Although most of us have played both Oblivion and Skyrim and probably know the events during these games, there’s a surprising amount of important and fascinating things that occur during the 200 years that separate these two games. Many of the events actually serve as explanations to what happens during the main story and even the side quests of Skyrim, and sheds some light on why some factions, such as the Thalmor, operate in the way that they do.
If you thought you knew everything about the history of this time period, you might be surprised to find out just how much actually happens. Let’s take a trip down on history lane and look at the 10 most defining moments from this time period, from oldest to most recent.
10 The Red Year
For the longest time a mysterious meteor known as the Baar Dau floated on top of the city of Vivec in Morrowind thanks to the powers of the local Tribunal. However, when the final surviving member disappeared, the meteor began to slowly ease out of its frozen state. And so, a machine known as the Ingenium was built, and with souls as its fuel it continued to keep the meteor above the city.
However, it was the destruction of this machine that leg to the meteor finally crashing down and causing a massive natural disaster in Morrowind as the Red Mountain erupted and covered the lands in ash and filled the air with smog. Many Dunmer perished in the process and even took refuge in other provinces, namely Skyrim.
9 Argonian Invasion
Partly inspired by the plight of the Dunmer and encouraged by the Thalmor, Argonians began invading the southern parts of Morrowind. This created even more refugees, who took the Dunmeth road to Skyrim, where a monument known as the Refugee’s Rest now stands in remembrance to those who fled Morrowind.
Many also moved to Solstheim when the Empire was either ignorant or incapable of assisting them against the Argonian invaders and in the face of the terrible natural disasters that occurred with the Red Year.
8 Rise Of The Thalmor
High Elves known as the Thalmor are those who believe themselves to be superior to humans and oppose the worship of Talos, a man who after his death was turned into a deity. During this in-between period, the Thalmor essentially took control of the Summerset Isles and established what is in Skyrim known as the Aldmeri Dominion.
They also severed all ties to the Empire and during what is known as the Night of Green Fire purged any Altmer dissidents who refused to swear allegiance to the Aldmeri Dominion.
7 Umbriel Crisis
Introduced in the Elder Scrolls novels, the events of this crisis follow shortly after the Ingenium was destroyed and its creator and destroyer, Vuhon and Sul, find themselves in the Oblivion realm. Vuhon strikes a deal with a being known as Umbra, who seeks to find a way back to Tamriel from the hands of Clavicus Vile, and as a result a massive floating island of doom followed by an army of undead wreaks havoc across Tamriel.
It isn’t until Titus Mede’s son, along with the help of Sul, manages to put a stop to Umbra’s and Vuhon’s merged form, Umbriel, and return peace to the continent once more.
6 Void Nights
A strange astrological phenomenon took place during two years in Tamriel, when the two moons of Nirn, Secunda and Masser, disappeared from the sky. This phenomenon created mass hysteria among the Khajiit people, who had strong religious ties to these moons. When they reappeared once more, it was the Thalmor who claimed to have brought them back.
As a result, the Khajiit felt eternally grateful to the Aldmeri Dominion and swore allegiance after the Elseweyr Confederacy fell and two vassal states to the Dominion were born instead. It also weakened the influence and the role of the Empire in the eyes of the Khajiit.
5 The Great Collapse
Over a hundred years after the Red Year, another environmental disaster struck Tamriel, this time in the province of Skyrim in Winterhold. A strong storm struck the city and wiped out most of it, leaving the city in a derelict state. However, amazingly enough the College of Winterhold was able to sustain itself through the storm.
Because of this the locals still believe to this day that it was the mages of the college itself that caused the Great Collapse through their experiments or a failed spell. The mages, on the other hand, maintain that they are innocent and that the storms were instead the aftermath of the Red Mountain’s eruption striking the northern coast of Skyrim.
4 The Great War
Perhaps the most important event that took place was the war between the Empire and the Third Aldmeri Dominion. When Emperor Titus Mede II refused the Dominion’s ultimatum, a war between humans and their allies and high elves broke out and consumed the continent and its people for five total years.
It wasn’t until the Empire’s forces were greatly weakened and the Imperial capital was ravaged that a stalemate was reached and the White-Gold Concordat was signed, which banned the worship of Talos in Tamriel and expelled Hammerfell from the Empire completely. It’s this war that sets the background for Skyrim’s civil war as well.
3 Rise Of The Forsworn
You’ve probably heard of the Forsworn in Skyrim, but their roots go way back before the beginning of the game to when they united to take back the Reach for themselves. The Reach is in fact a strategically important place that Bretons and Reachmen have been fighting over for some time, mainly due to it being rich in silver ores.
In a massive effort, the Forsworn organized an uprising that allowed them to capture the entirety of the Reach, as well as conquer Markarth. It wasn’t until the Empire tasked Ulfric Stormcloak to retake these lands that the Forsworn were reduced back to their starting point, mere hostiles sitting in camp around Markarth and the southwestern side of Skyrim.
2 The Civil War Breaks
After freeing Markarth under the Empire’s orders and failing to use it as leverage to restore the worship of Talos once more, Ulfric established the Stormcloak rebellion in order to fight off any Thalmor influence in Skyrim, as well as crown himself as High King. Unhappy with the peace the Empire had made with the Aldmeri Dominion, Ulfric believed the Nords and people of Skyrim needed to prepare themselves for a war against the Dominion and against the Empire as well.
The Empire obviously disagreed, as Skyrim is one of its provinces and must respect any Imperial laws. And so, supporters of each respective side in Skyrim engaged in a clash that is very much alive the moment the Dragonborn enters the province.
1 Withering Of The Dark Brotherhood
This in-between era marks the gradual destruction of much of what is known as the Dark Brotherhood. After the events of Oblivion, the Brotherhood’s presence in the Empire’s capital was greatly weakened and as a result many of its other strongholds struggled in the following years of warfare. Particularly during the Great War between the Aldmeri Dominion and the Empire, many hideouts were destroyed.
The Dragonborn learns from Cicero’s diaries in particular how he witnessed the fall of the Brotherhood’s members and ideals, until he retreated to Falkreath with the Night Mother’s body once he had become a Keeper, in hopes to restore the Brotherhood’s former glory.