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Cantha map (End of Dragons).jpg
A map of Cantha released by developers.


Over two centuries ago, the Empire of the Dragon severed all bonds with central Tyria and Elona. Cantha has its own history of turmoil and triumph, reflected in ancient landmarks, enduring artistry, and modern life.

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Cantha is an old land, and one that has been occupied by humans from their first days. In fact, the northern coastline of Cantha is the earliest known location of human settlements.[1][2] Cantha could be called humanity's birthplace—at least until more evidence comes to light. While Cantha has its own rich and well-developed history, it has also been gripped with periods of isolation.

Cantha has mostly been ruled by a single empire, called the Empire of the Dragon (or alternatively, the Dragon Empire[3] or the Empire of Cantha[4]). A direct descendant of the empire's founder Kaineng Tah still rules the continent today.[1]

Cantha expelled all nonhumans and closed its borders some time during the reign of Emperor Usoku. However, the Empire of the Dragon continued to trade with the Krytan port city of Lion's Arch until the Rising of Orr and the emergence of Dead Ships blocked sea trade routes between the continents.[5][6] There is currently no diplomatic contact with Cantha.[7]


Dragons have been incorporated into Canthan art and architecture throughout history. Several of these "dragon lighthouses" were constructed by the Empire of the Dragon off the coast of Shing Jea Island and Kaineng City.
See also: An Empire Divided: A Selected History of Mysterious Cantha for the Traveling Scholar

Pre-imperial era[edit]

The time before the founding of the Empire of the Dragon is referred to as the pre-imperial era, which is further divided into loosely defined early, middle and late pre-imperial eras. This is because the Canthan calendar lacks the precise means of recording dates before 0 CC, which corresponds with 510 BE in Tyria's Mouvelian calendar.

Dragons of all shapes, sizes, and origin have called Cantha home for thousands of years, since long before the human tribes of old joined to form the empire that took dragons as its symbol.[8] Despite this, in contrast to the northern continent of Tyria, the extent to which Canthan prehistory is shaped by the Elder Dragons is not well-known, except that the early pre-imperial era has been mentioned in the context of research about the cyclic nature of Elder Dragon awakenings.[9]

In terms of the "elder races" (that is, races that were around at the time of the last dragonrise), there is evidence of a Forgotten presence in Cantha,[10] as well as relics of a mysterious race speculated to be an offshoot of the Deldrimor dwarves,[11] dating back to before humanity's arrival in the world of Tyria. The buildings of the Altrumm Ruins in the Echovald Forest also serve as evidence of a pre-human civilisation in Cantha, but their architects are unknown.

In 786 BE, the Six Human Gods first appeared in Cantha, bringing humanity with them.[2] The Luxon and Kurzick tribes did not emerge from the Canthan people and arrived separately at a later time, in unclear circumstances,[10] as did the human tribes of the northern continents of Elona and Tyria.

Age of the Marmoset (510 BE–205 BE / 0–305 CC)[edit]

In 510 BE, the Canthan tribes united under a single leader, the warlord Kaing, and established the Empire of the Dragon with Kaing taking the mantle of emperor as Kaineng Tah. The first emperor died under mysterious circumstances in 464 BE while riding his favorite horse on a hunting expedition. Although official history describes Kaineng Tah's death as purely accidental due to him falling off the spooked horse, fragmentary records have mentioned unexplained wounds on his usually trusty and well-trained horse's rump and on the emperor himself with a few records even suggesting some involvement from his fellow huntsmen.

It is unknown whether Kaineng Tah left a will behind to declare his eventual successor although contemporary writings by the emperor himself indicated that the document might have existed at some point. However, no will was ever officially discovered, leading to later scholarly speculation that the will might have been destroyed. The throne passed on to the older of Kaineng Tah's two sons, Yian Zho. The new emperor's two elder sisters were neither consulted nor welcome in the succeeding government. The sisters' fates remain unknown, but they vanished from the record weeks after Yian Zho had taken the mantle of emperor.[10]

During Yian's reign, the Luxon and Kurzick tribes united into two nations and seceded from the Empire, only to be forced back with military might and diplomacy as vassal states as Yian Zho's army was unable to fully annex the two tribes' territories. This time was also the birth of the hostility between the Luxons and Kurzicks that would remain for over a thousand years. After Yian Zho's reign, Cantha remained fairly isolated in the south, only opening trade with the northern continents centuries later in 221 AE, when resources became low for their growing population.

