The Summerset Isles (also Sumurset Isle and, rarely, Summurset Isle), or Alinor (during the Fourth Era), is an archipelago consisting of the three major islands of Summerset, Auridon, and Artaeum located southwest of Tamriel, west of Valenwood. The province is home to the Altmeri people. The islands were considered part of the Tamrielic Empire, although they reside in the Abecean Sea. 
- Main article: Thalmor (Skyrim)
Prior to the coup d'état in 4E 22, the isles were ruled by a monarch, who, after the isles assimilation into the Cyrodiilic Empire was subordinate to the Emperor.
The aforementioned coup d'état was orchestrated by the nationalist political party known as the Thalmor who've since ruled over the islands as well as the Dominion. The party takes its name from ruling party of the First Aldmeri Dominion, made up of Altmeri Canonreeves, Bosmeri Treethanes, and a handful of Khajiiti Chieftains, who served as the ruling party in the Dominion as well as the diplomatic corps, a para-military unit and the Committee of Alliance Relations.
The Thalmor handle all processes of governement and project their nationalist dogma through these channels. It is unclear whether the Thalmor serve as the "inner-sanctum" of the Dominion, or as a sort of oligarchy class of aristocrats and warlocks. However the Thalmor are generally regarded as the established elite thanks to their magicka affinity genetically predisposed in the Altmeri race. It is also known that the second most powerful governor of the Isles, and one of the most powerful sorcerers in Tamriel, is the Arcane Arch-Magister, the leader of the great Crystal Tower.
Third Aldmeri DominionEdit
- Main article: Third Aldmeri Dominion
Rise to Power, 4E 22Edit
Before the Oblivion Crisis, the Altmer organization that would become the Thalmor were little more than a loud mouthed fringe group mocked openly by Altmeri society. In the waning years of the Third Era, they led numerous boycotts of Imperial goods.
When the Oblivion gates began opening all over Tamriel the Summerset Isles were thrown into anarchy. Refugees were slaughtered by the thousands. Those who tried to flee by boat found the Daedra had conjured storms to prevent escape and were cut down on the wharves and docks. Many were forced into the raging sea and drowned. Towards the end of what would become forever known as, "The Oblivion Crisis", only the legendary Crystal Tower of the High Elves stood fast against the Daedric hordes. It was there they made their last stand, in the ensuing battle the Altmer Sorcerers and Archers killed so many Daedra that they scaled the walls over mounds of their own dead. It was not enough however, and the Crystal Tower fell, literally torn asunder by Daedric machines. In those final moments, the hordes of Daedra vanished completely.
Though many disputed the Thalmor's miraculous claims, one by one they had their reputations ruined by Thalmor perpetuated rumors and were exiled. Those who continued, even in exile were often assassinated. One such famous example was the great seer-mage Rynandor the Bold. He had commanded the defense of the Crystal Tower, and was considered a great hero of the Oblivion Crisis. Rynandor was quickly assassinated aboard a ship bound for Anvil thereafter.
In 4E 22, in the wake of the Oblivion Crisis and the resulting Stormcrown Interregnum, the government of the Summerset Isles, a monarchy of which formed a part of the Tamrielic Empire was buckling under the pressure exerted by an angry populace .Many people felt cheated by this foreign power; they stood without the protection of Legion and were victims of the increasing corruption of the administrative powers left to control the province all while the tax collectors ran the peoples pockets dry, all to cater for the needs of others far away.They overthrew the rightful Kings and Queens of the Altmer in a violent uprising. Then the first of many pogroms descended on Summerset Isle. They slaughtered any who were not "of the blood of the Aldmer" as well as many remaining dissidents.
Continental Expansion, 4E 29 - 100 Edit
The Thalmor, following the steps of the Altmeri before them soon infected that of neighbouring Valenwood, spreading their nationalistic ideas to the Bosmeri peoples. As with the Summerset Isles, the Empire did not concern themselves with the territory, they had more pressing matters to attend to. By 4E 29, the Thalmor had gathered enough support to challenge the government of Valenwood, of which was swiftly overthrown, leading to Valenwood becoming part of the Aldmeri Dominion and cutting all ties with the Empire.
