- Main article: Unification of Ferelden
When the Alamarri peoples first split from Neromenians and migrated south in -1220 TE, they found a new homeland and called it "Ferelden", which means "fertile valley" in their tongue. However, the fertile valley did not become a nation for another 2800 years. This period of time is littered with numerous wars the Alamarri tribes waged, both with foreign powers such as the Tevinter Imperium, as well as their fellow tribes. During that time the Alamarri developed their political system which remains largely intact to this day. With time, powerful nobles would turn their land into bannorns, then arlings, and finally teyrnirs. The nobles continued the Alamarri tradition of infighting and continued to fight with each other over petty matters in order to gain more power. A few of the most powerful Alamarri put forward their bid for kingship over the Alamarri, but without success.
Then in the Exalted Age came a man named Calenhad who was born to a merchant. Through a series of events he got involved in the war for kingship, during which time he first became a servant to one of the candidates for the throne. When his master decided to use him to gain advantage against other nobles, Calenhad acted honourably; and through his actions gained respect and command of the armies of his former master. He married his master's noble daughter, and became a teyrn - and a candidate for king himself.
As he was leading his men more joined his side, for he was known to be more honourable than other true nobles. Calenhad also gained followers in the Circle of Magi, as well as the Ash Warriors. By then, the Chantry had become very popular in other lands. Calenhad gained the trust of those amongst the Alamarri who followed the faith, as he was said to be a devoted Andrastian himself.
In 5:42 Exalted a Landsmeet was called and Calenhad made an appearance with his army, including mages of the Circle, templars and the Ash Warriors. With allies at his side, Calenhad challenged the biggest threat to his rule, the most powerful noble - Simeon, the teyrn of Denerim. Calenhad was matched in combat and wounded, but ultimately defeated Simeon. The nobles voted him king, and the fertile valley became the nation of Ferelden. Calenhad Theirin started the royal family of Theirins who sat on the Fereldan Throne for the next three centuries.
Grey Warden rebellion
In 7:5 Storm, King Arland Theirin, who earned the reputation of a tyrant, ascended to the throne. Some banns approached Warden-Commander Sophia Dryden, who previously held a claim to the throne, to intercede, and she agreed. She violated the Grey Wardens' neutrality by gathering allies to rebel against the king. Arland discovered the plot and his forces eventually routed Sophia and her followers at Soldier's Peak, where the Wardens held out for a brief time, despite being outnumbered. After defeating the Wardens at Soldier's Peak, Arland banished them from Ferelden. The order would have no presence in Ferelden for another two centuries.
Little is known of what followed Arland's rule, as a civil war for the throne occurred soon after his death. The war lasted a decade and wiped away most records of his reign.
The nation was invaded by Orlais in 8:24 Blessed and fully conquered 20 years later. For the next 78 years it was under Orlesian occupation. Orlesian noble Meghren was installed as the king of Ferelden during the late years of the occupation, and the Theirins were forced into hiding while keeping alive the rebellion.
Ferelden was freed through the efforts of Maric Theirin, who was the rightful heir to the throne, and a commoner, Loghain. Loghain and Rowan Guerrin defeated two legions of chevaliers sent to support Meghren at the Battle of River Dane, forcing Emperor Florian to withdraw all support for Meghren. Eventually by 9:2 Dragon, King Meghren and the remnants of his court fled to and barricaded themselves inside Fort Drakon. Maric challenged Meghren to a duel and killed him in single combat, ending his rule and the Orlesian occupation. Maric then married Rowan and set out to rebuild Ferelden.