Age of the Falcon (205 BE–1 AE / 305–510 CC)[edit]

The Age of the Falcon, which spanned from 205 BE (the year that humans first appeared on the northern continent of Tyria) to the Exodus of the Gods, was an age of isolationism. By this time, the Empire of the Dragon was already sprawling,[10] and had little impact on the development of the Kingdom of Tyria (which would, after the Exodus, fragment into the kingdoms of Ascalon, Kryta, and Orr). This era also marks the granting of the gift of magic to the mortal races of Tyria, including humans in Cantha (whose ritualists already had something which they called "magic", but was actually power granted to them by ancestor spirits).

Age of the Bat (1–221 AE / 510–730 CC)[edit]

The gift and subsequent partial revocation of magic caused the widespread practice of the heroic professions, including in Cantha. Chanang, the eldest prince of the imperial line, defied the wishes of his father and chose to follow the hero's path. He became a warrior/monk and an ascendant. Upon succession as the eleventh emperor, he refused the title of "lord emperor" and became the first "ascendant emperor". Since then, all emperors have been required by family tradition to practice at least two of the heroic professions.

Age of the Hedgehog (221–694 AE / 730–1203 CC)[edit]

221 AE marked the first formal contact between the Empire of the Dragon and the kingdoms of Tyria. Cantha provided valuable knowledge and technology to the less advanced kingdoms, and in return received badly-needed resources. This allowed the recovery of Shing Jea Island, which had been damaged by overlogging, to begin, eventually transforming it into pastoral agricultural land.

Age of the Tortoise (694–872 AE / 1203–1381 CC)[edit]

The Age of the Tortoise began with the death of the tyrannical Singtah, the 23rd emperor, and the burning of the first Raisu Palace. It continued with his son Emperor Senvho's reconstruction of the palace, a task which obsessed him and consumed him for the remainder of his eighty-year reign.

Age of the Dragon (872 AE–? / 1381 CC–?)[edit]

The Jade Wind[edit]

The Jade Sea, 250 years ago.

The Jade Wind was a formative event in Canthan history. It occurred when the bodyguard Shiro Tagachi assassinated his master, the 26th emperor of Cantha, Angsiyan. Shiro was a formidable warrior in his own right, but he also performed a number of dark rituals in preparation for his actions.

Shiro did not live long after committing the murder. Three of the emperor's guard, the Luxon spear master Archemorus, the Kurzick Saint Viktor, and the assassin Vizu, attacked him. In a climactic battle, Archemorus and Viktor were able to wrestle Shiro's swords from him and, turning them against their wielder, nearly slice him in two. In Shiro's final moments, he called upon dark powers and sucked out the fallen emperor's very soul. Tagachi's death cry released the foulest of magic, a horrific wail that rose like a gale over the land. This Jade Wind spread from the temple, turning the sea into solid jade and petrifying everything it touched (trees, animals, and people) within Echovald Forest.[12]

The newly crowned emperor, the late Angsiyan's son Hanjai, took the throne while the empire was on the verge of collapse due to the aftermath of the Jade Wind. Tales tell how Hanjai prayed to the ancients for guidance, to seek a way to reunite his people and restore glory to the troubled lands. His prayers were answered in the form of a mighty celestial dragon that swooped from the heavens and assured him that Cantha would rise once more. The inspired Hanjai poured every ounce of his blood, sweat, and tears into achieving that goal by bringing Canthans together via offering refugees a place to stay in within Kaineng City, making the land as safe as he could in the aftermath of the Jade Wind, and restoring leadership.[3]

The next summer, Hanjai instituted the Dragon Festival. It was meant to commemorate those who had lost their lives in the Jade Wind, unite all denizens of the empire, and celebrate the establishment of a community on Shing Jea Island.[1] It also symbolised the survival of the Empire of the Dragon in the face of calamity. The emperor and his subjects would bow their heads in respect as they prayed for the blessings of the Celestial Dragon while invoking its name.

