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The Crown Wars were a series of elven wars fought early in the history of Faerûn. Over a period of 3,000 years, the great elven kingdoms participated in five primary conflicts, leading to the near destruction of the elven race.
When, in approximately −14,700 DR the Vyshaan, ruling clan of the sun elf kingdom of Aryvandaar, discovered an alleged link between their family and the Olrythii, ruling family of dark and wood elves of Miyeritar, Coronal Ivósaar Vyshaan chose to make a claim toward the rulership of the latter kingdom. When peaceful overtures were rebuffed, the Aryvandaarans began raiding the borders of Miyeritar until war broke out in earnest in −12,000 DR. By −11,800 DR, Aryvandaar fully occupied Miyeritar, but the country did not come fully under Aryvandaaran control for another 500 years. The remaining elven kingdoms were both shocked and spurred by the aggressive war, and the Second Crown War broke out while the first was still being waged.
Second Crown War
Ostensibly in support of their Miyeritar allies, the dark elf country of Ilythiir attacked the moon elf kingdom of Orishaar, then escalated the conflict to encompass Thearnytaar, Eiellûr, and Syòrpiir, utterly destroying them. The brutality of these attacks led to the creation of the epithet dhaerow, meaning "traitor," to describe the dark elves of Ilythiir. The Ilythiiri conflicts, which began in approximately −11,700 DR, spanned over 1,200 years, and during the course of the savage war, the demon goddess Lolth took the opportunity to seduce the ruling families and powers in the kingdom further towards evil, assisted by a fiendish balor named Wendonai.
Third Crown War
In about −10,900 DR, Aryvandaar (now known as the Vyshaantar Empire) was aided by a fallen solar named Malkizid in invading the sun and moon elf kingdom of Shantel Othreier. The war waged for nearly 300 years until Shantel Othreier surrendered after the death of their coronal.
Fourth Crown War
In −10,500 DR, owing to destructive magics of Vyshaantar, the Dark Disaster occurred, and a magical storm turned Miyeritar into the wasteland now known as the High Moor. Enraged at the destruction of their dark-elf brothers' land, Ilythiiri savagely attacked the Vyshaantar Empire. The Ilythiiri began to openly worship evil gods and commit such acts of atrocities that all the remaining elven kingdoms decided to expel the Ilythiiri dark elves from Corellon Larethian's grace. The most powerful mages and clerics succeeded in completing the ritual in about −10,000 DR, though it had the adverse effect of corrupting all dark elves, not just the intended Ilythiirians. The dark elves were driven underground, and the epithet dhaerow would eventually change into drow.
Fifth Crown War
The fragile peace was shattered in −9200 DR when the Corellon Larethian-mandated Elven Court decreed that the sun elf clan of Vyshaan was responsible for the thousands of years of war. The Vyshaantar Empire disputed the charges and madly declared war on everyone. Within 200 years, the ancient kingdom of Aryvandaar was no more.
While not officially named the Sixth Crown War, the Seven Citadels' War is sometimes colloquially referred to as the Sixth Crown War.
The Seven Citadels' War was a set of skirmishes between the elite forces of Siluvanede and the fledgling forces of Eaerlann. It began when the High Mages of Arcorar tracked down House Dlardrageth to Ascal's Horn in −4500 DR. With the help of Eaerlann, they captured or killed several of the Dlardrageths.
- Crown Wars timeline for a detailed timeline.
- Steven E. Schend and Kevin Melka (1998). Cormanthyr: Empire of the Elves. (TSR, Inc). ISBN 0-7069-0761-4.