Canthan History

The Continent of Cantha

The continent of Cantha is split between the major regions of the northwest and Shing Jea Island where the Dragon Empire would form itself. Much of the Northeast by the time of Guild Wars 1 became covered in the vast city of Kaineng with Shing Jea remaining a more rural region with farms, and a few noble estates. To the southwest lay the Kurzick homeland of Echovald Forest which is then bordered the Luxon home of the Jade Sea.


Canthan Ages

Cantha splits its history into two major ranges of time the first being the Pre-Imperial Era which accounts for the history before the formation of the Dragon Empire and the beginning of the Cathan Calendar. The Imperial Era as it can be called is split into respective ages named after respective constellations chosen by Canthan Astrologers.

Canthan History

The following is a condensed version of the events found in An Empire Divided.

The Pre-Imperial Period begins with the appearance of the Forgotten in Cantha. Remaining records within the Empire will point to evidence suggesting no armed conflict ever erupted between humans and the Forgotten in Cantha.


The Late Pre-Imperial Period

Humanity would arrived in Tyria in 205 BE with the Late Pre-Imperial Period taking place in 786 BE, five centuries before the first primitive tribes would ever set foot in Ascalon. This period was marked by Humanity migrating from the south and establishing the ancestor tribes and clans that would become the modern Imperial Canthan people. These early clans would claim much of the northwest coast and eventually would settle the Isle of Shing Jea.

As the ancestors of modern Canthans settle the North, the folk who would become the Kurzick and Luxon peoples slowly arrived separately to settle their own respect regions. Over time the tribes of the north would slowly form a loose confederation leading to the foundation of the future Empire of the Dragon.


Age of the Marmoset (Year 0 CC / 550 BE)

The Warlord Kaing unites the various clans of the northern confederation under his bloody banner. The reasons behind the unification of the early Canthan peoples is only suggested with some believing it being a defensive move against the rising Kurzick and Luxon populations. Years before Doric would be proclaimed King of the Kingdoms of Continental Tyria; the first lord Emperor of the Dragon was crowned.

Supposedly, some say it was the gods themselves who ordered Kaing to unite his people. Whatever the reason Kaing would in that decision would found an Empire and create the longest lasting dynasty in Tyrian History. Not long after being crowned, the newly anointed Emperor Kaineng Tah begins building the grand Raisu Palace that would not reach completion until the first lord emperor’s death.

In 46 CC (464 BE), the lord emperor died under suspicious circumstances when he was thrown from his horse ending his forty-six year reign. A faithful steed, the horse had no reason to suddenly throw the emperor which led some to assert that one in his retinue of hunters had a hand in the death. Examination of the horse’s body would reveal a wound on its rump and three other wounds on the emperor’s body would support the claim. Leaving no direct word of an heir to the throne (no will existed at that point which some questioned, while one had existed in the past) leaving his eldest son, Yian Zho, to take the throne. This decision would lead to a patrilineal form of inheritance that would pervade Cantha’s nobility even in the modern day.

In 48 CC (462 BE), lord emperor Yian Zho began a bloody campaign against the Luxon people. These actions included the mass public execution of Luxon elders prompted the tribes to unite under a single banner. The Luxon Armada would then attempt to secede from the Empire of the Dragon unsuccessfully. Their failed move for secession would however result in a treaty of vassal autonomy (many assume this is when they turned their ire upon their Kurzick neighbors).

A nearly identical instance would occur once again in 51 (459 BE) when dealing with a small Kurzick uprising. Truly his father’s son, Yian Zho had many illegimitate children with no claim to the Imperial throne; what his father lacked though was Yian Zho’s notoriusly short temper. Even with his strategical might the emperor failed to defeat the Kurzicks in their forest home leading to a similar treaty of autonomy under vassal status. Some assume that it was these early actions that eventually led to the political tension among the Kurzick Houses.


Age of the Falcon (305 CC / 205 BE)

Word reached the Imperial Court of the arrival of humans in the north. The discovery was disregarded by the the imperial court. The Empire could have easily spread north with its superior technology and culture, but remained in the sprawling lands already claimed by the Empire.

