The Succession Wars are a series of conflicts in the history of Andor. There have been four Succession Wars in the past one thousand years. They should not be confused with the Wars of Cairhienin Succession of neighboring Cairhien.
Queen Ishara Casalain established the kingdom of Andor in the opening months of the War of the Hundred Years. Ishara's sons died fighting and her daughter Alesinde succeeded the throne. Similarly, Alesinde's sons died in the war and her daughter, Melasune, became queen. At this time it was made law that only a woman could sit the Lion Throne of Andor. If a queen were to die with no female issue, the throne would pass to whoever could prove the highest number of lines of descent from Ishara. When the lines of succession were disputed, war was the result.
One of the first two Succession Wars was fought c. 500 NE, when the great houses of Andor split evenly between three claimants to the Lion Throne. Seven years of open warfare followed before a new queen gained the throne, the original claimants having all died in the interim.
No records have survived of the other Succession War. Andorans consider these realignments of power an internal matter and are not keen to publicize them beyond their borders. However, the most recent two wars both involved outsiders.
Third Succession War
The Third Succession War was a brief conflict fought in 972 NE. Very little fighting actually took place, as it was mostly a war of politics and guile, with some assassinations also taking place.
In 972 NE, Queen Mordrellen Mantear died without issue. Her son Luc and her daughter Tigraine had both vanished without a trace in the preceding two years. The succession was disputed between several families. Eventually, after much debate and intrigue, Morgase Trakand took the Lion Throne, supported by several powerful Major Houses (House Taravin, House Traemane, House Carand, House Mantear, House Northan, House Coelan, House Gilyard, House Haevin, House Norwelyn, House Pendar, House Renshar), against the claims of other Major Houses (House Marne, House Sarand, House Baryn, House Caeren, House Arawn, House Anshar; House Candraed remained neutral).
To maintain the peace with neighboring Cairhien, Morgase agreed to marry Tigraine's widower, Taringail Damodred. Taringail gave her two children, Gawyn and Elayne, before his own assassination by persons unknown (but most likely the court bard Thomdril Merrilin) in 984 NE.
Fourth Succession War
In 998 NE Elayne departed Caemlyn to study the arts of rulership under the Aes Sedai in Tar Valon, as was traditional. However, Elayne could also channel the One Power, and the Aes Sedai took a special interest in her as she could be the first ruler to also be Aes Sedai in centuries. Elayne disappeared from the White Tower on several occasions without explanation, sparking a rift between the Tower and Queen Morgase.
In 999 NE Queen Morgase fell under the spell of the handsome and charismatic Lord "Gaebril" and neglected her duties to the realm. Morgase abruptly disappeared and Gaebril attempted to seize power openly, only for him to be revealed to be the Forsaken Rahvin in disguise and killed by the Dragon Reborn, Rand al'Thor, in battle. With Morgase assumed dead or missing, the High Seats of the major houses of Andor expected Elayne to claim the Lion Throne. However, as the months passed she still did not appear, despite the assurances of both al'Thor and the Aes Sedai that she still lived.
Believing that Elayne had forsaken her obligations and duties, the High Seats began maneuvering and jockeying for power, eventually settling on the Lady Dyelin Taravin as their favored candidate. However, no sooner had they done this than Elayne reappeared in Caemlyn and claimed the throne, early in 1000 NE. Although Dyelin threw her full backing behind Elayne, the other major houses took some time to be convinced and the Lady Arymilla Marne was able to assemble an army of 30,000 men and besiege Caemlyn in the meantime. Elayne was kidnapped by Black Ajah sisters at this time, who had arranged for Marne's troops to assault the city at the same moment, but her Warder, the Captain-General of the Queen's Guards, organized a quick rescue and was then able to return and defeat Marne's attack. The remaining wavering houses swore fealty to Elayne, confirming her as Queen of Andor and ending the brief civil war.
At the end Elayne gained the support of fourteen Major Houses, three Major Houses were defeated and ruined and two remained neutrals.
It is unknown how widely known the news that Elayne is pregnant with the Dragon Reborn's children has disseminated, and whether this will have any impact on her acclamation as Queen.