Jutland (Danish: Jylland, German: Jütland) is a peninsula in northern Europe that forms the mainland part of Denmark and a northern part of Germany, dividing the North Sea from the Baltic Sea. Its terrain is relatively flat, with low hills and peat bogs. It has an area of 29 775 km² (11,496 square miles), and a population of 2,491,852 (2004).
Much of the peninsula is occupied by the Kingdom of Denmark. The southern portion is made up of the German Bundesland of Schleswig-Holstein, possession of which has passed back and forth between the Danes and various German rulers, with Denmark most recently reclaiming North Schleswig (Nordslesvig in Danish) by plebiscite in 1920.
Jutland has historically been one of the three main parts or lands of Denmark.
Some Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Vandals moved from continental Europe to Britain starting in c. 450 AD. The Angles themselves gave their name to the new emerging kingdoms called England (Angle-land). This is thought by some to be related to the drive of the Huns from Asia across Europe, although the arrival of the Danes would more likely have been a major contributory factor, since conflicts between the Danes and the Jutes were both many and bloody. The Danes themselves trace their ancestry back to the ancient Scylfing kings who lived around Uppsala, Sweden in the time before recorded history in Scandinavia. In time, however, these hostilities were decreased by intermarriage between Jutes and Danes.
The Danes took considerable steps to protect themselves from the depredations of the Christian Frankish emperors, principally with the building of the Danevirke, a wall stretching from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea.
Charlemagne removed pagan Saxons from east Jutland at the Baltic Sea — the later Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg areas — and moved Abodrites (or Obotrites), a group of Wendish Slavs who pledged allegiance to Charlemagne and who had for the most part converted to Christianity, into the area instead.
To speed transit between the Baltic and the North Sea, canals have been built across the peninsula, notably the Eiderkanal in the late 18th century and the Kiel Canal, completed in 1895 and still in use.
During World War I, the Battle of Jutland was one of the largest naval battles in history. In this pitched battle, the Royal Navy engaged the German Navy leading to massive casualties and ship losses on both sides. Although the Royal Navy suffered greater immediate losses, its Grand Fleet remained battle-ready. Damage to several heavy vessels of the German High Seas Fleet would have prevented them from doing the same, and the German Navy never again challenged Britain's, resorting instead to covert submarine warfare.