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World map. The Land of the Madmen, lower right corner, in relation to the other continents.

The Land of the Madmen is the smallest of the known continents. It lies approximately 5,000 miles south of the Westlands, across the Sea of Storms, and 8,000 miles east of Seanchan, across the southern Aryth Ocean. It was discovered some centuries ago by the Sea Folk who have not attempted to chart the shoreline in depth but have broadly determined its dimensions. According to the Sea Folk, the landmass is approximately 750 leagues (3,000 miles) across and 500 leagues (2,000 miles) north to south. The southern coast is less than 500 miles from the southern icecap. Large numbers of active volcanoes are visible on the coast and the land is constantly seismically active. This also leads to icebergs in the southern seas, as the seismic activity causes chunks of ice to break off from the icecap and drift northwards.

A map showing the location of the Land of Madmen in the world.

This landmass is believed to have been thrown into chaos by the Breaking of the World, and even after more than 3,500 years the inhabitants do not seem to have reestablished any kind of order. The people live in hovels in small, primitive villages. Channellers of both sexes exist. The men are of course insane, and it is hypothesised that the land's ongoing seismic activity may partially be due to the male channellers unleashing the One Power randomly and chaotically (in essence, the Breaking of the World continues on a much smaller scale on this landmass). This likely implies that the failure of the landmass's inhabitants to rebuild society is due to female channellers there not developing a functional system for gentling or executing male channellers. The females channelers of the land of madmen are apparently also unpredictable and dangerous. The non-channelling population appears completely untrusting of outsiders, and kill them on sight. After several attempts to establish trade, the Sea Folk have declared this land off-limits, and will not travel there.

All the known information on the Land of the Madmen is given in The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. Note that the world map disagrees with the measurements given in the text, indicating dimensions more like 4,500 miles from east to west and 2,500 miles from north to south.

Parallels

If the text is accurate, the landmass would bear intriguing size, location and shape comparisons with Australia. The violence of the land's inhabitants is possibly a reference to Australia's origin as a penal colony. Some speculate that the Land of the Mad Men is an area the surviving male Aes Sedai fled to, in an attempt to seek refuge from the female Aes Sedai and rebuild. If so, the intended effect was not achieved.

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