First Kasshi Empire
The First Kasshi Empire existed in West Odirá in ancient times, the first time the Kasshi people were united in a single political entity under their own rule. Its existence is conventionally dated from 3507-2677 BOE
The First Empire was less centralized than most of the later Incarnations of the Empire. It consisted of the Realm of Kassa, which was made up of most of Has (called Kassa at the time), and a large number of other Realms which were subordinated to Kassa. Most of the other Realms existed on the mainland, but there were a few on Has and other islands. The relationship between the lesser realms and Kassa were a subject of debate. The official view of the imperial court was that the relationship existed between the lands themselves and the Crown, a permanent union. Others, however, viewed the relationship as a personal one between the Queen of Kassa and her vassals. The dispute arose from the way in which the Empire was formed. Upon military defeat of a formerly-independent realm, its ruler swore fealty to the Imperial Crown. Upon the succession of a new Empress, the rulers of all the subordinate Realms traveled to the imperial capital in Lambets to swear fealty to the new Empress. Likewise, upon the succession of a new queen of a subordinate Realm, the new Queen traveled to Lambets to receive formal recognition and swear fealty. In the imperial view, this was a reenactment of the original bond and a renewal of the same, but was not required. In the alternate view, this was the creation of a new bond with each succession. In that view, the Empire was dissolved every time an Empress died, and reformed each time the other queens swore fealty to the new Empress, and likewise, the bond was broken by the death of a subordinate queen and reformed when her successor swore fealty.
The origins of the First Empire date back to the withdrawal of Sanle forces from Has in 3736 BOE during a period of Sanle decline. At the time, the island had been ruled as a province of the Sanle Empire. Prior to the Sanle conquest, the island had been divided into many city-states and smaller villages, in an ever-shifting pattern of rule. After the withdrawal of Sanle forces, the island fell once again into disunion. The Sanle had not formally renounced ownership of the island, and there was even a nominal governor-in-exile. Memories of former political union remained, and as fighting between city-states grew, nostalgia for the days of unity grew as well.
In 3586 BOE, the Glajezh of Lambets declared herself Governor of Kassa. At the time, Lambets was one of several city-states to dominate large areas of the island. This was the first time that a formal claim to governorship had been made since the Sanle withdrawal, and the first time an ethnic Kasshi had claimed that title. Initially, the Sanle Empire opposed her declaration, but in 3583, the Empress recognized her position as Governor in exchange for a promise to restore the island to full membership in the Empire. Sanle provided aid to Lambets to reunite the island. By 3542 BOE, the island was fully unified once more. If the Empire expected to have a loyal province in Kassa, they were soon disillusioned.
In 3507, the Governor declared herself Queen of Kassa and renounced Sanle rule. Sanle was still struggling to assert their control in more central regions and was in no position to assert their control over Has. They refused to acknowledge the island as a Realm, but also made no effort to reconquer it. A nominal governor-in-exile was once again appointed. Kassa slowly began to control neighboring islands. By 3380, the Sanle Empire had retreated to its core territory, and former peripheral provinces were now small independent states. Kassa took advantage of this situation and invaded the mainland. Between 3380 and 3150, the First Empire grew to its greatest extent, with one realm after another falling into vassalage to Kassa. It was belatedly recognized as an independent entity by the Sanle Empire in 3210. A rift was beginning to develop between the homeland and the mainland portions of the Empire. Initially, anyone descended from a Kasshi was seen as Kasshi, but as the mainlanders began to assimilate more and more with the local population, a split began to be seen between the so-called Old Kasshi who were ethnically "pure" Kasshi in the homeland and the New Kasshi who were ethnically-mixed. A racial hierarchy was developed with the Old Kasshi on top, the New Kasshi in the middle, and non-Kasshi at the bottom. In the views of the Old Kasshi, all non-Kasshi were equally low, but most New Kasshi divided the non-Kasshi into further hierarchical divisions. Resentment grew among the New Kasshi. This was reinvigorated with the rise of Nrastaism, which quickly gained popularity on the mainland, while having little success on Kassa.
Splitting of the Crown
Through the 2950s, the mainland Empire began to assert greater autonomy from the central government, and demanded a reform of the Empire. The Imperial crown refused and threatened to use force to assert control if needed. Tensions rose, and armies were raised. In 2953, Queen Ptarak III of Yaven died. Her successor, Ptarak IV, refused to swear fealty to the Empress. Under the Imperial view, this made her simply a rebellious vassal, while in the opposing view, this maintained her independence as a sovereign queen. War nearly broke out over this dispute, but was averted by the Yaven Agreement in which Ptarak made no overt moves in opposition to Imperial rule, and used carefully ambiguous language in official documents to avoid asserting actual independence, while also avoiding any direct acknowledgement of vassalage. Likewise, the Imperial government avoided any direct assertions of control over Yaven. This was an inherently unstable situation, and both sides recognized it as a merely temporary truce, hoping to come to some form of agreement to avoid war. This was not to be. Two other realms followed suit in 2951 and 2950. The mainland realms formed a loose confederation, centered around Ivets, and in 2950, Queen Chalanya of Ivets was recognized as High Queen of the Mainland Realms by the members of this confederation, which title was completely rejected by the Imperial Crown. Finally, in 2948, the Empress died. The mainland realms refused to swear fealty to the new Empress. This was taken by the imperial government as an act of rebellion, and civil war broke out. The mainland realms swore fealty to Queen Chalanya, recognizing her as Empress rather than the new Kassan empress. This war lasted until 2941. Both the Kassan empress and the mainland Empress recognized each other as Empresses, distinguished by the titles Empress-on-Kassa and Empress-on-the-Mainland. Today, the Empire-on-the-Mainland is referred to as the Second Kasshi Empire
Reunification of the Crowns
For several centuries, the two Empires existed side by side, with only a few skirmishes over certain islands in the Kassan Channel between the mainland and Kassa itself. In 2680, Empress Chila sought to reunite the two portions of the former Empire and invaded Kassa. After a brief war, the Empress-on-Kassa surrendered to the Empress-on-the-mainland and a reunited Empire was formed. The Empress-on-Kassa became Duchess of Kassa, which title survives to the present day as the Duchy of Has. The reunited Empire is known today as the Third Empire