The history of modern Denmark is essentially the story of how a once extensive and diverse empire slowly disintegrated under the changing circumstances of the times. Eventually, the dissolution of the component parts resulted in one small core area remaining which is today called Denmark. In this introductory guide, Knud J. V. Jespersen traces the lengthy process of disintegration and reduction which helped to form the modern Danish state, and the historical roots of Denmark`s current international position. Taking the starting point as the Reformation in the sixteenth century, when modern Danish society began to emerge, Jespersen explains how the Denmark of today was shaped by 500 years of wars, territorial losses, domestic upheavals, new methods of production, and changes in thought. He goes on to explore the development of a specific sense of Danish identity, and disusses whether the Danes can be most aptly described as a tribe or as a nation.