A full history of the ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ universe

  • "Avatar: The Last Airbender" premiered on Nickelodeon over 15 years ago, and it just hit Netflix this summer along with sequel series "The Legend of Korra."
  • The "Avatar" universe spans far past "The Last Airbender" and "Korra," and has a rich history that's further expanded in auxiliary novels and comics.
  • Insider has combed through the "Avatar" canon to compile a full history of the universe.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's been over 15 years since "Avatar: The Last Airbender" first premiered on Nickelodeon. In the years since, the series has stood out as one of the century's fantasy greats.

Avatar takes place in a world comprised of four nations: the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, the Water Tribes, and the Air Nomads. Certain members of each nation have the ability to bend one of the four elements, and one individual known as the Avatar has the power to bend all of them. In turn, the Avatar is tasked with maintaining balance in the world, particularly between humans and spirits. 

The world of "Avatar," as Nicole Clark wrote in Vice, is on par with other fantasy greats like "Lord of the Rings." However, it draws inspiration from a variety of Asian cultures (primarily Chinese, Clark notes) as opposed to European, as is the case in most Western fantasy fare. Its bending disciplines are based on different martial arts including Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi.

While the worldbuilding of the original "Avatar" series is comprehensive, the universe's seemingly limitless history has only expanded with recent releases like F.C. Yee's 2020 spin-off novel "The Shadow of Kyoshi." Add that to a continuous stream of comics, a full sequel series, and assorted animated shorts and auxiliary materials, and there's a lot of canon material to parse through.

We've combed through the canon materials of the "Avatar" universe — including the main series, comics, animated shorts, and novels — to put together a comprehensive timeline. Whether you're a longtime fan of the series or someone who's just looking to get their facts straight, here's a history of the universe of "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

The time before Wan, the first Avatar

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra," "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

This period was characterized by spirits crossing over into the physical world after Vaatu, the spirit of darkness, broke through the barrier that separated the spirit world from the terrestrial. Humanity was forced apart, and many settled on the backs of lion turtles, who in turn protected them and gifted them with the ability to bend an element when they departed into the wilds where spirits lived.

Other important events:

  • Raava, the all-powerful spirit of light, and Vaatu battled every 10,000 years during an event called Harmonic Convergence.
  • According to the "Avatar" Wiki, the spiritual Bhanti tribe found its roots in the Fire Islands. They would later go on to become sages in the four nations.

The era of Wan

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra"

Wan was the first Avatar, fusing with Raava in order to defeat Vaatu during Harmonic Convergence. After breaking Raava and Vaatu apart and freeing Vaatu in the process, Wan worked with Raava to master all four elements. Eventually, he fused with her, defeating Vaatu during Harmonic Convergence and sealing him away in a tree in the Spirit World. Per "The Legend of Korra," this event occurred 10,000 years before Korra fought Vaatu in the show's second season.  

Wan also made the decision to close the portals at the North and South poles, separating the human and spirit worlds. Spirits left the physical world, and Wan appointed himself as the bridge between the two. He was unable to achieve lasting peace during his lifetime, but having permanently fused with Raava, the spirit of the Avatar was reincarnated.

Other important events:

  • Wan lived in poverty in a lion turtle city, gaining firebending while venturing out on a hunt in the Spirit Wilds and using it to attempt a raid on the city's ruling family. 
  • After being banished from the city, he trained with the spirits, honing his bending skills. 
  • After teaming up with Raava, he traveled to other lion turtles and gained the ability to bend other elements that were only accessible when Raava passed through him.
  • After Wan's departure from the city, others followed him and began clashing with the spirits, marking some of the first violent conflict seen in the "Avatar" universe between the two groups.
  • After Wan defeated Vaatu, the lion turtles retreated from their position as humanity's protectors, ceasing to grant them bending powers.

The time after Wan

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "The Legend of Korra," "The Rise of Kyoshi," "The Shadow of Kyoshi," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Smoke and Shadow"

The timeline between Wan and Yangchen, one of the earliest Avatars whose history is relatively well known in the original series, is somewhat unclear. A variety of information, drawn from episodes of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and auxiliary materials such as the "Avatar" comics series and "The Rise of Kyoshi" and "The Shadow of Kyoshi" by F.C. Yee, gives us a glimpse into the history of the world prior to Aang or any of his most recent predecessors. 

