Copenhagen is the capital and the second largest city in Denmark (after Hamburg). It is also the capital of the province of Øst-Sjælland. It sits on the Eastern shore of the island of Zealand and incorporates Amager Island and several artificial islands in between. It is separated from Scania by the Øresund, but is connected by ferry and rail-ferry to the Scanish city of Malmø. The city's official population is 1,092,450 but the greater Copenhagen area has perhaps almost twice that.
It was probably first inhabited during the reign of Sweyn Forkbeard but only came to attention after Bishop Absalon fortified the small island of Slotsholmen in 1167. The excellent harbour encouraged the growth of the city and by the mid 15th century it had become the capital of Denmark. The repeated patronage by Denmark's rulers turned the city from one of many competing cities to the centre of the trade and culture of the Baltic and Scandinavian states. It has had the good fortune to have avoided much of the fighting that consumed Scandinavia over the years, the major exception being the repeated sieges of the city by competing factions during the Danish Civil War (1728-1731).
The Great Fire of Copenhagen in 1725 ruined much of the inner city. Once Christopher VI had secured his rule he set about rebuilding the city in a grand style with numerous parks and municipal buildings complementing the widened streets. The plagues that ravaged the population were lessened by general medicine and improvements in sanitation in the 1850s.Rapid industrialisation in the sped the growth in population and by 1874 the old defensive walls were torn down and the city allowed to expand. This was coupled with a massive boom in the financial industry which would turn much of the old city into a business hub. The banking and insurance sectors would turn Copenhagen into the finance capital of the world and have recently begun a rivalry with the Álengsk city of Kristjanaborg in who can build the tallest 'skyscrapers'. The huge 'Hjejle Tower', built for the 2000 Årtusinde Redegørelse is the tallest structure in the world and is quickly becoming the defining symbol of Copenhagen (even though many of its residents hate it).
The Prime Meridian passes through Copenhagen, or more specifically the Royal Observatory of the Sophienborg Palace on Amager. This was decided on during the Warsaw Conference in 1906 to standardise shipping charts around the world. Luxembourg continued to use Antwerp as their meridian for 12 years after the rest of the world adopted the Copenhagen Meiridan.