Skylan is a territory that was at various times a duchy within the New Haven kingdom, an independent Kingdom, and a subordinate province within the Mainland. Today, the area is an integral part of the Grand Republic of Oranjestad. Skylan is known for its scenic views and extensive cavern systems, where much of the old kingdom ruins still exist.
Duchy of Skylan
The title "Duke of Skylan" was held, from 1235, by various members of the Welf family who ruled several small territories south of the Mainland. These holdings did not have all of the formal characteristics of a state, being neither compact nor indivisible. When several sons of a Duke competed for power, the lands were often divided between them; when a branch of the family lost power or became extinct, the lands were reallocated among surviving members of the family; different dukes might also exchange territories.
The line that would lead to the House of Skylan was that of Bernard, one of the three sons of Duke Magnus II who had jointly ruled several New Haven territories since 1388, but who partitioned the territory in 1428 and 1432. Bernard received the modern-day territory of Skylan.
Kingdom of Skylan
In the wake of New Haven's collapse in 1498, the Duke of Skylan Bernard II declared himself to be Lord Sovereign of an independent Skylan. In keeping with tradition, his title was elevated to Archduke, and never used the term 'King'.
Under Bernard II's six-year reign, he never left the underground caverns of the Kingdom, and succumbed to dementia early on in his reign. His son Joseph became Archduke in 1504. Joseph helped drive an economic boom for the kingdom, and soon impressive new housing complexes were built throughout the caverns, providing shelter for thousands of residents. Joseph would also eventually succumb to dementia in 1520, thus beginning rumors of what would eventually become known as the "Skylan Sickness".
In 1684, Skylan occupied neighboring Oranjestad on the orders of Archduke Joseph IV. Joseph IV, speculated to also be suffering from a form of dementia at the time, was utterly convinced of a coming Great War in the East, and ordered the seizure of several outlying territories in order to strengthen Skylan's borders. The invasion caused alarm among Skylan's neighbors and resulted in the formation of the Eastern League in 1686. In the ensuing War of the Grand Alliance, Skylan was forced to give up its conquered territories, and Oranjestad was returned to the Mainlanders by the Treaty of Fat-Llama in 1697.
Skylan again invaded Oranjestad in 1795 under similar circumstances, with Archduke Joseph the Imaginer leading the charge. In January 1815, Skylan was driven out of the area by the Grand Coalition (headed by the Mainland). Forces besieged the Skylan territory and the area suffered heavy bombardment until October 1815 when Skylan forces were defeated. Joseph the Imaginer was executed by his own disillusioned soldiers soon after.
The Congress of Alqualonde in 1815 ordered the dissolution of the Skylan kingdom and placed the region under the control of the Mainland. The new rulers, uninterested in rebuilding the area, allowed the new province to wither. By 1860, the region was almost entirely depopulated, with most Skylan residents opting to flee to the south.
After Oranjestad's independence was reaffirmed in 1867, the Mainland relinquished control of the area to the budding nation. The transfer of the region was formalized in 1872. The region remained largely unpopulated until 1930, when wealthy residents constructed began constructing summer mountain homes atop the former kingdom.
Today, the area is home to just seven mountain home estates, the Keikei Inn, and the Empire Hive housing complex (technically part of Lusus). A volunteer group offers daily tours of the old Skylan ruins within the mountain.