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The Fire Nation colonies were an assemblage of Earth Kingdom and former Air Nomad territories[2] that formed the core of the Fire Nation's continental empire. Prior to the end of the Hundred Year War, the colonies were inhabited and governed by a mixed population of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom citizens. The creation of colonies was one of the Fire Nation government's main targets during the war,[3] and trade between the colonies and the Fire Nation homeland played a major economic role.[4]

After the Great War, newer settlements were dissolved in accordance with the Harmony Restoration Movement, although political complications resulted in the merging of the older colonies into the United Republic of Nations.[5]

History

Rise of expansionism in the Fire Nation

After his coronation and finally uniting the Fire Nation under the throne once and for all, the ambitious Fire Lord Sozin began to dream of a global empire where he would unite the four nations under Fire Nation domination.[6] This worldwide empire was intended to be prosperous and "share" the wealth and success the Fire Nation was enjoying during Sozin's rule.[1]

The desire to expand the Fire Nation's reach was largely influenced by the new technological age, with the world on the brink of an industrial revolution. Materials were scarce for the Fire Nation's new coal-powered fleet, and some began to look beyond Fire Nation territory for resources.[7] The Fire Nation considered the previously unclaimed Natsuo Island to be its territory after a large cache of ore was discovered there, but Earth King Jialun desired the island for himself and began to escalate tensions.[8] The Water Tribe was shocked when the Fire Nation also claimed an island at the halfway point between the North and the South; Chief Skiri of the North was furious and was ready to send a majority of his fleet to reclaim the island, but many Southern chieftains were unwilling to start an all-out war with the Fire Nation.[9]

Sozin subtly began propaganda campaigns against all other nations[7][10][11] as conflicts over resources and land grew. After the volcano at Crescent Island erupted and there were many earthquakes in the surrounding regions, many Fire Nation people wanted to relocate, but found no room for new settlements on the densely populated Fire Islands. They blamed the Earth Kingdom for providing no aid or shelter to them, with Sozin's government fuelling their anger by pointing at the Earth King ruling over much unclaimed, empty land.[10][9]

The first colonies

As time went on, Sozin's desire for world domination grew drastically, and his rule became increasingly dictatorial. Avatar Roku warned his long-time friend to not expand the Fire Nation, as the four nations were meant to be just four. However, Sozin disregarded Roku's warning and put his plans into motion by invading and successfully occupying Earth Kingdom territory. This first assault was short-lived; when Roku discovered the existence of the numerous Fire Nation colonies in foreign lands, he confronted Sozin about his course of action. The Avatar swiftly defeated the Fire Lord, though let him go in the name of their past friendship with a final warning that he would end his former friend's life if he continued his invasion plans.[1] However, these first colonies, including Yu Dao, remained in the Earth Kingdom, growing and prospering over the following decades.[12][13]

For twenty-five years, the world was at peace again, until a volcanic eruption brought an end to Roku's life to which Sozin realized his visions for the future were suddenly possible again. Sozin waited twelve years after Roku's death for the return of the Great Comet to commence his invasion of the other nations.[1] He launched an genocidal attack on the Air Nomads, the native nation of the next Avatar, invaded the Earth Kingdom, and attacked the Water Tribes. This resulted in a century-long war.[14]

Hundred Year War

Some colonies were established in former Air Nomad land following their genocide.[2] The temples were largely abandoned, though Fire Army units regularly patrolled the surrounding area, and became aware of any suspicious long-term activities at the temples.[15]

A map at the end of the Hundred Year War shows the locations of several Fire Nation colonies.

Many colonies were established across the Earth Kingdom continent during the Hundred Year War, and their population steadily increased due to aggressive efforts in forcing citizens to leave for the Earth Kingdom.[1][16] Some Earth Kingdom villages were forced to either fight back against their attackers or rush to evacuate the people to the Lower Ring of Ba Sing Se. However, not everyone was willing to leave their homes and lives behind, such as Governor Luk from a small village who, while figuring out the best course of action, desperately reached for a group of adventurers to help him.[15]

As Fire Nation forces encroached the Earth Kingdom's numerous territories, these colonies grew into prosperous settlements and supported the Fire Nation's war effort through the supplement of food and war supplies. Under Sozin's successor, Azulon, more colonies were set up, with the Earth Kingdom's Hu Xin Provinces being heavily colonized.[3]

Like most of the population back home, these Fire Nation colonists supported the war effort and were fed with the various forms of propaganda used to instill support with the front line troops. They often took advantage of living in the prosperous Earth Kingdom by depriving the indigenous of their resources and making them work on their behalf.[17] At least once during Azulon's reign, however, an armed uprising erupted in several colonies, forcing the Fire Nation military to intervene.[18] By the late war, a unique culture and ethnically mixed population had emerged in many older colonies such as Yu Dao[12] and the Hu Xin Provinces.[3]

Decolonization and independence

See also: United Republic of Nations

After the Hundred Year War ended, Zuko was crowned the new Fire Lord, and he announced an era of peace to begin, in which he would strive to restore the honor of the Fire Nation.[19]

Yu Dao was one of the oldest of the Fire Nation colonies.

