The recorded history of Westeros extends back over 12,000 years, according to tradition, though the accuracy of the legends and myths that recount much of this history is openly questioned by the maesters of the Citadel, amongst others.
As with real-life medieval cultures, the people who inhabit the known world in which the continents of Westeros, Essos, and Sothoryos are located do not possess objective knowledge about how their world was created. This is in contrast with J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, in which characters actually did meet their gods or angelic beings and knew the full history of their world. In the fantasy world in which Westeros is set, civilization just gradually coalesced from the hunter-gatherer level, as in real-life. Many different cultures have their own theories about how the world began and how the human race came to be, usually tied to which religion they practice. Different religions offer drastically different theories on how the world was created. Even more simple "cultural traditions" and oral histories have much to say on the subject but no hard evidence. Some of these oral traditions are known to be simply inaccurate: the Dothraki believe that the first man came into being one thousand years ago, when even the written histories of other continuous civilizations stretch back five to six thousand years.
The earliest written histories date back to about 6,000 years ago, when the Andals first introduced writing to Westeros. The First Men had no writing system more advanced than runes for marking graves, thus all history before 6,000 years ago relies on oral tradition. Many of the events before 6,000 years ago in Westeros, during the Age of Heroes, are half-legendary, and some of the more fanciful tales of these times probably have little basis in reality. Still, all legends and oral histories may have some kernel of truth behind them. Written histories in Essos from the great civilizations of Valyria and Ghis also date back roughly five to six thousand years. Even so, this is about twice as long as the continuous written historical record than exist in our real-life world, our equivalent being if written history were extended unbroken back to the construction of the first ziggurat in ancient Sumeria. Oral tradition extends back twice that long.
A major issue, pointed out by author George R.R. Martin himself, is that as the saying goes, history tends to be written by the victors. Just as in real life, the inhabitants of Westeros during the time frame of the TV series do not possess an objective record of history. History tends to be more accurate the closer it is to the present, but largely in the sense that fables and half-myths tend no longer to be included. All history books display the biases of their authors to some degree. The oldest written histories in Westeros were made by the Andal invaders, and they depicted themselves in a positive light as they killed or conquered the First Men of the south. The Northerners, descended from the First Men who were never conquered by the Andals, have a decidedly negative view of the Andal invasions.
The dating system is based on Aegon the Conqueror's first landing on Westeros which started the Targaryen Conquest. Thus all dates are "AL" for Aegon's Landing or "BAL" for "Before Aegon's Landing".
■ Prehistory: Westeros is inhabited by non-human races: the Children of the Forest, a diminutive species of greenseers and wood-dancers, and the Giants. The Children of the Forest worshiped the gods of nature and are believed to have carved the faces into the Weirwood trees.
■ c. 12,000 Before Aegon's Landing: A human ethnic group, the First Men, invades Westeros across the Arm of Dorne, bearing weapons of bronze. The Children of the Forest destroy the Arm with magic, creating the island chain known as the Stepstones, but the First Men are able to reinforce by ship. A fierce battle for control of Westeros begins. Eventually the Children of the Forest call down the Hammer of the waters to shatter Westeros in two but only succeed in flooding the Neck and transform its fields into swamps and bogs.
■ c.10,000 BAL - Signing of the Pact. After years of warfare, the two sides agree to a truce, signing the Pact on the Isle of Faces. The First Men take control of the open lands and the Children take control of the forested interiors. In time, the First Men adopt the worship of the Old Gods of the Forest. The signing of the Pact marked the end of the Dawn Age, and the beginning of the Age of Heroes.
■ The First Men who settle in the Iron Islands, separated from the mainland, develop their own unique culture based on seafaring and raiding. They become known as the Ironborn, and unlike their First Men cousins on the mainland, develop their own local religion worshiping a deity known as the Drowned God.
■ The First Men who settle in the Neck branch off to form their own unique culture, known as the Crannogmen. They still worship the Old Gods like their neighbors, but their society has adapted to the swampy climate of their territory.
■ c. 8,000 BAL - The Long Night: A great winter that lasts a generation descends on Westeros, followed by a night that goes for years. Under the cover of darkness, the White Walkers invade Westeros from the uttermost north, causing immense suffering and destruction. In the War for the Dawn, the Children and the First Men unite to defeat the Walkers, eventually throwing them back into the north. In the eastern tradition they are led by a great hero of the east, a warrior named Azor Ahai wielding a sword of fire named Lightbringer, but Westerosi accounts do not mention him. A great leader named Brandon Stark raises the Wall with artifice and magic to bar against the Walkers' return. He also founds the castle of Winterfell, founds House Stark and the Night's Watch and, according to some, is named as the first King in the North. Despite their victory, the Children of the Forest suffered heavy losses in the war and begin to disappear from Westeros.
■ The Nightfort is the first castle built on the Wall, and remains the headquarters of the Night's Watch for almost six thousand years. Eighteen additional castles are later built along the Wall, sometimes centuries apart.
■ Those First Men tribes unlucky enough to be living north of the Wall when it is constructed are trapped in the lands beyond. They become isolated from the developing kingdoms to the south and eventually hostile to them, despite their shared ethnic background. These tribes call themselves the "Free Folk", though the kingdoms south of the Wall consider them to be barbarians, and derisively call them the "wildlings". Despite their differences, the Free Folk continue to follow the same religion of the Old Gods, just like their cousins to the south of the Wall.
■ One of the first Lord Commanders of the Night's Watch is, according to legend, seduced by a white-skinned woman from beyond the Wall. He sets himself up as king of the Wall and the Night's Watch, and conducts human sacrifices. The Stark King in the North as well as the wildling King-Beyond-the-Wall, Joramun, unite to defeat him and restore the Night's Watch. Afterwards the evil Lord Commander's name is ordered to be purged from history, so the legends remember him only as the "Night's King".
