It can be divided into four ecological zones. Two of these independently developed agriculture, and produced major civilizations; see Arcél tropical agriculture for the northern (equatorial) zone, including Belesao, and Arcél temperate agriculture for the southern zone, including Uytai and Fananak.
The two zones largely correspond to the human races of Arcél: Kibruise peoples in the north, Adurise in the south. The eastern coast, however, was settled by the Melanke race which extends into Kereminth, Neinuoi, and the Island Sea.
The mountainous zone in the middle is a barrier more than a transition zone. It is inhabited by elcari and múrtani as well as nomads speaking Kemic, Mnesean, and Dnetic languages. In general it is colder than either agricultural area and does not support crops from either zone. Notable in the eastern half are the rift valleys, each an ecological world unto itself.
Mnese, in the far south, experiences arctic conditions.
There are two major native civilizations:
- Uytai and related nations in the south, the first to develop, more than 3000 years ago. The middle of this zone, Uytai proper, has always been the densest knot of human settlement, and on the whole conservative and authoritarian; market economies and limits on power were slow to develop here. On the other hand Nyandai to its west has been a social and technological pioneer.
- The Bé in the north, organized about half a milennium later, notable or notorious for being run by women. The Beic nations have always been more defined by trade and open to new ideas (indeed, their gunpowder weapons, though suggested by Ereláean models, are perhaps the most advanced on the planet).
The nomadic zone in the mountains has produced important nations which more than once conquered Uytai; however this zone has not been as important as it is in Ereláe, since it is smaller and there are no native horses.
What is now Fananak has a long history of its own, as a diverse collection of societies. The Itsenic peoples are notable for their tripartite confederacies, in which warriors, shamans, and women each had separate chiefs, councils, and responsibilities. The introduction of Jippirasti and large numbers of Tžuro settlers— as well as horses— transformed and challenged these societies.
Here are links to the major countries:
- In the north: Łeisau, Mauraŋ, Belesao, Mɔłɔsɔu, Rimasača, Ayalampa
- In the south: Fananak, Iček, Nyandai, Uytai, Siad βo, Hlüim
- Eastern coast: Qapalya, Ȟamsan, Praȟmai, Ȟaibalai island
- Mountain zone: Ōkmisan, Ȟatinga, Ȟtana, Smë, Nrineo
Contact with Ereláe
Around 1400, the Skourene mariners from Kolatimand achieved their greatest triumph, crossing 3000 km of open sea to reach Arcél. They first landed in the area now called Fananak where they encountered Dnetic hunter-gatherers and then the kingdom of Nlatak. Here they sold their trade goods and manufactures, bringing back samples of the strange Arcélian foods, a few curious Nlatakans, and a small amount of gold.
In 1465 the Gurdagor reached the rich realm of Uytai, farther east from Nlatak. The Skourenes brought spices, iron weapons, and manufactures; what they chiefly wanted in return was gold, and they brought back enough to cause a serious bout of inflation.
There was some attempt to exploit the foodstuffs of Arcél, but the only one which really caught on in Skouras was millet, which is extremely hardy and highly resistant to rot— a perfect crop for the damp, windswept southern edge of the Littoral.
In the mid 2500s traders from Belesao, exploring alternative routes to the south, discovered Ereláe. This was rememebered in Jaešim, which in 2988 founded its colony in Fananak, which would have a major effect on the southwest of the continent.
Kebri was trading with Arcél by 3200, and Verduria half a century later. In 3376 the Kebreni took direct control of Pahsau. In 3438 the Verdurians took effective control of Jebruk island in the southeast.