The Reclaiming is the term used for the Amarr Empire's methodical conquest and enslavement of other races throughout New Eden. It is one of the core tenets of the Amarr faith, a driving force which has led the Empire to its great power and influence but has also been responsible for immense hate, distrust, and destruction in the cluster.
Scholars, even the devout Amarr themselves, are still debating the exact nature of the Reclaiming. To many Amarr, the Reclaiming is a sacred duty passed down by God to the Amarr people, charging them with shepherding the lost and faithless back into God's grace. It is a burden placed on the Amarr to never falter, to never show cracks of sin, and always do God's work in the mortal world.
To other Amarr, particularly those who take a more cynical view of religion, the Reclaiming is simply the mechanism of Amarr supremacy. Favored by God for their devotion and faith, the Empire is justified in conquering others and using them in whatever method the Amarr see fit. The lesser races are merely livestock to be worked until they can give nothing more.
To most outsiders, the Reclaiming is nothing more than vile dogma used by the Empire to oppress and exploit others. Rather than proving them to be superior to other races, outsiders consider the Reclaiming proof that the Amarr are morally bankrupt. In their eyes, unless the Reclaiming is halted for good, the Empire is worth being rendered impotent and isolated at best; utterly destroyed at worst.
The Reclaiming began in 20078 AD, shortly after the Udorians landed on Amarr Island on Athra. The introduction of foreign elements into Amarr society spurred rapid change, leading religious leaders to realize that they must suppress all outside elements, lest their power would be broken by the more open Udorian culture.
Branding other cultures and religions heretical and in defiance to God's grace, the Amarr launched the Reclaiming. Though the young Amarr Empire had less population and resources than the rich, influential Udorians, they were unified by religious fervor. The Udorians, meanwhile, existed in a variety of fractured states, many of whom distrusted each other significantly.
An early turning point in the Reclaiming came when the Amarr first encountered the Khanid people. Militant, sturdy, and bearing a long-burning dislike of the more advanced Udorians, the Khanid jumped at the chance to join in the conquest. They also proved eager religious zealots, quickly converting to the Amarr religion and the promise of glory in God's service.
With the assistance of the Khanid, the Amarr methodically conquered and enslaved the disparate Udorian states. By 20371 AD, the Udorians had been completely subsumed, leaving the Amarr to turn on the other, forgotten cultures of Athra. It took less than 200 years to finish their conquest of the planet, which the Amarr later renamed Amarr Prime.
The fervor of the Reclaiming diminished as opportunities for conquest disappeared. When the Amarr rediscovered space travel, they located a nearly-working star gate in their home system. Viewing this as a sign from God that the Amarr Empire should seek out and conquer the entire galaxy, the Reclaiming was relaunched with renewed enthusiasm.
Soon, they came across the Ealur in 21423 AD, the first of many primitive cultures they eventually subsumed. Many of the races they conquered have been forgotten, for they were too small and minor to be recorded as anything but footnotes to history, deemed worthy of nothing other than an eternity of slaving, and bred with existing slave stock until little of their ethnicity remained. One such tribe lived on the Ni-Kunni homeworld of Mishi IV; while the Ni-Kunni are remembered, this tribe was utterly crushed and reduced to mere half-breeds among multitudes. Those whose cultures and languages were deemed worthy of saving were left to dusty old texts pored over only by aged scholars.
The Ni-Kunni were conquered roughly a thousand years ago, but were mostly spared an extended tenure in slavery thanks in part to the relatively quick discovery of the much more numerous Minmatar shortly after.
Under the leadership of Emperor Damius III in 22480 AD, the Amarr began their invasion and conquest of the Minmatar, starting with the planet Matar. The Amarr sent six slave ships, each to a different planet in Pator, and quickly rounded up hundreds of millions of people. At the same time, they destroyed all space ships and infrastructure they found, in an effort to render any resistance or escape impossible. Thanks to their superior technology, the Amarr made short work of the Minmatar.
The Gallente and other empires
For millennia, the Amarr had never faced a significant threat to the Reclaiming. That changed in 23180 AD, when the Amarr first encountered the Gallente. Though smaller than the Empire, the Federation was able to match the economic and military strength of the Amarr. Additionally, the liberal, freedom-loving Gallente resented everything the Amarr had long pronounced as beneficent and just.
Soon after, the Amarr also encountered the fledgling Caldari State and the Jove Empire. The Caldari were embroiled with trouble with the Gallente, so the Empire saw fit to allow them to remain unconquered and hold the focus of the Federation military.
