Recent discoveries have shown that humans are descended from the barbaric vrykul, half-giant warriors who live in Northrend. Early humans were primarily a scattered and tribal people for several millennia, until the rising strength of the troll empire forced their strategic unification. Thus the nation of Arathor was formed, along with its capital, the city-state of Strom.
After several centuries of peace, however, the increasingly prosperous and independent city-states of Arathor split into separate kingdoms: Gilneas to the west, Alterac, Dalaran, and Lordaeron to the northwest, Kul Tiras to the southwest, and Stormwind to the far south. Strom itself was renamed Stromgarde and remained a significantly powerful kingdom.
But disaster struck when the orcish Horde appeared on Azeroth, reducing Stormwind to ruins during the First War between orcs and humans. The city’s survivors, including the young prince, Varian Wrynn, fled to Lordaeron, where the leaders of the seven kingdoms resolved to unify once again in the Alliance of Lordaeron. Joined together, they succeeded in defeating the Horde during the Second War.
Tensions grew among the kingdoms, however, as the costs for maintaining the Alliance rose much higher than originally anticipated. Unwilling to pay the taxes, the leaders of Gilneas and Stromgarde chose to withdraw their kingdoms from the Alliance. Further disaster came when the kingdom of Lordaeron was decimated by a mysterious plague that killed thousands of humans and converted them into undead servants of the Lich King. Even Lordaeron’s prince, Arthas Menethil, was manipulated by the Lich King, leading Arthas to kill his own father and journey to Northrend, where he merged with his master. For the next five years, the Lich King remained in Northrend, plotting and building up his armies.