The Fifty Years' War (五十年戦争, Gojūnen Sensō?) is a conflict from Final Fantasy Tactics that happened before the game's start and was fought between Ivalice and Ordallia, its neighboring kingdom to the east. At the end of the war, many peasant soldiers were denied their pay, leading to the formation of the Corpse Brigade.
Ivalice was ruled by King Denamda II, while its neighboring kingdom, Ordallia, was ruled by King Devanne III. Ivalice was defended by the Order of the Northern Sky Knights, led by Ramza's father, Barbaneth Beoulve, and the Order of the Southern Sky Knights led by Cidolfus Orlandeau. Another squad, the Order of the Eastern Sky, also served Ivalice under the leadership of Goffard Gaffgarion. Gustav Margriff and Wiegraf Folles served within the Order of the Northern Sky.
Strife erupted at Zelmonia, a once independent province near to Ivalice's border and now under Ordallian rule. About a century ago, Ordallia invaded and assimilated Zelmonia. Ivalice had secretly provided means to weaken Ordallia; however, the Zelmonian nobles decided to petition for King Denamda's direct intervention. King Devanne III died without naming a successor. His cousin Varoi VI was named as successor, but King Denamda II proclaimed himself as rightful heir, being Devanne's uncle, and declared war against Ordallia.
The Viura Campaign
King Denamda II led the Ivalice army towards the Ordallian capital of Viura. On their way, knights of the three Orders fought valiantly, winning battle after battle. As they were reaching the Ordallian border, King Denamda II fell ill and died soon after, never able to return to his kingdom. The Ivalician army became lost and confused due to their leader's death and used as an opportunity for Ordallia to strengthen their army and defend the Ordallian borders. The war was fought fiercely, reaching a stalemate. A successor to Denamda II, Denamda IV, was pulled to the throne to replace his father.
During the stalemate, Romanda's armies crossed the Rhana Strait in an invasion upon Ivalice. Romanda is a military nation ruled by King Varoi VI's blood relative. King Denamda IV and his Ivalician army held off the invasion through the aid of Fovoham's ruler, Grand Duke Gerrith Barrington, and his assassination squad Khamja.
After three years of fighting Romanda retreated. King Denamda IV was a fearless warrior who personally led his armies in battles against the combined forces of Romanda and Ordallia. The outbreak of Black Death within Romanda also led to their retreat.
Denamda IV's death
With Romanda's retreat, Ivalice continued on with the war against Ordallia. Denamda IV died suddenly, believed to be assassinated. He was succeeded by King Ondoria Atkascha III, although the king was a weak-willed man and unfit to rule, and all his decisions being made by Queen Louveria.
Ordalia's ruler Varoi VI also died, and was replaced by Prince Lennard. Due to Ondoria's weakness, Ordallia forced Ivalice to cease fighting.
The last battle between Ivalice and Ordallia took place in Zeltennia, and though the Knights of the Orders fought bravely, Ordallia invaded Zeltennia. Ivalice and Ordallia agreed to a mutual peace treaty though whispers persist that in reality, Ivalice had surrendered.
After the Fifty Years' War Ivalice suffered a great loss as the people harbored ill feelings and dissatisfaction to the nobles and the royal family who placed them in the meaningless war. Farmers staged riots and revolted, and many turned banners to join the Corpse Brigade.
Ivalice's economy suffered as payments could not be made to the knights who had fought in the war due to the spending on weapons and defenses. Many were discharged from the army, and with less food and little money, there was high unemployment and disloyalty to the ruling factions grew.
King Ondoria's two sons died, and the king adopted his younger sister, Princess Ovelia, as his daughter. Soon after, Queen Louveria gave birth to Prince Orinus, causing a conflict over who to become King Ondoria's successor, setting the stage for the War of the Lions.
Rumors spread of King Ondoria's failing health. Since his collapse during Prince Orinus's birthday celebration, it was obvious he was on the brink of death. His advisers, the Board of Chamberlains, delivered news the king was getting better, but the people knew the truth. Soon rumors surfaced that Queen Louveria and other nobles had argued over his successor.
Goffard Gaffgarion was dismissed from the Eastern Sky, and Gustav from the Northern Sky, both on charges of misconduct during the war. Gaffgarion turned to the life of a mercenary, claiming allegiance to the highest bidder.
- It may be possible that the Fifty Years' War and the War of the Lions are allusions to two historical wars that, like the Fifty Years' War and the Lion War, came one after the other. The Fifty Years' War may allude to the historical Hundred Years' War between England and France, with Ivalice representing England and Ordallia representing France, though there doesn't seem to be a Joan of Arc-type figure that rallied the Ordallians in their time of need, as Joan did for the French, as well as many other discrepancies in the outcome.