In order to restore peace and balance in the world, the Harmony Restoration Movement was launched with the aim of transferring the Fire Nation colonials back to their home nation. However, a year after the Hundred Year War's conclusion, new disputes arose over the existence of the colonies on Earth Kingdom territory and ignited fresh tensions with the Fire Nation, threatening to devolve into war between the two countries and civil war within the Fire Nation itself. The resulting outcry necessitated the intervention of Team Avatar on behalf of Fire Lord Zuko.[12] Realizing that the conflict could never be truly solved, as the colonials were no longer Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation divided, though rather a new people, Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko abandoned the Harmony Restoration Movement. Instead, the colonies were led into autonomy by new coalition governments that were elected in 102 AG.[20] Zuko and Kuei eventually signed the Treaty of Yu Dao to formalize the colonies' new status. Even though this agreement ensured peace, it left many Fire Nation as well as Earth Kingdom nationals dissatisfied with their rulers' performance.[21]

The colonies consequently attracted many new immigrants from across the world seeking work and a better life.[3] Eventually, the colonies, along with the newly founded Cranefish Town[22] and some Earth Kingdom territories,[23] were transformed into the United Republic of Nations.[5]

Governance and security

The colonies were led by civil officials such as governors[2] and mayors who were usually of Fire Nation descent.[12] However, de facto control of many colonies actually rested with Fire Nation military officers[24] who led the local garrisons.[13] Though some of these officers strove to be fair, many were "power-hungry warlords" who used their great autonomy from the homelands and the military to abuse their power and exploit the colonial population. However, the colonies' relative isolation from the Fire Nation also meant that rebels often found ample opportunity to maintain a local anti-occupation resistance.[24]

Culture and society

The culture of the Fire Nation colonies was one marked both by tolerance, cooperation, and the blending of peoples as well as deep divisions, infighting, and racial hatred. This was the result of how the reactions of Fire Nation colonists and Earth Kingdom natives to the colonization efforts differed from location to location and from individual to individual.[13]

The Fire Days Festival was celebrated in a Fire Nation colony in the Earth Kingdom.

In general, the colonies were built to resemble what was known in the Fire Nation. As a result, Fire Nation colonists shared numerous similiarities with the inhabitants of the Fire Islands. In general, the colonists celebrated various cultural festivals,[25] supported the war effort, were indoctrinated with government propaganda, and consumed traditional Fire Nation cuisine. Regardless of their ties to the homeland, the colonials were often belittled with disdain by citizens from the Fire Nation archipelago, which commonly resulted in unequal treatment. However, the culture was less tightly regulated than in the Fire Nation proper and as a result, colonists had slightly greater freedom of expression and were permitted to dance.[26] Despite these liberties, many colonists were unhappy with the state of their lives.[27] Others, especially those who had been born in the colonies, felt a deep connection to their homes and even an affinity with Earth Kingdom natives.[12][28]

Social inequality between people of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom descent was widespread in the colonies.

On the other side, Earth Kingdom natives differed greatly in their view of the colonies, based on their status and political stance.[13] In many colonies, including old ones like Yu Dao, social discrepancies between Fire Nation citizens and Earth Kingdom natives were widespread. Usually, Earth Kingdom citizens would occupy a second-class position in the city's society, while the higher positions were generally reserved for the Fire Nation residents. This social division led in many cases to an inequality in wealth among the citizens, leaving some people at the mercy and submission of the nobility's power.[12] In several colonies, suffering and inequality were rampant.[29] As a result, many Earth Kingdom natives in the colonies resented the Fire Nation migrants as occupiers, despising those of their compatriots who embraced and intermarried with the colonists. Other Earth Kingdom citizens opted for cooperation and successfully built a prosperous existence in the colonies, feeling more loyalty to the colonists than their home country.[13] In fact, some of the richest families in the colonies were of Earth Kingdom descent.[30]

Regardless of origin, those who were unhappy with their situation in the colonies often made life miserable for their neighbors by sabotaging their fields and goods, socially isolating them, and refusing trade.[13] Despite these issues, the union between the settlers and locals became natural in many older colonies, giving rise to a new race of mixed Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom origin. People from different races often worked together in hopes of being more productive. The formation of families among people of different origins thus became one of the causes of the Harmony Restoration Movement's intermission to assess these situations in the colonies.[12]

Notable colonies

Notable figures

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 26, 2007). "The Avatar and the Fire Lord". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 57.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Quickstart, Version 1.0, 2021, p. 5.
  4. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Quickstart, Version 1.0, 2021, p. 33.
  5. 5.0 5.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (April 14, 2012). "Welcome to Republic City". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  6. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 49.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 44.
  8. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 55.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 52.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 48.
  11. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 50.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part One (January 25, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 56.
  14. The Lost Scrolls: Water, Section "Introduction", in The Lost Scrolls Collection.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 265.
  16. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang.
  17. Hubbard, Matthew (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (March 25, 2005). "Imprisoned". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  18. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Quickstart, Version 1.0, 2021, p. 31.
  19. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  20. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Rift Part One (March 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.
  21. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 70.
  22. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Hicks, Faith Erin (writer), Wartman, Peter (artist), Hill, Ryan (colorist). Imbalance Part One (December 18, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
  23. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian. (June 27, 2014). "The Earth Queen". The Legend of Korra. Book Three: Change. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 66.
  25. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (October 21, 2005). "The Deserter". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  26. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (September 28, 2007). "The Headband". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  27. From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Gear: Fire Days Festival.
  28. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part Three (September 26, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  29. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Quickstart, Version 1.0, 2021, p. 30.
  30. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part Two (May 30, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  31. The Legend of Korra Press Site - Character descriptions. Viacom International Inc. (March 2012). Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved on March 17, 2012.

See also

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