At some point, this celestial dragon spirit—potentially the Cardinal Celestial Tahmu or the Celestial Dragon—became regarded as the figurehead of the empire.[3]

Tengu Wars and division in Cantha[edit]

In 880 AE, tension rose between the people of Cantha and the tengu as Canthan farmers began settling Shing Jea Island. At first, it was a simple matter of territory and the fighting was kept to a few skirmishes. War nearly broke out when the Sensali clan of tengu massacred an entire village and, according to reports at the time, consumed the bodies of those killed. While Emperor Hanjai's ambassador was able to avoid open war with the Angchu clan of tengu, the Sensali clan declared the Angchu traitors and continued their acts of aggression.

Cantha's trade agreements with Ascalon, Elona and Orr stood until 902 AE, when they were dissolved by Emperor Hanjai, beginning one of the the most isolated period in the empire's history.

In 1017 AE, the Luxons and Kurzicks ceased regular diplomatic contact, communicating with each other only through liaisons of the Celestial Ministry when absolutely necessary. For many years to come, they would remain more focused on their divisions than on the problems that damaged their lands from within.

Kintah, the 27th emperor, was known as a man of the people. He informally reopened trade between Cantha and the Tyrian and Elonian kingdoms in 1022 AE when Loremaster Ermenred of Ascalon was able to negotiate a visit to the continent and Shing Jea Island to tour with Cantha's new emperor.[10]

Continued settlement of Shing Jea under Kintah's successor Kisu since his ascension to the throne in 1058 AE led to the Canthan farmers passing on diseases to the tengu and their hatchlings. Being forced to kill their young and their brethren, the tengu sought revenge and escalated their acts of aggression.

In 1071 AE, Wona, the emperor's minister of war who had fought against the tengu for many years, contacted the tengu chieftains Swift Honorclaw and Gull Hookbeak of the Angchu and the Sensali clans and requested their presence for a summit to negotiate peace between humans and tengu. Emperor Kisu asked his half-brother, Master Togo, to accompany a delegation to the war minister's estate as an observer of the proceedings and to legitimize the talks. However, the summit was a trap by Wona who intended to kill Togo and pin the blame on the tengu, creating the pretext for a genocide.

Togo was able to rally the remaining human delegates behind him to stop Wona's plans while promising the tengu to bring back the war minister's head as proof that the emperor was not behind the plot. The tengu leaders sent Talon Silverwing with Togo to find the minister and kill Togo if he proved to be deceitful. Togo turned out to be a man of his word, however, and killed Wona after fighting through the minister's defenders. While the Sensali left the summit in distrust and retreated to their raiding ways, the more civilized Angchu seized the opportunity for a real truce. Togo brought the tengu's complaints to Emperor Kisu and hammered home a peace treaty after 191 years of hostility, becoming a respected figure among the Angchu.[13][14]

One year after the Tengu Wars had officially ended, the humans and the tengu began holding an annual festival at Shing Jea Monastery to celebrate the anniversary of the peace accords. This festival became known as the Day of the Tengu and was attended by Emperor Kisu himself who held a speech to the festive crowd.

Return of the Betrayer[edit]

Shiro Tagachi, "The Betrayer".
See also: Storyline of Guild Wars Factions

Two hundred years after the Jade Wind, events occurred that revealed Shiro Tagachi's evil was not fully destroyed. The heroes of Tyria joined forces with Emperor Kisu, his half-brother Master Togo, and Togo's former student Brother Mhenlo.

The journey began with the appearance of a horrible plague, which turned the victims of the disease into violent creatures, called the Afflicted. After researching the disease, the group found evidence of Shiro Tagachi, a man long dead. However, beings from the afterlife, called envoys, told them that Shiro was turned into a sprit. The envoys' task, as penance for crimes committed in life, was to guide the souls of the dead. Instead, Shiro was corrupting the spirits, merging them with magical constructs called the Shiro'ken and building an army.

The group attempted to destroy Shiro, but were unsuccessful. They needed allies. Emperor Kisu was easy to convince, the Oracle of the Mists, Suun, also contributed valuable knowledge. After several negotiations, they convinced the Canthan vassal states of Luxon and Kurzick to join them. The dragon Kuunavang taught them valuable skills and agreed to fight alongside them.

Finally, the group ascertained Shiro's final goal. He was trying to return to life, and he only needed one more thing: to spill the blood of a member of the imperial bloodline. Togo, Mhenlo, and the heroes wasted no time in returning to the palace, but they only arrived at the last second. Battling their way through the Shiro'ken, the group reached the Imperial Sanctum to find Shiro standing over Emperor Kisu, about to give the final strike. Master Togo, in a desperate act, rushed to his half-brother, taking the blow. The emperor was saved, but Togo sacrificed himself—and Shiro, with his quest now complete, had achieved his goal. The betrayer left to complete his spell, leaving the survivors behind to mourn a great man.

