A Brief History of Porthaven
Northeastern Realmgard was last unified under the Empire of the Islands during the period of fragmentation of the ancient Elven Empire. Since then, the population of the region has been largely concentrated in the self-governing city states now known as the Free Cities of Realmgard.
The majority of the Free Cities east of the Midwood were founded either as frontier cities of the Empire, left to their own devices as Imperial authority withdrew from the region, or as colonies of the older cities which eventually were granted or won independence from their mother city either through diplomacy or revolt.
Conversely, the most northerly Free Cities were either founded by refugees fleeing the strife of the tumultuous final centuries of the Empire or else benefitted from an influx of these refugees.
Initially founded as an relatively minor Imperial port town serving as a midpoint between the older and more prominent city of Goldharbour and the lands of Terrace’s northern seas. Porthaven, along with much of the northeastern coast, was incorporated into the territory of the Empire of the Sea, becoming one of its major cities and even briefly its capital. From this point, Porthaven became a tradition haven for pirates, mercenaries, and adventurers in light of the Empire of the Islands’ reliance on sea power to both defend its own interests and encroach on the interests of its rivals.
Many early prominent figures in the history of the Brotherhood of the Coasts were either residents of or frequent visitors to Porthaven and the city remains famously associated with pirates.
The complete collapse of any semblance of Imperial control in northeastern Realmgard precipitated Porthaven’s independence and self-governance.
From the very beginning of its existence as an independent city-state, Porthaven has been ruled by an elected Prince presiding over a municipal government that is at least ostensibly republican, modelled loosely on the local, communal assemblies established by the early Elves and maintained even throughout the Imperial period.
The complete collapse of any semblance of Imperial authority in the north of Realmgard led to the election of the first Prince of Porthaven and the rise of Porthaven as an independent polity.
In the context of the rulership of Porthaven, the word “Prince” derives from the Elven princeps, simply meaning “leader” and is a gender-neutral title. Several of the Princes of Porthaven, including the current one, have been women.
Additionally, during times of intense political cynicism and irony in Porthaven, several inanimate objects have been elected Prince of Porthaven.
Porthaven maintains a longstanding rivalry with Goldharbour, its nearest neighbouring Free City— as the crow flies, the city of Greengrove is actually closer, but the only overland route through the mountains is not often used due to its difficulty and the sea route between Porthaven and Goldharbour is shorter than that between Porthaven and Greengrove.
Historically, this rivalry has escalated into numerous trade wars and actual wars. In recent generations, the two cities have begun presenting a united front to the face of encroachment from the northern Free Cities.
Citizens of the two cities freely mock each other, though for the most part it remains genial and good-natured.
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