural factors. At the time quests were made from the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and both France and England were plundered by the Vikings.

The Viking Age lasted until ca. year 1050 and ended mainly due to Harald Bluetooth, who "made the Danes Christians", thereby starting the transition into the Middle Ages. The Jelling Stone, which has a runic inscription carved into the side of the stone, is the proof of Harald Bluetooth's achievement, and is sometimes referred to as Denmark's birth certificate. Today it stands in Jelling, close to the city of Vejle.

Along with Christianity, the Middle Ages gave way for Denmark to be an actual kingdom with castles, coinage, bridges, stone architecture, books and Latin writings. This historical period is often described as "the dark ages" in Anglo-Saxon countries. An obscure period with sinister and mysterious figures dressed in brownish robes, when regicides and bishop disputes were the order of the day, and when wars raged and the plague devastated large parts of the country. This is how most people imagine life in the Middle Ages, but most of this perception is based on myths and misunderstandings. In fact, the Middle Ages were both colourful and dynamic, and the people creative and innovative. Medieval clothes were anything but dull, on the contrary, they were most often made of clear, bright materials to match the colourful personalities of medieval people. Think about famous figures like Richard the Lion-Hearted, Robin Hood, Ivanhoe and El Cid - and in Denmark, bishop Absalon, founder of Copenhagen, King Valdemar Atterdag, and "the husband and wife of Denmark and Norway", Queen Margrethe I who established the Kalmar Union in 1397, uniting Denmark, Norway and Sweden in one single kingdom.

Different countries have different ways of dating the Middle Ages, but in Denmark it runs parallel with the Catholic period, beginning with the introduction of Christianity around the year 1000 and ending with the Reformation in 1536. 1999 was appointed Year of the Middle Ages in Denmark, and was celebrated all over the country with numerous arrangements, all related to Medieval times. In North Jutland, there are many relics of this exciting period of Danish history with countless churches, abbeys, castles, manor houses and fortresses to see, all with fascinating stories to tell.

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