The history of Denmark as a unified kingdom began in the 8th century, but historic documents describe the geographic area and the people living there - the Danes -, as early as 500 AD. These early documents include the writings of Jordanes and Procopius, with the Christianization of the Danes c.960 AD, it is clear that there existed a kingship in Scandinavia, controlling the current Danish territory roughly speaking. Queen Margrethe II can trace her back to the Viking kings Gorm the Old and Harald Bluetooth from this time. The area we now know as Denmark, has a rich prehistory, having been populated by prehistoric cultures and people for about 12,000 years. Denmark was long in disputes with Sweden over control of Skånelandene and with Germany over control of Schleswig, eventually, Denmark lost these conflicts and ended up ceding first Skåneland to Sweden and later Schleswig-Holstein to the German Empire. After the eventual cession of Norway in 1814, Denmark retained control of the old Norwegian colonies of the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland. During the 20th century, Iceland gained independence, Greenland and the Faroese became integral parts of the Kingdom of Denmark and North Schleswig reunited with Denmark in 1920 after a referendum. During World War II, Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany, in the aftermaths of World War II, and with the emergence of the subsequent Cold War, Denmark was quick to join the military alliance of NATO as a founding member in 1949. The Scandinavian region has a rich prehistory, having been populated by prehistoric cultures and people for about 12,000 years. During the ice age, all of Scandinavia was covered by glaciers most of the time, when the ice began retreating, the barren tundras were soon inhabited by reindeer and elk and Ahrenburg and Swiderian hunters from the south followed them here to hunt occasionally. The geography then was very different from what we know today, as the climate warmed up, forceful rivers of meltwater started to flow and shape the virgin lands, and a more stable flora and fauna gradually began emerging in Scandinavia and Denmark in particular. The first human settlers to inhabit Denmark and Scandinavia permanently was the Maglemosian people, residing in seasonal camps and it was not until around 6,000 BC that the geography of Denmark as we know it today had been shaped approximately. Denmark has some unique conditions for preservation of artifacts, providing a rich. The Weichsel glaciation covered all of Denmark most of the time and it ended around 13,000 years ago allowing humans to move back into the previously ice-covered territories and establish permanent habitation. During the first post-glacial millennia the landscape changed from tundra to light forest. Early pre-historic cultures uncovered in modern Denmark include the Maglemosian Culture, the Kongemose culture, the Ertebølle culture, and the Funnelbeaker culture. The Koelbjerg Man is the oldest known bog body in the world and also the oldest set of bones found in Denmark. With a continuing rise in temperature the oak, elm and hazel arrived in Denmark around 7,000 BC, now boar, red deer, and roe deer also began to abound
Stone Dolmen near Vinstrup, Nørhald. Built in the 3rd millennium BC.
The famous Trundholm sun chariot (called Solvognen in Danish), a sculpture of the sun pulled by a mare. Scholars have dated it to some time in the 15th century BC and believe that it illustrates an important concept expressed in Nordic Bronze Age mythology.
The silver Gundestrup Cauldron, with what some scholars interpret as Celtic depictions, exemplifies the trade relations of the period.
The extent of the Danish Realm before the expansion of the Viking Age. It is not known when, but the tribal Danes divided the realm into "herreder" (marked by red lines).