Zuwayza was a small kingdom located on a peninsula jutting northward from the northern shore of Derlavai. Being closer to the equator than any other Derlavaian kingdom, Zuwayza's terrain was primarily desert with a hot and dry climate, though it received regular rainfall in winter. The capital was Bishah. At the time of the Derlavaian War, Zuwayza was ruled by the young King Shazli.
For much of its history, and throughout the Thaumaturgical Revolution, Zuwayza was ruled as a province of Unkerlant. Only in the aftermath of the Six Years' War, with Unkerlant torn by civil war, did Zuwayza regain its independence. The tyrannical King Swemmel, who won Unkerlant's throne after defeating his brother Kyot, was unreconciled to Zuwayzin independence but was unable to do anything about it at the time.
The Derlavaian War
After seizing Unkerlant's share of Forthweg shortly after the war erupted, King Swemmel ordered the invasion of Zuwayza. Expecting a swift victory, the Unkerlanter army was consistently outfought by the Zuwayzin, who skillfully utilized their camel riders and knowledge of desert warfare. Ultimately, however, Zuwayza's defeat by its giant neighbor was only a matter of time. Unkerlanter reinforcements and more capable leadership from Marshal Rathar ensured Zuwayza's surrender.
Shazli and his foreign minister Hajjaj, an able diplomat, were able to use Zuwayza's battlefield successes to prevent the complete loss of their country's independence. Nonetheless, Zuwayza had to cede much of its territory to Unkerlant, and so when Algarve invaded Unkerlant the next year Zuwayza eagerly aligned itself with King Mezentio.
Zuwaya gratefully received Algarvian dragons and other forms of aid, and its army was able to reclaim the territory lost a year before. However despite Algarvian pressure Shazli did not order his armies to invade deeper into Unkerlant, as he had no interest in ruling non-Zuwayzin. Another source of friction with Algarve was caused by Mezentio's genocide against his Kaunian subjects. The Zuwayzin regarded the mass slaughters as barbaric and despite Algarvian protests granted asylum to any Kaunian refugees from Forthweg who managed to sail to Zuwayza.
During the war Swemmel established the "Reformed Principality of Zuwayza" under Prince Mustajid at the town of Muzayriq. Despite being intended to undermine Shazli's government, the Unkerlanter puppet regime failed to rouse any substantial support from other Zuwayzin and was dropped after Zuwayza exited the war.
When it became clear that Algarve was losing the war, Shazli and Hajjaj tried to arrange for Zuwayza's own peaceful exit from the conflict. Their efforts failed as Swemmel was determined to subdue Zuwayza. After Unkerlant inflicted heavy losses upon the Zuwayzin army, Hajjaj went to Cottbus to receive Swemmel's terms.
Zuwayza suffered heavy territorial and financial losses, and emerged from the Derlavaian War as an Unkerlanter protectorate alongside Forthweg and Yanina. Nonetheless the Zuwayzin counted themselves fortunate to retain their formal independence.
Society and People
Unlike other Derlavaians, Zuwayzin were black-skinned. Due to Zuwayza's hot and dry climate Zuwayzin had no nudity taboo and went about naked except for jewelry and other accessories. Only when visiting other, cooler countries or dealing with foreign emissaries did Zuwayzin wear clothes.
Polygamy was a feature of Zuwayzin domestic life, with prominent men such as the foreign minister Hajjaj having multiple wives. Roofers, much in demand due to the rainy season, were the subject of cynical jibes about unreliability and shiftiness.