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The Conquest is the name given for the invasion and subjugation of the Seanchan home continent by armies loyal to the High King, Artur Hawkwing, and personally led by his son, Luthair Paendrag Mondwin. Within the Seanchan Empire itself, the invasion is referred to as the Conquest or Consolidation, however, in the Westlands, the Consolidation is a separate, but related, event.
The latter years of Hawkwing's reign in the Westlands were largely peaceful, with the exception of the ongoing siege of Tar Valon, and Hawkwing favored administrative concerns over military ones. This changed in FY 986, when a large force of Shadowspawn invaded the Westlands, overrunning the Borderland defenses and penetrating several hundred miles into the Empire. Moving with his traditional speed, Hawkwing rallied an enormous army and defeated the Trollocs at the Battle of Talidar in early FY 987. This invasion seemed to have re-galvanized Hawkwing's appetite for warfare, and he began planning new conquests. Having secured all the Westlands already and been repulsed from the Aiel Waste in FY 964, he chose to direct his attentions to other lands beyond the oceans, namely the landmass of Shara to the east along the Sea of Storms, and the landmass rumored to exist beyond the Aryth Ocean. It is unknown whether there was a scouting expedition of some kind to explore the lands beyond the Aryth (since the Sea Folk refused to cross it), but if there was all record of it has been lost. It does seem unlikely that such a huge fleet would have been launched if there was no guarantee it would find landfall on the other side.
Commencing in FY 989, the invasion fleet was assembled in dockyards and ports all along the Empire's west coast, although it is believed that a principal location for the launching of the invasion was the port of Falme, where a society named The Watchers Over the Waves was founded and tasked with maintaining communications between the invasion fleet and the Empire. According to some records, more than two thousand vessels of all sizes were built and Hawkwing called for a force of 300,000 men, women, and children to volunteer, since the invasion fleet would be accompanied by settlers and colonists as well as soldiers. With Tar Valon under siege by Hawkwing's army, the invasion force would not be accompanied by any channelers. Hawkwing assigned his son Luthair Paendrag Mondwin to command the invasion force, which departed in FY 992.
The fleet reached the northeastern coast of the Seanchan continent after many months at sea. It is unclear if the initial landings were contested or where they took place, but it is probable that Luthair was not expecting the level of opposition that awaited him. The vast and populous Seanchan landmass was a patchwork of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of kingdoms, frequently led by women who could channel the One Power and proclaimed themselves Aes Sedai, although they were not constrained by the Three Oaths. Ogier fought as warriors in some of these lands, and all the nations employed the use of exotic and powerful beasts in battle. Luthair initially mistook these beasts for Shadowspawn and thus dubbed the native forces as the Armies of Night. As large and powerful as Luthair's army was, it is likely that it would not have survived had not a powerful weapon fallen into its hands.
A woman named Deain delivered to Luthair in his provisional capital of Imfaral, which had fallen early in the war, a device called an a'dam, a ter'angreal which blocked a channeler from using the One Power. It is unclear what agreement they came to, but whatever it was, Luthair broke it by having Deain imprisoned and made one of the first channelers to be "leashed." The records indicate she was imprisoned in the The Towers of Midnight, Imfaral's fortress and prison complex. The first sul'dam were quickly found to take control of the leashes, and Luthair soon had a force of channelers completely loyal to him and his army. With this powerful weapon, he rapidly assumed control of much of the continent, but full integration of the conquered lands under the authority of the Court of the Nine Moons in Seandar took another three centuries, and occasional civil wars and uprisings continued to rage right up to the present day.
While the Conquest saw Luthair and his heirs take control of the entire Seanchan continent, it failed to radically shift the cultural institutions or traditions of the people. Slavery remained endemic, and the use of exotic animals and the One Power in battle continued, albeit under different circumstances.