The events during this timeline are loosely organized in a chronological order, but primarily in terms of theme. Broadly, this time was characterized by humanity learning the bending disciplines from the original benders, later coalescing into the four nations — the Fire Nation, the Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes, and the Air Nomads — that exist in "Avatar."

Humanity learned from the original benders and coalesced into the four nations

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra," "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "The Rise of Kyoshi," "The Shadow of Kyoshi," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Smoke and Shadow" 

Airbenders (contemporaries of the earth, water, and fire tribes) learned how to airbend from sky bison, the original airbenders. At some point, they coalesced into temples in the North, South, East, and West. 

Earthbenders learned their art from badgermoles, the original earthbenders. At some point, the Earth Kingdom came together under monarchial leadership in Ba Sing Se.

The Sun Warrior people learned firebending from dragons, the original firebenders. Their civilization later influenced many aspects of Fire Nation culture.

Before the Fire Islands were united under the first Fire Lord, they were ruled by warlords who fought each other for territory.

Waterbenders learned how to waterbend from observing the moon's influence on the tides. 

Per the "Avatar" wiki, a supplemental text titled "The Lost Scrolls" gives some insight into the Tribes' history: after a period of unrest, a group of people split from the Northern Water Tribe in order to found the Southern Water Tribe, which is a collection of autonomous chiefdoms.

There's no clear timeline of when the four nations came into existence in relation to one another, although evidence in "The Legend of Korra" and "The Rise of Kyoshi" suggests that the Air Nomads may have founded the Northern Air Temple prior to the founding of the other four nations. In "The Legend of Korra," Zaheer says that Guru Laghima lived 4,000 years in the past at the Northern Air Temple. In "The Rise of Kyoshi," it's noted that Laghima's contemporary, Shoken, was older than the four nations.

Other important events:

  • Guru Laghima was an airbender who reached enlightenment. Unbinding himself from earthly desires, he achieved the ability to fly and spent his last 40 years completely off the ground. His writing was collected into at least one published collection known as the "Poems of Laghima," and he had a contemporary, Guru Shoken, who was less popular and seen as heretical by some.
  • Oma and Shu, two lovers from warring villages, were the first earthbenders. They learned how to earthbend from the badgermoles, creating tunnels throughout the mountain that divided their homes. Oma later used earthbending to stop the war between their villages after Shu was killed in the war. The two villages then united to form the great city of Omashu.
  • Toz the Cruel, a particularly powerful warlord in the Fire Islands, collected tribute from every village in his territory. When one village refused, he kidnapped all of its children, causing their mothers to die of sadness. Later, Toz was haunted by spirits known as Kemurikage, which took the children and caused Toz's followers to abandon him. The Kemurikage haunted other warlords until the islands were united under the banner of a single nation. The first Fire Lord brought the warlords to justice and ushered in an era of peace.
  • Per a blog post from co-creator Bryan Konietzko, a "Council of Elders" governed the South, with the Northern chief serving as a figurehead ruler of the South.
  • The capital city of the Northern Water Tribe is called Agna Qel'a.
  • At some point during this time, Wan Shi Tong brought his spirit library into the physical world, where it resided in the Si Wong desert.
  • Per a cursory mention in "The Rise of Kyoshi," Avatar Salai lived at some point before Avatar Yangchen. 

The era of Szeto

Canon materials: "The Shadow of Kyoshi"

Szeto was an Avatar that preceded Yangchen. Szeto rose through the ranks of Fire Nation bureaucracy while working under the royal family. Szeto helped bring the Fire Nation to peace during a tumultuous time, leveraging Avatar's authority from within the Fire Nation government.

Other details:

  • The Fire Lord during Szeto's time was Fire Lord Yosor. 
  • During his reign, the clans — families descended from pre-unification warlords that retained governance rights — began to fight and plagues struck the nation.
  • Szeto was so revered that the Fire Nation celebrated the Festival of Szeto in the years after his death.