In 9:30 Dragon, the Grey Wardens, who were allowed to return to Ferelden in 9:10 by Maric, warned that Blight was due to occur in Ferelden and gathered the King's army in hopes of stopping it in its infancy. But memories of the Orlesian occupation lingered in many Fereldan minds, especially Loghain's, who opposed inviting Orlesian forces to aid Ferelden against the Blight, but King Cailan, Maric's son, was determined to put old hatreds aside for the sake of fighting the darkspawn. It was then at that pivotal battle at the ruins of Ostagar, when Loghain abandoned Cailan and the Wardens to the darkspawn. After returning to Denerim, Loghain installed himself as regent and claimed that the Wardens were the ones who abandoned the battle. But having seized the throne so soon after Cailan's death sparked suspicions amongst some of the nobles while other swallowed the lie, sparking civil war that threatened to leave the nation vulnerable to the Blight.However, two Grey Wardens managed to survive the massacre and worked to recruit an army to fight the Blight using ancient treaties signed by the groups to aid the Wardens. Eventually, with the aid of Arl Eamon, the Wardens were able to depose Loghain and united Ferelden to stand against the Blight. The Blight soon ended with the death of the archdemon Urthemiel, sparing Ferelden from destruction.
The climate of Ferelden appears to be temperate, and Ferelden along with Thedas itself is located in the southern hemisphere.
Dividing Ferelden from Orlais to the west are the Frostback Mountains. The southeast holds the Brecilian Forest, where in 9:30 Dragon a clan of Dalish elves can be found. To the far south are the forbidding forests, swamps and eventually tundra of the Korcari Wilds. To the north of the Wilds lie the Southron Hills and the Hinterlands, and the Free Marches across the sea. The central region of Ferelden contains Lake Calenhad and The Bannorn. In the far northern region are The Coastlands, which include more swamps and forests.
In 9:41 Dragon, the Monarchy offered the rebel mages sanctuary in Ferelden, in the Arling of Redcliffe. The mages gratefully accepted the offer however the Templar host pursued them across the border. Skirmishes between rebel mages and templars sparked through out the Hinterlands. Their generosity to the rebel mages however, drew some ire and some speculate that Starkhaven placed sanctions on trade against Ferelden as a sign of protest.
Chaos erupted after the explosion that caused the Breach destroyed the Chantry's peace Conclave. As the brutality of the Mage-Templar War escalated, many hunted rebel mages and apostates congregated to Fiona's refuge in Redcliffe. Some of these mage refugees were Tevinter infiltrators who encouraged an alliance with the Tevinter Imperium as the situation with the mage rebellion grew dire. With the best attempt at a peaceful resolution destroyed at the Temple of Sacred Ashes in the Breach, the war continues to rage across Thedas. The Hinterlands region particularly became a site of fierce conflict with heavy collateral damage caused by both sides. Grand Enchanter Fiona conceded to agree to the alliance and Magister Gereon Alexius used time warping magic to officialize it in a timely manner. Alexius however was also a Venatori agent and usurped Redcliffe Castle, alienating the mage rebellion's sole benefactor. With the mage rebellion's survival now dependent on their alliance with the Tevinter Imperium, Alexius changed the terms of the alliance and conscripted the southern mages into indentured servitude. He then orders his forces to displace the people of Redcliffe from their homes.
Inquisitor recruits the Mages: The Venatori, led by Gereon Alexius, take over Redcliffe Castle in Redcliffe Village. Using time traveling magic, Alexius was able to conscript the rebel mages before the Inquisition. Should the Inquisitor choose to recruit the rebel mages, the Inquisition will oust Alexius from power. The Fereldan monarch(s) (Alistair and/or Anora, depending on who was made sovereign) arrive and order the rebel mages to leave Ferelden. The Inquisitor can then either take the mages on as full-fledged allies or conscripted prisoners.
Inquisitor recruits the Templars:The Venatori, led by Gereon Alexius, used time traveling magic and was able to conscript the rebel mages before the Inquisition. Arl Gallagher Wulff evidently allied with the Venatori with good intentions. He believed the rebel mages if they were co-opted by the Venatori, would withdraw to Tevinter where they would lead better lives while their absence restored peace and stability to Ferelden. The Venatori, however, take over Redcliffe Castle in Redcliffe Village and kills Alexius once he stops being useful. Bolstered by brainwashed rebel mages, the Venatori act as Corypheus' army during the attack on Haven.
