From a small pamphlet entitled ‘A Primer on Eorzean Geopolitics for New Researchers’ by Archon Niniri Niri.
The First Rule of Ul: The Ul dynasty is, in truth, a branch of the Belah’dian ruling dynasty, and emerged from that ancient bloodline in the year 964 of the Sixth Astral Era. The events that triggered this was the death of the reigning Sultan of Belah’dia and the succession crisis that ensued between Sasagan and Sasawefu, who had begun a civil war over the throne even before their father’s demise, eventually culminating in the dissolution of Belah’dia in the year of 969 and the founding of Thanalan’s twin nations, Sil’dih, ruled by Sasawefu and Ul’dah, under Sasagan, founder of the Ul dynasty. Soon after this founding Sasagan went on to form the Sultansworn, an order of paladins that continue to defend the Ul dynasty to this day. These states went on to co-exist for centuries, albeit fighting bitterly between themselves for this entire period. Although the civil war had never truly ended, and the sands of Thanalan drank deeply of the children of Belah’dia’s blood over the years, it had nevertheless existed in an equilibrium until Sil’dih dealt Ul’dah an insult it could neither bear, nor survive.
Sil’dih’s King in the year of 1159 was named Lalawefu, later earning the sobriquet ‘King of Springs’ by his actions in the coming year. Lalawefu was wise, and saw that his nation’s economy was in poor straits and needed a boost. He achieved this quite successfully by drawing water from a previously untapped (by Sil’dih) water source, bringing his nation in prosperity and making him widely popular. It also had a dire, yet entirely intended, side-effect however. The aquifer used by Lalawefu was the primary source of water for Ul’dah, and by stealing their waters the King had both dealt a blow to Ul’dahn pride and inflicted a calamitous drought upon them. The Ul dynasty could not let this stand.
The Ul’dahns began to plot and scheme, and when the King of Springs died of illness during a grand drought in 1177, Ul’dah sprung into action. The armies of these twin nations clashed in battle, sparking a war that lasted many years and claimed many more lives, yet persisted in a state of stalemate. After 5 years the Ul’dahns had grown entirely sick of this, and the Ul dynasty turned to their talented Thaumaturges, entreating them to use even their darkest magics to solve the issue of Sil’dih. These mages complied to a monstrous degree, creating a vile substance that could raise the corpses of the spoken raises in undeath, which was then catapulted into the city of Sil’dih over its high walls during a siege. The effect was immediate and utterly horrifying, with those who had died of starvation, or indeed any other cause, rose and set upon their fellow citizens with the ferocity of a starving beast, and those who they slew rose in turn to do the same. Sil’dih collapsed almost immediately, and hoping to avoid the inhuman sounds of terror and agony echoing forth from the city the current Sultan, Sasagan Ul Sisigan declared that the Sil’dihns had caused the plague in order to destroy Ul’dah, and led his army into the city, purging it, permanently ending the state of Sil’dih.
The Rule of Thorne: What Sasagan had done to Sil’dih was so horrific, so reckless, that even with the rivalry between the two nations if Ul’dah ever found out about his actions then he’d be condemned to the highest degree. As many secrets do, however, Sasagan’s shame leaked to the public via the actions of a member of Ul’dah’s hyuran nobility, Baldurf Thorne. Thorne discovered the nature of Sil’dih’s fate and immediately was possessed by a deep rage. He railed against the Sultan publicly, and the Sultan declared that he should be offended, but such was the horror of the Sultan’s acts that his guards and court refused his orders and seized him, imprisoning him in Ul’dah’s deepest prisons for the rest of his life.
Baldurf, despite not wanting the post, took the throne by popular demand and began the Thorne dynasty, but made it clear that he did not intend for this new dynasty to be permanent, instead commanding that when the Sultanate and the Ul family were ready, he or his descendants would step down and elevate the old bloodline to its rightful place. The Thorne dynasty went on to produce a number of the Sultans that made critical decisions for their city state, such as burying further the existence of the undeath-causing weapon of Sasagan to prevent it being used, founding the Copperbell Mines and purchasing the gigants that staffed it, moving Ul’dah onto the site of the ruined Sil’dih and forging a temporary alliance with the Amal’jaa to purge the city of the undead when they rose again.
The Second Rule of Ul: In the wake of the purging of the undead, the Thorne dynasty looked out across a stable realm and decided that it was time to grant the Ul dynasty the throne once more. The old bloodline returned to the throne 200 years after they were deposed, and continued the work of the Thrones in making Ul’dah a powerful trade nation. In this they were successful, but the selfsame success broke the power of the Ul’dahn royalty. The merchant class grew rapidly in power, and as they grew the power of the nobility and monarchy decreased. Less than a century after taking the throne again the Ul dynasty were forced to establish a council of plutocrats, the Syndicate, and over the next two centuries these individuals have grown to become the true power behind the throne, and the true rulers of Ul’dah.