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Denmark (ETW Faction)

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Denmark (ETW Faction)
Denmark FlagETW.png
Name: Denmark
From Game: Empire: Total War
Culture: European

Denmark is a minor unplayable faction in Empire: Total War.


Monarchy Republic

The Kingdom of Denmark was once the undisputed power of Scandinavia. For brief periods, prior to the Norman Conquest and the end of the Viking Age, early Danish kings had ruled over a vast North Sea Empire that encompassed Denmark, Norway and much of modern-day England. Under the 'Kalmar Union' the Danish monarch's authority stretched over the kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway as well as southern Finland, the Orkney and Shetland islands, the distant isle of Iceland and much of the southernmost coasts of the vast frozen expanse of Greenland. This hegemony over much of the north was not to last, however. Sweden, always an unwilling junior partner under Danish rule, successfully rebelled in 1521 and would quickly become Denmark's main rival and the biggest hindrance to it's growth in Europe. But this rivalry would become increasingly one-sided as Sweden greatly expanded the lands under its rule, often at the expense of Denmark, and focused heavily on improving its military capabilities. This culminated in a century-long period from 1611-1721 known as the 'Swedish Empire' where Sweden was considered one of the great powers of Europe.

Despite this relative decline in relation to its former subject, Denmark remained one of the great naval powers of northern Europe right up until the Napoleonic Wars. Along with the British, Dutch and the many states that comprise the Hanseatic League, Denmark boasted considerable strength at sea. Controlling the strategically important straights that connect the North and Baltic seas, the Danish Navy was vital in maintaining the infamous 'Sound Tolls'. Levied on all foreign shipping seeking access through the Danish straits, fees collected from these tolls made upwards of two thirds of the Danish state's income during the 16th and 17th centuries. The Danish Navy also aided in Denmark's colonial ambitions. Despite its relatively small population in relation to the major colonisers of the period, Denmark managed to acquire a sizeable overseas dominion that was comprised of several small territories and trading posts scattered along the coasts and islands of the Americas, Africa and Asia.

The Napoleonic Wars would, however, spell the end to much of Denmark's remaining power and influence. By the end of the conflict in 1814, Denmark had lost much of its navy to the British and was forced to relinquish a considerable portion of its territory to Sweden for its involvement in the conflict. Any real power left to Denmark was effectively eliminated following their defeat at the hands of the combined Austro-Prussian armies in the 1864 Second Schleswig War, which saw the complete loss of the southern half of the Jutland peninsula and the final abandonment of any foreign policy that advocated for the use of Danish forces in anything but a defensive capacity.


For much of its history, including the entirety of the era covered in Empire: Total War, Norway (which included the territories of Iceland and the Faroe Islands, as well as a largely unenforced claim to Greenland) was in a personal union with Denmark. Though legally a distinct kingdom, it was functionally subordinate to Denmark and was largely governed from Copenhagen as an integral part of the Danish state (which itself was referred to as Denmark-Norway during this period). Paradoxically, the areas that legally belonged to Norway actually made up the vast majority of Denmark's effective territory. Denmark itself only ever formally encompassed the northern half of the Jutland peninsula (the southern half, divided between the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, were regarded as separate entities under Danish vassalage), Skåneland (which, save for Bornholm, was definitively lost to Sweden in the 1658 Treaty of Roskilde) and the various islands straddling the boundary between the North and Baltic seas.

Unlike neighbouring Sweden, Norway was comparatively content with the status quo, demonstrating on many occasions that it was at least preferable to Swedish rule, a looming threat that would ultimately become reality in 1814 following the Napoleonic Wars when Denmark was finally forced to relinquish all of Norway proper to Sweden, ending the union.

Starting position


Denmark begins in a precarious, but not impossible position. Relatively large as minor factions go, it begins the campaign with three regions (Denmark, Norway and Iceland) under its control. The region of Denmark itself, while paling in comparison to neighbouring Sweden, is arguably wealthier than the average region at the start of the campaign with significant potential to turn into an economic powerhouse should it be allowed to develop. Aside from 3 minor settlements, one of which is a school, Denmark is one of the only regions that can eventually build up to three ports although these take a while to develop. While the faction capital of Copenhagen is a major city, it does not have access to an admiralty. Norway, while sparsely populated and with only a minor city, is arguably Denmark's most valuable province. The abundance of natural resources such as timber and iron means this region provides a significant portion of Denmark's income. Iceland, on the other hand, is both distant and exceptionally poor. It lacks even the most basic infrastructure and continues to offer few economic benefits as the campaign progresses. Where Iceland shines is in its strategic value. Located in the far corner of Europe, it provides easy access to the Americas for early conquests of the poorly-defended, but very lucrative, fur-producing regions in the north.