In attempt to avenge his teacher, Mhenlo rushed into the Imperial Sanctum to confront Shiro, and the group followed him. They found Shiro Tagachi fully restored, a deadly and formidable assassin—but once again, a mortal one. A terrible battle ensued, but the party was able to bring down Shiro. As Shiro lay dying, the Oracle Suun appeared, using his power to encase Shiro's body in solid jade. The envoys also arrived, seeking Shiro's soul. The last remnants of Shiro Tagachi were consigned to a special place in the Underworld, where his spirit was imprisoned and forced to answer for his many crimes.

Winds of Change[edit]

See also: Storyline of Guild Wars Beyond

Though the Betrayer was stopped, the plague persisted in Cantha. Countless lives were lost, from the families of people forced to live in the streets to prominent families like the Yuudachi, head of the Sai Ling Order. Ashu Yuudachi survived the slaughter under miraculous conditions, and came into the care of his aunt, Reiko Murakami.

In 1073 AE, Reiko, then a member of the Ministry of Flame, made her first strides toward rallying the people of Cantha to fight back against the Afflicted. With Ashu at her side as a symbol of hope, her message resonated with the people. Little by little, Canthans began to take their fate into their own hands. Reiko began to rise in the ranks of the Ministry of Flame, as she and Ashu became renowned public figures. They spoke more often with the people of Cantha, offering the promise of change and the hope for a better future, free of the Affliction. Over the next couple of years, Reiko would become increasingly dissatisfied with the restrictions of the Ministry of Flame. Finding flaws in the system—the needless bureaucracy, political maneuverings, and personal agendas—she came to the conclusion that something greater needed to happen if Cantha was ever going to be able to move forward.

In 1077 AE, Reiko officially established the Ministry of Purity, with Ashu as a central figure. The Ministry of Purity made dealing with that which harmed Cantha its goal: to take action when all other branches of the government were content to turn a blind eye, pass the issues off as the emperor's problem, or fault the other ministries. Two years later, the Ministry of Purity began in earnest its campaign to finally rid Cantha of the Afflicted. Brave men and women rallied to their cause, eager to make their homes safe once more. In the course of the campaign, which lasted under a year, the Afflicted were vanquished alongside many members from the Jade Brotherhood and Am Fah gangs, and the tengu were branded as traitors and routed. The Ministry then set its sights on sweeping social reform.

In 1080 AE, Reiko's ambitions were exposed, and word was sent to Emperor Kisu about her attempts to eradicate the tengu and oppress any Canthan who stood in her way. However, Kisu was unable to act against the Ministry of Purity, whose influence was growing beyond his control, out of worry that divided loyalties between their respective followers would lead to an endless civil war.[15] Reiko was eventually assassinated by her niece Miku Yuudachi and the Hero of Tyria who were assisted by discontent Shing Jea peasants led by Xin Ji, Angchu tengu led by Soar Honorclaw, survivors from Am Fah and the Jade Brotherhood led by Daisuke Crimson Edge and Eri, Heart of Fire, and even the atoning Ministry initiate Zei Ri. They believed that Reiko and the ministry, in their zealotry to fight evil, had become a threat to themselves and to others with the way they violently oppressed those that did not fit their ideal of a purified Cantha. Miku believed that she was rescuing her brother Ashu from Reiko's grip; however, Ashu refused his sister's protection after Reiko's death and took control of the Ministry of Purity, pledging to show the people of Cantha the correct path to walk and to make Cantha whole again while claiming to not repeat Reiko's mistakes. Those participating in the uprising against Reiko lamented that many Canthans would mourn Reiko's passing despite her crimes and would view the Hero as a criminal.[16]

Contact lost with the other continents[edit]

