History of Lahan

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The continent of Lahan has been inhabited for at least 20,000 years by behaviourally modern humans, and longer by pre-modern humans and hominins. Its history has been characterized by waves of migration and displacement and, beginning in the second millennium, colonialisation by international powers.

Early Prehistory

The history of Lahan is characterized by ongoing waves of migration. The island has been inhabited by modern humans for at least 20 thousand years, and the remains of pre-modern humans and various hominin relatives have been found in the archaeological record. Records of early inhabitants are sparse, in part due to lack of funding for archaeological expeditions on the continent, but also because of adverse climate and soil conditions that have buried or eroded much of the available evidence, and because of the materials used for tools and building for most of the continent's history.

A wave of modern human settlers is known to have started arriving on Lahan in approximately 18,000 BCE, with the oldest remains being those of Wétǒję dated to c. 17,700 BCE, unearthed in southeastern Kaiyyo in 1993.

Dowa peoples

Dǫwá is a collective term for the various pre-Saru-Asuran groups on the island.

Due to the sparse archaeological record, great time gap, and relatively late acquisition of writing among islanders, little is known about these early Lahani. They seem to have predominantly lived on the coastlines, deriving most of their diet from the plentiful waters, and probably had no agricultural practices. Production of natural latex from the rubber tree may have begun as early as BCE 11,000, although its early uses are unknown and the evidence is contested.

Saru-Asuran Migration

Saru-Asuran peoples, including those who would eventually become the Sañu-Juteans, first arrived on Lahan in approximately BCE 3,500. They are thought to have island-hopped across the Sañu straight from Puzimm. They practiced limited early agriculture and relatively advanced fishing and boatmaking techniques, which allowed them to outcompete the resident populations especially in the coastal zones. They spread over most of the continent's eastern, southern, and western coastlines, relegating the Dǫwá to the north coast and inland areas.

Of the Saru-Asuran peoples on Lahan, the Sañuans became the most widespread and dominant group along the south/east coast. Like their predecessors, most of their buildings were made of soft, plant-based materials, but they incorporated more stone and clay elements and as such more of their ancient settlements have been uncovered.

Lahiri Migration

The Lahiri people of the Ekuo-Lahiri group came to Lahan in approximately BCE 2500 from northeastern Puzimm, originally settling only in small islands like the Ikang Islands between the two continents. The early Lahiri people first settled in what is now western Thuyo, replacing many Saru-Asuran populations through both peaceful methods (such as interbreeding, cultural blending, or the writing of treaties) and less peaceful (warfare, starvation, and disease). They brought new crops (such as various alliums), livestock (pigs and goats), and agricultural techniques to the island, and began spreading inland, clearing forest to make way for farms, bringing them into conflict with the Dǫwá.

Post-Lahiri waves

There were some other migrants to Lahan between the Lahiri settlers and the eventual Ekuosian and Vaniuan colonizers of the 17th century onwards. However, they generally had little success in outcompeting the established Lahiri and remaining Saru-Asuran and Dąwó populations, and instead were integrated into existing societies. There are, however, exceptions.

Dynastic Era

In the early 8th-ish centuries, some Lahani peoples began settling more permanently, developing more complex civilizations. They focused more on agriculture than fishing, hunting, or foraging; expanded deeper into the forest; gained more complex and rigid class divisions and social rules; and began building monolithic structures including temples and walled cities. This occurred mostly independently in several regions of the continent, and included notable kingdoms such as the Kingdoms of Thap, Hashayo, and Thawuya, and the Luyuan and Kayyan Confederacies. While none of these civilizations, on their own, formed outright empires or conquered large swathes of land, some were relatively sizeable and many formed far-reaching trade routes with complex governmental and hierarchical structures.

This era saw the dawn of several important Lahani inventions, most notably in the development of the rubber economy. By the 1100s, Luyuan artisans had discovered the basic process of sulphuric vulcanization and began to produce waterproofed textiles for clothing, shoes, building, and food preservation purposes. The economy of Luyua and surrounding nations quickly became dominated by this industry, making it one of the richest regions of the continent until the secrets of vulcanization were extracted by rival nations. Still, production remained relatively limited across the island as a whole due to the lack of interested labourers and, especially, the limited availability of the sulphur needed for curing the product.

By the late 14th century, some of the more wealthy and powerful dynasties began establishing long-distance naval trade routes across the sea. These were principally between southwest Lahan and eastern Puzimm. With the sailing technology of the time, these were relatively costly and dangerous missions, and so only the wealthiest of kingdoms could afford to commission them, and then, only rarely. When trading missions were attempted, their chief exports were cured and raw latex and rubber products, and endemic plants such as pineapple, cherimoya, and kola nut. They also often exported non-rubberized textiles, ornamental feathers from endemic bird species, and valuable corals, sponges, and seashells. Most kingdoms were principally interested in importing metals (precious and otherwise), viable grain seed, and spices, as well as curios from the wider world such as tapestries, carvings, luxury textiles, precious stones, and written texts, a hitherto unknown concept.

