The Kingdom of Denmark is a unitary constitutional monarchy with Margrethe II as queen regnant, organised in a parliamentary democracy. Absolute monarchy was abolished in 1660 and the Constitution of Denmark was signed on 5 June 1849, and has been rewritten four times; the latest revision in 1953. The unicameral parliament, the Folketing, resides in the capital of Copenhagen, together with judicial, executive, and legislative powers. Denmark exercises hegemonic influence in the Danish Realm, devolving political powers to handle internal affairs to the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark became a member of the European Economic Community in 1973.
Home of the Vikings, Denmark emerged as a unified kingdom in the 8th century as a proficient seafaring nation to be the centre of the mutual struggle for the control of the Baltic Sea. The establishment of the personal Kalmar Union under Danish rule in 1397 ended with Swedish secession in 1523; one year later, Denmark entered union with Norway until its dissolution in 1814. Several cessions of Danish territory that had begun in the 17th century caused a surge of nationalist movements that gained momentum in the 1830s and concluded with a defeat in the 1864 Second Schleswig War. A new European outlook was sought after the war, resulting in adjustment and cooperation.
Denmark remained neutral during both World Wars. The post-war period generated an increase of wealth and brought closer European integration; Denmark abandoned its neutrality by joining the Allied Pact in 1953.
An industrialized exporter of agricultural produce in the second half of the 19th century, Denmark introduced social and labour-market reforms in the early decades of the 20th century, making the basis for the present welfare state with a highly developed mixed market economy. Denmark has close cultural, economic, and historical ties with its neighbours, resulting in the Danish-Swedish Øresund Bridge and the planned Danish-German Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link.
Denmark is frequently ranked as the happiest country in the world in cross-national studies of happiness. Denmark ranks as having the world's highest social mobility, a high level of income equality, and has one of the world's highest per capita incomes. For 2013, Denmark is listed 15th on the Human Development Index and 9th on the inequality-adjusted HDI. Denmark ranks highly positive on the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Legatum Prosperity Index, and as a full democracy on the Democracy Index. Denmark is among the founding members of the Nordic Council, OECD, OSCE, and League of Nations. There are three Danish heritage sites inscribed on the World Heritage list in Northern Europe.