The era of Yangchen

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "The Rise of Kyoshi," "The Shadow of Kyoshi," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Rift"

Yangchen was the Air Nomad Avatar preceding Kuruk and Kyoshi. Generally revered, she was considered to be a political master. Her reign as Avatar brought about peace, although her interest to placate human desire neglected spiritual concerns and many spirits turned dark and vengeful following her era.

Other details:

  • It's rumored that two of Yangchen's friends and bending masters died to protect her.
  • During her lifetime, Yangchen studied both Gurus Laghima and Shoken, among other philosophers.
  • She made an agreement with a spirit named General Old Iron. Upset by the perceived death of his spirit friend, Lady Tienhai, he destroyed the city that had been erected on her land. Yangchen made an agreement to keep the land free of human development and erected a statue of Lady Tienhai that airbenders would pay their respects to during an event that came to be known as Yangchen's Festival.
  • Yangchen also developed accords with the Fifth Nation pirate fleet.

The era of Kuruk

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "The Shadow of Kyoshi," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Escape from the Spirit World"

Kuruk was publicly known as a hedonistic Avatar who delighted in the pleasures of life but did little to tend to the duties of his station. In reality, he was forced to contend with the vengeful spirits that Yangchen had neglected during her time. His first fight with a dark spirit left him with a spiritual wound that only worsened as he fought off more spirits attempting to break into the physical world. 

He met his wife, Ummi, at the New Moon Festival, an event that brought the Northern and Southern Water Tribes together. She was taken by the spirit Koh, who stole her face. Kuruk later died at age 33.

Other details:

  • Kuruk's friends and traveling companions were Jianzhu, an Earth Kingdom sage, Kelsang, an Air Nomad, and Hei-Ran, a Fire Nation soldier. 
  • A man from the Bhanti tribe, Nyahitha, was sent to aid Kuruk. In secret, the pair hunted dark spirits who were attempting to wriggle through cracks between the worlds.
  • Ummi was pulled into the pool of the Spirit Oasis in the Northern Water Tribe during the time of Kuruk's wedding.
  • Kuruk discovered that a spirit named Father Glowworm was making holes between worlds. He fought it, but the battle left both with lasting wounds. 
  • Kuruk kept his spirit-fighting pursuits a secret from his friends.

Between Kuruk's death and Kyoshi's teenage years

Canon materials: "The Rise of Kyoshi"

This era was politically tumultuous, characterized by the rise of pirates as well as daofei — bandits who abided by strict honor and conduct codes — in certain regions of the Earth Kingdom. Kuruk's former companions, in particular Jianzhu and Kelsang, were forced to contend with matters in his absence.

Earth Kingdom sages experienced significant difficulty in finding the Avatar, even using methods drawn from the different nations. Eventually, Jianzhu and Kelsang settled in Yokoya, a town in the southern Earth Kingdom, establishing an estate to train the next Avatar. They believed that an Earth Kingdom boy named Yun was Kuruk's successor. 

Other details:

  • Jianzhu largely took out the Yellow Necks, a group of bandits led by Xu Ping An, that drove an insurgency in the Earth Kingdom. Xu Ping An was declared dead following the conflict, but was actually imprisoned to study his ability to bend lightning. 
  • The leadership line of the Fifth Nation pirates was descended from the Southern Water Tribe, who disowned the family.
  • Kelsang used airbending to unleash a storm of a group of Fifth Nation pirates who attempted to pass the southern tip of the Earth Kingdom. The incident cleared up the line of succession within the group, allowing waterbender Tagaka to rise to power. Pirate fleets stayed in the eastern seas out of fear after the incident. 

The era of Kyoshi

Canon materials: "The Rise of Kyoshi," "The Shadow of Kyoshi," "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Shells," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Escape from the Spirit World"

Kyoshi was born to daofei parents who abandoned her in Yokoya as a child. Kyoshi grew up working at the Avatar's estate, but later learned that she was the Avatar and not Yun, the boy who Kelsang and Jianzhu had identified. When Jianzhu killed Kelsang, Kyoshi's mentor, she fled with Rangi, a young Fire Nation soldier.

Kyoshi reunited with her parents' daofei company, swearing their oaths and training with them. Later, she defeated Xu Ping An, the leader of the Yellow Necks. She sought out revenge against Jianzhu, but Yun — returned from the Spirit World — killed him before Kyoshi could.