- Dales End
- Dosov — Chasind settlement
- Elmridge — a small town in West Hills
- Harper's Ford
- Redcliffe Village
- Redhold - Avvar Settlement
- South Reach — east of Lothering, part of the Arling
- Southmere — within the Hinterlands
- Vintiver — within the Southron Hills
- Wutherford - probably near Lake Calenhad Docks
- Wyvern Hold — Avvar Settlement
- Kinloch Hold
- Redcliffe Castle
- Soldier's Peak
- Vigil's Keep
- West Hill
- Fort Drakon
- Castle Cousland
- Caer Oswin
- Therinfal Redoubt
- Current teyrnirs:
- Current arlings:
- Edgehall — located west of Lake Calenhad
- South Reach — between Lothering and Denerim
- West Hills — south of Redcliffe
- Known bannorns:
- Calon - Under the domain of the Arling of Redcliffe 
- City of Amaranthine
- Dragon's Peak
- Oswin — Bann Loren's lands
- Southern Bannorn — on the eastern shore of Lake Calenhad
- Waking Sea — on the northern shore of Ferelden
- West Hill
- White River
- Winter's Breath
- Within Amaranthine:
- Brandel's Reach
- Brecilian Forest
- Frostback Mountains
- Gherlen's Pass
- Sulcher's Pass
- The Hinterlands
- Korcari Wilds
- Lake Calenhad
- Southron Hills
- Ruswold Valley
- Ferelden's coastline faces the Waking Sea to the north and the Amaranthine Ocean to the east.
- The Imperial Highway enters Ferelden in the Frostback Mountains via Gherlen's Pass and circles Lake Calenhad and the Bannorn. Then one branch ends in Denerim and another at Ostagar which is also the Highway's southmost point.
- The Bannorn is effectively the "bread-basket" of Ferelden, containing the most arable land.
- Ferelden has two islands off its northeast coast: one containing the city of Alamar and another named Brandel's Reach. Alamar is considered rather independent of Fereldan politics. This could be explained by the rocky Brandel's Reach reputedly being a haven for raiders, making Alamar an unpopular place to live or visit.
- The various hills and mountains of Ferelden are still occupied by Avvars, and the Korcari Wilds by the Chasind, tribes independent of Ferelden. Dalish elves can also be found travelling through the nation.
Culture and society
Ferelden is a relatively temperate nation in the far southeast of Thedas, historically populated by a simple militaristic culture that has only begun to "civilize" in the last few centuries. The Andrastian Chantry is now revered by the 90% of the population. Fereldan cities are considered virtually anarchic by the standards of most outsiders. The Fereldan desire for freedom has engendered a cultural mistrust of law enforcement, and 'laissez-faire' attitudes in general. While the worst offenses are quickly put down, many others are ignored and citizens are often left to make their own justice. Petty theft is common, as guardsmen will only go out of their way to deal with serious disruptions. Commerce is given little official scrutiny as long as taxes are paid; businesses such as brothels and gambling halls are not only tolerated, but expected.
Ferelden society is descended directly from Alamarri tribal culture and its respect for skill and ability. It is most generally broken up into the nobility and commoners (including City Elves). There are also crafters and crafthouses (similar to guilds), who make up a highly valued middle tier between the lowest noble and the highest common classes. They have total power over certain industries in Ferelden.
Beneath the crafthouses, the population is subdivided into common classes called "High Freemen" and "Low Freemen." High freemen are comprised of freeholders (land owners), soldiers and other employed individuals. Low freemen are made up of criminals, prostitutes and elves. For all that, all freemen are allowed to live and go where they wish, and make a living as they will.
In Ferelden, nobles have proper last names, such as the Howes or the Couslands. Sometimes commoners will have last names that stem from noble lines, foreign origins, land ownership or titles granted to family members in the past. Otherwise, most Fereldan commoners introduce themselves with a reference to the area they come from or to their trade, e.g. Gareth of Oswin or Lomo Kettlemaker.
Like many countries in Thedas, Ferelden has a large population of elves who are segregated from the rest of society and live in walled-off alienages. Those who do not find positions of service outside of the alienage are unable to achieve high-paying jobs, but most seem to feel that they are at least among family who look out for each other.