■ At some point in these centuries, according to legend, a king from the south visited the Wall but gave some great offense to the Nightfort's cook. In revenge, the cook killed the king's son and served his flesh to him in a pie. The legend says that the gods cursed the cook by turning him into a giant rat who eats his own offspring, and he is remembered as the Rat Cook. Later generations would remember this legend as an infamous example of a violation of Guest right, a crime which the gods cannot forgive.
■ Lann the Clever swindles House Casterly out of Casterly Rock and its rich gold mines using nothing but his wits, and becomes the founder of House Lannister.
■ Durran Godsgrief builds the impregnable fortress Storm's End, founding House Durrandon (ancestors of House Baratheon).
■ c. 8,000 - 6,000 BAL: During the Age of Heroes, House Stark of Winterfell gradually establishes more and more control over the rest of The North, so that in time they claim the title King in the North. Some other Northern Houses unite with them voluntarily, such as the warriors of House Umber. Another Stark won Bear Island back from the ironborn in a wrestling match, and gave it to House Mormont to rule. Another Stark king warred with the Marsh King of the Crannogmen to the south, and after their defeat married the last Marsh King's daughter to cement the North's annexation of the Neck. The Starks' great rivals were the second most powerful House in the North, House Bolton. The Stark kings and Bolton kings vied with each other for centuries in bloody wars, and the Boltons were only finally forced into submission to the Starks 6,000 years ago - just as the Andals began to invade Westeros from across the Narrow Sea.
■ c. 6,000 BAL: A race of men from Essos, the Andals, cross the Narrow Sea in numerous ships and make landfall in the Vale of Arryn. Under the banner of the Faith of the Seven, riding horses and wielding weapons made of iron, they overrun and conquer all of Westeros south of the Neck. In a migration lasting several centuries, they spread out from the Vale to invade the rest of southern Westeros. Their attempts to invade the North are frustrated by the North's natural defenses, namely the swamps of the Neck and the formidable fortress of Moat Cailin, so eventually they make peace with the Kings in the North (of House Stark). A shifting quilt of small kingdoms takes shape in southern Westeros. The Andals kill the few remaining Children of the Forest as they encounter them, and the survivors disappear.
■ The Andal family House Arryn comes to rule in The Vale, to the point that the region comes to be known as "The Vale of Arryn". The First Men living in the Vale are practically exterminated, except for those pushed back into the Mountains of the Moon, where they live a hardscrabble life as the Hill tribes.
■ In other parts of southern Westeros, local ruling elites of the First Men eventually intermarry with Andal invaders rather than fight them to extinction as in the Vale, including House Lannister, House Tully, House Gardener (ancestors of House Tyrell), and House Durrandon (ancestors of House Baratheon).
■ c. 4,000 BAL: By this time the Andals make their last conquest, of the Iron Islands which are separated from the mainland of Westeros. While ethnically similar to the First Men of the mainland, the islanders had long before diverged into their own separate culture, known as the Ironborn. While Andals did conquer the islands, they simply integrated into the local culture, even converting to the local religion of the Drowned God. Thus the ironborn of later centuries are composed of the same First Men/Andal ethnic mix of most of the rest of Westeros, and they took up the language of the Andals, but otherwise, their unique culture was not drastically affected by the Andal Invasions.
■ c. 8,000 BAL: On the eastern continent of Essos, the ancient Ghiscari Empire flourishes on the eastern coast of Slaver's Bay, one of the oldest - if not the oldest - great civilizations in the world. The Ghiscari Empire is built on large-scale slavery of conquered peoples, who toil away to build the great pyramids of Old Ghis and its colonies.
■ c. 6,000 BAL: On the western side of Slaver's Bay, a race of peaceful shepherds find Dragons lairing in the Fourteen Fires, an immense chain of volcanoes extending across the neck of the Valyrian Peninsula. The Valyrians tame the dragons with magic and begin expanding their influence into the rest of Essos.
■ c. 6,000 - 5,000 BAL: The Ghiscari Wars. Inevitably, the expanding Valyrian Freehold comes into conflict with the Ghiscari Empire over which superpower will dominate the continent. They fight a series of five great wars, ending with the Valyrians throwing down the Ghiscari in defeat. Old Ghis is burned to ashes with dragonfire and never rebuilt. The Valyrian Freehold absorbs all of the Ghiscari's former territories to their east, including all of the Ghiscari colony-cities in Slaver's Bay (such as Astapor, Yunkai, and Meereen).
■ c. 700 BAL: The Rhoynish Wars. The Valyrian Freehold begins settling the region of the modern Free Cities. Their expansion brings them into conflict with the native inhabitants of the region surrounding the River Rhoyne. Nymeria, the warrior-queen of the Rhoynar, realizes that they cannot stand against dragons and they flee to Dorne, in southern Westeros. There Nymeria marries Lord Mors Martell and helps House Martell conquer the rest of Dorne, finally unifying the region as one kingdom.
■ c. 500 BAL: Revolting slaves take over the Valyrian fleet they were being transported in, and use the ships to flee from the Valyrian-controlled areas of central Essos to the northwestern corner of the continent. There they find a secretive lagoon protected by mountains and narrow access channels, where they found the Secret City of Braavos.
■ c. 200 BAL: The Valyrians annex Dragonstone, an island in the Narrow Sea just off the eastern coast of Westeros. The Targaryen family takes control of the island, which is used as a trading post with the Seven Kingdoms. According to legend, Aenar Targaryen had a vision of impending catastrophe and arranged to have his family removed from the Freehold.
