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Dianatran is the name for the large desert area south of Gadsan and east of Tharia. It consists of a thin, fertile strip along the coast - centered mostly around the Galloquoi Peninsula and the Narrows - and a vast, inhospitable area devoid of most any sorts of plant and animal life.


Dianatran has always been divided into two distinct groups: those who live in agricultural communities along the coast and those who cling to life as nomads across the interior wasteland. Although both share the same language and oral tradition, there seems to be no end to conflict between the two ways of life.

After the Shieldian conquest, however, both groups agreed that anything, even each other, was better than living under a colonial system. However, the two ethnicities were hardly able to work together towards the mutual goal of independence. Because they could never unite (and especially because the Shieldians at first let the nomads do their own thing) Dianatran became an integral part of the Grand Empire of the Shield.

Early History

Formation of Civilization - 3500 BC - AD 420

The first evidence of Dianatranian agriculture well predate that on the Shield. Some have theorized that cultivation in the Numerhammer valley goes as far back as 3000-3500 BC, rather than the 1500-2000 BC numbers theorized on the Shield. Evidence shows the rise of several predominate people - the strongest always those able to control the fertile Numerhammer valley - who warred amongst each other. Thus, the population in Dianatran was kept down to manageable numbers.

Coming of the Sentrians and the Rise of the von Numerhammers - 420-517

The Sentrian Empire had been slowly forcing its way down the Tharian peninsula for two hundred years, from c. AD 175 to c. AD 390, when it came across the towering Benindo Mountains, which separate Tharia and Dianatran. Not ones to be daunted by mere physical barriers, and with a large and powerful navy to boot, the Sentrians soon forced the mountains and found themselves descended into a whole new world. Gone was the chaparral of Tharia and in its place was an endless sea of sand with only a thin strip at the coast to remind of Tharia. Nonetheless, the Sentrians soon conquered a small local tribe, the Kulanars, and had established a presence in Dianatran by AD 420.

By AD 450, they were on the march again. The Sentrians met and defeated three larger Dianatranian forces, from various chiefdoms, between AD 450 and AD 500. Their weapons, made from primitive Analian steel, easily beat the Dianatranian bronze swords and spears. By 510, the Sentrians had reached Falhurst, halfway between Kulan and Galloquoi. At last, the Baron von Numerhammer, the most powerful of the local chiefs, summoned the remaining tribes and forged a Grand Alliance of Dianatranians.

The Alliance took to raiding Sentrian supply lines and stealing their weapons. Although the Sentrians had complete domination of the sea, the Dianatranians used the desert like an ocean of their own, appearing where needed and slipping away again whither the Sentrians dared not follow.

The First Victory and the New State - 517-1092

von Numerhammer met Danatus, the Sentrian commander, in battle c. AD 517. The result was a crushing defeat for the Sentrians; Danatus’ head was taken after the battle and displayed outside the gates of Galloquoi as a warning to the Sentrian fleet.

The Sentrians decided they had reached the natural extent of their empire in the south and withdrew to their stronghold around Kulan. To the east, von Numerhammer and his heirs used the respite to organize the first pan-Dianatranian state. Rival chiefs were killed or intimidated into giving up their power and, by AD 650, the Numerhammer dynasty had founded the first Dianatranian Empire.

The Empire skirmished with the Sentrians around Kulan, to no great effect. However, the generals noticed a decline the number of native Sentrians compared to Tharian and Shieldian conscripts.

The Second Victory and the Exile of the Sentrians - 1092-1104

In 1092, news of the great Shieldian victory over the Sentrians and the collapse of their empire in the north reached the Numerhammer Empire. At once, the old dreams of the ‘liberation’ of Kulan resurfaced in Galloquoi. A great army was fitted out and in 1093 started the march on Kulan.

In the shadow of the Benindo mountains, the last Sentrian outpost beyond Tharia came under attack. Although not as heavy a defeat as the battle in 517, the Sentrians were nonetheless forced to abandon Kulan and retreat to Tharia. However, try as the Numerhammers might, they never succeeded in breaching the Benindoes, and lost many thousands of men trying. Eventually, with civil war threatening at home, the attempt was given up and most of the army marched back on Galloquoi. Although the Sentrians held onto Tharia for another five hundred years, they were never again able to invade Dianatran.

