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Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand; another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund.

The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road.

Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century.

Beginning in the 17th century it consolidated its position as a regional centre of power with its institutions, defences and armed forces.

Substantial discoveries of flint tools in the area provide evidence of human settlements dating to the Stone Age.

The earliest written mention of the town was in the 12th century when Saxo Grammaticus in Gesta Danorum referred to it as Portus Mercatorum, meaning Merchants' Harbour or, in the Danish of the time, Købmannahavn.

The literal English translation would be "chapman's haven".

Although the earliest historical records of Copenhagen are from the end of the 12th century, recent archaeological finds in connection with work on the city's metropolitan rail system revealed the remains of a large merchant's mansion near today's Kongens Nytorv from c. Excavations in Pilestræde have also led to the discovery of a well from the late 12th century.

Originally controlled by the Catholic Church, the university's role in society was forced to change during the Reformation in Denmark in the late 1530s.After suffering from the effects of plague and fire in the 18th century, the city underwent a period of redevelopment.This included construction of the prestigious district of Frederiksstaden and founding of such cultural institutions as the Royal Theatre and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.The annual Copenhagen Marathon was established in 1980.Copenhagen is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.

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