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HISTORY OF MARI'IM

This section describes the past and origins of the modern state of Mari'im.

FIRST BEGINNINGS

Most historians generally place the beginnings of Mari'im civilisation on the island of Vaha'ai in around 1400 BP, although some believe that Vaha'ai's culture is considerably older. Most early Mari'im cultures that appeared afterwards are generally considered to be offshoots of that which arose on Vaha'ai, or at least, to have been closely influenced by it.

Vaha'ai was originally split into a number of chiefdoms, but eventually, the island began to unify. Historians believe that in the year 1397 BP (the year 0 in the old Vaha'ai calendar), a leader named Manimana established himself as Ra'a'anga (king) of Vaha'ai. During this time, Vaha'ai voyagers and traders had been slowly transmitting Vaha'ai culture to other Sa'a'iki peoples, particularly on the islands of Tuma'ata (now Aka'ami'ia) and Da'iliau'ia. States began to form on these islands as well, although Vaha'ai remained the predominant Sa'a'iki kingdom.

Meanwhile in the north, particularly around the eastern coast of central Mo'i'a, another culture was slowly forming. Influenced by occasional visits by Sa'a'iki traders but also drawing on significant local influences, civilization began to develop among the Toku'ika peoples. While it was initially limited to the eastern coast, it slowly began to spread across the island. While a number of chiefs had declared themselves to be "Ra'a'anga" (borrowing the Sa'a'iki word) quite early on, the first ruler regarded as "deserving" of the title was Koru'a'u, who established the Kingdom of Maro'u in eastern Mo'i'a. Other kingdoms of note were Tika (based in the highlands of central Mo'i'a) and Miki'ali (based on an island located just of Mo'i'a's eastern coast).

Gradually, contacts between the Toku'ika kingdoms and the older Sa'a'iki states were increased, and a large amount of trade was conducted. Precious stones and metals were of importance - the Sa'a'iki kingdoms were particularly interested in the pou'a'u (commonly known as nephrite, a type of jade) that could be obtained on Mo'i'a, while the Toku'ika were interested in metal obtained from the mountains of the Aka'ia peninsula. Accompanying the exchange of resources was an exchange of culture and knowledge.

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands around 1500 years ago

THE VAHA'AI EMPIRE

In the central regions Aka'ia, a mountainous region, another state was forming as the Rihu people formed a unified nation. Their culture was quite distinct from the island peoples, and their country came to dominate the peninsula. The peoples who lived on the coasts of Aka'ia, however, were not Rihu, instead being more related to the Sa'a'iki. They were given the name Mu'o'ana, meaning "mainlanders", by the Sa'a'iki. The Sa'a'iki traded extensively with the Mu'o'ana, as this was the only way to obtain metals. The Sa'a'iki needed precious metals like silver which could be traded with the Toku'ika for pou'a'u, but also base metals for forging tools and weapons, and their own small islands had no significant sources of metal at all. When the Rihu Kingdom expanded into Mu'o'ana territory, however, the trade was disrupted, and important Sa'a'iki kingdoms (particularly Vaha'ai) were weakened.

The Rihu "theft" of vital resources prompted angry disputes between Vaha'ai and Rihu, eventually resulting in armed conflict. Vaha'ai launched an invasion of the Aka'ia peninsula, hoping to secure the source of metals. The Vaha'ai warriors, however, quickly found themselves at a disadvantage in the rugged terrain, enabling the Rihu to win a number of major victories. The Vaha'ai forces withdrew back to the coast, hoping that the Rihu would not want to leave the protection of the mountains.

Vaha'ai forces in the coastal regions (inhabited by Mu'o'ana) soon found it difficult to maintain control, however. Vaha'ai troops, who were conscripts rather than professional fighters, were undisciplined and rowdy, and soon created resentment against Vaha'ai among the Mu'o'ana. A rebellion near modern Taha'ii saw much of the southern Aka'ia coast realign itself with Rihu for a time, and there were frequent riots in the regions still under Vaha'ai domination.

The Ra'a'anga of Vaha'ai responded to this by increasing the strength of his military, and building up the number of troops he had in Mu'o'ana lands. Vaha'ai considered the supply of metal (which Vaha'ai forces had partially secured despite Rihu attacks) to be vital, and was not prepared to negotiate.

The Vaha'ai military buildup alarmed other Sa'a'iki states on other islands, and caused considerable tension between the islands, but open warfare did not break out immediately. Quiet hostility continued for some time before a new Vaha'ai ruler implemented expansionist policies. A false accusation of piracy against Tuma'ata was used as an excuse for armed "retaliation", and eventually resulted in full-scale war between Vaha'ai and Tuma'ata. Da'iliau'ia later entered the war on the side of Tuma'ata, hoping to avert Vaha'ai dominance of the region, but the newly reorganized Vaha'ai forces were too powerful for the untrained armies of Tuma'ata and Da'iliau'ia. Both islands fell to Vaha'ai.

