To help us better understand the history behind Dragon Age II, GameInformer has tossed up a five-page timeline of historical events for Thedas (derived from THE Dragon Age Setting), the continent where BioWare's Dragon Age series is based. Through the ages:
170 Ancient Times: The Prophet Andraste and her husband, the warlord Maferath, led an army of barbarians across the Waking Sea to assault the weakened Imperium. They incited revolution against the mages across Thedas, and soon their army stood at the gates of Minrathous itself. On the verge of final victory over the Imperium, Maferath betrayed Andraste and she was burned at the stake but her memory would live on, inspiring the creation of a religion that would one day cover all of Thedas. The Chantry was born.
1:05 Divine Age: The Archdemon Zazikel awoke, and with him came the Second Blight. Darkspawn emerged from all corners of the continent to threaten the people of Thedas. Humanity found itself launched into a desperate battle for survival, one that would span almost a hundred years. The final battle took place in 1:95 Divine in Starkhaven, the largest city of the Free Marches. The human forces, led by an army of Grey Wardens, won a resounding victory against the darkspawn, driving them back into the Deep Roads for centuries to come.
5:12 Exalted Age: The Exalted Marches ended with the beginning of the Fourth Blight. The Archdemon Andoral emerged in Antiva, leading the darkspawn horde into the Free Marches and the Anderfels. Refused aid, they were nearly destroyed. until the arrival of the heroic Grey Wardens atop their griffin steeds. The elven Warden Garahel finally defeated the archdemon at Ayesleigh, a battle that resulted in the loss of the griffins and was thought to have eliminated the darkspawn forever.
9:30 Dragon Age: The Fifth Blight began in the south of Ferelden with the rise of the Archdemon Urthemiel. What was seen as a disaster turned into a startling victory a Grey Warden survivor united the kingdom against the darkspawn and slew the Archdemon at the Battle of Denerim, and was declared the Hero of Ferelden. The Fifth Blight was over before it truly began, and all of Thedas rejoiced.