Kyoshi spent some time clearing up corrupt daofei in the Earth Kingdom, but traveled to the Fire Nation to attend the Festival of Szeto and help Fire Lord Zoryu solidify his political hold on the nation. After helping to resolve a clan war over claim to the throne, Kyoshi and Rangi battled and killed Yun, who had fused with a spirit and was seeking revenge on those who had wronged him.

Kyoshi famously defeated Chin the Conqueror when he attempted to invade her home. She split her home peninsula from the Earth Kingdom mainland, creating Kyoshi Island and killing Chin in the process. Kyoshi later trained the first Kyoshi Warriors in her own image. She died at age 230.

Other details about Kyoshi:

  • Kyoshi encountered Jianzhu and Kelsang as a child, taking the Air Nomads' Avatar test but running away before finishing it. 
  • Along with Kyoshi's help, Yun and company defeated the Fifth Nation pirates.
  • Kuruk's nemesis, Father Glowworm, determined that Kyoshi was the Avatar and not Yun, taking Yun as a sacrifice in the process. 
  • Kyoshi's classic garb and weapons — red and white face paint and fans — were inherited from her parents, who wore the paint during their daofei days. Kyoshi's mother Jesa, an airbender, fought with the fans.
  • Kyoshi was bisexual, and she and Rangi were together.
  • Kyoshi trained under Tieguai the Immortal, a powerful assassin also known as Lao Ge.
  • Kyoshi communed with both Kuruk and Yangchen, learning of their time as Avatars and the spirits they dealt with.
  • Kyoshi founded the Dai Li while dealing with a peasant uprising in Ba Sing Se.

Political developments during Kyoshi's time

Canon materials: "The Rise of Kyoshi"

Leadership in the Earth Kingdom was somewhat fractured in the absence of an Avatar. The Earth King's leadership wasn't felt across the full continent, and a group of sages led by Jianzhu served as its most important political leaders. After Chamberlain Hui confronted Jianzhu with a number of other sages regarding his loss of the Avatar, Jianzhu killed them via poison.

In the Fire Nation, a succession contest played out between two sons of the late FIre Lord Chaeryu, Fire Lord Zoryu of the Keohso clan and his half-brother Chaejin of the Saowon clan. After Zoryu framed the Saowons for conspiring with Yun, Kyoshi's childhood friend, to orchestrate an attack on the Fire Nation Palace during the Festival of Szeto, he solidified his legitimate rule and vowed to break the clans.

Other Earth Kingdom political details: 

  • The Chuje Islands, a set of contested islands between the Earth Kingdom and the Southern Water Tribe, become briefly relevant after Jianzhu proposes a loan to help the Southern Water Tribe establish a navy. Chamberlain Hui argued that allowing the tribe to build a navy would potentially allow it to claim the islands.
  • Wars of succession played out in Ba Sing Se as well, with members of the royal family sending assassins like Amak, Yun's waterbending master, after each other.

Other Fire Nation political details:

  • Fire Lord Zoryu was born to Fire Lord Chaeryu's wife, Sulan of the Keohso clan. 
  • Chaejin was born out of wedlock to Fire Lord Chaeryu and Lady Huazo of the Saowon clan. Fire Lord Chaeryu recognized him as his child but did not make him a member of the royal family, leaving his place in the line of succession unclear.
  • The conflict between the Keohso and Saowon clans came to be known as the Camellia-Peony War.

The era of Roku

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Escape from the Spirit World," "The Legend of Korra — Turf Wars"

Avatar Roku followed Kyoshi in the Avatar cycle and was born in the Fire Nation. Close friends with Fire Lord Sozin, Roku attempted to dissuade him from expanding the Fire Nation empire, later giving him an ultimatum when he learned that Sozin had occupied Earth Kingdom territory.

When the volcano on Roku's home island erupted 25 years later, he attempted to halt the disaster. Sozin helped him, but chose to leave Roku to die so that his plans could continue unhindered.

Other details:

  • Roku and Sozin were born on the same day and grew up together. On their 16th birthday, the Fire Sages revealed that Roku was the Avatar.
  • Roku was friends with Aang's mentor, Monk Gyatso.
  • Upon entering the Avatar State during the Winter Solstice, Roku partially destroyed the Fire Sages' temple.
  • Roku was married at the palace later in life, which was when Sozin pitched him on the idea of expanding the Fire Nation's empire.
  • Sozin criminalized same-sex relationships in the Fire Nation during his rule.