■ c. 100 BAL - the Doom of Valyria: The Fourteen Fires erupt in a titanic explosion that obliterates the heartland of the Valyrian Freehold. Most of the Valyrian dragons, who lair in the volcanoes when not needed, are killed outright. The City of Valyria is partially buried under vast amounts of ash. The Valyrian Peninsula fractures and breaks apart. A large part of it is torn away from the mainland, low-lying areas are flooded and many offshore islands are formed. The waters around Valyria remain poisonous until the present day.
■ c. 100 BAL - c. 2 AL: The Century of Blood. In the aftermath of the Doom, Valyria's outlying colony-cities began breaking away and asserting their independence, becoming the nine Free Cities. The following one hundred years are chaotic free-for-all of almost constant warfare between them, also known as the Bleeding Years. Worse, without the Valyrian dragons to keep them in check anymore, the Dothraki mounted hordes spilled out of the central plains of Essos to sweep across most of the continent, in their first great wave of pillaging. For a time the Dothraki sacked cities at will, until their attacks were finally checked at the Battle of Qohor. Raids would continue afterwards but never on the same scale. Paralleling the Free Cities to the west, east of Valyria the Ghiscari cities of Slaver's Bay also reasserted their independence. Towards the end of this period Volantis grew enough in strength to try to conquer and unite all of the other Free Cities, but Volantis was ultimately defeated. Afterwards the Free Cities settled into somewhat more stable political patterns - just as Aegon Targaryen was uniting the Seven Kingdoms in Westeros.
■ c. 6,000 - 700 BAL - Over the centuries following the Andal Invasion, hundreds of petty kingdoms form across Westeros, eventually aggregating into several larger powerful realms, and ultimately, seven large kingdoms.
■ c. 6,000 - 4,000 BAL - The ironborn enter into their first great age of expansion under House Hoare, conquering much of the western coasts of Westeros (as signified in their heraldry). Their possessions range from Bear Island in the far north to the Arbor in the far south, and many lands along the coasts in between. They penetrate as far as Raventree Hall in the northern Riverlands, but their dominion is mostly concentrated near the coasts. Over time, however, as major kingdoms centralized and grew in power on the mainland, such as the Starks of Winterfell and Gardeners of Highgarden, they gradually expelled the ironborn, until they were pushed back to the Iron Islands themselves.
■ c. 4,000 BAL - The Andals finally conquer the Iron Islands, much later than the mainland of Westeros due to their isolated location. However, the few Andals who invaded the Iron Islands essentially "went native" and acculturated to the distinct ironborn culture, even abandoning the Faith of the Seven to convert to worship of the Drowned God. Ancient ironborn families such as House Hoare and House Greyjoy intermarry with the Andal invaders (just as the Lannisters, Gardeners, and Tullys did on the mainland). The cultural impact of the Andal invasions was therefore relatively minor in the Iron Islands.
■ c. 2,000-700 BAL - The final "Seven Kingdoms", as they were later known, coagulated from previous smaller kingdoms during this time period as they absorbed their neighboring rivals. This process is roughly said to have finished anywhere from a thousand years before the Targaryen Conquest to a thousand years before the War of the Five Kings (varying by region). The Stark Kings expel pirates from the mouth of the White Knife river on the east coast, and to defend against further incursions founded the settlement that will later grow into White Harbor, the North's only major port.
■ c. 700 BAL - The Rhoynar migrate to Dorne, after being driven from the Rhoyne River network in Essos by the Valyrians. House Martell intermarries with the Rhoynar led by Princess Nymeria and with their extra numbers conquers the rest of Dorne, unifying the entire region for the first time. House Manderly is exiled from the Reach but given safe haven in the North, where House Stark rewards them with rule over White Harbor. House Bolton is finally subdued by House Stark in the North. The Dornish Marches in the Red Mountains remain as they have been for centuries - a contested borderland of endemic warfare between the Reach, the Stormlands, and Dorne.
■ c. 400 BAL - House Bolton rises again in rebellion against House Stark, but is subdued once more. Due to his actions in suppressing the Bolton rebellion the younger son of the King in the North, Karlon Stark, is awarded lands confiscated from the north of the Bolton's former possessions, founding a cadet branch of House Stark. Over the generations, "Karl's Hold" becomes known as "Karhold", and the "Karl's Hold Starks" become known as House Karstark.
■ c. 360 BAL - The Stormlands successfully invades and conquers the Riverlands, under the Storm Kings of House Durrandon. This reduces the number of kingdoms to seven: the Kingdom of the North, the Kingdom of the Vale, the Kingdom of the Isles and Rivers, the Kingdom of the Rock, the Kingdom of the Reach, the Storm Kingdom, and the Principality of Dorne.
■ c. 300 BAL - The newly-enobled House Frey begins construction of a massive bridge and castle complex across the Green Fork of the Trident, which when completed is known as The Twins. The Freys rapidly amass great wealth from bridge tolls and rise to became one of the major noble families of the Riverlands, though they are looked down upon by other more ancient families as upstarts.
■ c. 200 BAL - House Targaryen, one of the aristocratic families of the Valyrian Freehold, settles on Dragonstone island in Blackwater Bay, to establish a Valyrian trading outpost.
■ c. 100 BAL - The Targaryens relocate their entire family and household to Dragonstone island (just off the east coast of Westeros in Blackwater Bay), convinced by a prophecy that the destruction of Valyria is imminent. This proves true, as the Doom of Valyria follows only a few years later - leaving the Targaryens on Dragonstone with the world's only surviving dragons. The Targaryens and their vassal Houses on other islands in Blackwater Bay remain uninvolved with outside affairs, slowly building up their strength.