In 509 CC (1 BE), the Six Gods give magic to the world. For years the people of Cantha had practiced the Ritualist profession using the power of Spirit to a form of native “magic”. The giving of “true magic,” in fact only seemed to imbue the Ritualists with even more power. War inherent in the north with the giving of magic never touched Cantha at this time. Early records say that the gods even visited the Empire at points in the past. Perhaps it was for this very reason that some were confused when the Gods left Tyria in the exodus in 510 CC (0 AE), leaving many questions behind.

Even with the exodus, monks in Cantha did maintain a link to the Gods through prayer to them (Abaddon having been sealed away and his name erased from history). The era that when man spoke face to face with their deities was over. No real historical records say why the gods left Tyria; some theorize the Five Gods had purposely removed all records of their reasons (the real reasons were not truly discovered until the events of Nightfall).


Age of the Bat (511 CC / 1 AE)

The Exodus and the gift of magic had a profound change upon Humanity, and particularly in Cantha. Though they did leave, the Gods left those in Cantha the legacy of the six Heroic Professions. The professions were still in their infancy when they became widespread through the Empire and even garnered the attention of the eldest son of the reigning emperor. His name was Chanang, and he chose to defy the wishes of his father to walk the path of heroes.

He studied the warrior profession before leaving to study in a remote temple on the Island of Shing Jea. Chanang would then learn the Monk profession from that ancient ground, and then set out into the rest of Cantha to commit great deeds of heroism. Prince Chanang’s exploits were recorded by a small band of scribes that wandered with the adventuring hero. It was during this time that Chanang become the first Canthan to become Weh no Su or “Closer to the Stars” (attaining ascendance) and was proclaimed the first Ascendant Emperor. Ever since Emperor Chanang every ruler of Cantha has been ascended.


Age of the Hedgehog (731 CC / 221 AE)

A crucial point in Canthan history would occur when ships from the North would arrive in 731 CC (221 AE), signifying an end to years of southern isolation. Instead of war the Canthans preached peace and followed up by opening trade with the Northern Kingdoms. From this moment onward, continental Tyria gained knowledge and technology;while the Canthans earned valuable resources (Shing Jea having been over-logged at this point). Shing Jea during this age also begins the path to becoming the Empire’s bread basket, utilizing the newly created farmland from the cleared forestland.


Age of the Tortoise (1204  CC / 694 AE)

Emperor Singtah creates a name for himself as a cruel dictator, setting the stage for one of the most well known assassinations in Canthan history. At the time Singtah was a notorious tyrant, having increased taxes on the peasantry and publicly executing political rivals.  The man’s cruelty knew no bounds and at one point he threatened to execute the populous of an entire village who he claimed had failed to properly pay fealty to him. The citizens decided they had had enough and history does not tell us how it was possible, yet someone infiltrated the Raisu Palace. The assassin then set the grand palace ablaze and killed the emperor.

Singtah’s son and heir Senvho, took to the throne and quickly proved quite adept in maintaining order. Decrying his father’s horrendous acts, he soon developed his own obsession. Wishing to rebuild the Raisu Palace, Senvho would spend years working on the project leading to an eighty year construction plan. The second Raisu Palace would be emperor Senvho’s greatest accomplishment, but he would in turn never truly address the other problems left by his father. Senvho’s successor would later attempt to fix the Empire’s inequities only to fail


Age of the Dragon (1382 CC / 872 AE)

The beginning of a new age was upon the Empire when Emperor Angsiyan, through a series of wise policy decisions, signed new treaties with the Kurzick Houses and the Luxon Armada. The new treaties were based upon an increased level of cooperation with the two vassal nations. Never before in hundreds of years had the two rival peoples been so close to the Imperial fold. The actual treaty inspired both sides to set aside centuries of war for actual peace. Here, Shirog Tagachi, the dutiful body guard of the Emperor, began to become corrupted by a mysterious fortune teller later found out to be an agent of the Exiled God, Abaddon.

No one would be able to foretell that a man – descended from Kaineng Tah himself through a concubine – would turn on his distant cousin. While performing the yearly Harvest Festival at the Harvest Temple, Shiro turned on the Emperor and slew him and his attendants. An assassin named Vizu would pass by the temple close enough to catch the warning bells sounded within. Curious, she shadow stepped ahead, arriving just in time to witness the Betrayer devouring the still-living emperor’s soul. Vizu would strike from behind, sticking her daggers into the man’s shoulders, causing him to drop his own weapons.