See also: The Movement of the World

By 1127 AE, the people of Tyria were on their own. The new Canthan emperor, Usoku, finally unified his continent into the Empire of the Dragon. His armies conquered the vassal states of Kurzick and Luxon, making his power absolute. These efforts were supported by the Ministry of Purity,[1][17] which had originally been established by Reiko Murakami to combat the Afflicted. Usoku began to purge the lands of rebels, the sick, and any non-humans,[18] including the tengu who were forced to flee north to Elona and Tyria before many tengu tribes from Cantha, Elona and Tyria eventually built a new sanctuary called the Dominion of Winds for their persecuted clans.[19] It was not long after the purges that Canthan embassies started to follow Usoku's isolationist policies.[7] Regardless of this isolation, the Empire of the Dragon continued to do trade with Krytan royalty by trading Canthan silk and other goods for Krytan cotton.[6]

The Rising of Orr, caused by the awakening of the Elder Dragon Zhaitan in 1219 AE, completed Cantha's isolationism as the southern seas became dangerous to travel for sailors due to the increasing menace of Zhaitan's Risen minions patrolling the waters on black ships around Orr.[20][21] Due to this blockage, the last contact had was from the Canthan tengu who, led by a descendant of Talon Silverwing, forced their way through the Risen forces.[22][23][24] Usoku became the last Canthan emperor whose name Tyrian scholars knew.[25]

In the century that followed, occasional sporadic Canthan sailors would wash ashore along the Maguuma Jungle, being the only proof Tyrians had that Cantha still existed.[20] Despite this, Cantha's influence continued to affect humans in Central Tyria up to the present day as many families of Canthan origin settled there. Divinity's Reach, capital of the kingdom of Kryta, dedicated an entire city district to refugees and immigrants from Cantha, until the district was destroyed in the Great Collapse in 1325 AE.

Recent developments[edit]

Concept art for Guild Wars 2: End of Dragons, entitled "Shing Jea".

Inspired by the Pact's victory over Zhaitan in 1325 AE, Captain Hao Luen of the Captain's Council reimagined Tyria's version of the Canthan Dragon Festival as Dragon Bash, a festival to celebrate the defeat of the Elder Dragons, in Lion's Arch in the same year.[26] After the Great Collapse had been turned into the Crown Pavilion, Divinity's Reach had activities centering around Lunar New Year to celebrate the Canthan new year.

Despite Cantha remaining inaccessible to the common Tyrian and Elonian, it is hinted that the Zephyrites managed to reach Cantha aboard their floating Zephyr Sanctum and traded with the locals as recently as 1327 AE.[27][28][29]

In 1331 AE, the asura scholar Taimi reaffirmed the cases of Canthan sailors washing ashore, furthering that they had recounted tales of strange, and previously unknown, creatures emerging from the ocean. Taimi speculated the creatures from the tales to be connected to the deep sea dragon.[30]

Geography and climate[edit]

The continent of Cantha is located south of the continent of Elona and the Isle of Istan, across the Unending Ocean. As of the last contact with Cantha, the Empire of the Dragon contained four distinct regions: Shing Jea Island, Kaineng City, the Echovald Forest, and the Jade Sea; it is unknown if the empire's reach extended to the southern shoreline of the Canthan continent beyond the aforementioned regions. Kaineng City dominates the other known regions as a dense, dirty megalopolis that grew out of the refugees from the Jade Wind.

Shing Jea Island[edit]

Primary article: Shing Jea Island

Shing Jea Island is the largest of an island chain to the west of the Canthan mainland's northern tip. The island is idyllic and rural, and was shared between humans, the native tengu, yeti, and naga. Humanity's spread had caused conflicts with the tengu, sparking the Tengu Wars, though a crude peace was in place until Emperor Usoku took power and began a campaign to drive out non-humans.

Kaineng City[edit]

Originally only being part of the northernmost tip and surrounding Kaineng Center, Kaineng City expanded greatly to accommodate the flood of refugees and quickly spread to cover roughly half of the empire's land after the Jade Wind in 872 AE. The speedy expansion turned market districts into residential districts and created a multitude of slums and wrecked buildings as houses were built atop older ones. In the north lies Raisu Palace, which is far more open and has a distinct architectural style. Certain history books refer to Kaineng City as a "dump".[31]

Echovald Forest[edit]

Primary article: Echovald Wilds

The largest forest of Cantha, the Echovald Forest was home of the Kurzicks before they were conquered by Emperor Usoku. The Kurzicks were an oligarchic theocracy led by their Council of Nobles. When the Jade Wind struck, the trees and wildlife turned to stone, petrifying it. The Kurzicks crafted their homes and citadels from the gargantuan stone trees.

