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Hammerfell, once known as Hegathe, the Deathland, and Volenfell, is a province in the west of Tamriel, bordering Skyrim, Cyrodiil, and High Rock. This province is dominated by the wasteland of the Alik'r desert. It is inhabited by the human race of Redguards, who fled to Tamriel after their home, Yokuda, was destroyed.
Hammerfell is predominately an urban and maritime province, with most of its population confined to the great port and trade cities. The interior is sparsely populated with small poor farms and beastherds. The Redguards' love of travel, adventure, and the high seas have dispersed them as sailors, mercenaries, and adventurers in ports of call throughout the Empire.
Hammerfell was originally called Hegathe by the Aldmer and the Deathland by the early Nedic people, both terms roughly meaning the same thing. In 1E 420, the Dwemer Rourken Clan settled the region after opposing the creation of the joint Dwemer-Chimer state of Resdayn. It is said that the leader of the clan threw his mighty hammer, Volendrung, across the continent, and followed it west to their new home. The region eventually became known as Volenfell, or "City of the Hammer", after the Dwemer capital built near the location of modern-day Gilane. The Dwemer of Volenfell vanished in 1E 700 along with the rest of the Dwemer race, and their empty cities were looted by Akaviri and Nordic pirates before being reclaimed by nature.
Over a century passed before civilization would return to Volenfell. Fleeing the sinking of their homeland Yokuda around 1E 792, the Yokudans sailed eastward in a fleet called the Ra Gada. The majority of the refugees landed at the isle of Herne, while the remainder sailed on to Tamriel, a vanguard of invading warriors who would pave the way for the rest of their people. The Ra Gada warriors, who came to be called the Redguards, began their conquest in 1E 808 and won the entire area of what would become Hammerfell in only a few major battles against native Orc and Breton populations. The Yokudan government, the Na-Totambu, was transplanted whole, and within the next century Volenfell became known as Hammerfell, a rough translation of the Dwemeris term.
Assimilation into the rest of Tamriel began relatively quickly, as the Yokudans, while displacing the Nedic men, adopted many of their customs and traditions. Over time, Redguard society divided into two groups, depending on their allegiance to the old Yokudan ways or the new ways of Tamriel. When Hammerfell was conquered by the Second Empire, these groups became formal "parties" that aided Cyrodiil's administration of the province. The Crowns, followers of the traditions of the Na-Totambu, retained their rights of noble council under Imperial rule. The Forebears, descended from the first Ra Gada settlers of Tamriel, were finally granted rights of ownership within their tribal districts. This "republic", however, lasted only so long as the Empire was strong enough to support it. During the Interregnum, the Crowns quickly reestablished a hereditary monarchy and reasserted their dominance over the Forebears. Adding insult to injury, the new High King of Hammerfell moved his throne from Old Hegathe to the more prosperous Forebear city of Sentinel, capital of the province to this day.
After the death of the last High King of Hammerfell, Thassad II, in 2E 862, the Forebears took Sentinel by force in a bid to end the Crowns' oppression. Thassad's son Prince A'tor moved to recapture the city, resulting in the bloodiest massacre in Hammerfell's history. The Forebears sought aid from Tiber Septim and the Third Empire, and together they defeated A'tor's forces at the Battle of Hunding Bay. Septim took the opportunity to install Imperial governors in Hammerfell's major cities in a bid to draw the region into his burgeoning Empire, part of his ongoing conquest of Tamriel. The ruthless tactics of the governors resulted in rebellions in Stros M'Kai and Sentinel, however, forcing Septim to agree to a treaty with the Crown and Forebear factions in order to keep Hammerfell an Imperial province.
Centuries later, the Thalmor of the Aldmeri Dominion would attempt to seize control of Hammerfell from the Third Empire. Emperor Titus Mede II's refusal to concede to Thalmor demands triggered the Great War in 4E 171. Aldmeri forces crossed western Cyrodiil and invaded Hammerfell's southern coast, easily sweeping through the scattered resistance put up by the disunited Redguards. Initially only seeking to conquer Hammerfell, the Dominion launched a full-scale invasion of Cyrodiil when it realized the Empire was weaker than previously believed. Imperial fortunes took a turn for the better in Hammerfell two years later, when a Forebear army from Sentinel broke the siege of the Crown city of Hegathe, leading to the reconciliation of the two factions. After the Empire's hard-won victory in the Battle of the Red Ring in 4E 175, the Empire and Dominion signed the White-Gold Concordat and ended the war. Outraged that the terms of the treaty called for a large portion of southern Hammerfell to be turned over to the Dominion, however, the Redguards soundly rejected it. Titus II was forced to officially renounce Hammerfell as an Imperial province to preserve the peace, and fighting between the Aldmeri and Redguards continued. In 4E 180, the exhausted Dominion agreed to the Second Treaty of Stros M'Kai and finally withdrew from the region, leaving Hammerfell an independent albeit devastated nation.
Hammerfell is a barren and rocky place, the vast Alik'r desert taking up most of it, with fertile grassland only on the coasts. As such, the major population centers are on the coastline, while the majority of the country is inhabited only by shifting sands and nomadic tribes. In the north are the Dragontail Mountains, home of the misunderstood groups of Orcs reviled by many Bretons and Redguards.
Redguards are divided between the cosmopolitan, progressive Forebears and the fundamentalist, isolationist Crowns. The Forebears are the descendants of the Yokudan military class, the Ra Gada, and are generally open to outside cultures such as the Imperials and Bretons; the Crowns are the descendants of the Yokudan noble class and still prefer to shun outsiders, vying to preserve the customs and culture of their ancestors.
 Notable Places
- Alik'r Desert
- A massive desert that encompasses most of the Hammerfell region.
- A city-state in Hammerfell, just south of the border with High Rock and Skyrim.
- A town in eastern Hammerfell, close to the border with both Skyrim and Cyrodiil.
- A town in southern Hammerfell lying west of Taneth and southeast of Sentinel.
- A town in southwestern Hammerfell that served as the capital until the Interregnum.
- A port city on the coast of the Abecean Sea, on the main road between Anvil and Taneth.
- A major port city overlooking the Iliac Bay and capital of Hammerfell.
- A town in north-central Hammerfell.
- Stros M'Kai
- A tropical island off the southern coast of Hammerfell near the Cape of the Blue Divide.
- A town in southern Hammerfell on the Abecean Sea lying northwest of Rihad and east of Gilane.
- ^ a b c d e Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition: The Ra Gada: Hammerfell — Imperial Geographical Society, 3E 432
- ^ a b Pocket Guide to the Empire, 1st Edition: Hammerfell — Imperial Geographical Society, 2E 864
- ^ A Concise Account of the Great War Between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion — Legate Justianus Quintius