Amarr Island is an island situated about 500 kilometers off the coast of Assimia on Amarr Prime's northern hemisphere. The homeland of the Amarr people and birthplace of the Amarr Empire, the island covers roughly 44400 square km. It has been populated since ancient times. Originally home to numerous plains and forests, it is today mostly covered by the Imperial capital, Dam-Torsad.
According to archeological records, Amarr Island was settled roughly 15000 years ago, around the time of the EVE Gate's collapse. Few records of the time remain, though according to the Amarr Scriptures, it was an act of divine providence that brought them to the island while the rest of the universe suffered from God's wrath. Records recovered from the mainland indicate that the Amarr were forced to leave the mainland by other settlers; the exact nature of their eviction is under historical debate. Pro-Amarr historians claim it was a religious purge that force the Amarr off Assimia, while opponents believe the Amarr failed in an early attempt at conquest and were driven off.
In the beginning, the Amarr strove to keep their society unified. However, as the centuries passed, the leaders of society began to fracture and turn against each other. The church attempted to bring them into line, but with the primitive technologies available to them, it proved nearly impossible to keep the entire island constantly under their thumb.
Over the centuries, a number of distinct city-states sprouted up on the island. These various city-states were ruled by regional warlords, the precursors to the Holder class. Several of these city-states are recorded in the Scriptures, particularly Edras, Iphria, Istha and Melekel. This societal state continued for several thousand years, in a period known as the Time of Contemplation, as little of consequence was achieved by the Amarr people.
Rise of the Amarr Empire
This changed in 16470 AD, when a charismatic and highly religious warlord rose to power in the city-state of Dam-Torsad. Known as Amash-Akura, this warlord began to conquer the entire island in the name of God and the Scriptures. While many of his conquests were military, Amash-Akura also used powerful rhetoric and diplomacy to get the other warlords to bend their knees to him. Within two decades, the entire Amarr Island was under Amash-Akura's control.
Amash-Akura founded the Amarr Empire and was crowned Emperor. From the most loyal warlords and pious religious men, he created the Council of Apostles, which would serve as the central government of the Empire until the Moral Reforms. Much of his rule is confounded with myths that sprang up surrounding him. The Scriptures record these mythologizations as matters of historical record, leaving historians little ability to separate fact from legend.
The rise of the Empire brought about significant change in Amarr society. The Holder class, rising from the warlords who willingly submitted to Amash-Akura, was codified and entrenched in Scripture. The Church, thanks to Amash-Akura's deep religious convictions, achieved dominion over the Amarr people which it would never relinquish.
For four thousand years, the Empire ruled over the Island in relative peace, only having to rarely deal with peasant revolts and the occasional religious heresies. Things rapidly changed in 20022 AD, when the Udorians, who had established several powerful nations on the southern continents of Cas-Udor and Ves-Udor, arrived on Amarr Island. The ocean separating the island from the southern continents was treacherous, but the Udorians had advanced to a level of technology where they could make the journey in relative safety.
Unlike the Amarr, the Udorians had developed a society that was much less restrictive and far less religious. Primarily traders, the discovery of the Empire gave the promise of a vast new source of profit for the Udorians. The Amarr, however, were suspicious of the visitors from the start. Several religious officials were familiar with the Scriptures that told of the Amarr being driven from the mainland and identified the Udorians as the culprits. Similarly, their society and culture proved a great threat to the Holders, as it promised freedom and virtual equality even for the common man.
For roughly 50 years, the Amarr and Udorians maintained an uneasy relationship, with Udorian merchant ships bringing goods to the Empire and taking away thousands of peasants who wished to escape oppression. Things finally came to a head in 22078, when the Emperor ordered an entire merchant fleet seized. Unprepared for hostilities, the merchants and their crews were quickly overwhelmed and enslaved.
The Reclaiming was launched shortly after, with the Amarr attacking the Udorian continents and finally returning to Assimia to conquer it and enslave its people.
