Laba is the birthplace of the human race on planet Teppala.
Geography and climate
Laba consists primarily of a pair of islands, Tapakunya and Tantatoma, with smaller islands between and outside them. Humans evolved in the southern reaches of both islands, and today the human population density is much grater in the tropical rainforests near the equator than in the semiarid and arid regions further north.,
The island of Tapakunya is very large, stretching from 9°N to 30°N, and has many cultures. It lies entirely within trh tropics, according to the recknoing on planet Teppala. But there are notnehelesss a variety of climates, ranging from wet and tropical to hot deserts to subtropical areas with intermediate rainfall, alongside tall mountain ranges. Even in the highest mountains, though, there is almost never any snowfall.
Humans evolved mostly in the southern tropical regions, but temperatures here were only slightly warmer and more humid than in the far north. The only climates cool enough to be considered temperate were in the high mountains, and these mountains occurred only in the south. Thus, the hottest and coolest climates were close together, with intermediate but still tropical or subtropical climates occupying the northern half of the island.
All of the peoples of the mainland originated on Laba, and can be linked to groups of people still living there. However, the Repilian race is not represented among the aboriginals of Laba, as it originated from a branch of the proto-Andanic race that diverged very quickly.
Most of the aboriginals of Laba are tall and dark-skinned. On the smaller main island, Tantatoma, this is the only bnódy type present. It is the dominant body type on the southern side of the large island (Tapakunya) as well, which has a similar climate. However, the people in southern Tapakunya are more internally diverse than those living on Tantatoma because of the isolation provided by the tall mountains.
Shorter blonde people with light skin are found in the mountains beginning at around 15N, but become dominant only in the plateau around 21N. There are many blends of this type with the lowland dark-skinned type in the areas in which the two border each other, and this has contributed to a more diverse array of facial features and other physical characteristics among the people of southern Tapakunya in general. The port city of Sasalupha had a dominant phenotype of tall stature, light skin color, and light but variable hair and eye color.
The northern half of the island was occupied historically by the ancestors of the Andanese people, who were shorter than the other two groups, even the shortest of the highlanders. These were sometimes called Nauna, but properly the Nauna were just one tribe among many. The Macro-Nauna people were the most mobile of the three groups throughout most of early history, but still had areas of relic populations which had retained primordial characteristics or absorbed characteristics of the more southerly tribes. Tall stature thus sometimes appeared even in this generally diminutive population. These people had a light skin color similar to the blonde highlanders, but typically had coarse dark hair. Settlements with darker-skinned people existed both due to retentions of the original skin color and due to contact with the people of the south.
The first wave of mainland settlement occurred before the three basic racial groups had become distinct, and so the aboriginals had traits in common with all three races. They also had facial features unlike any of the other three groups because those groups had intermingled and then diverged again in the meantime. The typical aboriginals of the tropical coastal plains of the mainland were of short stature and dark skin, with a fairly muscular build and facial features most like the northern (paleo-Andanese) group but still quite different from them. These settlers stayed mostly in hot climates, and their physical appearance did not greatly evolve during the time they had the continent to themselves. This was partly due to the small size of the original settlement and the difficulties encountered by later attempts to settle the continent. When more settlements did arrive, they mostly impacted areas with colder climates where fishing was the main source of food.
Two waves of Macro-Nauna settlement reached the mainland early on: one of these stayed around 25-30N and became the Zenith, while the other spread to the northeast and became nomadic, with no single tribal identity. A fork of the Zenith people later spread throughout the vast arctic region as the glaciers began to retreat, and became the Macro-Repilians. These people had some contact with the nomads in the northeast, and are not solely descended from Zeniths.
Blonde people ("Mumba") set out from Sasalupha in two waves as well. One sailed northward around the island and then moved westward to the mainland, landing in Zenith territory; by this time, the Nauna people and their descendants had long since lost control of the sea. Simultaneously, the other wave of people took a much longer journey, eastward around the entire world, landing in what later became Dreamland. Here there were no stable preexisting settlements of aboriginals, and the settlers passed down their culture directly to their descendants. The aboriginal city of baeba Swamp was far to the northeast, and thus it came about that in Dreamland, skin color became darker moving away from the Equator, and the lightest people lived in the sunniest climates.
The tall dark-skinned people of the tropical lowlands never settled the mainland in appreciable numbers. Those who did come typically had connections to the Mumba tribes who had set sail from Sasalupha, and therefore lived in those Mumba nations on the mainland. Even so, some small independent nations formed, including one in the interior later called Tarwas. This was the only area in which the dark-skinned tribes had reached new land in the arctic before the light-skinned tribes had. Yet, because the climate was so cold, the skin color of the settlers evolved towards a light phenotype within just a thousand years, as had that of the Repilians.
Laba remained aboriginal for about 4,000 years after the great waves of settlement of the northern areas of the mainland.
Need to find out which mainlanders settled Laba and when. The name Laba is used metonymically for its conquered territory in Dreamland on many pages here, and I seem to have scrubbed the original phrase "the first back-migration in all of history", which may mean that I no longer considered it canonical.
Laba remained very diverse throughout its history, and its people were divided among dozens of languages. The most powerful nation, however, spoke the Pejo language during their greatest era. Pejo is descended from the Mumba language, which also gave rise to Tapilula, which is the ancestral language of nearly all of the people on the continent of Rilola. Mumba is also the parent language of most of the rest of Laba.