The Fall of the Numerhammer Empire and the Diaspora - 1104-1115

The great Civil War of 1104-1115 was triggered by the fruits of the prosperous Numerhammer Empire. The long peace between 517 and 1093, combined with plentiful harvests in the later years, had expanded the population beyond the ability of the fertile coast to maintain it. A bad harvest in 1103-04, worse than any that had come before, strained the Empire’s capacity to feed itself, and many periphery regions were forced to starve. Nationalist agitation racked the Empire’s outskirts and there were several spontaneous uprisings.

von Numerhammer used the Empire’s army mercilessly, leveling those settlements that dared rebel against him and salting their fields. The inhabitants were forced to flee into the desert and were never able to return. Thousands died, but those who remained became adept at survival in the worst circumstances.

By 1113, however, it was becoming clear that the Empire simply couldn’t handle the stress. A rebel army sacked and burned Galloquoi in 1114 and and Sentrian fleet appeared outside the Narrows. In 1115, the Empire simply collapsed into a myriad of warring factions.

Food problems, however, continued. Without a central authority to blame, the hungry were forced to leave and seek greener pastures beyond the great bog that marked Dianatran’s northern border. By 1160, the “exiles” had reached the River Jaizar, which they forded, and broken out across the Shield in large numbers.

Although there are no exact numbers, it is estimated that the population of Dianatran before the Diaspora was between three and five times larger than the Shield’s and the Exiles consisted of some twenty per cent of that. The Shieldians, divided as they were, soon were overcome by the ‘barbarian invasions.’ They weren’t quite sure what to make of the dark-skinned Dianatranians, and the Dianatranians weren’t sure what to make of the pale-skinned Shieldians. Both had served at one time or another as conscripts in Sentrian armies, but neither had ever seen the other in such numbers.

By 1200, the Exiles had penetrated the last Shieldian outposts north of the River Mans. They did not come as pure conquerers, however; Dianatranian chiefs married in to Shieldian royal families and the peasants also married amongst themselves. Within five generations, it was hardly possible to tell the difference between Dianatranian exile and Shieldian.

See also: Ancient Shieldian

Warlords - 1115-1347

Meanwhile, Dianatran proper had regressed into a land of petty empires and dozens of warlords as it was before the Sentrians had come. As before, whoever could control the Numerhammer valley - and the prestigious ancient title of Baron von Numerhammer - was the most powerful. And so things largely remained until 1355.

The Nomad Attacks and the Reformed Numerhammer Empire - 1347-1461

Between 1347 and 1353, there were several mysterious raids on settlements between the fertile coast and the great desert. The pattern was the same: homes burned, crops destroyed, and every man, woman, and child slain. The weak governments on the periphery began to panic; no one could discover the source of these attacks or whence the attackers had come. Superstitions of a great empire beyond the desert, perhaps even greater than the Sentrians at their height. The rumors, as it eventually turned out, were correct, but Effit had neither the ability nor the inclination to mount an expedition east across the desert.

The perpetuators were instead those nomad tribes whom von Numerhammer had forced from their villages two hundred years earlier. They had become very adept at hit-and-run attacks. This was not known, however, and the periphery states started joining together for support. The most obvious source of help was the current Baron von Numerhammer, and by 1353 most of the periphery states gave up their independence for Numerhammer’s support.

von Numerhammer, however, had an idea of the true source of the attacks and was not interested in providing defense against the nomads. Instead, he harnessed the manpower of his new territories and used them to crush his primary opponent, the Baron von Augenst in 1357. The mysterious attacks seemed to have ceased by themselves (because the nomads had lost too many of their number in previous attacks, though they dragged their dead into the desert to give the appearance of a total victory) and the reformed Numerhammer Empire was at the height of its power.

However, the new Empire would not be nearly as prolific as the old one. Too many people resented von Numerhammer’s tactics and, once the immediate threat seemed over, revolted. Although the Empire ended up surviving with minimal territorial losses, these wars were even more brutal than those that preceded the Diaspora. Modern estimates indicate that the population of Dianatran fell by more than 40 per cent between in the century between 1357 and 1461.

Modern History

The Coming of the Merchant-Missionaries - 1461-1697

1461 marked the first year that a modern tall ship made its way to the Narrows. The ship belonged to the Royal Shadoranite Navy and it was busy exploring the coast of Troobodia Bay. Although many of the Shadoranite sailors had Dianatranian-exile ancestors and spoke a language grammatically based on Dianatranian, both peoples were disgusted by the other.

However, the Shadoranites were not ones to haul up anchor and declare Dianatran a lost cause. They had been converted to Roman Catholicism just two hundred years earlier and were filled with a missionary zeal to save the souls of the Dianatranians - and, if possible, make a profit in the meantime. Quite often, the terms ‘mission’ and ‘trading post’ overlapped in the Shadoranite vocabulary. The Empire, on the other hand, was forced to tolerate their presence for one single reason: while military technology in Dianatran had been stagnant for years, the Shadoranites (like all Shieldians) were undergoing a technological revolution.