In the six years following the second defeat of Shiro Tagachi, life had begun to spring up in Echovald Forest as many areas saw new growth take hold.[32] This growth presumably continues to this day, with most if not all of the damage done by the Jade Wind having been reversed.

Jade Sea[edit]

Primary article: Jade Sea

Originally a sea of a greenish hue, the Jade Sea was crystallized by the Jade Wind, killing hundreds of naga and landlocking the nomadic sailors, the Luxon Armada. The now literal Jade Sea became a resource as the jade it produced was both magical and beautiful—being used for weaponry and decoration.

In the six years following the second defeat of Shiro Tagachi there were unsubstantiated rumours of a change in the Jade Sea similar to that in the Echovald Forest—small pools of water forming or even waves moving beneath the frozen surface.[32] Pieces of jade that have been removed from the radius of the Jade Wind, however, such as the Jade Wurm or Jade Wind Orbs, have remained solid.



The Guild Wars Wiki has an article on Old Canthan.
See also: Designing the Canthan Written Language


As of 1072 AE, the worship and perception of the Five True Gods within the Empire of the Dragon had taken on a uniquely Canthan cast. The greater gods of the pantheon shared the Canthan heavens with an assortment of lesser demigods, as well as eternal ancestor spirits and legendary heroes granted divine status by the diverse inhabitants of the realm.[8]

  • Dwayna is often depicted as young, tall, and slender, rising above the ground on huge feathered wings. Canthan artists often depicted her floating above the vibrant, living souls of their eternal ancestors.
  • Balthazar is frequently shown holding a greatsword, its tip lodged in the ground, with a pair of battle hounds sitting at attention at his feet. In Cantha, the sword was usually one of the single-edged imperial style, and the battle hounds were usually replaced with winged drakes.
  • Statues of Grenth depict the god with the body of a man and the narrow, skeletal head of a beast. Canthan artists tended to add a draconic look to the skull. The Canthan version of Grenth stood astride a small mountain of the dead, but in Canthan art the faces of these corpses were always averted from the god of death, as if in shame, to distinguish these enslaved dead from the "living" ancestor spirits.
  • In Cantha, Lyssa was not only the goddess of beauty and illusion, but also represented the incarnation of luck, both good and bad. Many Canthan assassins revered Lyssa more for her intrinsic duality than her famous beauty, and had been known to invoke her charms. Depictions of Lyssa in Canthan culture reflected the typical northern style: lithe twin figures of exquisite beauty entwined in an eternal dance.
  • Melandru was frequently depicted in Cantha as a tall, winged dryad from the waist up. Canthan artists usually described a severe figure ensconced in an outcrop of Echovald quartz. Melandru's roadside temples offered shelter, food, and water to weary travelers even in Cantha, though such shrines were few, and separated by long stretches of lifeless stonescape.
  • After the Ascension of Kormir in 1075 AE, Emperor Kisu decreed that the Dragon Festival, celebrating the Celestial Dragon, also be a commemoration of the great battle against Abaddon and Kormir's rise as the new Goddess of Truth.[33]

There are no known Canthan depictions of Abaddon or Dhuum.


Buildings in the Canthan district of Divinity's Reach, prior to the Great Collapse.

Canthan culture is diverse, largely separated into four styles: Kurzick, Luxon, rural Canthan, and urban Canthan. There are some unified aspects, such as the Canthan Calendar being based on a lunar system, as opposed to the solar system of the Mouvelian calendar, and as such celebrate a Lunar New Year. Similarly, all Canthans have a high reverence for the moon, which they dub "Melandru's moon".[34][35][36]

Historically, while led by an emperor, the Empire of the Dragon has been managed by the Celestial Ministry, which is primarily made up of the Ministries of Earth, Fire, Water, and Air.[8] After the return of Shiro Tagachi, a new ministry was formed, the Ministry of Purity, which quickly rose through the ranks of power as they gained the population's support through eradicating the Afflicted plague. Like much of everything else in Cantha, the state of the Celestial Ministry remains unclear after Emperor Usoku's rise although the Ministry of Security has emerged in modern times as a successor of the Ministry of Flame by overseeing law enforcement and justice.[37]

The last known word of Cantha comes from the Zephyrites, who say that Cantha is one of their "most culturally colorful ports of call," implying that Cantha's cultural side has only prospered in the following years.[27]

Rural Canthan

The Canthan countryside is primarily left for farmlands, particularly on Shing Jea Island, to feed the great and expansive Kaineng City. Structures built in rural areas are made of stone, topped with red roofing. There are often red-wooden gateways seen throughout these regions as well.