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands around 1300 years ago

THE RISE OF NUKU'A

In the north, gradual expansion of the four existing Toku'ika kingdoms continued during the period of Vaha'ai expansion in the south. In 955 BP, the ruler of Miki'ali (then the wealthiest kingdom), married a princess of Maro'u (then the most populous kingdom). Their son would eventually inherit both countries, uniting them into a single state which became known as Nuku'a.

This event caused considerable anxiety in other Toku'ika states, who thought that Nuku'a was too powerful for the balance of power to be maintained. Tuku'a managed to placate the other rulers, but the conflict was never properly resolved. When Tuku'a's successor, adopted an expansionist policy, war broke out between Nuku'a and an alliance of Tika and A'ini. In the end, A'ini was conquered, but Tika managed to remain independent. The war reinforced the belief that Nuku'a sought to conquer all Toku'ika lands.

The three islands just to the north of of Mo'i'a, collectively known as "the Three Jewels", remained outside the domain of Nuku'a, but trade links were extensive. Gradually, the various tribes began to form kingdoms: Kiba'a and Timi'ai. The kingdom of Kiba'a also expanded onto the northern tip of Mo'i'a. When the forces of Nuku'a reached that far north, the two kingdoms allied to fight them off. This marked the most northerly point of Nuku'a expansion. At the same time, the southerly expansion of Nuku'a was checked by the establishment of Eku'i and Muo, both supported by Tika.

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands around 1100 years ago

THE CONSOLIDATION OF CIVILISATION

Gradually, the more remote parts of the Mari'im archipelago were brought under some sort of law. The wild northwestern coast of Mo'i'a was settled by farmers from Nuku'a, securing that country's position as the largest Toku'ika kingdom, and the establishment of a centralised state on Su'a'iti imposed a measure of control on the waters between the northern and southern states (which had previously been prone to piracy, although some argued that the Su'a'iti monarchs were little better than pirates themselves).

Vaha'ai, however, was undergoing turbulent changes. Starting in 802 BP, the Mu'o'ana people of the Aka'i'a peninsula rebelled against Vaha'ai rule, establishing an independent Mu'o'ana state. Vaha'ai was forced to negotiate a peace treaty with Mu'o'ana in order to regain access to its source of metal. Rihu, which had remained uninvolved with Vaha'ai politics for some time, backed Mu'o'ana, and established a military alliance. Moreover, attempted rebellions on the islands of Da'iliau'ia and Tuma'ata further weakened Vaha'ai power.

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands around 1000 years ago

MOVES TOWARDS UNITY

In 633 BP, the rulers of the Toku'ika states met together in the Nuku'a capital to discuss closer political links between their nations, aiming to increase the security of each individual nation by encouraging peaceful relations. This was largely driven by popular frustration at frequent warfare, rather than by any genuine desires on the part of the rulers - itinerant monks of the new ulu'aki faith (see the Religion section for more details) were vocal in their condemnation of belligerent rulers, and a revolt led by monks had nearly unseated the monarchies of Muo and Eku'i. Also in their minds was the need to protect themselves against  threat from outside Mari'im, such as the highly militaristic Xochatlan Empire - already, the Xochatlan navy was making its presence felt along the western coast of Mo'i'a.

The solution proposed by Nuku'a was unification. The four kingdoms would join together to form a new Kingdom of Toku'ika, with one military and one foreign policy - this would make it the most powerful country in the islands. Each component kingdom would retain a very high level of political autonomy, and the kingship of Toku'ika would rotate between the lesser rulers.

None of the rulers were enthusiastic about this proposal, but it was quickly seized upon by the growing religious movement, and many were persuaded that accepting the plan (at least in the interim) was the only way to avoid civil war between religious and secular factions. After much debate, all the Toku'ika states except Tika agreed to the loosest union possible. A unified Toku'ika kingdom was therefore established, although it had only a weak government.

In the south, meanwhile, Vaha'ai emerged from a long period of turmoil under the leadership of a charismatic leader known as Ra'ahuma. Ra'ahuma was able to restore the Vaha'ai military to its former strength, and crushed rebellions in Da'iliau'ia and Tuma'ata. In 556 BP, he launched an invasion of Mu'o'ana, taking advantage of political troubles in both Mu'o'ana and their ally Rihu. Under Ra'ahuma's leadership, Vaha'ai gradually reconquered Mu'o'ana, and even expanded into the ethnically Mu'o'ana lands loosely ruled by Rihu.

