The Old Holds, Eastern Skyrim, or the Eastern Kingdom is the eastern half of the province of Skyrim and is the parallel to West Skyrim on the other side of the province. While the Nords of West Skyrim embrace the cultures of the Empire, the Nords of the Old Holds stick to the old ways that date back to the Atmorans of the distant north.
The Old Holds consist of the eastern holds of Skyrim which include Eastmarch, The Pale, The Rift, and the Winterhold. Each of these regions has unique distinctions that separate them from each other, as well as the other holds in the west. The original capital of the East was the city of Windhelm, located on the Yorgrim River, leading into the Sea of Ghosts. The capital of both the Old Holds and Skyrim was changed to the city of Winterhold, located in the northern reaches of the province. The Old Holds take up the less amount of area when compared to West Skyrim, although the Whiterun Hold has been considered a part of the region. There are several large landmarks across the Holds such as Hsaarik Head, Lake Honrich, the Palace of the Kings, and the Yorgrim River. Since the Merethic Era, the Old Holds of Skyrim have been traditionally bound together, fighting alongside one another throughout the years.
During the Interregnum, the province of Skyrim was ruled by High King Logrolf and was a close ally of the Second Empire of Reman Cyrodiil III. When Reman was assassinated by the Morag Tong in his chambers, many leaders of the Empire were killed as well; this included Logrolf. Logrolf's daughter, Freydis was to assume the throne after Logrolf and the Crown of Verity chose her to lead her people in the coming years. A Moot was made in the city of Solitude, and the Jarls of Skyrim chose Jarl Svartr of Solitude to become the Next High King. Svartr had also claimed that Freydis was an illegitimate daughter to Logrolf and that she did not deserve the throne. This conflict resulted in the province of Skyrim to split into two separate kingdoms, one with Freydis being High Queen, and one with Svartr being High King. Freydis' Skyrim would become known as the Kingdom of Eastern Skyrim.
In 2E 572, the Snow Demons of Kamal led by Ada'Soom Dir-Kamal invaded the continent of Tamriel in an event known as the Second Akaviri Invasion. Ada'Soom's army besieged Eastern Tamriel from as far as the Telvanni Peninsula to the tundra of Eastmarch. The city of Windhelm was ruled by Mabjaarn Flame-Hair and would eventually be inherited to her eldest daughter, Nurnhilde. Things took a turn for the worst when the city was besieged by the Snow Demons, with both Flame-Hair and Nurnhilde died in its wake. Prince Jorunn traveled to the temple of High Hrothgar to ask for the Greybeards help in the matter. The Greybeards conjured Wulfharth the Ash-King to assist the Prince in his battle against the Snow Demons. Both Jorunn and Wulfharth assembled an army at the gates of Riften, Ada'Soom's army was intimidated by the large numbers of angry Nords, so they avoided the city and traveled into Stonefalls, Morrowind. His army was cornered at Vivec's Antlers. To the west was Jorunn and Wulfharth with their vast army, to the east was the Dark Elves led by Tanval Indoril and Almalexia of the Tribunal, and to the south was the Argonians led by Vicecanon Heita-Meen. The Snow Demons were defeated at the Battle of Stonefalls, and amidst the conflict, the Ebonheart Pact was formed, an alliance of the Nords of Eastern Skyrim, the Dunmer of Morrowind, and the Argonians of Black Marsh.
The Kingdom of Eastern Skyrim dissolved sometime before the Third Era, when Tiber Septim first became the new Emperor of Tamriel. Despite the Kingdom dissolving, remnants of this ideology still existed in Skyrim. The denizens of Eastern Skyrim were firm believers of the Old Ways and felt that Skyrim was meant to stick with their old traditions. Skyrim would not be split this way again at the beginning of 4E 201. The Jarl of Windhelm, Ulfric Stormcloak defeats High King Torygg in a duel that ultimately killed him in the process. Ulfric utilized the Thu'um to subsequently kill Torygg, which branded Ulfric, a murderer throughout the cities in Skyrim. The cities of Windhelm, Riften, Dawnstar, and Winterhold banded together to fight against Western Skyrim and the Imperial Legion led by General Tullius. The city of Whiterun was in a gray area of the war, but it still saw support in the Empire. Western Skyrim and Eastern Skyrim would fight against each other in an event called the Skyrim Civil War.