Urban Canthan

Life in the cities of Cantha is an arduous one, with the cities full of the poor, thieves, and cutthroats that would scam and steal from almost anyone. Before the Ministry of Purity's rise, gangs littered the alleys and sewers of Kaineng City, and though largely eradicated, some had survived the Ministry of Purity's purges.[38] The structures of the city themselves are primarily made of wood, and so overbuilt on each other that entire walkways were created atop of Kaineng's structures, and the lowest of them had begun to crush, causing some areas to tilt dangerously.

Luxons and Kurzicks

The Luxons and Kurzicks were the two most populous and distinct vassal cultures of the Cantha. During Emperor Usoku's reign, these two vassals were brought further into control of the empire, and their state since has been unknown.[20]

Prior to Usoku, the Kurzicks were strong practicioners of the arts, had heavy respect for the Echovald Forest in which they dwelled, and practiced a particularly devout and pious form of worship of the gods tied to the great Kurzick Houses, which had heroic or other well-known figures patronized as saints tied to each house.[39] They particularly revered the Forever Trees, the source of how they turned humans into immortal juggernauts.[40]

The Luxons, on the other hand, believed not only in the gods, but also three demigods known as the Three QueensAlua, Elora, and Ione—which was also a title used to refer to the three female captains of the Luxon Armada during the time of Shiro Tagachi's return.[8] Among the Six Gods, the Luxons saw Balthazar, Grenth, and Lyssa as their patron gods,[10] and made heavy use of Leviathan ships, mobile fortresses shaped like sea creatures that moved along the petrified sea.



  • The Empire of the Dragon, as of last contact, practiced agnatic primogeniture as its succession law, although there has been at least one Canthan empress (although not necessarily an Empress of Cantha). This seems to have changed in recent years with Empress Ihn.
  • Concubinage was practiced in Cantha, by emperors from Kaineng Tah to Kintah.[10]
  • The book Winds of Change found in the Durmand Hall suggests that Cantha has not been affected by the current dragonrise, at least prior to the rise of Zhaitan when contact was lost with Cantha.
  • A group of dredge once tunnelled to Cantha from Sorrow's Furnace, escaping from their Stone Summit dwarf masters.[41] Their fate is not known, given Emperor Usoku's purge, and their tunnels are presumably no longer accessible due to the minions of Primordus.
  • There used to be an asura gate beneath Cantha, indicating that the asura under-empire stretched at least that far south.[42] This gate was part of the first asura gate network, which is now unusable after Primordus's rise destroyed the Central Transfer Chamber.
  • Several low-resolution textures depicting a world map of Tyria, such as the map in the Durmand Priory or the Order Threat Assessment Board, depict Shing Jea as being a peninsula rather than an island, as it was in Guild Wars Factions. These maps also do not depict the Jade Sea as an inland sea but as part of the landmass, but this may just be because Cantha's isolationism makes it impossible to know its current internal geography.
    • Official maps released by developers have shown Shing Jea as an island and the Jade Sea as a solid landmass.


See also[edit]

