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Briar Dluhy

Humanities II
Period 5
Mrs. Bennett
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Tolerance in Conquest
In conquest, a common incentive is greed. A want for material goods and wealth
drives the already rich and powerful to conquer those of lesser ability in order to gain
more wealth and power, eventually building an empire. During the period of time
between 1450 and 1750, things were looking up for the Kingdom of Denmark. With
claimed land in almost every corner of the world, Denmark certainly had quite a vast and
prosperous empire. Because of the variety of supplies at their fingertips, Denmark was
thriving. Even so, despite being a sizeable empire, Denmarks rule was not tyrannical like
their southern European neighbors. With over a dozen different territories satisfied under
their rule, exporting valuable resources, Denmarks future couldnt have looked brighter.
Unlike other empires, Denmark did not rule their territories with an iron fist; in
fact they were much less involved and much more tolerant. Like France, Britain, Spain,
Portugal, and the Netherlands, Denmark participated in the westward expansion, though
not as heavily. The prize for their endeavors was the area then referred to as the Danish
West Indies, or more commonly known now as the Virgin Islands. The Danish West
Indies consisted of the islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, just east of
Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To the east, Denmark also held claim to the Danish
Gold Coast, now known as the country of Ghana. The ownership of these two areas
allowed Denmark to facilitate an overseas rule unlike that of Greenland and Iceland.
Using slaves gained from the Danish Gold Coast, Denmark was able to participate in the
trade of tobacco, sugar, and cotton. These goods helped Denmark profit along with their

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other European neighbors. However, unlike the other European settlers, Denmark was
more tolerant and empathetic toward their slaves. In 1733, Denmark passed a law that
declared all slaves were no longer property of another person and could behave on their
own accord. 22 years later, in 1755, they passed a law stating that slaves could not be
separated from their children, and that they were entitled to health care in time of illness
or old age. In addition, Denmark also exported significantly less slaves (3,000) per year
than their neighbors (Dutch: 6,000, French: 13,000, English and Spanish: 33,000
collectively) (R. Baldwin? 21). In 1792, Denmark became the first European country to
outlaw the traffic of slaves, and in 1848 they abolished it completely. This information
shows that, while maintaining a vast rule overseas, Denmark was able to be tolerant and
kind to even their slaves. Even today, Denmark is still an incredibly tolerant and
prosperous country; the health and happiness of their people is one of their greatest
priorities, and they also hold close relations with Ghana.
On the other side of the world was another addition to Denmarks empire, Danish
India. Danish India encompassed the areas now known as Serampore in West Bengal,
Tharangambadi in Tamil Nadu, and the Nicobar Islands. This area was used to gather
silver, tea, silk, and cotton as well as serving as a port for offering trade during times of
war because of their neutrality. Denmark also traded within the area and became a
significant part of the trade system. It was for this reason that they were allowed to stay,
well into the 1800s, until their relationships with a recently defeated France caused them
to have to hand the area over to England in 1869 (Rasmussen 1996). To the north, in a
more familiar area, Denmark held claim to even more territory. Their claim extended
through Sweden, Finland, and Norway to the east, Danish Estonia across the Baltic, and

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Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands in the Northern Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
Denmarks rule over Sweden, Iceland, Norway, and Finland eventually came to an end.
Danish Estonia retuned to Estonia, but the area is still referred to as Danish Estonia
sometimes today. However, Denmark continues to rule the Faroe Islands and Greenland,
though they are autonomous.
Although Denmark, and the other Nordic countries, showed a lack of tolerance
toward conquered peoples during the Viking era, since then they have come a long way in
many aspects.

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