■ c. 60 BAL - Some three generations before Aegon's Landing, the Iron Islands enter into their second great era of expansion, conquering the territory of the Riverlands from the Stormlands. Unlike their first era of expansion, which conquered coastal territories across Westeros, this push focuses on conquering specifically the Riverlands, penetrating deep inland. The ironborn hold everything between the Blackwater to the south and the Neck to the north, and from the west coast to the east coast. The ironborn invasion is led by King Harwyn of House Hoare, and the Iron Islands continue to rule the Riverlands until the time of Harwyn's grandson, Harren Hoare, also called Harren the Black. Wishing to demonstrate his wealth and power, King Harren spends years and vast resources constructing a castle far more massive and formidable than any other in all of Westeros on the north shore of Gods Eye lake: Harrenhal, a fortress impregnable to ground attack. The enslaved local Riverlanders are forced to toil on the castle's construction, to build the tool of their own domination. Ironically, the construction of Harrenhal castle finishes the very same day that the Targaryens and their dragons land on the east coast of Westeros to begin their conquest.
■ 2 BAL - 0 AL: Despite pleas to intervene in the Free Cities, Aegon the Conqueror, the ruler of House Targaryen, decides to invade Westeros, along with his sister-wives Rhaenys and Visenya.
■ With only a small number of soldiers, his forces make landfall at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush. On a tall hill overlooking the bay, he builds a wooden redoubt on the site of what is now the Red Keep. He then begins his military campaign using the only three dragons known to have survived the Doom of Valyria: Balerion (ridden by Aegon), Meraxes (ridden by Rhaenys), and Vhagar (ridden by Visenya).
■ As Aegon marches west, the rivermen led by Edmyn Tully of Riverrun rise up in rebellion against their ironborn oppressors and march to join his army against them. King Harren the Black is besieged in Harrenhal, but when he refuses to surrender, Aegon simply flies Balerion over the walls and proceeded to burn the entire castle. Harren and all his sons roasted alive in their own tower, making House Hoare extinct. The remaining ironborn flee back to the Iron Islands. Aegon rewards House Tully by making them overlords of the Riverlands, and later allows the ironborn to pick one of their own leading families to rule the isles under Targaryen domination - House Greyjoy of Pyke.
■ Aegon's bastard half-brother, Orys Baratheon, marches south to invade The Stormlands, along with Rhaenys riding Meraxes. During the battle of the Last Storm Orys faces the last Storm King, Argilac the Arrogant, and kills him in single combat. After his victory Orys seizes Argilac's castle of Storm's End, along with his daughter whom he takes to wife. Aegon rewards Orys by naming him overlord of the Stormlands and allowing him to found House Baratheon.
■ The Targaryen army then recombines and marches south to face the allied forces of King Mern IX Gardener of the Reach and King Loren Lannister of the Rock in the climactic battle of the Conquest, which becomes known as the Field of Fire. All three dragons are unleashed in the same battle for the first and only time, and more than 4,000 men are burned alive by the dragons. House Gardener is extinguished, so Aegon names the stewards of Highgarden as overlords of the Reach: House Tyrell, a cadet branch of House Gardener. King Loren surrenders to Aegon, who names him overlord of the Westerlands and allows House Lannister to continue its rule.
■ Aegon advances to Oldtown, location of the headquarters of the Faith of the Seven. Ultimately the High Septon decides to welcome Aegon into the city, and formally blesses his reign. Aegon chooses to date the years of his reign starting from this day that the High Septon acknowledged him, forming the basis of the new calendar system used throughout Westeros for the next three centuries.
■ After finally gathering up his widely scattered bannermen, King Torrhen Stark of the North arrives in the south - but seeing the power of the dragons after the Field of Fire, and the Targaryens' now massive army of conscripts, he realizes that all hope of victory is lost. Torrhen chooses to surrender without battle, and in return Aegon allows the Starks to to continue to rule the North under the Targaryens.
■ After the Field of Fire, House Arryn thought they could hide behind the Vale's mountains - but Visenya simply flew Vhagar over the mountains straight to the Eyrie, and accepted their bloodless surrender.
■ Aegon's attempt to conquer Dorne is thwarted by the Dornish refusal to give battle openly, preferring guerrilla warfare. Aegon decides to allow Dorne and House Martell to remain independent for now, to focus on reining in his other recent conquests..
■ Aegon returns to the site of his army's first landing at the mouth of the Blackwater River and begins construction of a grand new capital city for his unified realm: King's Landing. He carves out territory from surrounding kingdoms to form the Crownlands, ruled directly by the Targaryens to support the city. Aegon has the swords of his defeated enemies gathered up and uses the fires of his dragon Balerion to forge them into the Iron Throne, seat of the rulers of the new unified realm.
■ The naming of the "After Aegon's Landing" dating system is inherently a misnomer, as Aegon I himself counted the years of his reign as starting from the end of his conquest, when he entered Oldtown and was blessed by the High Septon, which occurred two years after Aegon and his army first landed on the mainland at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush.
■ Apparently, the inherent discrepancy in the name of the "After Landing" dating system became something of an annoyance in-universe for the maesters of the Citadel. In later books, such as the prequel novella The Princess and the Queen, George R.R. Martin presents several maesters who have switched to the name "After Conquest", abbreviated "AC". This is not a new dating system, simply updating the name of the existing system to more accurately reflect historical events. The date "130 AC" is the exact same year as "130 AL". That being said, the few written documents seen on-screen during the first seasons of the TV series have used the "AL" notation.
■ In some ways this reflects modern attempts to update the Anno Domini system of the Gregorian calendar. The AD/BC dating system was only developed by the medieval monk Dionysius Exiguus some five hundred years after Jesus was crucified, retroactively piecing together previous dates based on the individual reign of rulers or who was consul in Rome at the time, which ultimately produced several errors. Modern scholarship generally agrees that Jesus was probably born closer to the year 6 BC rather than at 1 BC (there was no year zero). Rather than go through the administrative chaos of revising all dated records, attempts have been made to introduce an alternative name for the system: "Common Era" (CE) replaces "Anno domini" (AD), and "Before the Common Era" (BCE) replaces "Before Christ" (BC). The alternative names (apart from being religiously neutral) are more accurate, as the "AD" system did not itself provide an accurate count from the date of Jesus's actual birth.