Gwwlogo.png The Guild Wars Wiki has an article on Cantha.
Associated items


  1. ^ a b c d M. Lummis, K. Pleet, E. Kern and K. Ricketts, Guild Wars 2 Official Strategy Guide, 1st ed. Indianapolis, IN: DK/BradyGames, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire—Road to the Desert
  3. ^ a b c Dragon Festival Finale
  4. ^ Conflict in Cantha
  5. ^ Legendary Assassin Stance idle dialogue
  6. ^ a b "Chapter 3", Sea of Sorrows by Ree Soesbee:
    They'd been twice to massive Kaineng City in Cantha, each time carrying a heavy cargo of cotton and returning with a load of silk and other goods. Cobiah loved exploring the twisted labyrinth of Kaineng City's streets and trying the strange Canthan food, but best of all was the pure freedom of being out to sea. Travel was glorious, opening his horizons to different cultures and perspectives.
  7. ^ a b Canthan Scholar
  8. ^ a b c d The Guild Wars Factions Manuscripts,
  9. ^ Historian Angelina
  10. ^ a b c d e f g An Empire Divided: A Selected History of Mysterious Cantha for the Traveling Scholar
  11. ^ The Aurios Mines
  12. ^ Guild Wars Factions cinematic,
  13. ^ The Tengu Accords
  14. ^ Togo's Story
  15. ^ A Treaty's a Treaty
    Xin Ji: Why would the Ministry do this? The Angchu helped us!
    <Character name>: Because the Ministry of Purity isn't the infallible entity they would have you believe they are.
    Xin Ji: We have to report this! To Minister Reiko. the emperor himself!
    <Character name>: They likely got their orders from Minister Reiko herself...
    Captain Yong Hei: And the Ministry of Purity has grown too powerful; it has the people on their side. If the emperor were to go against them now, it would lead to endless civil war.
    Xin Ji: Well we must do something! That Tengu saved our lives, we owe it to him! There has to be something that we can do!
    <Character name>: There is. Tell people what you saw here today. Tell them of Ryun's sacrifice, of the Angchu's bravery.
    <Character name>: Show them that this path, the Ministry of Purity's path, will lead them to a darkness from which they may never escape.
  16. ^ Xin Ji
  17. ^ Shiro Tagachi: Legacy of the Betrayer, Vol. 2
  18. ^ 08 Suzhen 1637 CC
  19. ^ Historical dialogue with Kae Mayumi
  20. ^ a b c The Movement of the World: Cantha
  21. ^ Winds of Change
  22. ^ District Promenade ambient dialogue
  23. ^ Hayato
  24. ^ Riding the Wind: The Tengu Exodus
  25. ^ Plaza of Kormir ambient dialogue
  26. ^ Historical dialogue with Captain Hao Luen
  27. ^ a b Fade
  28. ^ Historical dialogue with Marjory Delaqua
  29. ^ Zephyrites brought Canthan-style decorations with them during the Festival of the Four Winds 2014 as a prologue to Living World Season 2 whose first story instance took place in 1327 AE.
  30. ^ Elder Dragons: Notes from the Field
  31. ^ District Promenade ambient dialogue
  32. ^ a b Guild Wars: Eye of the North manuscripts,
  33. ^ Master of Ceremonies
  34. ^ Hanpo Sai
  35. ^ Nicholas the Traveler's dialogue for 3 Vermin Hides in Xaquang Skyway
  36. ^ Nicholas the Traveler's dialogue for 2 Moon Shells in Gyala Hatchery
  37. ^ Guild Chat - Episode 116
  38. ^ The Final Confrontation
  39. ^ Invoking the Saints
  40. ^ The Eternal Grove
  41. ^ Envoy of the Dredge
  42. ^ I Feel the Earth Move Under Cantha's Feet
  43. ^ Game/Space: An Interview with Daniel Dociu,
  44. ^ Post by Anthony Ordon in "New thing in Great Collapse", Old Guild Wars 2 Forums (Archived)
  45. ^ "Chapter 7", Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb:
    The city of Divinity's Reach was laid out like a great six-spoked wheel, with each spoke being a great high road that arched from the outer walls of white stone to the uppermost reaches of the city. The upper city, with its palace and senate and domed gardens, was at the hub, and the lower reaches between the arched high roads were where most people lived. Over the years, the divided sectors took on a regional flavor. The original Krytans predominated in one sector of the city, while the descendants of the Ascalonians, their homelands blasted by the charr centuries earlier, gathered in another. Other spaces between the bridges were dominated by Elonian and Canthan immigrants, their distant homelands now unreachable, thanks to the rise of the Elder Dragons.
  46. ^ "Chapter 7", Ghosts of Ascalon by Matt Forbeck and Jeff Grubb:
    All he had to do was slip out the front gates, or even hide elsewhere in the city, perhaps go to ground in the Canthan district, where she didn't know anyone.
  47. ^ Suspicious Activity
    <Character name>: Tell me more about Yeng Isen.
    Valenze: He was born and raised in the Canthan areas of Divinity's Reach. He worked in the gladiatorial arena until he was injured.
  48. ^ A Lincolncast Interview with Josh Foreman (Episode 34),
  49. ^ Post by Josh Foreman in "How is getting rid of Cantha a 'universal' representation of humanity?", Old Guild Wars 2 Forums (Archived)