The early days of Aang

Canon Materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Promise"

Aang was born when Roku died. Raised at the Southern Air Temple and mentored by Monk Gyatso, he earned his tattoos and airbending-master status at a young age, partially through his invention of the air scooter.

The Southern Air Temple monks told Aang that he was the Avatar at age 12, and facing the possibility of being separated from Monk Gyatso, he fled the temple. Caught in a storm, Aang went into the Avatar State and encased himself and Appa in an iceberg, where he remained for 100 years.

Other details:

  • As a child, Aang was friends with Bumi, the future King of Omashu, and Kuzon of the Fire Nation.

The Hundred Years War

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Search"

Sozin used a comet, which gave firebenders increased power, to commit mass genocide against the Air Nomads. The Fire Nation also began to occupy parts of the Earth Kingdom, but tried and failed to take the Northern Water Tribe.

Fire Lord Azulon ascended the throne after Sozin's death. Ozai, then a prince, married Ursa. They had two children: Zuko and Azula.

The Fire Nation began to raid the Southern Water Tribe, capturing its Waterbenders. General Iroh led the siege of Ba Sing Se. He eventually broke through the outer wall, but his son, Lu Ten, was killed in the conflict.

After Azulon's death, Ozai rose to the throne. Ursa was banished from the capital. During Zuko's childhood, he fought an Agni Kai duel with his father and lost. Ozai banished Zuko, sending him on a search for the Avatar.

Other details:

  • Azulon and Ozai sought Ursa out in the village of Hira'a, searching for a descendant of Fire Lord Roku for Ozai to marry. Ursa had recently become engaged with Ikem, a man from her village, but went with Ozai.
  • In a raid, the Southern Raiders took Katara and Sokka's mother Kya, thinking that she was the last waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe.
  • Ozai, while prince, asked Azulon for Iroh's claim to the throne soon after the death of Iroh's son, Lu Ten. Enraged, Azulon commanded Ozai to kill Zuko to experience the pain of losing his son. In order to protect Zuko, Ursa provided Ozai with a poison to kill Azulon.

The era of Aang: water

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

100 years after the beginning of the war, Katara and Sokka freed Aang from the iceberg. The three traveled across the Earth Kingdom to the Northern Water Tribe in search of a master to teach Aang and Katara waterbending. 

En route, they frequently ran into Prince Zuko, who was attempting to capture Aang, as well as Admiral Zhou, a Fire Nation soldier also hellbent on capturing Aang and taking the Northern Water Tribe. During the siege of the Northern Water Tribe capital city of Agna Qel'a, Zhou killed the moon spirit, causing Princess Yue to sacrifice herself to restore it. Aang went into the Avatar State, effectively ending the siege.

Other important events:

  • Aang learned of the genocide of his people upon visiting the Southern Air Temple.
  • Aang, Katara, and Sokka met the Kyoshi Warriors while stopping on Kyoshi Island.
  • Aang encountered his old friend Bumi, now the King of Omashu. 
  • Aang, Sokka, and Katara orchestrated a jailbreak on a Fire Nation rig that was imprisoning earthbenders.
  • Aang learned that Sozin's comet would return soon, and aimed to defeat the Fire Lord before its arrival.
  • Aang, Katara, and Sokka encountered Jet, an Earth Kingdom rebel, and his group of freedom fighters, saving the villagers of Gaipan when Jet schemed to flood the town to rid it of Fire Nation occupation.
  • Disguised as the Blue Spirit, Zuko saved Aang after he was captured by Zhao.
  • Aang briefly trained with Jeong Jeong, a firebending master, but injured Katara. Katara learned that she could heal using waterbending.
  • Aang, Katara, and Sokka learn that a group of refugees was sheltering in the Northern Air Temple, having developed the technology to navigate it. The Fire Nation gained a prototype hot air balloon from the refugees when they attacked the temple.
  • Sokka briefly courted Princess Yue before she sacrificed herself to save the moon spirit Tui.
  • Aang traveled into the Spirit World and spoke with Koh, the face stealer.
  • After the siege of the north, waterbending master Pakku and others from the Nothern Water Tribe travel to the south pole to help rebuild the Southern Water Tribe.

