Five hundred and fifty years ago, all of Kitara erupted into full scale war. Finding a village that was not in some way affected by the war is nearly impossible. Although war is nothing new to the people of Kitara, the scale and nature of the Race Wars as it came to be called, was shocking. Throughout Kitaran history, nations have always tended to push at their borders. Monstrous tribes would rise and fall and occasionally attempt to encroach on the more civilized areas of the world. All of these though were of relatively brief duration and rarely affected more than two nations at any given time.
The Race Wars; however, could not really be deemed a single war, rather they were countless wars that all erupted at the same time. Even more unusual though is that the divisions fell more along racial lines than along national lines. The Race Wars for instance are the only known time in which Poldroth and what is now Luminaria have been known to ally themselves together against a common enemy. Additionally, the wars lasted close to fifty years before the last of the conflicts finally cooled off, far longer than any other known war, with the possible exception of the Dawn War.
As the Race Wars reached their height, the combatants largely fell within two main alliances, The League of Merodrad, and the Aleatian Alliance. The League of Merodrad was headed up by the dragonborn empire of Tychea and included Leng, the drow, most of the monstrous races, as well as the githyanki and most of the goliaths (though the goliaths would later abandon the League and join the Aleatian Alliance near the end of the wars). The Aleatian Alliance counted most humans, dwarves, fey races, tieflings and the genesai among their numbers, as well as the goliaths near the end of wars.
Pinpointing the start of the Race Wars is difficult at best, but most current scholars attribute the Tychean attack on the Ranathi outpost of Kalenth as the starting point. The fighting spread rapidly following the attack at Kalenth. The wars saw much back and forth throughout the conflict and many feared that the wars would never truly end for neither faction ever seemed able to maintain an advantage for long. As such, there never really seemed to be a true turning point in the wars. No one battle for instance, can be described as the moment was momentum shifted for good. Instead, most seem to agree that the monstrous races in the League of Merodrad eventually grew weary of the fighting the Aleatians and returned to feuding amongst themselves. As most of the monstrous races began to drop out of the wars, Tychea and Leng soon found themselves vastly outnumbered. The minotaurs were forced off of Kalamora and fled to Sorim, leaving Tychea alone against the entirety of the Aleatian Alliance. The Aleatians were soon able to successfully land on Tychean soil after defeating the heart of the Tychean navy and after the capitol of Ashald was sacked the Treaty of Danemis was signed and the Race Wars finally came to an end.
The fighting during the war was brutal to the extreme. Few prisoners were ever taken as the hatred between the two sides quickly escalated. Many suspect that this hatred is a large part of what has lead the elves and eladrin to retreat from the affairs of the world as they feel the need to atone for their actions. Although the fighting was brutal on all fronts, it was most brutal whenever the tieflings of Ranath came across the Tycheans as the wars brought back bitter memories of the ancient conflict between Bael Turath and Arkhosia. The brutal nature of the fighting has lead to long-lasting resentment among the various races. Both sides of course claimed the other committed the more heinous crimes and the memories of the wars have been passed from generation to generation. It has really only been within the last hundred years or so that some of these lingering resentments have begun to soften.