The people of the island are called Naathi. They are called the Peaceful People, due to their belief in extreme pacifism. They make music rather than war and kill nothing, not even animals, eating only fruit and never flesh. They are widely sought after by slavers who consider them to make the best slaves.
Naathi have a unique look to them with flat faces, dark skin and golden eyes.
Naathi revere butterflies as messengers of the Lord, charged with protection of the island and its people. These legends come from the butterfly fever that has laid wasted to conquerors throughout history.
Naath is located west of the Basilisk Isles and east of the Summer Isles. Specifically, Naath is located directly east of the southernmost and largest of the Summer Islands, Jhala. It is located due south of Old Valyria. Naath is separated from both Jhala and Old Valyria by large stretches of the Summer Sea.
Before the slaver raids intensified significantly after the Doom of Valyria, the Naathi were actually involved in long-distance trade networks stretching from Essos to Westeros. Given that the island's environment is so well-suited for insect life, Naath used to be a major exporter of silk (from silkworm caterpillars). The Naathi also exported fine handicrafts and delicate spiced wine. The Naathi's shimmering silks could be found in markets throughout the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities. The slaver raids became so frequent after the Doom, however, that the Naathi had to abandon their coasts to take refuge in the hills and forests of the interior. As a result the export trade has largely collapsed in the past four hundred years, and Naathi silks are less and less frequently seen in the world's major cities.
During the height of the old Ghiscari Empire, one of their ships briefly landed in the Summer Islands, alerting their inhabitants that lands and peoples existed beyond their own waters. The Summer Islanders quickly built larger and sturdier ships for long sea voyages, and began to explore the world. They first landed on Naath to the east, before proceeding to the Basilisk Isles, Sothoryos, and eventually Valyria.
The Ghiscari Empire seized Naath three times. Later, the Valyrians erected a fort on the island, whose ruined walls of fused dragonstone can still be seen. Later, a company of Volantene adventurers once built a trade town with timber palisades and slave pens. Corsairs from the Basilisk Isles have landed on the island countless times. None of these invaders survived, however, all falling victim to the butterfly fever, a horrific plague which makes its victims violently spasm and die. The Naathi claim that none of these invaders maintained a permanent presence on the island for more than a single year.
The Naathi themselves are immune to this local disease, which is theorized to be carried by the butterflies of the island. Unfortunately the disease even affects those whom the Naathi would welcome as friends. A thousand years ago, the Rhoynar refugee fleet led by Princess Nymeria stopped at Naath after fleeing from their failed attempt to settle in Sothoryos. The Peaceful People welcomed Nymeria and her followers, but the butterfly-fever began to kill Rhoynar by the score, driving them back to their ships. After their brief stop at Naath the Rhoynar passed farther west to the Summer Islands.
The butterfly-fever was death to outsiders, but the slavers later learned that it only struck those who stayed on the island for more than a few hours. Also, because the butterflies which carry it are active during the day, they would not contract it if they attacked at night. The corsairs from the Basilisk Isles adapted their tactics, and turned to making fast raids that carried off entire villages into bondage, taking care to not stay on the island for long. The corsairs would in turn sell their captives in Valyria and Slaver's Bay.
The slaver attacks were a problem for centuries but they became drastically worse during the Century of Blood, when the number of independent pirates increased dramatically without the Valyrians controlling the seas. Unwilling to break their vows of total pacifism, even to defend their homes and persons, the Naathi were forced to flee from their coasts to the hills and forests. As a result the silk exports which once flowed from Naath have dwindled away.
References and Notes
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Naath.
- ↑ A Dance with Dragons, Map of Valyria
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Storm of Swords, Chapter 23, Daenerys II.
- ↑ A Storm of Swords, Chapter 71, Daenerys VI.
- ↑ The Lands of Ice and Fire, the Known World.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Summer Isles.
- ↑ The World of Ice and Fire, Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships.