I've mentioned our founder Bishop Absalon
a few times - I might as well tell a little bit more about him and how Copenhagen came to be..
Copenhagen was populated prior to Absolon, but was at the time just a small fishing village.. archaeological finds indicates it was Viking port back in the day and it may even predate the Danes arrival to Zealand.
Back then it vent under the name "Havn
" simply meaning habour or port and that's also where it got it's latin name "Hafnia"
Anyway Absolon was a childhood friend of Prince Valdemar
who would later become King of Denmark and Absolon - his dear friend - elected as Bishop and made chief counsellor of the King.
Back then ( in the 1100's ) not all of Europe was calm and under control and especially the Baltic Sea was chaotic and the people living along it's shores was plagued by the Wends
who basicly were nothing more than pirates and slavetraders ( kidnapping people from the Danish isles and looting villages along the shores )
This was ofcause totally unacceptable so King Valdemar gave the task to Absalon to remove the threath from the Wends and secure the eastern parts of Zealand
He did this by creating a safe habour and build a castle in the old village of Havn hence founding the city "Købman's Havn"
( Merchants Port ) that ended up as "København"
in modern Danish ( he started improving the city in 1160 but the official founding date is set to 1167 where the castle was completed )
He also gathered an army and started launching offensive experditions against the Wends who lived in Pomerania
in parts that are now part of the Baltics - these proved very successful and in 1168 he launched a final assault against the Wendish forces succesfully defeating them on their own soil by capturing their capital
Absalon himself was a man of action and in the assault on Charenza he managed to break the Wendish lines ( reported to be 6000 man strong ) and storm their castle succesfully - with only 12 men left and his brother Sweyn who was also a bishop
After that succes Denmark became a major power in the region and he went on to wage war against all pirates in the area allowing for open and safe trade routes - making Copenhagen's position perfect for trading and port of the eastern fleet
He died in 1201 as an archbishop after a long and eventful life - respected by all from Royalty to farmers..
To pay respect the two newest ( and largest ) battleships in the Danish Navy have been named after him and his brother
Here you can see a statue of him on Højbro Square
This is btw not too far away from the Stork Fountain
I showed earlier