Cantha is a continent in the world of Tyria that was first introduced in Guild Wars Factions. It is located to the southwest of the continents of Tyria and Elona. The northern coastline of Cantha is the earliest known location of human settlements, dating back to the late pre-imperial era, 276 years before the beginning of the Canthan calendar, and predating the earliest known human presence in Tyria and Elona by 581 years.
Cantha and the surrounding islands can be divided into four major regions:
- Shing Jea Island: A large island off the west coast of the continent that has been declared an imperial national park, it is a farmland that produces the food for the entire Empire and is the home of the Shing Jea Monastery; a haven for those who are gifted and have no noble title. Aspiring students from throughout all Cantha are trained within this institution's secluded walls by the Empire of the Dragon's greatest Masters. The island is filled with the Angchu and Sensali Tengu along with Naga and Yeti.
- Kaineng City: A gigantic and sprawling Metropolitan area-sized city with an overcrowded population density that covers nearly a third of the continent's land mass, it is the political capital of Cantha.
- Echovald Forest: A petrified forest in the center of the mainland; this is where the secluded Kurzicks live and practice conservative politics as dictated by a culture of house ancestry, isolated from the Empire of the Dragon.
- The Jade Sea: A large solidified sea in the center of the mainland, this is the home of the nomadic Luxons who enjoy liberal politics that favors a culture of tribal allegiance, independent of the Empire of the Dragon.
The Empire of the Dragon
The Empire of the Dragon is the sole human nation on the southern continent and it shares its second name with the continent it was founded on. Despite the Kurzicks and Luxons being vassals of the empire, the two factions are hardly bothered by the empire and its demands. The Empire of the Dragon is currently the oldest known human nation.
The empire was formed by the warlord Kaineng Tah when he united the coastal tribes on the continent. Records claim that he was given a message by the Gods of Tyria. When he was killed, his son, Yian Zho took the throne and waged war on the Luxons and later Kurzicks, subjecting them to mass executions until they surrendered into becoming vassals.
In recent years
The defeat of Shiro Tagachi ended the plague that had afflicted Cantha. However, it took adventurers and members of the imperial guard a few grueling years to track down all of the Afflicted and the remnants of the Shiro'ken army that the Betrayer had unleashed in his final attempt to destroy the empire.
Over the past few years, life has begun to spring up in Echovald Forest as many areas have seen new growth take hold. Some even claim to have seen a change in the Jade Sea—small pools of water forming or even waves moving beneath the frozen surface—but these reports are unsubstantiated rumors at best.
Life has returned to normal for most Canthan residents. Kaineng still struggles under the burdens of bureaucracy, overpopulation, and crime, while the Kurzicks and Luxons remain locked in a never-ending battle over scant resources. Shing Jea Island remains an oasis of pristine valleys and beautiful vistas. Monks come to the island regularly for scholarly pursuits, while the general populace descends in droves for every festival held within the safe confines of Shing Jea Monastery.
Commerce returned to a brisk pace once the Affliction ended, and since then, many Canthans have sought to re-establish old trade routes to Elona and Kryta as well as locate new opportunities farther north. However, recent reports of earthquakes and giant cracks opening in the middle of urban Cantha have some believing this time of relative peace and prosperity has now come to an end.
Five years after Shiro's return, the Ministry of Purity was formed in order to combat the continued threat of the Afflicted. In 1079 AE, the Afflicted were finally destroyed, though Cantha's citizens remained threatened by the relentless "turf wars" between the Am Fah and the Jade Brotherhood, inadvertently inflicting collateral damage and terror among the innocent. The continued focus on paperwork over actions by the Celestial Ministry held no benefit to the people either, creating a disdain for the government. Though previously able to help the people without being restricted by laws as they worked directly under Emperor Kisu, the Imperial Guards have now become hindered by the regulations and paperwork over the past seven years. Along with this, they are threatened by lingering Shiro'ken, who only assault the royal palace after Shiro's defeat.
Getting to Cantha
Once a valid Guild Wars Factions access key has been added to your account, you can either create a new Factions character via the character selection screen or take an existing character over by completing one of the following quests:
- Take the quest Mhenlo's Request from Firstwatch Sergio in Lion's Arch.
- Take the quest Plague in Cantha from Funwa Shento in Kamadan, Jewel of Istan.
- Note: You must have reached the Consulate Docks outpost (by completing The Time is Nigh) for this quest to be obtainable.
Once you have unlocked travel to the respective continents, you can map travel at any time from any continent to Kaineng Center.
- Cantha is heavily based upon Eastern Asia and its cultures.
- Cantha's name may have been derived from the name Canton, a country subdivision of China; the word Cathay, an alternate name for China; or perhaps an allusion to a feature prevalent in many Eastern Asians - the epicanthic fold, which is a characteristic of the eyes of several differing ethnicities around the world, but most highly prevalent in Asia, particularly in its East (the cantha are the two areas where the upper and lower eyelids meet, with the fold in question occurring at the medial one) — or perhaps the name is simply some felicitous combination of the preceding.
|The Guild Wars 2 Wiki has an article on Cantha.|