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|Marley, oppressed more than any other by those devils...then used them to oppress other nations...only repeating the tragedies of the past.|
|— Willy Tybur points out modern Marley's hypocrisy|
Marley (マーレ Māre?) is a nation located beyond the Walls and across the ocean from Paradis Island. Marley was once conquered by Eldia in ancient times, but during the Great Titan War, the Marleyans rose up and subjugated Eldia's territory, except for Paradis Island. In the present, Marley sustains its global power using the power of the Titans possessed by the Warrior Unit, but it is losing its status due to lagging behind other nations in technological progress.
Marley was a powerful nation in ancient times; however, over 1,800 years ago, Ymir Fritz gained the power of the Titans. When Ymir passed away, her "soul" was split into the Nine Titans which were inherited by nine of her subjects who built the Eldian Empire. Using the Titans, the Eldians waged war against Marley and many other nations, utterly destroying them and obtaining complete rule over the continental mainland. It is estimated that more than three times the current population of the world perished under Eldian rule.
The founding myth
From that point on, a narrative of events, intentionally propagated by the Tybur family, took over and became widely believed as truth in the modern world. According to that narrative, after the Eldian Empire conquered the world, the nine aristocratic families who possessed the power of the Titans grew resentful of each other, starting the Great Titan War. During the war, Helos, a legendary Marleyan hero, was said to have turned the tides of war to his people's favor by manipulating the families against each others. He succeeded in obtaining seven of the Nine Titans in Eldia's possession. The first of these Titans to come into Marley's possession was the War Hammer Titan, held by the aristocratic Tybur family, who had turned against their king and sided with the Marleyan uprising.
Over an unspecified amount of time, Marley gradually gained control of the continental mainland that once was ruled by Eldia until only Paradis Island remained as King Karl Fritz's undisputed territory. In the year 737, King Fritz moved as many Eldians as he could to Paradis Island, and used the Founding Titan to guide a massive number of Colossus Titans in the raising of three concentric Walls around Eldia's remaining territory. In order to force peace between Eldia and Marley, King Fritz gave the ultimatum that any further act of war against Eldia would be met with the releasing of the countless Titans within the Walls. With this, the Great Titan War ended.
In truth, Eldia's defeat during the Great Titan War was orchestrated by Karl Fritz who took pity on the oppressed people of Marley. Believing that the sins of the Eldians were too heavy to justify his rule, he, along with the Tyburs, manipulated the other families against each other, intentionally starting a civil war that would destroy his own empire and reinstitute Marley. To that end, both the Tybur family and the King himself fabricated Helos to facilitate the myth that it was the Marleyan people themselves who won the war, to justify Marleyan rule.
At that time, the king also took a vow of pacifism, forbidding the Eldian people from hurting the world again, as well as renouncing the right to defend themselves if Marley or other external powers grew strong enough to invade Paradis Island. The ultimatum was never meant to be enforced. Instead, its purpose was to allow him to spend the remainder of his reign in peace. To enforce this, he used the powers of the Founding Titan to wipe the memories of the outside world from most of the Eldians on Paradis Island. Karl Fritz wanted to ensure his vow would be followed by the future generation, so he made it so that his descendants—the only people who can use the Founding Titan's absolute power—will also inherit his ideology alongside his memories.
Marley would become the dominant influence in the continental mainland for the next century, segregating the remaining Eldians of the mainland into internment zones. Although it had surrendered sovereignty over the continental mainland to the Marleyans, the Tybur family remained the real seat of power behind the Marleyan state, but the house chose to withdraw from active politics, being content to observe events and allowing the Marleyans complete freedom of governance.
While technological development on Paradis Island had been stagnant for a century due to King Reiss' isolation policies, the other nations of the world have already progressed far beyond it. By the year 854, Marley and other nations reached the modern age and possessed technologies such as photographs, blimps, electricity, steam & diesel-powered transports in civil society. Technological progress was not developed evenly across the world, however, with Marley lagging behind most of its adversaries in at least the area of military technologies.
Titan Biology Research Society
- Main article: Titan Biology Research Society
The Marley government has a vast knowledge of the Titans to the extent that they are able to make use of Titan-related technology and possess insight into the origin of the Titans. For example, the Marley government are known to create Titan serums to transform the Warriors and Eldian criminals into Titans.
An academic discipline known as "Titan biology," headed by Marley's Titan Biology Research Society, was founded in dedication to the research of Titans. It is the Society that put forth the theory that all Subjects of Ymir are connected by unseen "paths" from which the flesh and bones of Titan are sent to them, and that all the paths cross at a single "coordinate," the Founding Titan.