The Jove, however, appeared to be a tempting target. In 23216 AD, in the system of Vak'Atioth, the Amarr invaded the Jove Empire. The Amarr expected a quick subjugation; instead, they were humiliated by a smaller but technologically superior Jove fleet. Militarily bloodied and psychologically shaken, the Empire's plans of a more carefully considered assault were dashed when the Minmatar rebelled en masse with assistance from Gallente and Jove operatives.
Decline of the Reclaiming
Since then, the Reclaiming has mostly ground to a halt. With the Gallente Federation and Minmatar Republic standing opposed to them, the Amarr have forgone any significant expansion in the past two centuries. The first step toward its end was the Gallente-Amarr Free Trade Agreement entered into in 23210. The Empire willingly entered into Yulai Accords that founded CONCORD at the Yoiul Conference, bringing them into a peace-footing with the other races.
Under Heideran VII, the Empire took a more passive, conciliatory tone toward the other empires. His successor, Doriam II, continued this stance, declaring his intention to bring peace and prosperity to the cluster. He even released over fifteen thousand Minmatar slaves as a gesture of good will to the Republic.
Many expected Jamyl I to harshly reintroduce the Reclaiming, and her coronration speech seemed to bear this out. Months later, however, she surprised citizens in the cluster when she announced that all Minmatar who had been enslaved for at least nine generations, or were involved in religious or academic work, were to immediately be emancipated. It is not known how genuine her original proclamation of a new Reclaiming truly was, or whether it was used as a propaganda tool to pacify the more militaristic parts of her kingdom while she settled in as Empress.
Since her proclamation, no sustained effort to reignite the Reclaiming has emerged in the Empire. The 24th Imperial Crusade nominally fights for Reclamation, as do various other forces, but their focus is usually on other matters than direct slave acquisition - such as the lowsec dominance war the 24ths are fighting by proxy.
The Reclaiming has long been justified by the Amarr Scriptures, to the point where there is an entire book of the Scriptures called the Book of Reclaiming. The Book of Reclaiming states that at one point in the deep past, all mankind was united under God's grace. However, humanity became decadent and sinful and suffered a great fall. It was only the Amarr, alone remaining pious and faithful through the dark times, who retained God's favor. God named them the rightful masters of the world and tasked the Amarr, through the leadership of the Amarr Emperor, with conquering the fallen people of the universe and bringing them back to His grace.
There remains some dissension among theologians as to the true purpose of the Reclaiming. Some believe that the Amarr are to forever remain masters, keeping all other people perpetually beneath them. Many of the more traditional, established Holder families ascribe to this viewpoint. This is also the view many outsiders have of the Reclaiming, and it is commonly the first point made in criticism of the Reclaiming.
However, the opposing view that has gained far more popularity in recent decades is that the Amarr's true purpose is to elevate the other races to their own level. Pointing to the level of respect shown the Khanid, the presence of the Udorian Tash-Murkon Family in Amarr Royalty, the near-universal freedom of the Ni-Kunni, the favored status of the Ammatar, and the recent emancipation of many Minmatar, the Amarr claim that slavery offers a pathway toward salvation. The Reclaiming is viewed as a sacred duty, with Amarr citizens required by God to teach and guide the other races toward the Amarr faith. Slavery is thus necessary penance for refusing to embrace God.
The Reclaiming is primarily carried out through conquest and enslavement. Beginning with the Udorians and Khanid on the Amarr home world, other races were conquered militarily, stripped of their culture, and forced into slavery for generations.
Frequently, the Amarr rely on collaborators within enslaved races to make the conquest proceed smoothly. Those that willingly convert to the Amarr faith are frequently spared slavery and given favored status in the Empire.
Holders are the primary beneficiaries of the Reclaiming, being given cheap slave labor to work their vast estates. However, modern Holders are expected to act as a moral and religious guide for their slaves, eventually leading them to emancipation and a place in Amarr society. While there are no hard laws against mistreating slaves in the Empire, due to the difficult nature of proving such a thing, a Holder who suffers through rebellions and has impious slaves is generally looked down upon by his fellows.
Individual Holders may emancipate a slave and his family at any time, if the Holder feels he has proven his faith and loyalty to the Empire. Additionally, the Royal Heirs or even the Emperor himself may make a decree freeing slaves of certain generations or vocations throughout their holdings.