|c. 15-25 million|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Cildania||c. 15-25 million|
|Hebilean, Gziri, Majatran|
|Apostolic Church of the Isles|
|Related ethnic groups|
Hebileans (Hebilean: ⵉⵀⴻⴱⵍⴻⵏ, Iheblen; Gziri: Heblin) are an indegenous people of Cildania. Their presence on the island is very old. Their ancestors arrived in Cildania in prehistoric times, long before the Qedarite Migrations established a Qildari majority. Between 15 and 25 million Hebileans live on the island, most of them located in the province of Aheblun.
History[edit | edit source]
It is unclear when the ancestors of the Hebileans, the hypothetical proto-Hebileans, arrived on the island, and they may in fact be the oldest human inhabitants of Cildania. Hebilean legend however speaks of a Hebilean invasion, triggered by the conflicts between various tribes to the North, with some of the Hebilean tribes escaping southward from their rivals and other tribes. Legend claims that the invading Hebileans easily conquered the Proto-Cildanians, who were no match against their Bronze weaponry.
The Pre-Hosian Hebilean mythic tradition speaks of a land of endless darkness to the north where the hundred kings lead their people south and east through the dawn to the lands endless summer. From this the era from the migration until the Qedarite Conquest is known as the Dawn Era.
The Hebileans in Cildania lived in isolated communities based on a tribal organization. They also had a knowledge of metalworking, including bronze, and agricultural techniques. In the centuries preceding Qedarite conquest, Hebilean settlements grew in social complexity, exhibiting evidence of social stratification and urbanization.
Throughout antiquity, the Hebilean tribes and kingdoms controlled most of the north and east of the island. Under the Qedarite Empire they were brought under the direct rule of Qart Qildar, however Hebilean communities retained their internal autonomy. The Qedarite Imperial era was characterized by the cultural syncretism between the various cultures under Cildanian rule, and on the island this manifested in the emergence of a mixed Qildari-Hebilean culture that would serve as the basis of Cildanian culture after the fall of the Empire. Most notably, the national goddess of the city of Qart Qildar, Talat, was of Hebilean origin. During the middle ages, Qildari-dominated polities conquered all of Cildania leaving Hebilean territory in the hills and mountains. Later several Hebilean dynasties arose to the Principalities of Kinaan and Aheblun before the unification of Cildania as well as number of petty states under the protection of Cildanian Princes. Most Notable of the Council Era Hebileans is Patriarch-Prince of Aheblun Jugurtha II, and today he is a Hebilean national hero.
During the Divine Kingdom of Cildania, which had historically successfully integrated (but not assimilated) the Hebileans, Hebilean nationalism emerged as a result of the use of forced repression of Hebilean movements to gain independence molding the several dozen Hebilean nationalities into the single Hebilean identity. The Liberal Revolution saw the participation of important Hebilean nationalist leaders, and the republican period allowed wide autonomy for Hebilean areas.
The Qedarite Republic of Cildania and the early Serene Republic discriminated heavily against Hebileans. Techniques used to suppress the ethnic identity of Hebileans in Cildania included various bans on the use of the Hebilean languages and alphabet, refusal to register children with Hebilean names, the replacement of Hebilean place names with new names in Cildanian, the prohibition of businesses that did not have Qedarite names, the prohibition of Hebilean private schools, and the prohibition of books and other materials written in Hebilean languages. Having been denied the right to Cildanian nationality, many Hebileans had been deprived of any social rights. The Hebilean Resistance Army engaged in guerrilla warfare against the government, with sponsorship from Selucia. This changed in the election of 3083 when Haddasht Surbiy swept to power and restored free rights to the entire nation and persecution of discrimination to minorities, including the Hebileans. Minorities remained marginalized however, and in reaction to this, the Cildanian Civil War resulted in the short-lived independence of Aheblun as a Hebilean nation-state. The subsequent reunification of Cildania did not lead to renewed marginalization, but rather an unprecedented rise in status and influence, as the Hebilean middle class became one of the core components of reunified Cildanian elite.
Language[edit | edit source]
Hebileans speak several closely related languages and dialects, collectively known as Hebilean languages. Although the oldest inscription in a Hebilean language dates from antiquity, owing to the oral-based tradition of the Hebileans there was no written form for the languages until modern times. Standard Hebilean, written in its own alphabet, is the literary language of Hebileans, however it has so far failed to acquire wide currency outside official/formal contexts. Instead Hebileans use other languages when communicating with speakers of a different dialect or with non-Hebileans, primarily Gziri and occasionally Majatran; previously Hebileans preferred Qildari for that role.