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The area north of the Eider river becomes known as the duchy of Schleswig.

◆ 1200

The First Schleswig War concludes with Denmark still in possession of Schleswig and Holstein.

1460 ◆

King Christian I of Denmark is elected Duke of Schleswig and Count of Holstein. The duchies receive significant political independence and are declared “forever united and indivisible” (up ewig ungedeelt).

1864 | the seconD schLesWiG WAr in a new constitution signed by King christian iX in november 1863, Denmark once again sought to separate schleswig—with its mixed Danish and German population—from holstein and incorporate it into the Danish state. this move antagonized the German population of schleswig, as well as the people of holstein who had historically been “forever united and indivisible” from schleswig. the German confederation called for an all-German war against the Danes; between february and July 1864, a massive prussianAustrian army with cutting-edge

◆ 1848-1850

The Second Schleswig War (Dano-Prussian War) results in Denmark losing both duchies to Prussia. In 1871, Prussia and other German states consolidate to form a united German Empire.

weaponry defeated Denmark’s outnumbered, poorly equipped forces in a series of battles at Dannevirke, Dybbøl, and Als, bringing both schleswig and holstein under prussian control. in 1871, after prussia’s defeat of Austria and france in consecutive wars, a united German empire was consolidated around the sphere of Prussian influence under chancellor otto von bismarck’s leadership. for Denmark, the loss of schleswig and holstein had a dramatic impact on the country’s national identity, economy, and international political standing.

denmark lost 40% of its territory and experienced a similar decrease in total population, with devastating economic consequences. Danish foreign policy shifted toward a policy of neutrality and disarmament, as it was clear that Denmark could not win a military engagement with its southern neighbor. Danish culture took an inward-focused turn, while Danish nationalism found expression in literature, song, and the development of folk high schools that promoted a shared Danish culture.

01. In formation Danish soldiers stand in formation during the 1864 war, photographed by the Royal Court Photographer from Copenhagen. Used with permission from the Schleswig Collection of the Danish Central Library in Flensburg, Germany.

14 amerIca leTTer

1864 ◆

SPRING 2014 | america letter + annual report  

The America Letter is a benefit of membership to the Museum of Danish America, published three times annually. If you find yourself wanting...

SPRING 2014 | america letter + annual report  

The America Letter is a benefit of membership to the Museum of Danish America, published three times annually. If you find yourself wanting...

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