The Consolidation is a name given to two separate, although related events in the history of the Westlands and Seanchan, namely the conquest of the former by the High King, Artur Paendrag Tanreall in FY 943-963 and the latter by his son Luthair Paendrag Mondwin starting in FY 992. For the sake of clarity this article will refer to the former, while the latter can be found under the Conquest, the name by which it is known in Seanchan.
In FY 939, while the continent was still being ravaged by a plague known as the Black Fever, a man named Guaire Amalasan proclaimed himself the Dragon Reborn and launched a military campaign that delivered over a third of the continent to his control in three years. In opposition, an alliance of nations organized by the Aes Sedai stood against him, but suffered a series of defeats that was not reversed until King Artur Paendrag Tanreall of Shandalle, already known as Artur Hawkwing, finally defeated him at the Battle of Jolvaine Pass. Taking him prisoner, Tanreall and his Aes Sedai allies delivered Amalasan to Tar Valon to be tried for being a false Dragon.
However, Tanreall defied the law of the White Tower by not only bringing an armed military force onto territory controlled by Tar Valon, but setting up camp within sight of the Shining Walls themselves. History is silent on whether Hawkwing did so on his own authority, or was asked or received permission to do this from the Aes Sedai sisters with him. It is notable that upon being received in the White Tower and given a public heroes' welcome, those sisters immediately disappeared from public view and were given severe penances by the Amyrlin Seat, Bonwhin Meraighdin.
Less than a week after Hawkwing's forces reached the city, it came under attack by supporters of Amalasan seeking to free him. Hawkwing led his army into Tar Valon itself and defeated the attackers in pitched street fighting that at one stage reached the foot of the White Tower.
After the battle was concluded, Hawkwing returned home to Shandalle and began demobilizing his army. His departure was curt: some sources claim he refused a summons from the Amyrlin Seat to accept her thanks, while others say she refused to see him. Either way, there was bad blood between Hawkwing and the Amyrlin. Meanwhile, among the kingdoms left leaderless by Amalasan's defeat it was heard that many believed Hawkwing would make an excellent replacement, and even in kingdoms far removed from the areas of conflict, Hawkwing's fame spread with amazing speed. While there is no definitive proof of this, it is theorized that Bonwhin, already annoyed by the Aes Sedai having been saved by a man who had given the appearance of defying Tower law and surviving unpunished, became enraged at Hawkwing's growing fame and vowed to destroy him. Certainly it is extremely unlikely that what happened next could have happened without at least the tacit approval of the Amyrlin Seat.
The war begins
Just before the winter snows fell in FY 943, the kingdoms of Caembarin, Tova, and Khodomar launched simultaneous invasions of Shandalle from the west, east, and south, respectively. In a lightning campaign of movement, Hawkwing's badly outnumbered army defeated each attacking force. Raising reinforcements, he then launched counterattacks that within weeks had delivered him the western half of Tova, parts of northern Khodomar and large portions of eastern Caembarin. The following year, Ileande sent troops to reinforce Tova while Aldeshar backed up Caembarin, and Talmour reinforced Khodomar. Hawkwing defeated them once more, and began consolidating the territory he already had, expanding his armies with the troops of captured nations, many of whom were eager to fight for Hawkwing, who was renowned for treating his troops well and promoting by merit with no regard for circumstances of birth.
The end of the war
The Wars of the Consolidation took over nineteen years to bring to a successful conclusion. Hawkwing largely fought the war on a defensive footing, reinforcing and fortifying in quiet moments for when other nations would take the field against him. As such, his expansion was slow but steady and continuous. In early FY 963, he finally fought a decisive battle against King Joal Ramedar of Aldeshar, forcing his surrender and that of his kingdom. With Ramedar's defeat the entire territory of the Westlands, from the Aryth Ocean to the Spine of the World, from the Great Blight to the Sea of Storms, was under his control. The only exception was the territory controlled by Tar Valon. Although Hawkwing suspected Bonwhin's hand in rallying the nations against him, he could not prove it. He adopted a conciliatory line towards the end of the Wars of the Consolidation, and as a result he received Aes Sedai mediators and advice in the organizing of his new empire.