In 1167, Bishop Absalon built a small fortress within a village to try to protect against raids by the German Wends on the east coast of Zealand. This was actually the beginning of Copenhagen, the current capital of Denmark. Following the completion of the fortress, the village grew significantly and adopted the name Købmandshavn (Merchant's Port), later shortened to København. The fortifications were destroyed by the Germans in 1369, and the construction of Copenhagen Castle began in 1376. In 1416, the reigning monarch, King Erik of Pomerania, moved into his new castle.

Copenhagen grew rapidly, and had 60,000 residents by the early 18th century. But by 1711 almost a third had died from bubonic plague, and two fires destroyed much of the city. Then the city was bombarded during the Napoleonic Wars in 1807, and the British confiscated the national fleet.

Decades later, Copenhagen produced philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, writer Hans Christian Andersen, theologian Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig, and Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, founder of the Danish School of Art. And today, Copenhagen is considered a center of culture and arts.

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