Ghervenia was originally a collection of small villages that covered the country, with the citizens spreading out from Claustrum, Nerrdoon, and other northern parts of Byshur. The villages that grew here were relatively sparse, and depended on one another to trade for vital supplies. One might grow crops, another mine for salt (providing the necessary ingredient for preserving meat), and still others would raise the few farm animals that would thrive this far north. The trade economy grew from this, starting large caravans which would sweep from one side of the country and down into the continent, as far south as Quasair (this had its own effect of Quasair, but you can read about that on Quasair’s page). From this, the villages closest to the mainland of Byshur grew stronger, and built small cities to help the trade route along. Some basic tariffs began to be taken out of the trade that passed through Ghervenian villages and cities, but with the amount of trade that passed through it was amenable to most parties involved.
The villages closest to Narran worked largely on a fishing economy. Though the trade caravans often started in this area, the amount they came back with was normally comparable to what came back if the caravans only traveled to the neighboring villages. The journey took the longest time of any of the villages touched, and the goods that could come back therefore had to be heavily preserved (either by magic or heavy salting). Besides this, the goods that made it here had passed through all (or nearly all) the cities in Ghervenia that took tarrifs, and were as such, lacking in a good number of the things that were valuable, as they were traded early on to avoid being taken. With the lack of significant trade, these villages worked to find their own way, and made forays far out into the ocean, and even went so far as to pass into the northern ice (see below for more on this). These forays eventually led to the discovery of The Tower, and though the specific details of this are unknown, a deal which allowed trade to pass between Nerrdoon and southeastern tip of Ghervenia.
As the seamanship of those in this area improved, they began to make trips out as far as the Great Divide. Originally thought impassable, the Gherveinians were surprised to stumble upon a whole other continent. They built up some small forces, and began to establish outposts on the islands. Initially only used as a source of more exotic fish, and better crops for the villages that established the outposts, word of the discovery quickly spread to the rest of Byshur. Enterprising men and women came in droves to see the new lands, and worked to get established there as quickly as possible. The areas fast exploded with outposts becoming cities on the shores in the course of only a few short years. Ghervenia was too late to lay claim to the outposts they initially established, but made other expeditions and grabbed what they could. (For more on this, see the history of Narran)
Exotic pets, crops, farm animals, minerals, and other goods began to flow out of Narran, and Ghervenia was poised to take advantage of it. With a well established trade route which already spanned the country, as well as a new, but more risky route through Nerrdoon, Ghervenia became an even bigger name than it already was, gaining the nickname “The Golden Belt.” Tarrifs exploded across the country, and everyone seemed poised to take as big a chunk of the wealth passing through as they could get away with. I use the term “tariff” as if there was some authority in the city for establishing what one should take, but this was more of a free-for-all. Each trader in the city had some portion they would skim off the top, men they had who pretended to be guards for the city would impose imaginary tariffs all across town. The large houses were hardly able to do anything about it, having risen to power in nearly the same manner themselves. As these “tarrifs” in some areas began to cross a quarter of what the caravan carried, often traded back by the government who took it immediately to caravans coming from the other direction, there came a need for some control. Cities across the country came together for what became known as “the gold belt pact.” Ghervenia lacked a central controlling authority, and this served to establish something of an authority for trade.
Wihtout going into too much detail, the gold belt pact essentially established that anyone who wanted to trade in the country would be subject to a sign which would follow their person during any trade, tabulating their daily trades and the names of the people they traded with. City guards would be established to take a true tarrif, which would be noted as “reasonable” by a central authority in the newly established capital city of ____ (Rj, please fill this in). Having this sign became somewhat of a standard for trustworthy traders in the kingdom, though there was no shortage of those who tampered with theirs to try and hide questionable transactions. And still others who sold forgeries of signs to attempt to give legitimacy to illegal traders. Ghervenian trade signs can be read about here.
Claustrum is well known as the agitator in the War, and it has therefore been named the Claustrum War accordingly. You can read what is currently known about it here.