The Mumba nation extended from about 15N to 21N, with an outlet to the ocean only on the east coast, not the west. This was due to the general slope of the land sucjh that the highest mtns were in the west, and dropped quickly to the sea, and the rivers leading there were not navigable, so connecting to the sea on the west was of little use.
The distribution of aboriginal languages in Laba parallels the distribution of phenotypes. The southern areas, populated by dark-skinned people, have long been the most internally diverse, but yet they are not so diverse as to contain the root of either of the other two groups, because population displacement has occurred periodically even in the most remote areas.
The highlands populated by light-skinned people are also internally diverse, but the eastern port city of Sasalupha lies within one of the families of the equatorial lowlands, despite their people being both very different from the equatorial tribes and fairly uniform internally. This was due to a long period of close contact between the different tribal groups, in which the language of trade, originally centered near the Equator, crossed tribal boundaries and remained there even when the balance of power shifted north due to settlement patterns.
The northern areas of Laba were historically the least diverse, as the people in the north were the most mobile of the three groups. Furthermore, their languages were mostly wiped out during the great back-migration around 4000 AD, leading to the much later impression that the northern aboriginals were part of that wave of settlement, as, after thousands of years, their languages were almost as similar to each other as were those of the conquerors from the mainland.
Remember the 150°F cave dream.
Laba previously extended slightly south of the Equator. A major asteroid impact, however, crashed directly into Laba, heating the air to 500°F and burning all life to ash. It landed directly on a human city, because the human population in this area was so densely clustered that there were no wilderness areas. But it was no matter, because even areas far outside the impact were completely destroyed by the resulting heatwave of 150°F temperatures (this asteroid was made largely of metal, and therefore the volcanic winter effect was very weak). The oceans began to boil away, but the sea level actually rose because hot rains melted the glaciers that covered most of the mainland of Rilola and parts of Gitaipanu. The combination of rising sea level and the pressure of the asteroid impact itself caused much of Laba to sink underwater. Humans remained, but only in areas that had previously been inland mountains and plateaus. And there was almost no flat land near the sea. Thus Laba was no longer the paradise it once was.
Although nearly all plant life was killed, the seeds of those plants mostly were intact. Thus, trees and flowers grew back within a few generations, and although large animals mostly had gone extinct, many small animals survived, and birds flew in to replace others.
Many tribes that had previously been far apart found themselves livin g next to each other. Although the sea rose slowly, the people rose quickly. Those who had crawled upwards to live in the mountains during the first years after the impact had accumulated huge areas of land, full of plants and animals and with few dangers to worry about (as most dangerous animals had also been eliminated during the impact.) Now they were left with the choice of ceding their vast territories to the incoming lowlanders or moving downhill themselves to try to defend it. Most stayed in the highlands, which left them not only surrounded by lowlanders but also isolated from each other. These peoples are largely the ancestors of the Poswobs and spoke Outer Poswob languages, though their mother language split apart more than 15000 years ago and the descendants have few shared traits. Nevertheless, they were collectively known as Lagi at the time, and mostly lived in high mountains around 15-20°N, shielded by altitude from extreme heat and by latitude from extreme cold. Transportation in the mountains was difficult even by comparison to the primitive technology of the lowlands, so often each village would exist more or less as an independent nation, and develop culture highly divergent from all others. They never developed a true city, but some of their people moved to the city of Sasalupha once Sasalupha reached the coastline. (Note that the map on the right uses present borders: today Laba is much smaller than it was before.)
No Laban society had any agriculture, but towards the south (even in the mountains) there were many fruit trees from which people could freely pick to supplkenment their basic diet of meat and fish.
When humans moved from Laba to Rilola around 0 AD in response to the asteroid strike, they were captured by birds and placed in rock nests from which escape was painful and nearly impossible. THey observed that humans cooked their food, and wondered if they had the ability to cook if they would be better nourished and require less food. Some birds flew to Laba to ask humans for a good recipe on how to cook humans, but found the local human population unhelpful. But they saw many more humans in Laba, and managed to make a new living swooping down on people in Laba and forgot all about Rilola.
Geography and climate
All tropical or subtropical. At about 20N there is a sudden transition from tiny densely populated countries with lots of water to large empty wastelands where people mostly live along the coast and rely on fish for food. There is not actually muchg difference in rainfall, it is mostly about mountains and rivers being mostly found in the south. Both the hottest and coldest climates are found in the south, because of the mountains. Near the southern tip of the south there is true tropical rainforest with little seasonal difference in rainfall, even though the ITCZ crosses over the region and "should" leave a dry season behind each time it does. The high sea surface temperatures and the presence of mountains directly near the coast make up for the loss os the ITCZ. This same effect provides ample rainfall to many places further north, even as far as 20N, making those areas capable of supporting the same kind of tropical rainforest that is found at the Equator.
- But note that Languages of Teppala has paleo-Zenith deriving from the equatorial branch around 14000 BC, not ~50000 BC as one might expect. These two statements could only be true if paleo-Zenith was not the parent language of the northern tribes after all, but only of their dominant group. Furthermore, a different daughter branch, PMH, was originally intended to be the parent language of all of the blonde highlanders.