The first mentions of Danes are from the 6th century in Jordanes' Getica, by Procopius, and by Gregory of Tours. The first mention of Danes within the Danish territory is on the Jelling Rune Stone which states how Harald Bluetooth converted the Danes to Christianity in the 10th century. Denmark has been continuously inhabited since this period; and, although much cultural and ethnic influence and immigration from all over the world has entered Denmark since then, present day Danes tend to see themselves as ethnic descendants of the early tribal Danes mentioned in the historic sources. Whether this is true or not, the Danish Royal Family can certainly trace their family line back to Gorm the Old (d. 958 AD) in the Viking Age, and perhaps even before that to some of the preceding semi-mythical rulers.
Since the formulation of a Danish national identity in the 19th century, the defining criteria for being Danish have been speaking the Danish language and identifying Denmark as a homeland. Danish national identity was built on a basis of peasant culture and Lutheran theology, theologian N. F. S. Grundtvig and his popular movement played a prominent part in the process.
Today, the official criterion for being a Dane is having a Danish citizenship. However, other unofficial criteria often include having a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity. People living outside Denmark such as emigrants, and descendants of emigrants or members of the Danish ethnic minority in Southern Schleswig, Germany are sometimes considered to be Danes under a wider definition taking into consideration their cultural self-identification.
The first mentions of "Danes" are recorded in the mid 6th century by historians Procopius (Greek: δάνοι) and Jordanes (danī), who both refer to a tribe related to the Suetidi inhabiting the peninsula of Jutland, the province of Scania and the isles in between. Frankish annalists of the 8th century often refer to Danish kings. The Bobbio Orosius from the early 7th century, distinguishes between South Danes inhabiting Jutland and North Danes inhabiting the isles and the province of Scania.
The first mention of Danes within the Danish territory is on the Jelling Rune Stone which mentions how Harald Bluetooth converted the Danes to Christianity in the 10th century. Between c. 960 and the early 980s, Harald Bluetooth established a kingdom in the lands of the Danes, stretching from Jutland to Scania. Around the same time, he received a visit from a German missionary who, by surviving an ordeal by fire according to legend, convinced Harold to convert to Christianity.