■ As with the Anno Domini system, the After Landing (or After Conquest) dating system does not have a year zero. It uses as its starting point the crowning of Aegon by the High Septon in Oldtown. The instant that the High Septon set the crown upon his head, the year "1 BC" changed into "1 AC" (the entire first year After Conquest was "1 AC", and the day after the coronation was thus one day into "1 AC" even though a full year had not elapsed).
■ 1 AL - 37 AL: Aegon I has two children: his elder son Aenys with his sister-wife Rhaenys, and his younger son Maegor with his sister-wife Visenya. Construction continues on King's Landing. Work also begins on the great new royal castle known as the Red Keep, but Aegon I only lives to see its foundations set.
The Sons of the Dragon & the Faith Militant uprising
■ 37-48 AL: Upon Aegon I's death, his son Aenys, born of incest, takes the throne. Aenys is weak and indecisive and cannot adequately deal with many localized rebellions that pop up, leading to him naming his half-brother Maegor as Hand of the King and giving him authority to deal with the crises.
■ Eventually the Faith of the Seven, long disgusted with the Targaryen's incestuous practices, rejects Aenys's legitimacy to rule and the Faith Militant lead a popular uprising against the Targaryens. Aenys's health fails from the stress and he dies on Dragonstone, having reigned only five years.
■ Maegor usurps the throne ahead of Aenys's children, and leads a bloody and ferocious counter-attack against the Faith Militant, resulting in the deaths of thousands in battle and by dragonfire. The slaughter of the Faith Militant uprising lasts throughout Maegor's reign. Maegor finishes construction of the Red Keep.
■ Eventually Maegor's brutal tactics alienate all of his allies, leading to a final popular revolt against him. Maegor is found dead on the Iron Throne, of an apparent suicide so he wouldn't have to face the victorious rebels.
■ 48 AL: Aenys's son, Jaehaerys I, becomes king. Jaehaerys declares a truce and agrees to end the slaughter in return for the Faith Militant disbanding and accepting (but not approving) the Targaryen practices of incestuous marriage. They agree, and the Faith and the Throne are reconciled. Jaehaerys I becomes known as the Conciliator for his ability to solve crises without the need for violence. Jaehaerys goes on to rule for more than 50 years.
■ Dur ing the reign of Jaehaerys I, the Night's Watch had declined to the point that it could no longer fully man a castle as large as the Nightfort, which had fallen into disrepair. The Watch officially abandons the Nightfort, and moves its headquarters to further east along the Wall at Castle Black.
■ 103-129 AL: Upon Jaehaerys I's death, after an unmatched 55 year reign, he is succeeded by his grandson, who becomes King Viserys I Targaryen. Viserys I himself rules for almost another three decades - combined with his grandfather's rule, the result was an 80 year golden age of peace and prosperity for the Targaryen dynasty and Westeros (barring occasional flareups with pirates in the Stepstones, etc.) Relations with independent Dorne are peaceful, and under Jaehaerys I's guidance even amicable.
■ 129-131 AL: The Dance of the Dragons, the first major civil war in the history of the unified Seven Kingdoms. Upon the death of King Viserys I Targaryen, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard, Ser Criston Cole, names Viserys's son Aegon II as King, despite Viserys's command that the crown be passed to his eldest child, his daughter Rhaenyra. The resulting war pits brother against sister and dragon against dragon. Aegon II eventually captures Rhaenyra and feeds her to his dragon, but the war continues in the name of her son, Aegon III. The death of Aegon II resolves the war, since Aegon III is the only heir to both of the combatants. The conflict devastates the Seven Kingdoms, and it takes a full generation for Westeros to recover from the civil war.
■ Most of the Targaryen dragons were killed in the civil war, with so few surviving that they could not maintain a stable breeding population. The last surviving Targaryen dragon, a sickly green runt, dies during Aegon III's reign, earning him the nickname "Dragonbane".
■ 157-161 AL: The Conquest of Dorne. King Daeron I, the Young Dragon, takes the throne at the age of fourteen and almost immediately launches an invasion of Dorne, which had remained defiantly independent since Aegon's landing. Daeron's military genius is notable and he eventually forces the submission of Sunspear. Unfortunately, while the conquest of Dorne is a success, holding Dorne proves more difficult, leading to a protracted Dornish insurgency. Daeron I leaves a Tyrell of Highgarden, who have warred with the Martells for a thousand years, as his steward to rule over occupied Dorne. Lyonel Tyrell's tyranny triggers an uprising against the Iron Throne. When Daeron I returns with a fresh army, he is killed, his cousin Prince Aemon the Dragonknight is captured and his army defeated. Daeron I died childless so the throne passed to his brother Baelor, who forged a peace treaty with Dorne (including the marriage of Viserys II's grandson, Daeron II, to Princess Myriah Martell).
■ 161-171 AL: The reign of King Baelor the Blessed, the Septon King. Baelor is pious and holy, keeping the realm at peace. Baelor negotiates an end to hostilities with Dorne after his brother's death. Baelor commisions the construction of a huge new sept in King's Landing, which (after his death is named the Great Sept of Baelor in his honor. Baelor is so religiously zealous that he remains celibate: instead of marrying one of his sisters in Targaryen custom, he has all three locked away in a tower of the Red Keep known as the Maidenvault, so that they would not tempt him with carnal thoughts.
■ Baelor also dies childless, and because Aegon III had no other male heirs, the succession passes over his surviving daughters so that his younger brother Viserys II Targaryen takes the throne - youngest son of Rhaenyra. Viserys II had been Hand of the King for years under both Daeron and Baelor, but his actual time on the Iron Throne was short, before dying and being succeeded in turn by his son Aegon IV.
