Peoples of Avatar

Air Nomads

Capital: It is possible there was once an Air Nomad capital but it has not yet been mentioned and it is unknown whether or not it still exists.

Other Cities: The Air Nomads lived in temples located in the four cardinal directions -- the Northern Air Temple (located high in the mountains on the northernmost part of the Earth Kingdom's continent); the Southern Air Temple (located in the Patola Mountain Range in the islands just north of the South Pole); the Eastern Air Temple (located in the archipelago to the southeast of the Earth Kingdom); and the Western Air Temple (built upside-down below a cliff in the islands just north of the Fire Nation).

Current Status: Completely eradicated and presumed extinct after a massive attack from the Fire Nation a hundred years before current day.

Government: The Air Nomads did not seem to have a formal central government. While it is known that they had temples, it is uncertain if they had cities or villages as well. The Air Temples were gender-segregated, with two temples inhabited by males (Northern and Southern temples) and two temples inhabited by females (Eastern and Western temples). Each temple was run by a council of around five elders. The oldest airbenders of each temple maintained its everyday functions and watched over the younger inhabitants. The master monks and nuns also taught the younger airbenders how to master their skills. As pacifists, it is unlikely the Air Nomads had an army.

Geography: The islands just north of the South Pole, the islands located southeast of the Earth Kingdom, the tall mountains on the northernmost area of the Earth Kingdom's continent, and the islands just north of the Fire Nation all once belonged to the Air Nomads and are where their temples are located.

Culture: The monks and nuns of the Air Nomads lived a very tranquil and pacifistic lifestyle; strict vegetarians, they refused to eat any form of meat. Meditation was a daily activity among the older members of the temples while the younger airbenders would enjoy playing games and sports outside. One of these was Air Ball, which was played atop giant wooden posts and used airbending skills to get a ball through one of the goals on either side of the field. Male Air Nomads were bald (female airbenders shaved only to the crown of the head) and wore bright yellow pants and shirts with an orange shawl; the elder monks and nuns wore brown, orange, or yellow robes. Each airbending master had special blue arrow tattoos on their head, arms, hands, legs, and feet; the flying bison--the typical transport for the Air Nomads--also had similar markings.

Earth Kingdom

Capital: Ba Sing Se, located in the northeastern part of the Earth Kingdom.

Other Cities: Omashu, Gaoling

Current Status: Currently at war with, and partially occupied by, the Fire Nation.

Government: The Earth Kingdom is ruled from its mighty walled capital of Ba Sing Se. While other cities have kings --such as King Bumi of Omashu-- it would appear that they are vassals to the overlord or ruler of the capital referred to as "The Earth King". Some Earth Kingdom localities, however --Kyoshi Island, for example-- have preserved their neutrality in the conflict with the Fire Nation and do not appear to be subject to any central government.

Geography: The Earth Kingdom is by far the largest nation in terms of geographic size. The Earth Kingdom is, in fact, so large that it is a neighbor of every other nation. It consists of the two main continental land masses, and together they stretch nearly from pole to pole. The continents seem to possess a wide variety of geographic features, including large mountain ranges, plains, several large river systems, and at least two inland seas.

Culture: Greens and browns are the predominant colors worn by the subjects of the Earth Kingdom. Their earthbending talents have also made mining a common economic activity. Since the Earth Kingdom occupies the crossroads of the world, its subjects also appear to be skilled in trade and commerce. Their ports and markets, even amidst war and military occupation, still thrive. Having such active business and interaction with the other nations seems to have made Earth Kingdom culture less distinctly unique and more all-encompassing in nature.

Fire Nation

Capital: We never learned the proper name of the Fire Nation Capital City, but we saw that it was located in the caldera of a dormant volcano.

Other Cities: Fire Temple (seen on the crescent-shaped volcanic island), Ember Island (a beach resort)

Current Status: At war with the other nations in an attempt to conquer the world. The Fire Nation currently occupies much of the western Earth Kingdom.

Government: The Fire Nation is a unitary autocracy ruled by Fire Lord Ozai.

Geography: The Fire Nation is located on the medium sized continent on the western side of the world map. This continent is dominated almost exclusively by mountains, many of which are volcanic. The main Fire Nation continent is adjacent in the east to a series of islands that stretch towards the Earth Kingdom. Some distance to the north and a farther distance south lay the Air Nomad islands.

Culture: After a century of war, and perhaps by nature of their element, the culture of the Fire Nation has a decidedly martial flavor. Personal honor plays a key role in the lives of its elite, where insults often result in the dreaded agni kai, or fire duel.

Citizens of the Fire Nation tend to wear dark red and black. They celebrate their element and their culture in the "Fire Days Festival" during which they wear ceremonial masks, watch puppet and firebending shows, and shoot fireworks. The wealthier members of society like to vacation in Ember Island, home of the (famous?) Ember Island Players theater group.

Water Tribes

Capital: There is no set capital for the Water Tribe. The closest thing to a capital would be the very large Northern Water Tribe city.

Other Cities: The Water Tribe consists of only two real outposts: the small village of the Southern Water Tribe and the massive Northern Water Tribe city.

Current Status: Southern Tribe: depleted in population, small village; Northern Tribe: large, prosperous city.

Government: The Southern Water Tribe apparently has no formal government, although it would appear that age acts as a sort of informal system for delegating duties and chores. They live mostly off the sea for survival. The Southern Water Tribe once had many men, but they all left to assist the Earth Kingdom in the war against the Fire Nation. It consists now of women and children. There is no real army or military structure in the Southern Water Tribe now, as all their warriors have left to help in the war. There is no real leader now, either, though Kana is usually the one assigning tasks and maintaining discipline among the remaining people of the village.

The Northern Water Tribe, on the other hand, has an established centralized form of government. The village appears to be lead by a group of elders who seem to make the decisions in a large building within the walled city. Members of this group include Master Pakku and Chief Arnook, leader of the entire city and its people. The Northern Tribe has a large army of waterbenders and warriors.

Geography: The Water Tribe is broken into two separate tribes, which are located at the North and South Poles. Both tribes live on the large continental land masses, surrounded by glaciers and ice drifts in the surrounding oceans.

Culture: The sister tribes both share similar cultural traits, wearing heavy fur coats for protection against the cold northern and southern climates. Their clothes are mostly blue and white, including lighter clothing worn when away from the poles. Fishing seems to be the primary source of food for both tribes, and they send fishermen and sometimes waterbenders out in wooden boats. A tradition in the Southern Tribe called ice dodging is considered a right of passage for men of the tribe. In the Northern Tribe, strict gender roles and sexist traditions exist; women waterbenders are forbidden from learning waterbending to fight and may only be taught to use their gift for healing purposes. A system of arranged marriage is also in place. Both tribes use war paint in preparation for battles, and the Northern Tribe also invokes the spirits for guidance through ritual prayer.
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