Militarily, Denmark starts with a relatively weak army and doesn't have access to anything better than an army encampment for unit recruitment. As such, Denmark will fall behind the major factions on unit production as it has to upgrade its army encampment to a barracks before it can start recruiting better units such as Line Infantry. On top of this, the Danish Navy pales in comparison to its neighbours and Denmark has no shipyard to access warships powerful enough to quickly rectify this. The geography of Denmark, and the frequency of strait crossings within the area, only compounds this problem. Should an enemy faction be allowed to establish naval superiority in the area, troops cannot use these straits to cross between Jutland and Sweden. In a worse case scenario, armies can become trapped by hostile fleets on the central island of Sjaelland and rendered essentially unusable.

The diplomatic situation is equally dire, with powerful enemies ready to pounce on all sides. Denmark begins the campaign with Russia and Poland-Lithuania as allies, but they're too distant to offer any real assistance against Denmark's numerous enemies and will often serve only to drag Denmark into wars that it is ill-prepared to fight. Sweden, Denmark's historical arch-enemy, will waste no time in declaring war and sending an army to take the poorly-defended region of Norway. While a small fort is already present near the Norwegian capital of Christiania at the start of the game, the tiny garrison and lack of walls around the settlement itself will still make defending this territory quite the challenge. Great Britain will also often seek to attack Denmark within the first few turns, normally invading Iceland before launching continued assaults against both Norway and the Danish homeland itself. Both Sweden and Britain will also likely use their superior navies to quickly blockade the port of Aarhus, cutting off any opportunities for Denmark to make any money through trading outside of a sole overland link with Hannover. Of course, like most of its neighbours, Hannover may occasionally seek to expand its borders at Denmark's expense but it will more often than not remain satisfied as a trade partner. Prussia, another faction that often finds itself at odds with Sweden, can prove to be a useful potential ally. Sharing a religion and a common enemy, it will rarely seek to declare war upon Denmark and will often remain friendly towards them. While it rarely offers anything in the way of military assistance in the fight against the more naval-focused forces of Sweden or Britain, it can serve as a much-needed buffer between other hostile powers in the region and protect Denmark's southern flank.

Opening moves

From the outset, your biggest threat will be the expansionist Swedish Empire which seeks to wrestle Norway from your control. Normally, luck or cheating/modding aside, Sweden will not hesitate to declare war and will reliably do so within the first few turns. As such, preparations should be made to defend Christiania from the Swedish incursions which are sure to come. Investing in the barracks upgrade for the army encampment in Copenhagen, to allow the creation of Line Infantry and Regiment of Horse, should be the first priority and take precedent over all other investments. Trade agreements, while it is still recommended to establish them as this will 'lock down' future trade partners who may otherwise decline offers later, will likely not play a major role in boosting your income since Sweden will quickly move to blockade your sole port. For now, Hannover (with which you already have an overland trade agreement) will be the only nation offering any sort of trade income.

Another nation that will more than likely declare war upon you, albeit later on, is Great Britain. This seems to be caused by British ambitions on Iceland and thus can be reliably avoided by selling it to a willing buyer at the beginning of the game for some much needed cash. This should not be seen as a weakening of your position by any means. Iceland, at the start of the game, is an economic backwater that barely contributes 60 gold per turn in tax. In comparison, Norway contributes around 600 whilst Denmark contributes over 1000. There is no way for you to defend it and you will lose it anyway when Britain sends an army to take it from you. While you can just sell it to Britain, it's much more prudent to sell it to a weak minor nation that you can easily take it back from when you're in a stronger position to defend it. Probably the best candidate is the Knights Hospitaller which is willing to pay 6000+ for it (100 turns worth of Icelandic tax income!), rarely allies with anyone and almost never expands beyond its tiny island in the Mediterranean. Don't worry about it falling into British hands in the meantime, the AI only seems to aggressively pursue Iceland if it's owned by the player and will otherwise leave it and its AI faction owner alone.