That was the moment the Kruzick and Luxon Champions needed to strike down the evil betrayer. Sadly, before he was defeated, a hellish scream erupted from Shiro’s mouth from some unknown place of evil. This was the Jade Wind, a horribly cursed magic that instantly turned the two Champions to stone and even killed poor Vizu as she shadow stepped away, catching her as she lingered on a beach. The Jade Wind petrified the Echovald forest and turned the Jade Sea into pure jade just by its touch alone.

Thousands died in that attack within miles of the epicenter. The resulting shockwave would damage not only peace, but also the very infrastructure of the Empire itself. All who were consumed by the Jade Wind were turned into grisly statue-like relics that, even to this day, sell on the black market under the scruity of unscrupulous merchants.

Immediately, the Kurzick and Luxons resumed their hostilities as the Imperial Line was only saved through the youngest emperor in history, lord emperor Hanjai. Facing a nation in turmoil, the newly crowned lord emperor did his best to circumvent the problems created by the Jade Wind. With over half the continent transformed by the horrible event, he moved new farmers to the lands of Shing Jea while then opening the doors of Kaineg City (a move that would eventually lead to the overcrowding found in the modern day). Moving so many to the imperial capital was perhaps not the best decision at the time, but it was the only way to prevent civilian casualties as the two vassal states renewed their hostilities. During this time pirate activity along the coast increased some, of which will later unite to form the Crimson Skull.

By 1390 CC (880 AE),  the Island of Shing Jea is home to rising tension between the Tengu tribes of the Sensali and Angchu, with the human settlers. Skirmishes break out and in one instance the Sensali massacre an entire village creating the possibility of outright war. War is averted when the personal ambassador and the Angchu tribal chief sign a treaty, which in turn declares the mountain village of the Aerie to be Angchu territory for all time. The resulting agreement infuriated the Sensali tribe, who turned on the Angchu, proclaiming them to be traitors. The Sensali then retreat to the perilous mountain country of the island as their ire against the Canthan Empire burned ever hotter. However the peace would only last for so long as increased settlement would spread disease from humans to the Tengu and their chicks. This resulted in the Tengu having to kill their own and led to a return of hostilities, beginning the Tengu Wars.

In 1396 CC (886 AE), the residents of the Courthouse District petitioned the Celestial ministry to rename the neighborhood after the assassin hero, Vizu. They are able to rename the District, “Vizunah Square”, fully bringing attention to the part the assassin played in defeating Shiro the Betrayer.

Hanjai’s successor dissolved trade agreements with the north in 1422 CC (902 AE), and openly declared that the Kurzicks and Luxons could “wipe each other off the map”. He would prove to not only be a petty man, but one that would create the longest standing period of isolation in Canthan history before the rise of  Emperor Usoku centuries later. By 1450 CC (950 AE), the Canthan embassy building in Ascalon had laid quiet for nigh forty years and would eventually be converted by the Ascalonians into a temple. Subsequently, the temple itself would then be destroyed in an earthquake that many claimed “is the will of the Gods.” Corsair activity along the Canthan coast began to expand at this time.

In 1527 CC (1017 AE), the Guild Wars rage across the Northern Kingdoms of Tyria. At this point the Luxon Armada and the Kurzick Houses declared open war once and for all. All form of contact between the two was officially ended with only indirect liaisons being used for communication in the Celestial Ministry. Ermenred the Scholar was invited by lord emperor Kintah (father or emperor Kisu) to travel to the land of Cantha in 1532 (1022 AE). Young Ascalonians are soon regaled of his travels and soon find interest in possibly exploring the ancient lands of the South. At this time informal lines between the Northern Kingdoms of Tyria and Cantha resume.

Emperor Kintah died in 1568 CC (1058 AE) of old age near the beginning of a new era. His son, Kisu, is crowned lord emperor of Cantha and is advised by the wise leader of the Shing Jea Monastery, Master Togo. Kisu began work writing new treaties with the Luxons and Kurzicks . The Xunlai guild (an organization skilled in exchange, trade and banking) expands its services to the Northern Kingdoms at this time.