Importance of dogs
Visitors and travelers to Ferelden are often curious about local attitudes toward dogs. Throughout Thedas dogs are employed in hunting game, keeping barns and storehouses free of vermin, herding livestock and guarding homes; in the mountains they may even be used as beasts of burden. Fereldans, however, show a particular appreciation for canine companions. The origin of this is tangled up in mythology.
Dogs are common in Ferelden, both amongst the nobles as well as the common folk and mercenaries such as the Ash Warriors. Keeping dogs is a tradition kept since the times before Ferelden, started by the Alamarri tribes. The barbarians were introduced to mabari by the magisters, who brought the dogs with them during their invasion of the land; many of the dogs decided to stay in the occupied lands after their original masters were defeated.
Fereldan law is relatively unregulated compared to that of older nations, and is expected on an individual level to be supplemented by one's martial prowess. Indeed, most petty crimes like theft are overlooked by the city guard in Denerim, whose main concern is protecting their posts. Consequently, the common Fereldan should not expect much help fending off criminal activity unless murder or major property damage has occurred. Slavery is illegal in Ferelden, but criminals still practice it in secret.
There are no laws regulating personal behavior such as bearing arms, drinking, gambling and prostitution. Similarly, local prejudices and violence against non-human residents—notably alienage elves—often go unpunished. In part this is pragmatism, as Ferelden king's law states that killing a human in defense of an elf is a crime.
This is not to say that Ferelden is lawless; quite the opposite. The king's seneschal personally appoints arbiters—judges—called "blackhallers" to hear disputes. Blackhallers adjudicate cases from the black granite senschal's hall in Denerim—hence the name—and in the countryside, sheriffs appointed by the local bann patrol and keep track of upcoming cases for the blackhallers to hear.
Given the blackhallers' busy schedules, trials can take some time to occur. A suspect may surrender an item of great value to the local sheriff and be released "on his bond" until the time of the trial rather than waiting in a dungeon. This property will be returned if the suspect returns to be judged. Otherwise, the property is retained by the sheriff and the suspect has the charge of fleeing justice added to their criminal record.
As long-term imprisonment is frowned upon in general in Ferelden, punishment is often quick and violent. Common methods include public humiliation, whipping, disfigurement, fines and even executions.
There's no firm rule that dictates who rules the household. Fereldans are willful and their families tend to be managed by whoever can. Usually, the oldest child inherits the majority of the property regardless of gender, but there are some cases where a younger brother or sister is named the heir simply because he or she seems more capable.
- Main article: Fereldan royalty and nobility
Unlike most kingdoms, power does not reside exclusively with the nobility. Rather, it arises from the support of the freeholders and even the king is not the unchallenged ruler. For many centuries the nobility has gathered annually to hold the Landsmeet, a council which functions as the official legislative body of Ferelden and it can even override the king or queen on any matter of law.
Some Fereldan vassals must be goaded instead of ordered--swayed, not ruled. Vassals owe military obligations to their liege, yet often deny even sworn oaths and signed contracts. In contrast, the vassals expect their liege's protection despite provocation otherwise. A successful Fereldan liege applies force, persuasion, and duplicity in equal measure.--From A Guide to Statecraft, published anonymously
—From Codex entry: Vassals and their Liege
The royalty and nobility of Ferelden is divided into several ranks.
Notable people with Fereldan origins
- Cailan Theirin
- Calenhad Theirin
- Eamon Guerrin
- Ferdinand Genitivi
- Loghain Mac Tir
- Maric Theirin
- Nathaniel Howe
- The Warden (if not a human magi, Dwarf Noble, Dalish elf or commoner dwarf)
- Visiting foreigners (notably Sten and Marjolaine) have claimed that "Ferelden smells of wet dogs".
- Ferelden is approximately the size of England.
See alsoCodex entry: Geography of Ferelden Codex entry: History of Ferelden: Chapter 1 Codex entry: History of Ferelden: Chapter 2 Codex entry: Politics of Ferelden Codex entry: The Noble Families of Ferelden Codex entry: Culture of Ferelden Codex entry: Dogs in Ferelden Codex entry: Ferelden After the Blight