The Void Nights were a two year period in the Fourth Era (4E 98 - 4E 100), during which the two moons of Nirn, Masser and Secunda, disappeared. Given the significance of the moons to the Khajiit in Elsweyr, there was large panic and unrest among them. The Khajiit religion is based loosely on the moons, as it determines the birth patterns of the Khajiit race. When the moons did return, the Thalmor took credit, claiming to have used previously undiscovered Mythic Magics, and the Khajiit considered them their saviors, causing a massive decline in Imperial influence in the region. A coup then overthrew the Elsweyr Confederacy, creating the two kingdoms of Anequina and Pelletine, which the Aldmeri Dominion accepted as client states.
The Great War and the White Gold Concordat, 4E 171 - 175Edit
- Main article: Great War
In 4E 171, tensions between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion reached breaking point as the Thalmor denounced the Empire and ordered them to cease espionage, halt militarisation and cede a vast amount of land in Hammerfell amongst other demands lest they provoke war. The Empire resisted, and the Great War between the Third Aldmeri Dominion and the remnants of the Empire of Tamriel begun.
Both Cyrodiil and Hammerfell were attacked quickly and much to the Empire's surprise, from Elsweyr. The Thalmor moved quickly, taking the city of Leyawiin and besieging Bravil. Hammerfell was disorganized and ravaged by civil conflict, and the southern coast was quickly taken, driving the Empire north across the Alik'r Desert. By 4E 173, all of the Southern coast of Hammerfell with the exception of Hegathe, which was besieged and later taken - as was Skaven. However, the Aldmeri forces in Hammerfell were severely weakened by their victory and the subsequent advance into the Alik'r; and was withdrawn and focused on Cyrodiil. Both Bravil and Anvil fell to the Aldmeri, and the Imperial City became the main centre of the Great War. After a climactic battle, the Imperial City fell to the Aldmeri Dominion.
By 4E 175, the Empire focused the amassed strength of all of its forces on retaking the Imperial City. After the Battle of the Red Ring, the Aldmeri force in Cyrodiil was destroyed and for a while it appeared that the Empire had won. However, it soon came to their attention that the heavy losses at the Battle of the Red Ring has pushed the Empire's forces beyond continuing the war. A treaty was negotiated which cedes Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion and allowed the Thalmor the ability to outlaw Talos worship throughout the Empire. This was called the White-Gold Concordat, and was a catalyst for both of the subsequent rebellions in Hammerfell and Skyrim, whose cultures suffered directly as a result of the White-Gold Concordat, much to the amusement of the Thalmor.
Aftermath and Dominion Superiority, 4E 176 - 4E 201Edit
The Thalmor invaded Cyrodiil as part of the Great War of the Mede Dynasty. This conflict ended in the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, which among other things criminalized the worship of Tiber Septim's god-form. Shortly thereafter, the Dominion sent the Thalmor to intervene in both Hammerfell and Skyrim, empowered by their wish for total rule of Tamriel. The Second Treaty of Stros M'kai was signed in 4E 180, twenty years before the Dragon Crisis in Skyrim, ending the war in Hammerfell. Prior to the Dragon Crisis, the influence of the Thalmor in Skyrim is unclear. It is known that the Dragonborn's support for either the Imperial loyalists or the Nordic nationalists changed the tide of the Civil War present there.
Origin and first settlementsEdit
Summerset Isles is the traditional home of the Altmer, or High Elves, and the possible first landing place of the Mer arriving from their ancient homeland. The Altmeri peoples are directly bred from the Aldmeri peoples before they died off. The Altmer of the lands have allowed little in the way of exploration of their own, beyond the capital of Alinor by Ambassadors of the Second Empire of Cyrodiil. Recently, travel into the Isles has been more frequent, as Tiber Septim, using the Numidium, forced it into the Third Empire, but most of the Isle is still unknown. It is also noted that daedra worship in the Summerset Isle is quite prevalent.
The Altmeri religion is a very interesting one due to its mix of culture, heroes, Aedra, and Daedra. Their chief gods are Auri-El, Trinimac, Magnus, Syrabane, Y'ffre, Xarxes, Mara, Stendarr, and Phynaster. Doom Drum, or Lorkhan, is their devil figure.
In the last few years of the Third Era, Summerset Isle had been at peace with its neighbors, save one instance where it nearly came to blows with the Empire over simple Tariffs. To all outward appearances, it has returned to its normal state of unchanging tranquility. In fact, the Altmer are perhaps the most bitterly divided society in the Empire. The war in the province today is a cultural one, which has its origins with the surrender to Tiber Septim four centuries ago which shook Altmer society to its very foundations. While in Skyrim and Morrowind more blood has been shed in recent years, this struggle between the old and the new may have even more radical end results. The very future of the oldest province in the Empire of Tamriel is at stake.
