Warmed by ocean currents from the west, Gurdago is a surprisingly large city for its latitude; however, throughout its history it has had to rely on cheap imports to sustain itself. Most of Luduyn proper is too cold for dense settlement, but it is a source of lumber (from its conifer forests), furs, Mgunikpe slaves, minerals and gems (from the elcari of the Diqun Bormai). The cold makes rye the most sensible cereal crop. The huge iron deposits on Rudeŋ island, combined with its ready access to wood, are an invaluable military resource.
By 1600, Gurdago was a rich trading state with several dependencies in the Littoral; its faraway location effectively protected it from any threat of Tžuro attack, and it used this advantage to meddle in Skourene affairs. Lord Adesdanti of Peligi, taking advantage of the Tžuro threat to consolidate his control over most of Skouras, provoked a Gurdagor invasion. Gurdago took Minṭu to safeguard its sea routes, and landed troops at Guṭḷeli in 1641. With the aid of Iṭili and Tisuram, Gurdago liberated the eastern half of Skouras, making its 'allies' into client states. When Peligi acquired Kolatimand in 1670 (making possible a march on Guṭḷeli by land, and disrupting Gurdagor control over the Littoral), Gurdago declared war; after nearly a decade of fighting neither state was victorious, leaving Skouras vulnerable to the expansionist Kurundasti Tej. When the Tžuro invaded, Gurdago was temporarily able to secure the independence of Gudlai (Guṭḷeli), but it lacked enough resources in the Littoral to resist the Tej. Though it took them a while, the Tžuro more or less conquered the Littoral, leaving Gurdago to look elsewhere to satisfy its imperialist ambitions.
See also: History of Jeor
Gurdago's empire in Jeor began, naturally enough, as trading outposts, which developed into fortresses and then (by the eighteenth century) into a full-fledged colonial endeavor. Taking advantage of the Sainor conquest of Axunai, Gurdago took possession of the Tanel peninsula in 2380, conquering Deinotaren and Niormen. The Axunemi rather preferred the barbarians to the Gurdagor; whereas the former respected established the Axunašin language and administrative structures, the latter set up their own, and, worse, destroyed the largest Endajué temple in each town they occupied. With the Gelyet invasion, Deinotaren reasserted its independence from Gurdago. When Hiuriaz, the headman of the Gelyet, died in 2505, the Gurdagor took the opportunity to reclaim their lands in Jeor and Niormen. However, the new Gelyet leader Länguraz destroyed Gurdago's empire in a single year (2508); the only thing that stopped him from crossing into Luduyn to sack Gurdago was promises of submission and massive tribute. In 2607, the expanding Čisran Empire easily took Jecuor (Ḍidbur), thanks in part to Gurdagor's harsh style of ruling their overseas subjects. With this, Gurdago's second empire came to an end.
Still keeping its imperialist mindset, Gurdago now concentrated on colonizing the Kra valley (beginning in 2670). The surrounding Mgunikpe were impoverished hunter-gatherers, but these had now been replaced by Čia agriculturalists and reindeer herders. They had established chieftains of their own, but had no weapons more advanced than bows and arrows as well as small axes, and were easily conquered.
The Gurdagor felt it was their duty to kindly civilize the natives, and built schools, courts, and garrisions, which created a native middle class. To forestall dissent among their own people, the Gurdagor extended the senatorial vote to all wealthy enough males of undiluted Gurdagor blood.
Gurdago's overconfidence and heavy-handedness, though, once again proved its downfall: the Gurdagor naturally assumed that their colonial subjects would be happy to accept their rule, and declined to learn native languages. The Čia, having seen the benefits of civilization, decided they'd rather try it on their own instead. The Čia garrison in Luxae rebelled in 3215, and the revolt spread; finally, the Gurdagor signed a peace agreement 3237. The remaining Čia peoples were free within a century.
At present, Gurdago is left without an empire, dreaming of its rather more glorious past. Gurdagor shipbuilding skill has declined, while the more advanced northern powers are now busy with their own colonies.
Etymology: Old Skourene Guṭḍaku ‘New Guṭḷeli', Uṭandal Gurdagu, Gurdagor Gurdago, Tžuro Gučidak, Ver. Gurdago; Ax. Kurarnaku from Old Skourene Skuranaku ‘New Skouras’, X. Xoranas; Luxajia Puŋie ‘big city’.
|Author: Adso de Fimnu|