■ 172-184 AL: The reign of King Aegon IV, Aegon the Unworthy, held to be the worst king in the history of Westeros. A glutton and a cruel, petty man, Aegon has a total of nine mistresses in succession that he keeps at court, to the dismay of his sister-wife Naerys. He holds his son and heir, Daeron II, in disfavor due to his Dornish wife (Princess Myriah Martell) and peaceful ways - so he decides to give the ancestral Valyrian steel sword of Aegon the Conqueror, Blackfyre, to his bastard son Daemon, whom he thinks is more martial and worthy of it. His bastard son takes the new name Daemon Blackfyre, after the sword, and founds the cadet branch of House Targaryen known as House Blackfyre. Upon Aegon IV's death, Daeron II succeeds to the Iron Throne.
■ 195-196 AL: Claiming that Daeron II is actually the product of an illegitimate relationship between Queen Naerys and her other brother, Prince Aemon the Dragonknight, Daemon Blackfyre claims the Iron Throne. Half the realm declares for him and the resulting civil war is known as the First Blackfyre Rebellion. This is a brutal and bitter conflict that kills many tens of thousands. Eventually, Daemon amasses enough strength to march on King's Landing, allied to the forces of his bastard half-brother Aegor "Bittersteel" Rivers. Daeron II's sons, Baelor and Maekar, lead an army to stop him, assisted by another of Aegon IV's bastards, Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers. The resulting engagement, the Battle of Redgrass Field, is one of the largest battles fought in Westerosi history. Bloodraven slays Daemon Blackfyre with arrows and then fights Bittersteel in single combat. The arrival of a Dornish army in support of the King routs the Blackfyre forces. Bittersteel flees the field with Daemon's surviving sons, taking them to safety in the Free Cities.
■ 197 AL: In thanks for the Dornish assistance on the Redgrass Field, Daeron II marries his younger sister Daenerys to Prince Maron Martell, formally bringing Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms. Due to the peaceable union, Dorne is allowed to maintain a number of its own customs, including allowing women equal inheritance rights and that the ruler of Dorne is allowed to retain the title "Prince".
■ 209 AL: During a tournament at Ashford, the Trial by seven of Duncan the Tall takes place when Ser Duncan the Tall runs afoul of Prince Aerion "Brightflame" Targaryen, eldest son of Prince Maekar, himself the younger son of Daeron II. During the trial by combat Crown Prince Baelor "Breakspear" Targaryen is accidentally killed by his younger brother Prince Maekar. Ser Duncan begins his great friendship with Prince Aegon "Egg" Targaryen, fourth and youngest son of Maekar. Disgusted with his eldest son Aerion, Maekar agrees to let Aegon follow Ser Duncan as his squire as he seeks his fortune across Westeros, hoping it will give the boy some real-life experience. "Dunk and Egg", as they are known, embark on numerous adventures across Westeros in the following years.
■ 209 AL: The Great Spring Sickness tears through Westeros, a few months after the confrontation between Ser Duncan and Prince Aerion at Ashford. Among those killed are King Daeron II himself, as well as the heirs of Prince Baelor. Aerys I Targaryen, next eldest son of Daeron II, succeeds him as king. He names Bloodraven as his Hand.
■ 211 AL: Blackfyre loyalists attempt to launch a Second Blackfyre Rebellion, but - in part due to the activities of Dunk & Egg - Bloodraven exposes the plan, captures one of Daemon Blackfyre's sons and executes many of the conspirators before a battle needs to be fought.
■ 212 AL: Daemon Blackfyre's half-brother Bittersteel forms the Golden Company in the Free Cities, a sellsword company which over time will grow into the best and largest in Essos. Its core membership are Blackfyre loyalists who fled into exile across the Narrow Sea. Bittersteel created the Golden Company so that Daemon's younger sons could still maintain some sort of cohesive fighting force between attempted invasions.
■ 219 AL: The Third Blackfyre Rebellion. Sensing the weakness of Aerys I's reign, Blackfyre loyalists rise up again, aided by Bittersteel and the Golden Company. Due to the actions of Bloodraven, Maekar - and Dunk & Egg - the rebellion is put down. Bittersteel escapes once again to the Free Cities.
■ 221 AL: After Aerys I dies childless his younger brother Maekar I, fourth son of Daeron II, becomes King of the Seven Kingdoms. Third son Rhaegel had previously died, was insane anyway, and his heirs also predeceased Aerys I.
■ Maekar is a strong enough ruler that the Blackfyre pretenders in exile don't dare try to launch another rebellion during his reign, though he faces various localized uprisings and intrigues. A disciplined soldier but not a courtier, Maekar is a capable and effective king, although not a particularly loved one. His reign does much to restore the power and respect the throne lost during his older brother's weak reign.
■ 233 AL: Maekar I dies during the siege of a rebel lord's castle. With his eldest two sons dead (one from a pox, and Aerion from drinking wildfire in a fit of madness), the council offers the crown to Maekar's third son, a maester of the Citadel named Aemon, but citing his vows he refuses the throne. Therefore Maeker's fourth son (also known as "Egg") takes the throne, becoming King Aegon V Targaryen. He is called Aegon the Unlikely, because as the fourth son of a fourth son he was initially far behind in the line of succession. Ser Duncan joins Aegon V's Kingsguard, and eventually rises to become its Lord Commander. At the beginning of Aegon V's reign Bloodraven is exiled to the Wall for killing a Blackfyre under a flag of truce. Ser Duncan is part of the "honor guard" that escorts him there, along with Aegon V's older brother Maester Aemon - who voluntarily joined the Night's Watch, despite Aegon V's pleas, because he wanted to remove himself as far as possible from court intrigues against his brother.
■ ~234 AL: Tywin Lannister, eldest son of Tytos Lannister, is born.