Sailors from other parts of the world did begin to make their way to Lahan more regularly during this era as well. The contact with the outside world brought many new technologies into Lahan, including new weaponry, tools, textiles, foods, and dyes, as well as the first scribes, who began adapting their various scripts to the local languages. Although written standards would not come about until well into the colonial era, numeracy became prevalent among certain subsets of dynastic societies.

Colonial era

From the early 17th century until the mid 1900s, much of Lahan was under colonial rule, initially by the Neviran Saruan Empire and later by the Balak Empire. This drastically affected the history of Lahan, with far-reaching impacts into the modern-day structures and demographics of the continent.

Saruan Empire

Neviran traders and explorers were among the first to arrive on Lahan in the early 17th century. They formed mutually beneficial relations with several Lahani Dynasties found throughout southern Lahan and established long-term trading treaties, cultural exchanges, and diplomatic marriages. They were markedly more exploitative of the smaller societies, especially the nomadic tribes, whom they encountered—often with the blessing or aid of local kingdoms.

In the late 17th century, the burgeoning Saruan Empire turned their colonial interests on the island. They encouraged expansionism among the leaders of their allied kingdoms, promising aid in conquest and a share in the spoils of war in return for advantageous treaties and exclusive trading rights. Inevitably, the Nevirans simultaneously infiltrated and, eventually, overtook many of these dynasties, through political marriages, religious conversion, bribery, warfare, and subterfuge. In 1726, a Neviran-Lahiri Ząe, Neḳemut ascended to the high throne of the Kingdom of Thap; by the 1740s Nevira had de facto control over large swathes of southern Lahan through this and other dynasties, and began to colonize the remainder of the island in earnest.

Life under Saruan rule

The Lahiri people, as (distant) relatives of the conquering Nevirans, had more culturally in common with their new occupiers than the Saru-Asuran and Dǫwá peoples did, and enjoyed a certain amount of privilege under them. For instance, Lahiri dynasties, such as the Kingdom of Thap were often favoured as partners in expansion over other Lahani people; and the Lahiri and mixed Lahiri-Neviran people were more eligible for citizenship rights within the Saruan empire. However, all native Lahani suffered under Neviran rule, with their numbers dropping nearly 30% from a mixture of factors including disease, civil war, economic upheaval, and general tyranny. Many Lahani natives were forced to work for the colonizers, mainly in agricultural fields including food and natural latex production, as well as other positions of menial labour.

Ząe were afforded more rights—depending on the social status, generational proximity, and blood quantum of their Neviran ancestry. Nevirans were able to petition to expand full citizenship rights and privileges to their mixed children, although in effect this only happened in relatively high-class families when a parent found this advantageous to their own goals; and, regardless of legal rights, Ząe were often looked down on by both pureblood Nevirans and some pureblood natives.

The Nevirans introduced commodities, technologies, legal practices, social structures, and economic concepts that had not previously existed on the island, such as firearms, advanced metalworking, new scientific (and pseudoscientific) knowledge, formal currency, the Neviran judiciary and penal systems, and the imposition of the Quurozarq gender system and related rights regarding marriage, property ownership, and more. They also introduced horses and oxen, the first beasts of burden available to the islanders, several plants with useful pharmaceutical properties, rice, and silk.

Balak Empire

In 1868, as mainland Nevira fell into turmoil, they began to dispossess parts of their territories by selling them to mitigate financial losses. One major purchaser of the Saruan Empire's Lahani territories was the Balak Empire, beginning with the sale of XYZ in 1868 and Kaiyyo in 1870.

By 1886, Balak had purchased almost all of the Saruan Empire's Lahani holdings, including the Herayan Territories, with the exception of South Thuyo, which remained a Neviran outpost even beyond the dissolution of the Saruan Empire in 1889.

Although Nevira had been far from a benevolent power, life under the Balak was considerably worse for a large portion of the Lahani population. The Balak culture was considerably more foreign to the Duthaji (native Lahani), and even had uncomfortable impositions for the Ząe and Neviran populations remaining on the island. Rebellions surfaced in many provinces, including the Kaiyyoan Ten-Year Rebellion and the Thaprat Rebellion.

Independence

The modern geopolitical borders of Lahan are largely linked to when a given region gained independence from Nevira and/or Balakia.

In the aftermath of the Great Ekuosian War, the dissolution of the Balak Empire between 1952 and 1963 saw the remaining colonies under Balak rule gain independence through various means. The last of the colonies to gain independence was Thuyo in 1962.