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The name of the city reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce.

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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.

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.

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.

The annual Copenhagen Marathon was established in 1980.

Copenhagen is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world.

The Copenhagen Metro launched in 2002 serves central Copenhagen while the Copenhagen S-train and Lokaltog (private railway) and the Coast Line network serves and connects central Copenhagen to outlying boroughs.

To relieve traffic congestion, which is partly the result of increased traffic because of the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link road and rail construction is planned because the narrow 10 mile isthmus between Roskilde Fjord and Køge Bugt (Køge Bay) forms a traffic bottleneck.

As the fishing industry thrived in Copenhagen, particularly in the trade of herring, the city began expanding to the north of Slotsholmen.

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