The Year 1581 CC (1071 AE) was an important period in Kisu’s reign. That year the 31st Emperor of the Dragon signed the Second Treaty of Lion’s Arch, which officialy re-opened trade with the Kingdom of Ascalon as the Guild Wars come to an end. Master Togo and members of the Angchu tribe thwarted an attempt to end negotiations during the Tengu Accords, the treaty was signed afterward resulting to a final end to the Tengu Wars. One year later the First Day of the Tengu will be celebrated in 1582 (1072 AE) in memory of the end of 191 years of war.

Shiro Tagachi returned centuries after his death and unleashed the Affliction plague upon Cantha. Abusing his abilities as an envoy of the  mists, he also creates the Shiro’ken to terrorize the Canthan populace in 1582 (1072 AE). In addition other threats such as the Crimson Skull and the various street gangs (Am Fah and the Jade Brotherhood) became more prominent. Master Togo then summoned Mhenlo and his allies to Cantha to assist in repelling the various threats. The group eventually reunites the Kurzicks and Luxons while eventually defeating Shiro the Betrayer.

However, even after the death of the Betrayer the Affliction would still plague Cantha. A dispondent Ministry of flame agent, Reiko Murakami, would begin to rally others to fight the afflicted in 1583 CC (1073 AE). Reiko would then establish the Ministry of Purity in 1587 CC (1077 AE). Two years later in 1589 CC (1079 AE) the Ministry of Purity began to battle the Afflicted in earnest, slowly cleansing entire areas of Shing Jea, the Echovald and Kaineng of the Affliction. Later parts of the campaign lead the Ministry of Purity against the Am Fah resulting in the death of Jeijou, Secret keeper of the Chalice of Corruption.

The Ministry continued its work against the gangs of Kaineng by locating and confronting Ganshu the holder of the Jade Brotherhood Text (a list of names of the entire brotherhood). With the information in hand they locate the Brotherhoods leader, Reisen the Phoenix, who informed the unamed hero of the Ministry’s plan to use the Text to hunt all Jade Brotherhood’s members. The Ministry in turn uses Ashu and the massacre of his family (the Yodachi Clan) as means to propagate their agenda.

After dealing with the gangs, the Ministry turned to the Tengu as their next “cleansing” project.  Under the guise of keeping the Angchu safe while dealing with the Sensali, the ministry hoped to deal with the “Angchu” threat. Eventually an averted attack by the Sensali would give the Ministry the means to enact their plans. Using the attack as a means to increase their own anti-human sentiment; the Ministry of Purity and in particular Reiko Murakami hope to drive the non-humans from Cantha itself. In the resulting show down between the Unamed Hero, Ashu’s long lost sister Miku, and Reiko the Minister of Purity herself would be killed. The aftermath would see Ashu turning his back on his own sister and seeking his own future which would most likely play a part in Cantha’s anti-nonhuman future.

The eventual rise of anti-nonhuman sentiment is planted and even with Reiko’s death it is hinted that Ashu may carry on her dream.


Changes in Cantha

In the year 1637 CC (1127 AE) lord emperor Usoku takes the throne of Cantha. Under his new militant reign the army of Cantha is expanded and armed. Soon the emperor sweeps down from Kaineng and defeats the Kurzicks and Luxons once and for all. Centuries of feuding between the two nations end as the former vassal nations are absorbed into the Empire of the Dragon. Nonhumans are driven out as Usoku raises the idea of a united Canthan identity, and also drove out all dissenters and political dissidents.  Those that did not agree were forced to flee to Elona or continental Tyria.

When Zhaitan raises Orr in 1729 CC (1219 AE) all contact is lost with Cantha effectively isolating the nation.

Notable Historical Figures

Kaineng Tah – Once known as Kaing, the man who became Kaineng Tah united the northern tribal confederacy of humans in Northwest Cantha under one banner. Said to have been ordered by the True Gods to do so he proclaimed himself the first lord emperor of the Dragon. He would rule for forty-six years until he was killed in a hunting accident that some believed was a cover up for an assassination. He built the Raisu palace and the capital city of Kaineng is named after him.


Yian Zho – Second lord Emperor of Cantha and eldest son of Kaineng Tah, Yian Zho’s rise would cement the patrilineal inheritance of the eldest son in the Imperial line and through the nobility for years to come. After taking the throne he would wage war on first the Luxon and then the Kurzick peoples, publicly executing Luxon elders, and overall being noted for his notoriously short temper. His actions against the two minority groups in Cantha led to a treaty of vassal status.