Xenophobia and Supremacist movementEdit
For thousands of years, the Altmer have implicitly believed in their superiority to all other races and cultures in Tamriel. But after the incorporation of Summerset Isle into the Empire, doubts began to creep in. With the insularity of the Summerset decisively broken, many Altmer, particularly the young, began to take a more critical view of the rigid hierarchy of Altmer society and its strict cultural xenophobia. While there had always been discontent on the fringes of Altmer society, which was traditionally resolved by the exile of the malcontents, for the first time a significant element of Altmer began to agitate for social change.
This nascent revolution in the Summerset Isle has taken many forms. Most constructive, surely, is the acceptance of new cultures and races onto its shores, some occupying positions that would have been forbidden just a century ago. The Queen of Firsthold, for example, is the Dunmer Morgiah, daughter of Barenziah and sister of the King of Morrowind, Helseth. Her children, Goranthir and Rinnala, though half-Altmer, are fully Dunmer in appearance, and stand to inherit the throne.
A darker side of this movement, however, is exhibited by a shadowy group who call themselves the Beautiful. Originally a salon for artists with the reasonable philosophy that Summerset must let go of its past in order to move forward, the Beautiful became a revolutionary gang dedicated to the destruction of the greatest monuments of Altmer civilization. The Crystal Tower was naturally an early target, and fortunately attempts against it have failed, but many other great, ancient sculptures and emblems of the past have been vandalized. Since, the Beautiful have turned their attention to living symbols of the Isle, the royalty of Summerset. The particularly gruesome murder of the daughter of the King of Shimmerene has horrified and outraged the public.
Finally, some of the Summerset's youth continue to rebel against their present, ironically, by embracing their past. The Imperial Geographical Society is not allowed to visit the isle of Artaeum to survey and document it, but there is little doubt that the Psijic Order is increasingly popular among the young, and is willing to exploit this. Over the past thousand years, only seventeen new initiates were brought into the order. In the past two years, however, another thirty have joined. Thirty new members of an Order may not be enough to be considered a surprising trend in most circles, but to the tradition-bound graycloaks of Artaeum, it raises many questions. What is the Psijics' aim in this recent recruitment, however, is anyone's guess at this time.
The Great WarEdit
After the political chaos of the Oblivion Crisis, the Aldmeri Dominion declared war against the Empire, nearly destroying it. However, Emperor Titus Mede II surrendered to the Dominion, signing a treaty known as the White-Gold Concordat. The treaty, which heavily favored the Aldmeri Dominion, outlaws worship of Talos throughout the Empire, allows the Thalmor free movement throughout the Empire and authority to persecute anyone worshiping the outlawed god.
The province was renamed Alinor, in honor of the isles' capital, during this period by the Thalmor.
The Psijic Order and its base, the Isle of Artaeum, disappeared from Tamriel during this period. Despite this sudden disappearance, their influence as a group continues to be felt by many practitioners of magic in the present through certain visions and premonitions of the future. These sporadic appearances would later aid the Last Dragonborn during their work with the College of Winterhold
It should be noted that not all Altmer support the Thalmor, and the Stormcloaks do not completely rule out the notion of having Altmer join their cause. However, despite this fact, a number of Nords will still seem openly hostile in passing to most of Elven kind; thus making the likelihood of their recruitment relatively slim.
- Main article: Alinor (Lore)
The capital of the Isle, Alinor, has been described by human traders as "made from glass or insect wings." Other accounts, by diplomats of the Reman Dynasty, say that it is "a hypnotic swirl of ramparts and impossibly high towers, designed to catch the light of the sun and break it to its component colors, which lie draped across its stones until you are thankful for nightfall." The province of the Summerset Isles was named after its capital city by the Thalmor during the forming of the Third Aldmeri Dominion
- Main article: Crystal Tower (Location)
A monument to the spirit of the elven people. Within the glittering walls of the Tower are housed the graves of the early Aldmeri settlers, preserved forever as a lasting symbol of the power of the people for that brief moment in history, fully unified.
- The Pocket Guide to the Empire - outdated pamphlet that shipped with the Redguard game.
- The Pocket Guide to the Empire - a new version of the guide that shipped with the Oblivion game.