Following the Breaking, the threat of Darkfriends and the fear that Shadowspawn could once more pour forth from the Blight led to a general feeling that an overarching organization was needed. The memories of the utopian Second Age were still fresh, but none would relinquish sovereignty.
In 209 AB, ten nations came together to sign a mutual defense pact that would become the Compact of the Ten Nations. The ten who participated were Aelgar, Almoren, Aramaelle, Aridhol, Coremanda, Eharon, Essenia, Jaramide, Manetheren, and Safer. Queen Mabriam en Shereed of Aramaelle, Aes Sedai of the Gray Ajah and ta'veren, was the driving force behind this unification. As many of the queens at the time were also Aes Sedai it is suspected that the White Tower played a significant role.
For eight hundred years the compact held, and society flourished in peace. Many great cities were constructed with the aid of Ogier stonemasons. The time before the Breaking was still relatively fresh in people's minds and many hoped for a return to the glories of the past. Armies remained large, however, and military tactics were not forgotten.
Led by the Dreadlords, men and women who could channel and served the Dark One, armies of Shadowspawn, mostly Trollocs, spewed out of the Blight for three hundred and fifty years. While the Ten Nations were successful at first in holding off the Shadow's onslaught, in the end it proved nearly too much to bear. One factor hindering their ability to fight back was the maintenance of separate armies and "home rule" of each of those armies, under their national leaders. This led to inevitable strains on the Compact, whereby certain nations were reluctant to send aid to their neighbors, for fear of being attacked themselves. Manetheren was known for sending aid to anyone who asked, to the point where it became known as the "thorn in the Dark One's foot." When, at last, the Dreadlords made a concerted effort against Manetheren directly, no other nations offered aid and the nation was destroyed.
The Trollocs were soundly defeated at the Battle of Maighande, but the betrayal of Manetheren and the corruption of Aridhol ensured the Trolloc Wars ended with a Pyrrhic victory for the five remaining nations (Aelgar, Eharon, Essenia, Jaramide, and Safer). After they had pushed the Shadow back, however, these remaining nations were damaged irrevocably and one by one the remaining nations degenerated into smaller, more manageable states.
Advance of the Blight
Since the end of the Trolloc Wars and the disintegration of the ten nations, the Blight has advanced and consumed much of the land from that time. This is confirmed by the maps that Rand brings to Elder Haman in Caemlyn so he may point out the locations of the Waygates.