Although the city was burned in 1249 following a royal rivalry, it quickly recovered and flourished as a centre of commerce in the Middle Ages.
After a period of decline, large-scale plans for development were made during the 18th century, which led to the rebuilding of Odense Palace and the building of a canal to the Port of Odense, facilitating trade.
The city celebrated its thousandth anniversary in 1988, commemorating the first mention of the town's name in a letter dated 18 March 988 from the German Emperor Otto III which granted rights to Odense and neighbouring settlements.
In 1482 Bishop Karl Rønnov brought the German printer Johann Snell to Odense to print a short prayer book, Breviarium Ottoniense, considered to be the first work to be printed in Scandinavia.
In parallel Snell printed De obsidione et bello Rhodiano, an account of the Turkish siege of the island of Rhodes.
Odense has close associations with Hans Christian Andersen who is remembered above all for his fairy tales.
He was born in the city in 1805 and spent his childhood years there.
The city gates were demolished in 1851 and soon afterwards development extended to the area south of the river.
Glove production, which had begun in the 18th century, developed into one of the most important industries while the harbour facilities were further expanded.
There has been human settlement in the Odense area for over 4,000 years, although the name was not mentioned in writing until 988, and by 1070, it had already grown into a thriving city.
Canute IV of Denmark, generally considered to be the last Viking king, was murdered by unruly peasants in Odense's St Alban's Priory on 10 July 1086.
A period of stagnation ensued until the end of the 18th century.
Dramatic changes began in Odense in the 18th century to modernise the city and a great plan was drawn up for development.
In 1720, Frederick IV ordered the rebuilding of Odense Palace, partly on the foundations of the 13th century St.