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By the ninth century the Danes had gained mastery of the area known today as Denmark and maintained control until the late medieval period, including parts of modern Sweden and Norway.

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Infant mortality, epidemics, war and emigration, better hygiene, food, and housing influenced population changes.

The population increased from 2.5 to 5.3 million during the twentieth century, showing an interdependency between decline in population growth and industrialization, with the average number of children per woman decreasing from 4 to 1.5.

Roughly eighty of its more than four hundred islands are inhabited.

Jutland, Zealand, and Funen (Fyn) are the largest and most densely populated regions.

Free abortion and sterilization rights since 1973 caused slower population growth, which in certain years was negative (1981 through 1984).

Denmark historically includes the former colonies Greenland and the Faroe Islands. In 1948, the Faroe Islands became a self-governing territory within the Danish state. The kingdom of Denmark, which is situated in Scandinavia and northern Europe, is surrounded by the North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat, and the Baltic Sea.

The country covers approximately 16,634 square miles (43,095 square kilometers).

The name of the country means "Borderlands of the Danes" in reference to a political unit created during the sixth through ninth centuries.

This period was marked by a slow progression of sovereignty among the Danes, a people who originated in Skaane (today the southern part of Sweden) but eventually were based in Jutland.

Denmark is a small nation whose cultural unity is mitigated by regional traditions of rural, urban, and island communities with distinctions based on local language, food, and history.

This situation has sometimes created friction between local history and national history.