With the money you make from selling Iceland, it would be wise to invest in expanding your fleet to prevent Sweden from preventing you from shipping reinforcements to Norway as well as protecting your trade. At the start of the game, Denmark has only a trading port in its home region and thus no way of creating better warships. However, the fishing fleet in Bergen can be quickly repurposed into a shipyard which can be used to produce Sixth Rates. The demolition of the fishing fleet may take a sizeable chunk out of Norway's region wealth, but this can be easily offset by investing in upgrades for the logging camps and iron mines. Similarly, investing in the farmland will offset the hit to population growth and the increase in the risk of a food shortage.

Basics at start

  • Protectorates – None
  • AlliesPoland-Lithuania, Russia
  • Trade PartnersHannover
  • EnemiesBarbary States, Pirates
  • Religion – Protestant
  • Government – Constitutional Monarchy
  • Ruler – Frederik IV (King)
  • Population – 1,539,253
  • Prosperity – Meagre
  • Prestige – Feeble
  • Treasury – 8000
  • Technology - None
  • Missionaries – None
  • Rakes – None
  • Gentlemen – Ole Romer (Denmark)

Europe Theatre

Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Starting Buildings – Army Encampment, Cannon Foundry, Government Council, Conservatorium
  • Infrastructure - Basic Roads
  • Population – 912,680
  • Wealth – 2550
  • Religion – Protestantism 100.0%
  • Starting Towns/PortsJutland Farmland (Peasant Farms), Holstein Farmland (Peasant Farms), Aarhus (Trading Port), Odense (School)
  • Later Villages/PortsSchleswig (Village), Aalborg (Village), Husum (Port), Lubeck (Port)
Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Starting Buildings – Magistrate
  • Infrastructure – Not Developed
  • Population – 50,208
  • Wealth – 200
  • Religion – Protestantism 95.0%, Animism 5.0%
  • Starting Towns/PortsSkogar Farmland (Peasant Farms), Akureyri (Local Fishery)
  • Later Villages/PortsHofn (Port)
Christiania, Norway
  • Starting Buildings – Governor’s Residence
  • Infrastructure – Basic Roads
  • Population – 576,365
  • Wealth – 2025
  • Religion – Protestantism 95.0%, Animism 5.0%
  • Starting Towns/PortsMo i Rana Mines (Iron Mine), Kirkenes Mines (Not Developed), Arendal Farmland (Not Developed), Ringsaker Forests (Logging Camp), Orkdal Forests (Not Developed), Bergen (Local Fishery),
  • Later Villages/PortsTrondheim (Village), Stavanger (Village)

AI Denmark

When in the hands of the AI, Denmark will usually lose Norway almost immediately to Sweden. While it can sometimes successfully hold onto Denmark proper, if it has the chance to establish a strong enough garrison in Copenhagen, it's more than likely that it will also lose it to Sweden soon afterwards. Even so, the Danish faction is rarely eliminated as it will then usually spend the rest of the game persisting as a forgotten rump state, exiled to Iceland in the far northern corner of the European theatre.

In rare circumstances, a successful rebellion in Denmark may occur and spark a rebirth of the faction. If Sweden doesn't have any forces nearby to quickly recapture Copenhagen and contain the Danes, usually a result of sending all their armies to the Urals to fight the Russians, then Denmark can turn the tables and conquer much of Scandinavia before Sweden can effectively respond.

In even rarer circumstances, Denmark can instead be conquered by Hannover or even Great Britain.

Unit Details

Like Sweden, Denmark's standard horse regiments get a 25% manpower boost. Denmark also has the option to recruit Heavy Cavalry, an ability shared only by Britain among the major nations. Therefore, Denmark can field particularly deadly cavalry with these two combined traits. Otherwise it has the standard European unit roster.



  • Historically, the faction called Denmark in Empire: Total War is named incorrectly. The nation was in reality called Denmark–Norway during the 18th century and beyond. Denmark-Norway faced many problems, losing much of its lands to Prussia and Austria by the late 19th century (although it regained these following the Treaty of Versailles concluding World War I).
  • While a constitutional monarchy in-game, Denmark was an absolute monarchy during this time period. It would only become a constitutional monarchy in the wider European revolutions of 1848.
  • It is one of the only minor factions to have a separate flag if it becomes a republic (see above).
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