The Redguards, formerly known as the Yokudans, are a race of humans who hail from the lost continent of Yokuda and now reside primarily in the province of Hammerfell. Their name is derived from the corruption of the native Yokudan term "Ra Gada," which (translated loosely) means "warrior wave." Due to their swift and decisive conquest of Hammerfell, the Redguards are renowned as arguably the most fierce, versatile and naturally gifted warriors in all of Tamriel. Their ferocity and versatility is also manifested in their personality, which lends itself to why they are most effective as scouts and in small units as opposed to being deployed as rank and file soldiers.
Hammerfell is an arid land consisting mostly of deserts, mountains, and grasslands. The Alik'r Desert takes up all of the western region of Hammerfell, and is widely regarded as the most inhospitable region in all of Tamriel. Until the coming of the Ra Gada in the eight hundreds of the First Era, the deserts were populated only by monstrous beasts, including giant scorpions. While the fauna of the Alik'r Desert remained deadly into the Third Era, the Redguards had managed to significantly reduce the presence and threat of those creatures. The Alik'r Desert is also the home to ruins of countless civilizations that had perished beneath its sands. Its blazing heat, ferocious sandstorms, and lack of water, makes it nearly impossible to survive in the Alik'r Desert. The desert was inhabited only by the nomadic Redguards.
The Redguard's innate agility and prolific level of endurance allows them to excel in any activity that demands sustained effort, most notably combat. They are likewise blessed with a very hardy constitution that allows them to resist poison and disease.
The Redguards skin tone can range from light brown to nearly black and their hair texture ranges from thick and wavy to tightly curled and wiry. Redguards are also largely average in height, well muscled and sturdy, much like the Nords and the Orcs.
Reguards are former inhabitants of the continent to the west, Yokuda. Around 1E 792, much of Yokuda sank into the ocean after a group of Ansei called the Hiradirge sought revenge on the land after their defeat in battle. The surviving Yokudans sailed to the east and settled in Volenfell (the Dwemer name for the region), what would later be known as Hammerfell. Most of these refugees would stay on the island of Herne, but a group of warrior Yokudans known as the Ra Gada traveled to the mainland in 1E 808 and swept across the country to claim as much land as they could, slaughtering or enslaving the local beastfolk and Nedic tribes. Eventually, Yokudan royalty known as Na-Totambu left the island of Herne and made their place in Hammerfell after the Ra Gada drove off the Orsimer. The name "Redguard" originates from "Ra Gada."
At first, this newcomer race did not open up to the rest of Tamrielic culture. They kept their Yokudan language intact and refused to trade with neighboring societies. Only when the Redguards and the Bretons found a common enemy in the Orcs of Orsinium did they begin open trade with High Rock. In 1E 950, the Siege of Orsinium began with an outcome of Redguard and Breton victory. Their language was eventually replaced because of the need to easily communicate with trading partners and create treaties, but the language was still spoken by some.
Over time, Redguard society split into two factions, the Crowns, who followed the royal Na-Totambu and strived to hold onto traditional Yokudan culture, and the Forebears, descendants of the Ra Gada who wished to fully assimilate into Tamriel for the purposes of commerce and politics. A civil war soon broke out and in 2E 864, the Redguard king Thassad II was killed. His son, A'Tor, would go on to lead the Crowns' effort, but ultimately the Forebears, backed by the Imperial Empire, won. Hammerfell was absorbed by the Septim Empire, although some concessions were made after a successful revolt in Stros M'kai. Redguard society remained split for a vast amount of time, with the northern parts of Hammerfell keeping with Yokudan traditions, dress, and personality, and the southern parts tending to be more open to the rest of Tamrielic culture.
In 3E 249, a pretender to the Camoran throne, called the Camoran Usurper, freed Valenwood of Septim Empire control. After gaining control over Valenwood, the Camoran Usurper marched northward seizing control of any land he could conquer. In 3E 253, the Redguard cities Rihad and Taneth sent a call for help to Elinhir to the north that went unanswered because of the tension that still existed between the Crowns and the Forebears. Later, because of this, Forebear cities would not aid Crown cities that were overrun by Nords during the War of the Bend'r-mahk around the time of 3E 397. The reign of the Camoran Usurper ended in 3E 267 after his defeat.
Redguards of eastern Hammerfell held a grudge against the Nords of Skyrim and continued to try to regain land lost during the War of the Bend'r-mahk throughout the end of the Third Era, but to no avail.
The War of Betony, a land dispute over the island of Betony between the Bretons of Daggerfall and the Reguards of Sentinel, saw the death of the King of Sentinel, Camaron in 3E 403. The aftermath of the war left tension between the Redguards and Bretons of the Iliac Bay area.
In 3E 417, The Warp in the West occured.
In 4E 171, the Great War broke out when Emperor Titus Mede II refused to cede large tracts of land including southern Hammerfell to the Aldmeri Dominion. Ultimately, the Thalmor won and the Empire gave over the rights to occupy parts of Tamriel to the Aldmeri Dominion as part of the White-Gold Concordat in 4E 175. The Redguards of Hammerfell, however, refused to accept this and fought on against the Thalmor. After years of bloodshed, they were successful in their repulsion of the Dominion's invasion, and in 4E 180, the Second Treaty of Stros M'kai was written to officially decree that Thalmor forces were to be withdrawn from Hammerfell. This is what finally reunited the Crowns and the Forebears into one Redguard society. Many Redguards remained bitter toward the Empire for what they considered a betrayal, and claimed that their victory was proof that the Concordat was a mistake and the Empire would have eventually won if it had kept fighting.
The Redguard (née Yokudan) culture is martial by nature. Every man, woman and child is schooled in the art of war and combat from a very young age. This would explain why they have never truly been defeated by any invading force since their arrival in Tamriel. From Tiber Septim to the Aldmeri Dominion, none have been able to completely assimilate the Redguards, much less defeat them outright. Despite the schism in their culture that produced the Crown and Forebear factions, the Redguards of Hammerfell have proven time and again that they are more than capable of putting their differences aside for the sake of their lives and culture.
According to Trayvond the Redguard, in Hammerfell, they "Don't much like spellcasters, because Wizards steal souls and tamper with minds. If you use magic, you're weak or wicked." They particularly hate Conjuration, relating it to Necromancy and Mysticism because it tampers with the mind. However, he does mention that he and other Redguards are fond of Destruction spells which suits their culture well.