|"I've been thinking, we should share this prosperity with the rest of the world. In our hands is the most successful empire in history. It's time we expanded it."|
|— Fire Lord Sozin to Avatar Roku.|
The Fire Nation colonies were an assemblage of Earth Kingdom territories populated and governed by Fire Nation citizens during the Hundred Year War. After the War, newer settlements were dissolved in accordance with the Harmony Restoration Movement, though political complications resulted in the merging of the older colonies into the United Republic of Nations.
About thirty-five years prior to the Hundred Year War, the ambitious Fire Lord Sozin began to dream of a global empire where he would unite the four nations under Fire Nation domination. It was intended to be a prosperous unity that would "share" the wealth and success the Fire Nation was enjoying during Sozin's rule. 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. However, these first colonies, including Yu Dao, remained in the Earth Kingdom, growing and prospering over the following decades.
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. He launched an attack on the Air Nomads, the native nation of the next Avatar, causing their extermination and instigating the century-long war.
After the Air Nomad Genocide, Sozin focused his attention on the Earth Kingdom. Many colonies were established across the continent, and their population steadily increased due to aggressive efforts in forcing citizens to leave for the Earth Kingdom. 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.
Dozens of these colonies were established across the Earth Kingdom continent. Like most of the population back home, these Fire Nation citizens 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.
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. 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. Eventually, the colonies, along with the newly founded Cranefish Town and some Earth Kingdom territories, were transformed into the United Republic of Nations.
Culture and society
The culture of the Fire Nation colonies was very much like that of the homeland. Its inhabitants celebrated various cultural festivals, supported the war effort, were indoctrinated with government propaganda, and consumed traditional Fire Nation cuisine. Regardless of their ties to the homeland, these 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. Despite these liberties, many colonists were unhappy with the state of their lives. 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.
In many colonies, namely 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. Some of the richest families in the colonies, however, were of Earth Kingdom descent.
In older colonies, the union between the settlers and locals became natural, 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.