Yanomamo

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Yanomamo is a large continent to the north-east of the Greater Continent, notorious for being particularly isolated. The nearest inhabited point, Zathra, is separated from the shores of Yanomamo by fifteen thousand miles of open ocean. The southern-most island and parts of the western shore are populated, by the interior is empty and believed to be populated by monstrous cannibals. Because of their considerable isolation, the inhabitants of Yanomamo have developed a unique cultural identity. While many distinct people-groups exist, the locals are usually grouped together as the Yano.

The continent is also home to the Mow, who dominate most of the interior and northern stretches.

Human Population[edit]

The human population of Yanomamo numbers around one and a half million, concentrated primarily on the island of Sunrose. Parts of the western shore of the main continent, between the mountains and the sea, are also sparsely populated. The further north, the more sporadic the settlements become, with only fur trappers and wild spice harvesters inhabiting the northern extremes. The interior is completely uninhabited by humans.

People Groups[edit]

There is no indigenous population of humans, and the region was never settled by a specific ethnic group. The population groups are defined by religous and cultural practices, not ethnicity; and individuals are generally free to join whichever group they wish. All inhabitants of the region are called Yano for short, a title which can be claimed by anyone born on the continent or Sunrose Island.

Other Inhabitants[edit]

In addition to humans, Yanomamo is home to Unicorns, a small flight of Dragons, and the Mow, a race of sentient plants. Some Kouldatha are also found there. The Mow are the most populous among the indigenous races, covering most of the inland regions and the northern coasts.

History[edit]

Mage Wars[edit]

The region was first reached sometime during the Age of Darkness. Nothing is known about the first expedition, except that it was reached under sail by "hopping" a chain of islands. This route is still in common use, but requires some thirty thousand miles of travel. The region was colonized and flourishing by the era of High Tower, and was known for exporting exotic spices.

Supposedly, during the First Chaotic Period, a powerful empire called the Ulmiad flourished there. The empire supposedly had its capitol in the heart of the isle of Sunrose, and traded off-world. Modern scholars believe that Ulmiad was either an exaggeration or an outright fabrication. The great ruin in the heart of Sunrose is considered not to be the seat of power for an empire at all; but rather the work of a civilization based elsewhere in the verse.

Around the last century before the Intermediate Period, Yanomamo was visited by nuclear-powered ships hailing from Daraka, who left behind some technology and were popular spice traders. A Drack colony even survived for several centuries after the fall of their own empire; however without the ability to reproduce technology on their own, the colonists eventually assimilated with the locals.

The first real records of Yanomamo begin during the Mage Wars#The Dynastic Period, when the newly-formed Marcon Alliance made several attempts to conquer the region. Despite the Marcon use of magic, the Yanos had far superior weapons at their disposal. A key element of their defensive tactic relied on the descendants of Drack colonists, who still used advanced mathmatics and had the knowledge of chemistry required to produce gunpowder and explosives. Yano primarily used a combination of mines and mortars, but were also able to counter attacks with their own Mage Towers by using forward observers and signal relays to launch beyond-visual-range attacks (an ability the Marcons never gained).

After a few campaigns, the Marcons gave up efforts to conquer Yanomamo, but Marconian skyship raids continued until the fall of the Marcon Alliance; by which time many Yano had taken to living underground or in very scattered settlements. The impact of centuries of raids would remain part of the culture well into the Alliance era.

During the Second Chaotic Period, trade resumed, though mostly by skyship. Because the population centers by this time were mostly on the Agras Plain and in Modia, only extremely valuable commodities could be traded. Spices were still the mainstay, including some highly exotic and sought-after flavors. The Yano, in turn, mostly traded for gold (not found locally) and technology they could not produce locally (while the region has extensive iron deposits, refining high-grade steel was very costly as they lacked coal reserves). Interestingly enough, the Yano place very little value on precious gems, recognizing their scarcity but feeling that tooled gold is much more attractive.

Alliance Era[edit]

The start of the Golden Age brought with it a renewed period of isolation for the Yano people. The end of the era of Skyships made trade with them economically unfeasable. Several new colonies had formed at the end of the Mage Wars, and tens of thousands of colonists (many first-generation) suddenly found themselves cut off. A few escaped off-world, but most of Yanomamo's trading partners had been decimated by the war.

Many colonists simply assimilated into the indigenous cultures. Others maintained their Agras-styled societies and endeavored to re-create whatever technologies and capabilities had previously required import. Concrete was a prominent example, but the needed materials were eventually found on an island not far away. These particular sub-cultures eventually became quite interesting, as they slowly formed highly ritualized societies to maintain behaviors no longer needed after the loss of technology (an example being non-functioning light switches on walls, which are ritualistically turned up or down when a candle is lit).

Yanomamo remained isolated throughout most of the Golden Age, beyond sporadic visits by sailing ships from the Djr Archipelago. Ironically, Zathra, the geographically nearest human settlement, had absolutely no intercourse with them.

During the Ages of the Alliance, some trade began by way of windjammer-style fast, long-range sailing ships. The typical route went along the eastern end from the Dragonlands, wherein a series of remote but inhabited islands acted as waypoints. Djer used the same technique to retain trade relations with Zathra as well as the Agras Plain. This technique was popular as it had relatively low-cost and required a manageable infrastructure for the relatively low population of Djer. For a while, Alliance ships also tried to make the journey northwards, but when the shift to steam power came, no ships had the fuel capacity to make it there and back (as there were no native sources of fuel), and trade ground to a halt.

During the early Second Age, the Gudersnipe Foundation began a feasibility study on the use of nuclear-powered cargo ships making runs to Yanomamo. Such vessels were already in common use over the Brutish Sea. However, production disparity between Modia and Yanomamo made the arrangement economically un-viable. Effectively, the Yano could not produce anything the Foundation wanted, and the cost of transporting anything from Modia made it too expensive to reasonably sell at a profit.

From the Second Age onward, the Foundation made irregular trips out there (usually once or twice a year) to deliver modern medicines that cannot be produced indigenously, as well as other bits of technology, such as solar cells, and components to construct rechargeable batteries. Combined with local ingenuity, these components can often be used for centuries to maintain simple solar lighting systems. While the cargo is traded for gold and spices, it is generally accepted that the Foundation is making the sales at a loss.