Marley is notorious for its adherence to militarism and colonial expansion. However, the general populace has since lost touch with the reality of war, both due to the abolition of the conscription system in the past and the extensive use of Eldians as rank-and-file troopers. As its only knowledge of war comes from newspaper stories, Marleyan citizens have little concern about the true cost of war. Out of patriotic sentiments, the Marleyans and the Eldians loyal to Marley refer to their country as the "Motherland."
The Marleyans built statues to honor Helos, a folk hero who was renowned for slaying the Devil of All Earth during the Great Titan War. He is described in legend as a brave and beautiful man who was unwounded in the struggle against the greatest Titan on earth. A Helos statue is erected in front of the Warrior unit headquarter in Liberio.
Marley is an empire comprised of an enormous continent as well as various oversea territories. Its entire population is unknown, but the main ethnic group are the Marleyans, leading the nation politics, economy, diplomacy and military. There are a considerable number of Eldians, contained in several ghettos around the mainland, and numerous other ethnic groups and nationalities, added into Marley in the past 100 years through military conquest and expansion.
Marley is a gigantic empire, stretching over one large continent to the west of Paradis Island, a smaller continent to the south, an entire peninsula to the south east. It also have territories in a western continent, as well as various small islands. This large territory enables Marley to have access to various oceans and various seas, and that may have influenced the nation's culture, since Marleyan cuisine consists of seafood and since the national emblem appears to be a seashell.
Eldian minority within Marley
- Main article: Eldia
The internment zones
After the Great Titan War, most Eldians who were stranded on the continental mainland were left at the mercy of an unforgiving Marleyan nation, which was nevertheless aware of the military potential of their genetic trait. To exploit it, the Eldians were segregated from the rest of the population into designated areas such as the Liberio internment zone under the watch of the Public Security Authorities. These ghettos act as a reserve pool for Pure Titans. In wartime, internees were brought out to be turned into Titans and released onto battlefields.
To justify its exploitation, Marley indoctrinated both its citizens and Eldians with a revised history which demonized the latter group. As a result, the Marleyan populace saw the Subjects of Ymir as evil due to their ancestor Ymir Fritz's deal with the "Devil of All Earth." On the other hand, average continental Eldians, such as Mr. Yeager and Gabi Braun, became convinced that they were genuinely indebted to their "merciful" Marleyan overlords, and that the only ways to redeem themselves would be through loyal service to the Marley Motherland and the extermination of "bad" Eldians on Paradis Island.
Compared to the Marleyan society beyond the fence, life inside the internment zones is lackluster but not poverty-ridden, even though there is no system of currency within the ghettos. For example, the Yeager family was able to make a living working as doctors, a reputable profession; and the residents were able to put up a feast for their family members returning from war. Nevertheless, they do have to endure abuse from PSA guards from time to time, which are occasionally lethal, as evidenced by the murder of Faye Yeager. Movement in and out of the ghettos are also restricted, with the camp's main gate only open at a specified time of the day or during special occasions, such as the gathering to welcome the troops home. One has to produce a permit in order to gain passage.
Not all Eldians suffered that fate, however. A few Eldians were awarded 'honorary Marleyan' titles for services to the Marley Motherland, such as the Warrior Unit and their families. With this status, Reiner Braun claimed he could live outside of the internment zones if wanted to and asked for permission.
By the year 832, the military value of Eldians was put into question. It was known that Pure Titans are inherently uncontrollable and pose as much a risk to the enemy as to itself. There were opinions for the extermination of all Eldians in Marley. At the time, Eren Kruger noted that once Marley secures the Founding Titan, the debate would end in favor of those opinions and seal the doom of all Eldians.
By the year 854, however, the attitude changed again. The Marley Mid-East War laid bare the fact that Titans are losing to the advancing military technology deployed by Marley's many enemies, but since the nation needs time to close the gap in arms development with the rest of the world, the Eldians are still needed as a stop-gap measure. It not only prompted the Marleyan leadership to renew the operation to seize the Founding Titan, but also started a "symbiosis" relationship between the two ethnic groups where the Marleyans need the Eldians to sustain its military might and the Eldians need Marley to keep a hostile world at bay. After the war, Eldians are not only hated in Marley but also all around the world, due to the usage of Titans by Marley in wars of expansion, much like during the age of the Eldian Empire. The universal hatred escalates to the point that most of the world nations now demand the extermination of all Eldians but the Tybur family.
The Marleyan government determines the ethnicity of its citizens with blood tests, and the result of which affects their eligibility to get into privileged professions. To join the Public Security Authorities, for example, one has to prove that they are not of Eldian ancestry by passing the test. Despite that, agents of the Eldia Restorationists were able to get around it by using falsified medical records and having their tests done by doctors sympathetic to their cause.