The era of Aang: earth

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

Aang, Sokka, and Katara traveled back to the Earth Kingdom to search for an earthbending master. Azula, the Fire Nation princess, and her friends Mai and Ty Lee began to pursue Aang; Zuko and Iroh traveled as refugees, having abandoned the Fire Nation. 

The gang met Toph, an incredibly skilled blind earthbender who eventually agreed to train Aang. The group later traveled to Ba Sing Se, where they fended off a Fire Nation attack led by Princess Azula and convinced Earth King Kuei that the war was real.

Aang attempted to master the Avatar State, but left to protect Katara after Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee executed an attack on Ba Sing Se from the inside. Azula struck Aang with lightning, and Katara brought him back from death using water from the Spirit Oasis. Zuko returned to the Fire Nation and Ba Sing Se fell.

Other important events:

  • Aang, Sokka, and Katara traveled to Omashu to seek out Bumi, only to discover that the city had been occupied by the Fire Nation.
  • The group discovered that there are waterbenders living in the Foggy Swamp.
  • In order to train Aang, Toph left her family, the influential Beifongs, and her home town of Gaoling.
  • Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph located Wan Shi Tong's library in the Si Wong Desert, learning there that firebenders lose their power during a solar eclipse and that one that would occur prior to Sozin's comet. 
  • Appa was captured and sold by sandbenders, and Aang eventually found him in Ba Sing Se.
  • Zuko and Iroh ended up in Ba Sing Se, where Iroh became a popular tea maker.
  • Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph exposed Long Feng, Earth King Kuei's advisor and the leader of the Dai Li, for his corruption. The Dai Li later aligned with Azula.
  • Aang attempted to master the Avatar State with the guidance of Guru Pathik.

The era of Aang: fire

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

Zuko was reinstated as the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation following the battle in Ba Sing Se. Sokka planned an attack on the Fire Nation Capital to take place during the solar eclipse, but the attack failed after Aang was unable to locate the Fire Lord and fight him. 

Zuko abandoned the Fire Nation, offering his services as a firebending master for Aang. The two trained together, and Team Avatar prepared for the fight against the Fire Lord. During the comet, Aang fought the Fire Lord, taking his bending and effectively ending the war. Zuko was crowned as the new Fire Lord, and Ozai was imprisoned.

Other important events:

  • General Iroh was imprisoned following the conflict in Ba Sing Se.
  • Both Aang and Zuko learned of Roku and Sozin's relationship.
  • During the eclipse, Zuko confronted his father, telling him that Aang was not dead and that he planned to train him.
  • Also during the eclipse, Bumi freed Omashu from Fire Nation occupation.
  • Zuko and Aang communed with the original firebenders, dragons under the protection of the Sun Warriors. 
  • Sokka and Zuko traveled to the Boiling Rock, a fortified Fire Nation prison, to rescue Sokka's father and his girlfriend Suki.
  • Katara and Zuko hunted down the man who took Katara's mother so that she could confront him.
  • Aang learned the art of energybending from a lion turtle, allowing him to take Ozai's bending.
  • Zuko defeated Azula in an Agni Kai during the comet.

The era of Aang: post-war

Canon materials: "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Promise," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Search," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Rift," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Smoke and Shadow," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — North and South," "Avatar: The Last Airbender — Imbalance," "The Legend of Korra"

The post-war period was characterized by rebuilding, particularly in the former Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom. Some colonies formed coalition governments with representatives from the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation. The Southern Water Tribe also underwent reconstruction with assistance from the North, establishing diplomatic ties with other nations, with Katara and Sokka's father Hakoda at the helm.

In adulthood, Aang and Katara had three children: Kya, a waterbender, Bumi, a non-bender, and Tenzin, an airbender. Toph had two children: Lin and Suyin, both metalbenders. Zuko had a daughter named Izumi.

Aang and Zuko eventually helped former Fire Nation colonies transform into the United Republic of Nations, with its capital city being Republic City. Aang later defeated Yakone, a bloodbender, and took his bending. 