Life on Amarr Island was mostly untouched by the violence of the Reclaiming. The Empire proved adept at war and quickly recruited powerful allies on the continents, such as the scattered tribes that would be later known as the Khanid. Thus the Udorians were unable to ever truly threaten Amarr Island, leaving its citizens and Holders to live peaceful lives.
The Reclaiming did have a large impact on the island socially, however. Hundreds of thousands of commoners joined the Emperor's armies, promised glory, fame, and riches for serving in the Reclaiming. While many soldiers died in the fighting, those who survived and prospered were richly rewarded. For the first time in many thousands of years, a true avenue of upward movement was introduced into Amarr society, as commoners were raised to the ranks of Holder.
Similarly, riches from Assimia poured in to the island. Gold, silver, precious gemstones, and other treasures were brought back by conquering Holders. Boats full of Udorian slaves arrived daily, swelling the population of the island and transforming the culture, as commoners found their labors taken by slaves. Many turned to artistic pursuits, while others traveled to the mainland in an effort to make their fortunes there.
Within a few centuries, Amarr Island had been transformed from the cornerstone of the Empire's power to a symbolic location. Though the Emperor still ruled from Dam-Torsad, the majority of the Empire's Holders and free citizens lived on Assimia and other continents. The island remained the seat of the Empire, but its role as a truly vital part of the Empire dwindled.
With the entirety of Amarr Prime conquered by the Empire, Amarr Island slowly began to regain prominence in the Empire. Without enemies to conquer, the Empire entered a golden period of culture, arts, and sciences. Amarr Island, particularly the Imperial city of Dam-Torsad, was the center of this renaissance. Dam-Torsad grew slowly but steadily, its boundaries constantly expanding as artisans and craftsmen flocked to it to ply their trades. Wealthy Holders made Dam-Torsad their permanent homes so they could be closer to the Emperor, leaving their estates in the hands of seneschals and retainers.
Over time, Dam-Torsad grew into a megalopolis, stretching from one corner of the island to the other. The old cities were consumed and became nothing more than districts within the Imperial City. Today, Amarr Island and Dam-Torsad are one and the same. The Emperor and Privy Council continue to rule from the city, though in the age of space travel, it is as often as not that the Emperor will not even be present.
Finally, the Cathedral of Dam-Torsad remains the most holy site in the Empire. Billions make the pilgrimage to the Cathedral each year, particularly around holidays, swelling the population of the island to its limits.
Amarr Island is a sub-tropical island with a length of just over 267 km and a width of about 198 km. It naturally has a rocky, uneven coastline, giving it an appearance that has been likened to an amoeba. However, many of the more jagged areas have been smoothed or filled in, evening the shape of the island, leaving it looking more ovular than in previous centuries. The island is small enough that the umbra of an eclipse from Zorast can cover the entire island.
The island's natural climate is very mild. Temperature highs can reach 320 K in the harshest summer months, though they tend to stay around 305 to 310 K for most of the summer, with temperatures sitting around 300 K for the autumn and spring. The winters tend to be cool and wet, with temperatures below freezing being recorded only at the northern tip of the island and then only rarely.
Much of the island is flat. Historically it was covered by large forests and plains, though the city of Dam-Torsad covers the entire island currently, leaving it without a true landscape. Most of the island's hills and mountains have been flattened to accommodate growth, though at least one religiously important mountain remains untouched.
The modern Amarr Island contains no wildlife, aside from urban pests such as rats, fedoes, flies, and stray furriers. Similarly, all plantlife is carefully managed and grown in arboretums or ornamental gardens.
Prior to the expansion of Dam-Torsad, the island had numerous thick forests and expansive plains. Hundreds of various unique species called the island home, evolving in isolation from the mainland. Many of these species have gone extinct thanks to the expansion of Dam-Torsad. One avian species regularly migrated to the southern cliffs of the island for their mating season, but died out following the construction of several cathedrals along the coastline. Some species have managed to be introduced to new habitats and thrive there, though many remain solely as captives in zoos and menageries.