■ 233-259 AL: The rule of Aegon V. This is generally a period of prosperity for the Seven Kingdoms, but also of conflict: Aegon V tried to enact many populist reforms throughout his reign to improve the lives of the commoners, lowing taxes on the poor and raising taxes on the rich. Politically this was unwise, as it turned many of the great lords of the realm against him - encouraging the worst of these to outright join rebellions against him. Aegon V proves an intelligent and capable king, but the reforms he attempted to make were too idealistic and impractical.
■ 236 AL - The Fourth Blackfyre Rebellion occurs when the Golden Company launches an invasion at Massey's Hook in the Stormlands, led by Daemon Blackfyre's grandson Daemon III, along with the now-elderly Bittersteel. The fourth rebellion is even less successful than the third: Daemon III had hoped to spark a general uprising after winning a few victories in Westeros itself, but so many of the original Blackfyre supporters were gone by that point - his grandfather Daemon had been dead for forty years - the most lords just saw them as foreign exiles with tattered banners, and this support never materialized. Due to the actions of Dunk & Egg, the fourth rebellion was defeated as well. Bittersteel died a few years later in the Disputed Lands, but making Daemon's surviving grandchildren swear to keep the Blackfyre cause alive.
■ The heir to House Lannister dies in the fourth rebellion, leaving his younger brother as next in line: inexperienced third son Tytos Lannister, who succeeds their father upon his death in 244 AL. For the next 13 years, Tytos's weak rule greatly diminishes Lannister power and reduces them to a laughingstock. The Westerlands fall into chaos as a result, even meriting several military interventions from King Aegon V, but to no avail. House Reyne comes to rival House Lannister as the real power in the Westerlands.
■ 259 AL: During the last year of Aegon V's reign, Pycelle is named as Grand Maester.
■ c. 259 AL: The War of the Ninepenny Kings (also known as the Fifth Blackfyre Rebellion) erupts, late in the reign of King Aegon V. A group of mercenaries, fortune-seekers, and ne'er do-wells known as the Band of Nine combines their strength to carve out their own territories: among them is Maelys the Monstrous, the last of the Blackfyre Pretenders. After taking over the Disputed Lands and Tyrosh, they conquer the Stepstones as the opening move of an invasion meant to claim the Seven Kingdoms in the name of House Blackfyre. At the conclusion of the war, Maelys Blackfyre is killed by the promising young knight Ser Barristan Selmy. Both Ser Barristan and Ser Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully win great fame and glory during the war, and return home as celebrated heroes. In gratitude, King Aegon V appoints Ser Barristan to the Kingsguard, in which he will serve for the next forty years. The teenaged Tywin Lannister and his brothers also first blood themselves in combat during the war, serving with distinction. During the war Brynden's older brother Hoster Tully of Riverrun makes the acquaintance of a Lord Baelish of the Fingers, later accepting his son Petyr as a ward at Riverrun.
■ c.236-259 AL - King Aegon V plans a series of arranged marriages between his children and several of the Great Houses to strengthen the royal family's political bonds within the realm. All of his children ultimately defy their father and marry for love instead, and because he married for love himself, he feels he cannot refuse them - causing all of his carefully planned political alliances to fall through. The young and beautiful Olenna Redwyne was arranged to marry one of Aegon V's sons but due to neither she nor her intended desiring the match, she got out of it and married Lord Luthor Tyrell.
■ 259 AL: King Aegon and his son Prince Duncan are killed in a great fire at Summerhall, the Targaryen summer palace, apparently during an attempt to hatch the last three dragon eggs left in the west. Aegon's son, Aerys II Targaryen, becomes king. The eggs are assumed destroyed in the fire.
■ 259 AL: King Aerys's reign begins with great promise. He sweeps aside the old men of his father and grandfather's courts and replaces them with young, vigorous replacements.
■ 260 AL: Emboldened by his recent military experience in the War of the Ninepenny Kings, young Tywin Lannister puts down the Reyne Rebellion to restore Lannister dominance over the Westerlands, and has any surviving Reynes - man, woman, and child - put to the sword, as an example to any vassal who would dare challenge Casterly Rock again. The eradication of House Reyne is the first major step in the return to glory of House Lannister, in which Tywin almost singlehandedly rebuilt the fortunes and strength of his House. Impressed with Tywin's ruthlessness, Aerys II Targaryen appoints him as his new Hand of the King. Tywin continues to ably serve in this position for nearly twenty years, during which the Seven Kingdoms and the Lannisters in particular enjoy peace and prosperity.
■ 262 AL: Tywin Lannister's wife Joanna Lannister gives birth to twins, Cersei and Jaime.
■ 266 AL: Tywin Lannister's wife Joanna dies giving birth to their third and final child, a stunted dwarf named Tyrion.
■ c.266 - c.290 AL: According to Tyrion Lannister, Westeros has experienced nine winters during his lifetime, the last ending around 290 AL. Tyrion states that the winter during which he was born was the longest of these, lasting three years.
■ c. 275 AL - Young Cersei Lannister and her companion Melara Hetherspoon visit a woods-witch called Maggy in the forests around Casterly Rock, whom Cersei asks to foretell her future at the royal court (seen during the opening flashback scene of the Season 5 premiere, "The Wars to Come").
■ 270s AL: Cracks begin to appear in Aerys's demeanor. He refuses to marry his son Rhaegar to Tywin's daughter Cersei, instead having Rhaegar marry Princess Elia Martell of Dorne. Aerys becomes paranoid over talk in the castle that Tywin is the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. When Lord Darklyn of Duskendale refuses to pay his taxes, Aerys resolves to crush the problem himself without Tywin's aid. Unfortunately, the situation gets out of control and Aerys is imprisoned for several months in Duskendale before Tywin and Barristan Selmy assault the castle and rescue him. The Darklyns are burned alive for their treachery. Later historians claim that the Defiance of Duskendale marked the beginning of the end for Aerys's sanity. Aerys refuses to allow blades in his presence anymore (except those of his Kingsguard), developing a deranged appearance with uncut and filthy hair hanging to his waist, and uncut fingernails growing several inches long. His behavior becomes even more unstable, such as having Ser Ilyn Payne's tongue ripped out with hot pincers when he was overheard whispering (accurately) that Tywin was the real man holding the realm together at this point.
