Denmark is a sovereign state in Northern Europe, located south-west of Sweden, south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark has two autonomous constituent countries in the north Atlantic Ocean, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. At 43,094 square kilometres (16,638.69 sq mi), and a population of around 5.6 million inhabitants, Denmark consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and the Danish archipelago of 407 islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts with little elevation and a temperate climate. The national language, Danish, is closely related to Swedish and Norwegian.
The Kingdom of Denmark is a unitary constitutional monarchy with Margrethe II as queen regnant, organised in a parliamentary democracy. Ending absolute monarchy introduced in 1660, the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, only to be rewritten four times; the latest revision in 1953. The unicameral parliament, the Folketing, resides in the capital of Copenhagen, together with judicial, executive, and legislative powers. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving political powers to handle internal affairs to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark became a member of the European Union in 1973, maintaining four opt-outs from European Union policies, as outlined in the 1992 Edinburgh Agreement. Both the Faroe Islands and Greenland remain outside the Union.
Home of the Vikings, Denmark emerged as a unified kingdom in the 8th century as a proficient seafaring nation to be the centre of the mutual struggle for the control of the Baltic Sea. The establishment of the personal Kalmar Union under Danish rule in 1397 ended with Swedish secession in 1523; one year later, Denmark entered union with Norway until its dissolution in 1814. Several cessions of Danish territory had begun in the 17th century caused a surge of nationalist movements that gained momentum in the 1830′s, concluded with a defeat in the 1864 Second Schleswig War, whereafter, a new European outlook was sought, resulting in adjustment and cooperation. Denmark remained neutral during World War I and the German invasion in April 1940 saw brief military skirmishes while the Danish resistance movement was active from 1943 until the German surrender in May 1945. The post-war period generated an increase of wealth and brought closer European integration; as a part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the Balkans in the 1990s, Denmark abandoned its neutrality by participating in military engagements in the Middle East at the turn of the millennium.