Chanang - An imperial prince during the Age of the Falcon, he was and practiced the heroic path of the warrior / monk. Eventually his escapades of good deeds led him to become the first of the Imperial line to become Weh no Su (Closer to the Stars). After taking the throne he was proclaimed the first “Ascendant Emperor” of the Dragon.


Singtah and Sevho – Emperor Singtah was an infamous cruel tyrant that ruled during the Age of the Tortoise. He was renowned for his public executions of rivals and his threatening to kill an entire village over a preceived lack of fealty. He was killed when assassins lit the Raisu Palace ablaze. Singtah’s son Sevho was a man who turned on his father’s legacy by publicly decrying the actions of his predecessor while spending eighty years building the second Raisu Palace. Hi successor would later fail to fix the empire’s inequities.


Angsiyah – A wise ruler who over saw policy that led to the signing of peace accords between the Kurzick Houses and the Luxon Armada. He was slain by his crazed bodyguard, Shiro Tagachi, during the Harvest Ritual.


Shiro “the Betrayer” Tagachi – A descendant of Kaineng Tah via distaff line through a concubine, Shiro Tagachi was acknowledged by emperor Angsiyah for his prowess with the blade and invited to become the Emperor’s Personal bodyguard. After being corrupted and tricked by a demon of Abaddon disguised as a fortune teller he slew the Emperor and the Imperial Retinue at the Harvest Temple during the Harvest Ritual. His death at the hands of Visu, the Kurzick and Luxon Champions would only lead to the Jade Wind. He later returned as an envoy and used his powers to spread the Affliction across Cantha and the thread of the Shiro’ken. He was later killed by the unamed hero.


Vizu – An assassin that wandered past the Harvest Temple and heard the warning bells sent out from therein to then appear inside to see Shiro devouring the Soul of emperor Angsiyah. She would aide the Kurzick and Luxon Champions by disabling Shiro long enough for them to strike the Betrayer down, however like the Champions she was killed in the intitial spread of the Jade Wind. Her petrified body was found on a beach not far away from the temple, and eventually the Courthouse District of Kaineng was renamed Vizunah Square in honor.


Saint Viktor  and Archemorus – The Kurzick and Luxon Champions that slew Shiro with his own blades after he was disabled by Vizu. They were killed by the epicenter of the Jade Wind.


Hanjai – Youngest Emperor in Canthan History and the son of Angsiyah, he would move farmers to Shing Jea establishing it as the Empire’s breadbasket and open the gates of Kaineng leading to the cities future issues with overcrowding.


Kisu - Thirty-first lord ascendant emperor of the Dragon, and son of emperor Kintah, Kisu oversees the Signing of the Second Treaty of Lion’s Arch which re-establishes trade with the North Kingdoms in 1071 AE. During his reign the Tengu Accords are signed ending the Tengu Wars, and Shiro the Betrayer returns to begin the Affliction.


Master Togo – A celebrated hero in Canthan History, Master Togo was essential in brokering the Tengu Accords after Minister Winoa’s averted assassination plot. He was Kisu’s half-brother and the headmaster of Shing Jea Monastery. It was he and his former student Mhenlo and others that first discovered Shiro the Betrayer’s connection to the Affliction. Master Togo helped in uniting the Kurzicks and Luxons twice before the Siege of the Raisu Palace. He was later killed by Shiro when the corrupted envoy used Togo’s royal blood to return himself to mortal form. After the Betrayer’s death, Togo spirit was given a place of honor in the Tahnnakai Temple.


Reiko Murakami – Aunt of Ashu and relative of the Yodachi family, and former member of the Ministry of Flame. Reiko would found the Ministry of Purity and open a campaign against the afflicted. Her intentions then turned towards the gangs of the Am Fah and the Jade brotherhood. Eventually her Canthan Centric and Human supremacist rhetoric would become apparent as her Ministry planned to enact a ban of the Tengu from Cantha. She was eventually defeated by her niece Miku and the unamed hero. Her nephew Ashu later carried on her ideals.


Usoku – An emperor that came to power in 1217 AE who conquered the Kurzicks and Luxons while then driving all non-humans from Cantha. His later isolationist rule led to all political dissidents and rivals being driven from the country and was later reinforced by Zhaitan’s awakening in 1219 AE.