Fortunately for the Dianatranians, most of Shadoran’s energy was used up in rivaling the larger Weshielder Kingdom. Dianatran was also seen as a relative backwater, especially when compared to fabulous (if distant) riches of Gallaga. The missionary efforts, however, were largely successful; by c. 1550, Dianatran had been mostly converted. However, the Empire itself embraced the new religion, and had little cause to concern itself with the small number of curious pale-skins running about its territory with bibles and balance-books.

The Grand Empire and Dianatran - 1697-1749

3 July, 1697, by Dianatranian reckoning, had no great significance. However, on the distant Shield, Shadoran had conquered all its opponents and formed a Grand Empire. The wars had also sparked another great revolution in military technology. In 1724, Gadsan was added to the Grand Empire. 1726 saw the fall of Sentry Island and 1729 the conquests of Tharia and Troobodia. The Shieldians forced the Noropian Gap in 1735, and in 1736 the Conclave swore fealty to the High King in Ianapalis. Of the lands along the Troobodian coast, now only Dianatran remained fully independent.

However, the current Baron von Numerhammer had no knowledge of these events, besides what was leaked to him through the Merchant-Missionaries. He was thus taken by surprise when a two pronged Shieldian invasion of his lands - over the bog from Gadsan in the north, and a second force landing in Galloquoi - hit in 1749. von Numerhammer was captured and the peripheries rose up in rebellion. In five short months, the Reformed Empire had collapsed completely.

The Troubles - 1749-1910

Unlike most of the other states that the Grand Empire had absorbed, however, Dianatran refused to lay down and be quiet. More Shieldian troops had to be committed to Dianatran than any other province to put down revolts, including Gallaga. However, for all the enthusiasm of their leaders, none of the revolts ended up accomplishing anything more than annoying the High King and his Council.

However, as modern weapons became more available to civilians, the revolts steadily became more bloody. Finally, after three revolts in five years, the Grand Empire had had enough. High Queen Jessica I ordered her parliament to find “a solution to these ... troubles in Dianatran.” In 1910, the Grand Empire granted Dianatran, Gadsan, and Noropia ‘Dominion Status’ within a greater ‘Iansislean Commonwealth.’

The Dominion - 1910-1938

Dianatran enjoyed its quasi-independence for some time. By the treaty signed with the Grand Empire, Dianatran was forced to allow Iansisle to garrison its territory and direct its foreign affairs, but was allowed to manage its own internal affairs and elect members to an amorphous ‘Commonwealth Combined Parliament.’

However, there was still deep resentment lingering just under the surface. Slowly but surely, the native Dianatranians lay down their hatred of each other and focused on the Shieldians as the main enemy. For their part, the Shieldians hated the “barbaric” Dianatranians who caused so much of a ruckus. Debates between Dianatranian and Shieldian MCPs often degenerated to simple shouting (and, on several occasions, punching) fights.

In the late 1930s, a series of affronts (with one particularly notable incident at the Developing Nations Summit in Larkinia) and an attempted assassination of High King James III led to one last rebellion in 1938. In part because it was so unexpected, this one was also the most successful. Led by Fredrick, Baron von Numerhammer, most of the airfields in Dianatran were captured and large number of army units - which largely consisted of native levies - joined the cause. The new Dianatranian army soon crushed two armies sent to oppose it at the battles of First Augsburg and Galloquoi. However, with the help of allies Walmington on Sea and Imitora, the Iansislean Civil War was ended in favor of the status quo.

Some historians have argued that the coal-dependent Grand Empire only held on to Dianatran because Royal Mining and Manufacturing had learned of large oil reserves in the deep desert. However, no evidence to that effect has yet surfaced among official documents.

The Province - 1938-Present

After the Civil War, the Grand Empire revoked Dianatran’s dominion status. It was brought back under the direct control of the Imperial Parliament and regarrisoned. von Numerhammer was exiled to Healdsburg, never to return on pain of death.

Without a clear leader, Dianatranian uprisings became sporadic and halfhearted. Between 1941 and 1952, there were none. However, the Gull Flag Revolution triggered several. The United Kingdom of the Shield managed to gain quick control over the forces of the Grand Empire and put down the revolts.

As a new era dawns on the Shield, no one is quite sure what to do with Dianatran. Liberal impulses call for the creation of an independent state, but practical concerns remind the sympathetic that Iansisle has become completely dependent on Dianatranian oil. The ‘Dianatranian issue’ has not yet become a major concern in the elections scheduled for 18 May 1953, but only fools believe that things will stay that way.