Ra'huma soon became over-ambitious, however. In 549 BP, he sought to extend his domain further, simultaneously launching attacks on the small Kingdom of Mua'anta and on the Rihu heartland itself. Ra'ahuma chose to personally lead the attack on Vaha'ai's old enemy Rihu. Both campaigns failed disastrously - the invasion of Mua'anta was thwarted both by a storm and by assistance from Toku'ika, while the army invading Rihu was cut down by far better armed and trained Rihu forces, newly united in the face of a common foe. Ra'ahuma himself was killed by a Rihu arrow as he fled the battlefield.

It took very considerable talent on the part of Ra'ahuma's successor to hold those gains that his father had made before his death, but this was indeed accomplished. Despite the catastrophe of Ra'ahuma's last campaign, Vaha'ai had regained the territories it held before 802 BP, and even gained a small amount of land in Aka'i'a. Vaha'ai, while not as powerful as it once had been, was no longer viewed as in decline.

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands around 800 years ago

COLONIALISM

In 482 BP, the isolation that Mari'im had traditionally enjoyed was ended by the arrival of a Lendian fleet. Commanded by Admiral Tandro Amarito, who was searching for the lands originally discovered by the Caboteniasan navigator Styrbjörn Eriksson, the fleet made brief contact with the Mari'im states before returning home. The Lendians chose to name the islands after Admiral Amarito, calling them Islas Amaritimas - this name was eventually adopted into locaal languages as Amari'im and than Mari'im, as there had not previously been a single term to describe the entire archipelago.

Despite the peaceful beginnings, however, it was not long before Admiral Amarito's superiors in Lendia decided to establish a hold over the distant islands he had discovered. The islands, while not rich in themselves, were seen as a potential base for further expansion into the continents beyond them, and Lendian military power quickly compelled the Mari'im nations to accept "protectorate" status. Lendia's demands were individually mild, but each was quickly followed by another, and the Mari'im states gradually found their independence being eaten away. The Lendians chose to allow the kingdoms a high degree of internal autonomy, although this was more due to apathy than generosity.

Lendia's control over the islands was disrupted by the Plague, but it was not a great while before Lendian forces once again secured their position in Mari'im. This time, Mari'im resistance was considerably stronger, with the people taking up arms against the invaders - however, Lendia's weapons of destruction were greater than any simple Mari'im citizens could match, and the islands were cast back into their subjugation.

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands during the colonial period

INDEPENDENCE

Over the years, however, the dream of a free Mari'im never died. The shape and nature of resistance to Lendian imperialism varied over the years, but reached its apex in the form of the RCEPDP political movement (see the Government section for more information on this still-active party). The RCEPDP was committed to peaceful means, but its mass following and public education campaigns quickly established it as the greatest challenge to Lendian rule in the islands. Realising that the end was approaching for Lendian imperialism in the region, the government of Lendia agreed to grant Mari'im a measure of autonomy as an Associated State, rather than a colony. An unsuccessful attempt to weaken the independence movement was made by making the Aka'ia peninsula a separate Associated State, obstensibly on the grounds of its substantial Lendian and Rihu populations - this did not diminish the desire for a free Mari'im.

By 299 AP, however, the Lendian state itself was beginning to disintegrate as all its conquered territories demanded their freedom. Finally accepting the need to relinquish control, the Lendians allowed the people of the greater Mari'im archipelago to vote on their independence. Naturally, the result was positive, and the RCEPDP, as foremost representatives of the independence movement, stepped forward to draft the constitution of a new, free nation. Thus, the United People's Republic of the Mari'im Islands was born.

COMMENTARY: From reading this, one might assume that the RCEPDP (ie, the Mari'im communist party) played a key role in gaining Mari'im's independence. This isn't really true - the empire collapsed mainly due to causes closer at home, and Mari'im independence was mostly a side-effect of that. Not really caring enough about Mari'im do do things properly, the Lendians simply held snap elections for an assembly to draft a new constitution before abandoning the islands. The RCEPDP emphasised its pro-independence credentials and downplayed its communist ones, and faced little organised opposition in the surprise vote, and so emerged with enough of a majority to claim a public mandate for its vision. The transition from Lendian control to communist control, while backed by a majority, was not as obvious and unanimous as the government would like people to think.

(Since that point, Mari'im has corrected the wrongs committed by Lendian colonial authorities and established Kua'i and Xochimechatl as free states in their own right.)

Historical map of Mari'im
The Mari'im Islands at independence