The Thomas Archipelago is a chain of Islands located far off the northwest coast of the Main Continent of CivRealms 2.0. The Archipelago is mainly comprised of Taiga biome, is home to dense forests and mountains, and has a cold, humid climate. The Thomas Archipelago is home to the nations of Odresh, Tchad, the semi-autonomous region of Bloemfontein, Wheatistani and Mount Augustan outposts, and the Alexandrian colony of Solitude. A portion of the Archipelago's land is managed by area's permanent nations in a joint agreement to reserve with respect to preservation of the Archipelago's unique natural state as well as future expansion purposes.
The Thomas Archipelago is comprised of two major islands (with the West Island being home to Odresh and the East Island being home to Tchad and Solitude) as well as five minor islands (the two southernmost of which comprise Bloemfontein). Heavily-forested with various snow-capped mountain ranges, the Archipelago is largely unfriendly to agriculture; the rough terrain makes infrastructure development difficult and limited natural resources available on the islands highlight a consistent opposition between settler activity and the geography present.
The Thomas Archipelago was originally released to CivRealms on July 1st, 2019. Known at the time as the "expansion island", the Archipelago remained uncharted territory for many months. This state persisted through the remainder of the year until land within the Archipelago began to be officially claimed following the Alexandrian Expedition, a mapping expedition by Thomas the Cartographer (TWINKIEminer), which brought new light to the island chain.
Before formal cartography of the Archipelago was available, a few scattered outposts were present across the islands. These outposts were minor remnants of isolated exploration and none amounted to more than rough dwellings which likely acted as one-off shelters for curious ocean-goers. The Alexandrian Expedition saw the Archipelago void of activity, confirming the abandoned appearance of these settlements. Tchadian, Bloemfonteinian, Odreshi, and Alexandrian settlers came to know each other as the sole active representatives of island presence and abandoned settlements around the Archipelago were left for a time before largely being removed to facilitate infrastructure and development.
The Alexandrian Expedition
On March 27th, 2020, Thomas the Cartographer (TWINKIEminer) set off on an expedition with the goal of exploring, documenting, and mapping the Archipelago. Shortly following this expedition, official cartography of the Archipelago (including official claims on behalf of Alexandria) was posted on the CivRealms reddit as part of a map update. In interest of growing curiosity surrounding the distant islands, a geography report was released in tandem with the map and the name Thomas Archipelago was officially coined in homage to the explorer, Thomas the Cartographer (TWINKIEminer).
The Scramble for the Archipelago
Following the addition of the Archipelago to official maps, existing settlers began to submit official claims. Along with Alexandria's claims included by TWINKIEminer on the initial map, claims representing Bloemfontein, Odresh, and Tchad were submitted. Mainland interest in the Archipelago also rose, and parcels of land were negotiated and delineated by the Archipelago's permanent residents for the establishment Wheatistani and Mount Augustan outposts. Following the unexpected arrival of a Norlundian citizen looking to establish a farming outpost, jfkvius worked to negotiate a further subdivision of allotted land in order to facilitate this development. Following the secession of Yggdrasil from Norlund, this land was ceded back during a discussion with jfkvius.
Given the Archipelago's limited supply of land, the rough rate of return on agriculture, and the relative difficulty of important and exporting materials, the importance of an adequate land for permanent nations on the Arrchipelago was immediately evident. Though claims were uncontested during initial settlement, following Tchad's development of almost all of their claim, they began to feel frustrated at Alexandria's vast swath of claimed land. While Alexandrian claims represented the largest claims in terms of land area by farm, the Alexandrian colony of Solitude was less developed than Odresh, Tchad, and Bloemfontein. Rumblings of a desire to re-allot land were present but never officially discussed, but when Solitude leader Jaydon posted some of Alexandria's claims for sale to the highest bidder on the CivRealms discord, this issue was forced to come to a head.
Seeing Jaydon's attempted sale of an entirely-undeveloped crayon claim as an action in opposition of the previously-ratified cooperative agreement signed by the Archipelago's permanent nations, a Discord discussion between Tchad, Bloemfontein, and Alexandria was mediated by lokilog of Odresh in order to come of a consensus on the issue. While Alexandria defended their right to sell the land, opposition from other nations led to the cancelling of the sale. Alexandrian claims were reduced in accordance with the consensus of the Archipelago's residents; some additional land was transferred to Tchad and other portions of land were reserved for future development.