Other important events:

  • Toph established her metalbending academy.
  • A battle took place at Yu Dao, the oldest Fire Nation colony that has a mixed Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom culture. While Earth King Kuei and Fire Lord Zuko clashed over the fate of the colony, eventually they helped establish a coalition government there.
  • Aang established the Air Acolytes out of members of his fan club, helping to preserve Air Nomad culture.
  • Iroh invented bubble tea.
  • Zuko found his mother, who had her original face and memory erased by a spirit. She regained her memories and old identity, and traveled back to the capital city with Zuko and her new family.
  • Zuko fended off attacks from the New Ozai Society, which desired to see Fire Lord Ozai regain the throne. Spirits called Kemurikage reappeared and kidnapped children, but were revealed to be led by Azula. Zuko helped rescue the children.
  • Aang resolved a spiritual conflict in Cranefish town, where the Earthen Fire Refinery had been built on sacred ground. He establishes the Spirits' Friendship Festival to honor the spirits, and later stops a bender supremacist uprising in the village.
  • Southern Water Tribe citizens, led by Gilak, lead an attack against Northerners who were trying to turn the tribe into a colony of the North. Team Avatar defeats Gilak but helps the Southern Water Tribe maintain sovereignty.
  • Tonraq, the heir to the Northern Water Tribe throne, destroyed a spirit forest and was subsequently banished, taking up residence in the South. His brother, Unalaq, became the heir apparent.

The era of Korra: air

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra"

Korra was born in the Southern Water Tribe, and the Order of the White Lotus confirmed that she was the Avatar at a young age. After completing her firebending training, she moved to Republic City to train under Tenzin, Aang, and Katara's son. There, she joined a pro-bending team alongside brothers Mako and Bolin, and befriended Asami Sato, a tech heiress.

The Equalists, an anti-bending group led by Amon, attacked Republic City. The United Forces, led by General Iroh, defended the city, and Amon briefly took away Korra's bending. After unlocking her airbending, she exposed Amon's true identity: Noatak, a waterbender and Yakone's son. Korra reconnected with her past lives after the battle, and Aang restored her full bending.

Other important events:

  • The Red Lotus, led by Zaheer, attempted to kidnap Korra as a child. They were apprehended and jailed in specialized prisons.
  • When Asami Sato was young, her mother was killed by the Agni Kai triad.
  • Mako and Bolin's parents were also killed when they were children. 
  • Korra moved to Republic City and lived on Air Temple Island with Tenzin and his family: Pema, his wife, as well as children Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo.
  • Lin Beifong, Toph's daughter, was the chief of police of Republic City.
  • After the battle, Hiroshi Sato was imprisoned for aiding the Equalists.
  • Bumi, Tenzin's brother, retired from the United Forces to live with Tenzin and his family.
  • The United Republic Council, which was previously composed of representatives from the four nations, dissolved, leaving democratically elected President Raiko in power.

The era of Korra: spirits

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra"

At the Glacier Spirits Festival in the Southern Water Tribe, Korra broke ties with Tenzin and decided to train her spiritual side with Unalaq, her uncle, and the chief of the Northern Water Tribe. Unalaq persuaded Korra to open the Spirit Portal at the south pole, but his forces invaded the Southern Water Tribe and launched the two tribes into a civil war.

Korra attempted to garner support from Republic City against the Northern occupation but was unsuccessful. She was later swallowed by a dark spirit, losing her memory. She reconnected with Wan, the first Avatar, and learned of the battle between Raava and Vaatu. 

Unalaq forced Korra to open the Northern Spirit Portal, freeing Vaatu when Harmonic Convergence began. He became the first "Dark Avatar," fusing with Vaatu. Korra defeated both of them, but lost her connection with the previous Avatars in the process. She made the decision to keep the Spirit Portals open, and declared that the Southern Water Tribe was independent with her father Tonraq as chief.

Other important events:

  • Tonraq led Southern Water Tribe rebels to protest the Northern occupation, but was imprisoned.
  • Varrick, an entrepreneur, orchestrated various attacks to fan the flames of the civil war and profit off of it.
  • Bolin starred in Varricks "movers," propaganda films intended to garner support for the Southern Water Tribe.
  • Jinora guided Korra into the spirit world when her father Tenzin could not.
  • Desna and Eska, Unalaq's children, became co-chiefs of the Northern Water Tribe.