■ c. 279 AL: In a year of false spring, a great tournament is held by Lord Whent at Harrenhal. King Aerys and Prince Rhaegar attend, as do many lords from across the Seven Kingdoms. Prince Rhaegar wins the tournament, but names Lyanna Stark of Winterfell as the Queen of Love and Beauty rather than his own wife Elia. Lord Tywin Lannister is enraged when Aerys names his son Jaime to the Kingsguard, disinheriting him as Tywin's heir in favor of his ugly, misshapen younger brother Tyrion. Furious, Tywin resigns the Handship and returns to Casterly Rock.
■ c. 280 AL: Rhaegar allegedly kidnaps Lyanna against her will and disappears with her. Lyanna's eldest brother Brandon impulsively rides to King's Landing and demands justice but instead King Aerys has both him and his father Lord Rickard arrested and brutally executed.
■ 280-281 AL: In response to the king's murder of Rickard and Brandon Stark, the new Lord of Winterfell, Eddard Stark, raises the banners of the North. Robert Baratheon, Lord of Storm's End and betrothed to Lyanna, joins the rebellion, raising the banners of the Stormlands. Lord Jon Arryn of the Vale, a mentor to both Robert and Eddard, does the same. The Stark, Tully, and Arryn armies begin gathering north of the Trident, but Robert's forces are cut off far to the south. Leaving his brother Stannis to hold Storm's End, Robert marches his army northwest through enemy territory. Lord Mace Tyrell continues to besiege Storm's End for a full year. Robert is defeated at the Battle of Ashford by Tyrell forces loyal to the king, but later joins up with the Northern and Vale armies at the Battle of the Bells. The combined rebel army crosses to the north side of the Trident. Both sides consolidate for a major showdown. Lord Hoster Tully of Riverrun, who had planned to marry his daughter Catelyn to Brandon Stark, instead agrees to marry her to Eddard in exchange for his support in war. In addition, Hoster marries his second daughter Lysa to Jon Arryn to shore up the alliance. All four are wed in a double marriage ceremony at Riverrun before the rebel armies depart once again.
■ Prince Rhaegar leads a royalist army to directly engage the rebels, but is defeated at the climactic Battle of the Trident, in which he is killed in personal combat by Robert himself.
■ Realizing that rebel victory is imminent, King Aerys sends his remaining young son Viserys and his pregnant wife Queen Rhaella to the safety of the ancestral Targaryen fortress, Dragonstone island.
■ With Rhaegar dead, lords who had been undecided about which side to join now abandon the Mad King. Lord Tywin's army arrives at King's Landing allegedly to defend the city, but once the gates are opened the Lannisters brutally sack the city. Aerys II is killed by Jaime Lannister, his own Kingsguard, for which Jaime becomes known as "the Kingslayer".
■ On Dragonstone, Queen Rhaella dies giving birth to her daughter, Daenerys, several months after her father died in the fall of King's Landing. During her birth a great storm wrecks what is left of the Targaryen fleet anchored at Dragonstone, for which she is named "Daenerys Stormborn". The rebels lack their own fleet so it takes some time to assemble one to assault the island. Eventually, when they realize the rebels will arrive soon, Targaryen loyalists smuggle the Targaryen heirs Viserys and Daenerys to safety in the Free Cities, where they remain in exile.
■ Robert Baratheon, due to a blood relationship with House Targaryen, is proclaimed King of the Seven Kingdoms. With Lyanna dead, Robert instead marries Cersei Lannister to shore up the alliance that brought down the Targaryens.
■ 281 AL - Theon Greyjoy is born, third son of Balon Greyjoy.
■ Late 282 AL: Queen Cersei Lannister gives birth to Prince Joffrey Baratheon. Secretly, the boy is not actually Robert's son, but a bastard of incest fathered by Cersei's own twin brother Jaime. Her next two children will also secretly be fathered by Jaime.
■ While Joffrey was 12 years old in the first novel, the TV series established that he was 16 years old in Season 1, thus he was born roughly a year or so after the war ended 17 years ago. See discussion at the end of this article.
■ 283 AL: Myrcella Baratheon is born.
■ 284 AL: Tommen Baratheon is born.
■ 285 AL: Sansa Stark is born.
■ 287 AL: Arya Stark is born.
■ 288 AL: Bran Stark is born.
■ 289 AL: The Greyjoy Rebellion - Lord Balon Greyjoy leads a rebellion against King Robert's reign, attempting to secede the Iron Islands from the rest of the realm. After several months of furious fighting in the Westerlands and Riverlands, King Robert's forces push the ironborn back to Pyke and storm the castle. Balon capitulates and surrenders his only surviving son, Theon, as hostage and ward for his good behavior. Robert instructs Eddard Stark to take Theon under his wing.
■ Following spring, a long summer officially begins, which will last for another ten years, only ending in 299 AL. It is the longest summer in living memory.
■ Robin Arryn, called Sweetrobin, is born, the only living child of Jon Arryn and Lysa Tully.
■ 292 AL: Rickon Stark is born.
■ 297 AL: Magister Illyrio Mopatis of Pentos invites Viserys and Daenerys Targaryen to stay in his manse and offers to help them reclaim their throne.
■ 298 AL: The events of Game of Thrones begin with Season 1, seventeen years after the end of Robert's Rebellion.