Although harsh, it is noted by Udo, who used to live in a different country, that Marley is, in fact, more tolerant of Eldians than many other countries, wherein Eldians face much severer hostilities that make the Marleyan discrimination pale in comparison. There are some Marleyans, such as Theo Magath or the guards that Gabi Braun befriended, that genuinely care about the well-being of the Eldians under their care. The Marleyans in the Panzer Unit have a friendly relationship with Pieck.
The Tybur family
- Main article: Tybur family
Due to its dominant power within the Marleyan state, the Tybur family was not only excepted from the persecution against its ethnic brethren, but also enjoyed privileges such as the retaining of aristocratic status, where they were given honorary citizenship and were allowed to live on regal estates, as well as owning a detail of personal guards. They are led by Willy Tybur.
Despite being supposedly independent, Marley is in fact secretly controlled by the Tybur family. That makes Willy Tybur, the current head of the family, the de-facto ruler of the nation. Before the year 854, the family did not actively exercise its power and was content to observe events in the shadows, allowing the Marleyan persecution of Eldians and the nation's drive to militarism to go unchecked, a stance that Willy regrets. But as worrisome news surfaced from Paradis Island, he decides to step in and make public his true nature in a festival in Liberio.
After gaining the power of seven Titans, Marley has since abode by a colonization policy in all conflicts with enemy nations. While the nation's territory before or immediately following the Great Titan War is unknown, by the year 854 the nation of Marley had conquered territory across at least three continents, including overseas.
At some point between the year 833 and 845, Marley conquered an unnamed country to the south of Marley with the use of the Warriors. Their performances were tested and proven in that battle.
In 844, Marley took an enemy nation's capital city in only one night, using hundreds of Eldians as Pure Titans to conquer the city.
Marley has a historically poor relationship with the Mid-East Allied Forces. By the year 850, after it had become known that Marley lost two Titans in its operation against Paradis Island, the Allies finally declared war against Marley. Over twenty years ago, the Eldia Restorationists had considered using the Founding Titan to gain support and defection from this enemy nation, though their efforts failed.
Willy Tybur mentions that Marley currently has many enemies, some of which could be allying with Paradis Island from the shadows against them.
- Main article: Marleyan military
The Marleyan military acts as the main force of order within Marley's borders as well as the key to their global conquest. Consisting primarily of a navy and an army, a large portion of Marleyan ground forces consists of Eldian troops within the Eldian Unit of the army, led by a Marleyan commander. Within this Eldian Unit is the infamous Warrior Unit, the volunteer Eldian soldiers who strive to inherit the power of the Titans.
- The emblem of Marley appears to be a seashell motif and is found on several structures located in Liberio as well as official military paperwork.
- The original Japanese name for Marley (マーレ Māre?) bears a strong resemblance in pronunciation to the Latin word "mare," meaning "sea." This nomenclature would match with Marley's seashell emblem.
- Marley resembles Nazi Germany in both its general aesthetics and politics but its technological development is slightly less advanced, being at around early 20th-century level.
- Marley's policy of segregating Eldian into ghetto parallels the Nazi anti-Jewish policy. Similarly, many named Marleyans and Eldians have Germanic names.
- The history of Marleyans and Eldians is also comparable with that of the Rwandan populations of Hutu and Tutsi. By 1700, the Rwandan populace coalesced into around eight kingdoms, of which the Tutsi Kingdom of Rwanda became dominant and oppressed the Hutu, fueling a hard relationship between the two races that lasted for centuries. In 1994, during the Rwandan Civil War, the then Hutu majority government perpetrated a genocide against the Tutsi which resulted in the extermination of around 70% of the Tutsi population over the course of a hundred days.
- Rwanda was also a German territory from 1884 until World War I.
- Since Isayama is Japanese, the Marleyan government's exploitation of ancient grudges for expansionist purposes might have been inspired by the anti-Japanese sentiment in China, where the memory of the Second Sino-Japanese War is kept alive by the government for nationalistic purposes. The landmass size difference between Marley and Paradis Island also reminds one of China and Japan.
- The memory alterations to people on Paradis Island to make them forget the past might have been inspired by the Japanese government's own attempts to downplay and deny Imperial Japan's war crimes.
- If mirrored vertically, the territory of Marley matches the real-world regions of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Brazil.
- If the sizes of the continents shown in the Attack on Titan world are relatively equal in size to the real world, Marley's total territory would rival that of the British Empire.
- Marley's placement in an alternate Africa also coincides with the Rwanda parallelism, as Rwanda is a country within the mainland of Africa some distance northwest of Madagascar. When mirrored vertically, Rwanda is at the southwest, and it is said that Titans primarily target the southern regions of the Walls.