The era of Korra: changes

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra"

Korra's decision to leave the Spirit Portals open resulted in a number of non-benders, including Bumi and Zaheer, to gain the ability to airbend. After Zaheer escaped, he reformed the Red Lotus and began to track down Korra. 

Korra, Tenzin, Asami, and the rest of the crew traveled around the world in search of airbenders, discovering that Earth Queen Hou-Ting had captured a number of new airbenders and was training them to serve her. Korra liberated the airbenders in Ba Sing Se.

Later, the Red Lotus assassinated the Earth Queen and took the airbenders at the Northern Air Temple Hostage. Korra agreed to give herself up, and the Red Lotus poisoned her in order to force her into the Avatar State and destroy the Avatar permanently. Korra defeated Zaheer, but was badly wounded in the process.

Other important events:

  • Korra traveled to Zaofu, the metal city, and trained in metalbending under Suyin Beifong, whose daughter Opal became an airbender.
  • After the Earth Queen's death, the Red Lotus tore down Ba Sing Se's inner wall, throwing the city and the nation into chaos.
  • After P'Li, of the Red Lotus, was killed, Zaheer gained the ability to fly by following Guru Laghima's teachings.
  • Zaheer was imprisoned after his defeat.
  • Jinora earned her airbending tattoos after the Red Lotus was defeated.
  • The airbenders became nomads once again.

The era of Korra: balance

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra"

After the battle with Zaheer, Korra spent two years recuperating in the Southern Water Tribe before setting out on her own. Kuvira, of Zaofu, worked to reunite the Earth Kingdom following the Earth Queen's death. 

Three years after Zaheer's defeat, Kuvira interrupts Prince Wu's coronation as the newest Earth King, announcing that she will instead form a new Earth Empire. Toph Beifong heals Korra from the remaining poison in her body, and Korra returns to Republic City. Meanwhile, Varrick helped Kuvira develop a weapon powered by spirit vines capable of mass destruction.

Kuvira attacked Republic City in a giant mechanical suit equipped with a spirit vine-powered cannon, intending to back all lands that originally belonged to the Earth Kingdom. Korra and Kuvira fought, with Korra using the energy from the cannon to open a third portal into the Spirit World in Republic City. After Kuvira was arrested, Korra and Asami romantically set off into the Spirit World on vacation.

Other important details:

  • Korra attempted to protect the city of Zaofu from Kuvira, but was unable to do so.
  • Bolin and Varrick defected from Kuvira after learning of her true nature. 
  • Hiroshi Sato, Asami's father, sacrificed his life in order to help the team gain access to the interior of Kuvira's mech.
  • Prince Wu said that he planned to hold democratic elections in the Earth Kingdom rather than ascend to the throne.

The era of Korra: post-Earth Empire

Canon materials: "The Legend of Korra — Turf Wars," "The Legend of Korra — Ruins of the Empire"

Following Kuvira's defeat, humans attempted to profit off of the new Spirit Portal in Republic City, clashing with the spirits. Wonyoung Keum, a businessman, intended to build an amusement park around the portal, angering the spirits. Following conflict between Korra and Toguka, the Triple Threat Triad leader, Keum renounced his claim to the land. Zhu Li Moon wins the presidential election in Republic City, defeating Raiko.

Prince Wu attempted to start the Earth Kingdom's transition to democracy but encountered difficulty in Gaoling. Kuvira's former subordinate, Commander Guan, ran for governor, brainwashing the citizens and Wu in order to ensure his victory. Korra later defeated Guan, and Wu slowed down his transition into democracy in order to ensure fair elections.

Other important events:

  • Korra and Asami came out to Korra's parents, who were supportive but warned Korra that others may not be so accepting. 
  • Kya came out to Korra and Asami, telling them that she had previously had girlfriends.
  • Korra freed Kuvira so that she could convince Commander Guan to step down. She was unsuccessful but helped Korra defeat him.
  • During the election of Gaoling, Korra and Prince Wu convinced Toph Beifong to run for governor given that Gaoling was her home town.
  • Kuvira was sentenced to house arrest in Zaofu after her help in Gaoling.

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