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As the fishing industry thrived in Copenhagen, particularly in the trade of herring, the city began expanding to the north of Slotsholmen.
With the establishment of the Kalmar Union (1397–1523) between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, by about 1416 Copenhagen had emerged as the capital of Denmark when Eric of Pomerania moved his seat to Copenhagen Castle.
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.
The annual Copenhagen Marathon was established in 1980.
The original designation, from which the contemporary Danish name derives, was Køpmannæhafn, meaning "merchants' harbour", often simply Hafn or Havn ("harbour").
Copenhagen's economy has seen rapid developments in the service sector, especially through initiatives in information technology, pharmaceuticals and clean technology.
Since the completion of the Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen has become increasingly integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö, forming the Øresund Region.
On Absalon's death, the property was to come into the ownership of the Bishopric of Roskilde.
As the town became more prominent, it was repeatedly attacked by the Hanseatic League.