Shara is the Westlander name for the land east of the Aiel Waste. Various people have different names for this land, such as Shamara, Co'dansin, Tomaka, Kigali, and Shibouya. Shara is bordered to the southwest and south by the Sea of Storms, and to the east by the Morenal Ocean. As with the Westlands, it is bordered to the north by the Mountains of Dhoom and the Great Blight.
Shara lies to the east of the Aiel Waste, from which it is separated by the Cliffs of the Dawn and the Great Rift. Significant mountain ranges longer than the Spine of the World lie to the east of both features, further inhibiting travel into Shara. The Cliffs of the Dawn are easily scalable only in six locations. The Sharans have built heavily-fortified towns in each of these locations, where trade is permitted with westerners (Aiel and those gleemen and peddlers from the Westlands the Aiel permit to cross the wastelands). In each of these towns the residents go veiled at all times, and the walls are so tall that it is impossible to see into the towns from outside. Westerners are not permitted to travel through these towns' eastern gates into Shara proper. Those who try, disappear.
South of the cliffs lies the Great Rift, an immense canyon which separates the Sharan interior from the Aiel Waste. No successful crossing of the rift has been recorded. The southern edge of the rift, which may be passable, is separated from the rest of the Aiel Waste by the Termool.Shara extends much further south than either the Westlands or the Aiel Waste and its southernmost tip crosses the equator. Shara's southwestern coast is extremely mountainous. The only easily-accessible harbors are located along the south coast itself. There are only five known ports on the south coast, and these are similarly classified as open trading ports by the Sharans. Sea Folk and western vessels are permitted to dock, but again traders are not permitted to travel outside the cities. The same immense walls are to be found here, but in this case they extend even across the harbors themselves.
Traveling to the east of the easternmost trading port is extremely hazardous and most vessels that attempt going east vanish. Nevertheless, over the centuries enough Sea Folk vessels have managed to return after conducting inconclusive surveys to put together maps showing the Sharan coast. These maps suggest that Shara extends for approximately 2,000 miles from the Aiel Waste to the Morenal Ocean and for approximately 4,500 miles from the Mountains of Dhoom to the Sea of Storms. The Mountains of Dhoom tumble into the sea similarly to the way they do in the Westlands, and there is at least one large island off Shara's east coast. Its name is unknown.
Despite being far more extended than the Westlands, Shara does not seems to be very densely populated, in fact during the Last Battle the employed Sharan's forces (both armies and channelers) were surely huge, but not as if this east part of the continent is populated as the west.
This could be caused simply by being a lesser developed country or maybe it is caused by the presence of some natural obstacle that does not permit the development of a major population. In this second case it can be guessed that the Cliffs of Dawn, so high, stops wet winds from the Morenal Ocean, provoking aridity in the Aiel Waste but huge rains in Shara, and so the presence of an enormous almost impenetrable rain forest.
Maps of Shara can be found in The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.
The land of Shara is shrouded in mystery, and as such, not much of its history is known. It has been traveled to by very few Westlanders, the most notable of which being Jain Farstrider.
It is known that Shara was united as one nation shortly after the Breaking of the World and has endured until the present day. Shara suffered during the Trolloc Wars, although the extent and duration of the invasion and the damage it caused is unknown. The Sharans themselves claim to have never suffered political upheaval or civil war, and most also deny that the Trollocs invaded their land, although a few isolated reports that they did suffer an invasion also exist.
In FY 993, Artur Hawkwing dispatched a large fleet to invade Shara under the command of one of his daughters. This fleet was equal in size to the one he sent to Seanchan the year before, meaning it consisted of up to 2,000 ships and possibly as many as 300,000 troops. The Sea Folk recorded at the time that the invasion force had successfully landed in several locations on the western and southern coasts of Shara. However, later reports suggested that the ships were ablaze in the bays and inlets where they had landed, indicating the invasion had been defeated. To this day, Sharan traders deny all knowledge of such an invasion taking place.
Prior to the events of the Last Battle, rumors had been traveling from across the Aiel Waste that there was anarchy and chaos in Shara, with a segment of the population apparently sparked off by the disappearance of the rulers of the country. The people of Shara allegedly asked when the Dragon would appear to destroy the world, leading Rand al'Thor to believe that he was responsible for the anarchy. Sammael doubted that Shara would play a role in the Last Battle other than being wracked by the storms that extend to all the world on the fringes of the main battlefield in the Westlands. Graendal, too, says they are "Too far from the center to be of any use for many years, of course."
These centuries of no contact with the Westlands came to an end, however, during the events of the Last Battle. The White Tower's forces, captained by Amyrlin Egwene al'Vere and Great General Gareth Bryne, were sent to Kandor to hold off the legions of Trollocs that were coming south. After many decisive victories, the tide abruptly turned when an enormous gateway opened, revealing the forces of Shara, who had come to fight with the Shadow. The surprise attack caused the Aes Sedai to scatter and many died. They were led by a man called Bao the Wyld, who was quickly revealed to be Demandred. It was revealed that Demandred took control of Shara and led their forces to the Last Battle. The addition of the legions of Sharan soldiers and Ayyad channelers at many times nearly broke the armies of the Light. They were defeated after their leader's death.
Shara is ruled by absolute monarchs, the female Sh'boan and male Sh'botay. Every seven years, the ruler dies and their consort takes the throne and remarries. Sharans call this The Will of the Pattern. The last known Sh'boan and Sh'botay were Chiape and Shaofan. Both rulers are currently held as pets by Graendal.
The author of one text however makes the charge that the Ayyad are the true power behind the government. The ruler is surrounded with Ayyad servant women and advisors, as well as the fact that they pass down almost all judgment, and speak for the ruler. Speaking with the ruler is considered a great honor, rarely ever bestowed on anyone.
Little is known about Shara or its people, beyond what little information trickles out through limited trade. The Sharans are apparently renowned liars, so trade with them is risky. However, Shara is the sole source for silk and ivory, so traders are willing to take that risk. They only allow the Atha'an Miere to dock at specified walled ports and the Aiel to trade in specific walled cities. Anyone attempting to pass the walls is never heard from again.
It is possible that a Sharan was briefly encountered in Knife of Dreams, Chapter 21. He is described as very dark, with a peculiar coat without collar or lapels, once white but now stained, and having a musical accent. The kidnapped rulers, too, are described as very dark-skinned and with curly hair, both slender and of great beauty.
These are both male and female channelers that live in secluded villages, cut off from the rest of the kingdom. If anyone who is not Ayyad comes into these villages they are killed. Permission must be granted for the Ayyad to leave these places, although anyone seeing one outside the village would just assume one had permission anyway. They tattoo their faces to allow identification; anyone bearing these tattoos are confined to Ayyad villages. Galbrait is the leader of the female Ayyad.
Male Ayyad are not allowed to learn to read or write, or do anything at all really. They can feed and dress themselves and that is about it. They are used to breed more female Ayyad, and as such their bloodlines are traced like horse breeding stock. Males are communally raised, called simply "the male", instead of "he". When they are sixteen they are taken from the village and are hooded and cloaked, and are matched with women who desire children, which is sometimes several. When they turn twenty-one, or show signs of channeling, they are taken from the village as if again to go breed and are instead killed and cremated.
Chattel slavery is also an extremely common practice in Shara. The entire Sharan culture is built upon the enslavement of the many by the few.
It is revealed in A Memory of Light that the more a person is tattooed, the less authority they have. This is observed by Egwene during her escape from camp.