This is the history of the Ulushosu (ulu’ʃosu) Peninsula, a 9 million square mile piece of land jutting out into the Western Ocean. It is a rich, fertile land, filled with peoples of many different cultures and languages. It is on this land that the events of Birth by Flame take place. In this post, we will briefly explore the history of this stunning peninsula.
We begin in the year 4000 B.E. (Before Empire)*, when the first Ulushosu kingdoms developed. These grew as small individual cities grew in power and their kings wanted to expand their influence over the surrounding areas. While some of these expansions grew violent, especially when one city tried to exert its authority over another, records suggest that many people willingly accepted being ruled by these kings, as they offered protection from other, more aggressive settlements.
The cities and kingdoms shown on the above map are not the only, or even the majority of the kingdoms that existed at this time. Most leaders of these new cities styled themselves as some form of king, and some expanded their reign over the surrounding area. The kingdoms on the map are simply the largest and most important to Ulushosu history.
By the year 2000 B.E., the individual city-states in the western end of the peninsula have grown into a few larger kingdoms. At this point in history, the vast size of these kingdoms led to the creation of bureaucracies and more formalized government structures. The leaders of these kingdoms gained power mostly through their combat skills and wealth.
In the eastern parts of the peninsula, expansion was slower and more sporadic than in the west. Later scholars would attribute this to a supposed inferiority of the eastern peoples, that they were too weak or simple to unite into single entities. In reality, much of the difficulties in expansion came from the physical terrain. Most of the peninsula is flat grassland, but the land on the west side of the East River is more fertile than that on the east side. As a result, the kingdoms in the east grew slowly along rivers and coastlines, and the interior grasslands were left to wandering nomadic tribes, a group that would later be known as the rulozhani (ɾulo’ʒani).
Most of these trends continued into the year 1000 B.E. However, kingdoms in the east began to experience some troubles from those aforementioned rulozhani. These nomadic warriors attacked and raided cities and towns, usually in search of treasure or land for their livestock. Clans in the north were especially brutal in their raids. These attacks led to the collapse of the kingdom of Chelusuan (tʃe’lusəan) and the near collapse of Kuhepa (ku’heɪpa) after the sack of Heyapa (heɪ’yapa) around the year 1300 B.E.
The trends of Ulushosu history seemed to reverse by the year 1 A.E. (After Empire). The rulozhani raids in the north had ceased, though their retreat into the eastern plains had only hastened the fall of those kingdoms. Chelusuan and Kuhepa had united with their neighbors for protection, and now grew prosperous under single rule. In the southeast, kingdoms began to expand again, especially the newly-united delta kingdom of Zuehesuan (zəeɪ’hesəan).
Meanwhile, the situation in the west was more chaotic. The meritocratic rule of earlier generations had given way to a hereditary system, where power was handed down kept within the family. These same powerful families began to chafe under rule by leaders who were often hundreds of miles away. They began to revolt and break away, forming their own kingdoms, which then warred with their former rulers for land and independence. The age of great western empires was over.
Something else was on the horizon as well.
In the years around 500 A.E., the Udezhuan (u’deʒuan) Empire waged a devastating conquest of the Ulushosu Peninsula. The above map shows the state of the peninsula in the year 750 A.E. The borders represent its division into multiple provinces suitable for imperial governance.
It was at this time that the Ulushosu Peninsula acquired its current moniker. The whole region was at the western edge of the Udezhuan Empire, and as such, it was called “The Western Lands” in imperial documents. This name eventually became used to commonly refer to the region, using ulushosu, the native Deru word for west.
The Ulushosu War for Independence ended in 1076 A.E. After the end of imperial rule, the newly freed people debated over how to divide their land. Some argued that they should unite as one nation, while others advocated for a revival of the pre-conquest kingdoms.
In the end, it was decided that the peninsula would be divided into three kingdoms: Deralan to the west, Lisholesuan (li’ʃolesəan) to the north, and Zokosuan (zo’kosəan) to the south. While each of these nations came forth from different revolutions that united into one war effort against imperial rule, each also largely encompasses a major ethnic group; the Kuhederu in Deralan, the Koluderu in Lisholesuan, and the Utederu in Zokosuan. The Uluderu, a large ethnic group in western Deralan that have often been discriminated against by the Kuhederu, have been clamoring for a nation of their own for much of Deralan’s existence.
*Throughout much of Uhezuote, time is measured in years before and after the founding of the Udezhuan Empire. This empire conquered much of the known world at the time and extended influence over many diverse peoples and cultures. This dating system is just one of the many lingering effects of imperial rule.