The Disputed Lands is a war-ravaged region on the continent of Essos to the east of Westeros. It is an area that has been contested between the Free Cities of Myr and Lys for more than three centuries. Wars over the Disputed Lands frequently drag in the neighboring cities of Tyrosh and Volantis and often spill over onto the nearby Stepstone islands.
In the books
In the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the Disputed Lands is a region of open countryside, rivers and at least two large lakes, located at the far south-western tip of the Essos continent. The region stretches from the Sea of Myrth to the Summer Sea and from the Narrow Sea to the River Rhyone. Myr lies to the north, Lys lies on an island off the south coast, Tyrosh lies on an island off the west coast and Volantis is to the east, at the mouth of the Rhoyne.
The region was formerly part of the Valyrian Freehold. After the Doom of Valyria, the surrounding cities became independent and made competing claims over the region. These claims became redundant when Volantis launched a huge military campaign, overrunning the region and conquering Myr and Lys, ruling them for more than half a century. When Volantis attempted to seized Tyrosh, it faced a massive counter-offensive by the Tyroshi military, aided by forces from Pentos and the Westerosi Storm King. Braavos sponsored an uprising in Lys led by a Lyseni prince using Braavosi warships, whilst Myr launched a rebellion of its own. Aegon the Conqueror, some years before his own invasion of Westeros, is said to have even provided aid. The bulk of the war was fought in the Disputed Lands, leaving it a smouldering ruin after the war ended with the defeat of Volantis. However, soon afterwards the alliance against Volantis fell apart, and Lys and Myr have been fighting over the region between them ever since.
Numerous wars have been fought over the Disputed Lands. One of the more notable was forty years ago, when nine notable warlords, including Alequo Aldarys of Tyrosh and Maelys Blackfyre, a claimant to the Iron Throne of Westeros, banded together to achieve together what they could not alone. In the resulting War of the Ninepenny Kings, the Disputed Lands and Stepstones were conquered, along with the Free City of Tyrosh. King Aegon V Targaryen dispatched a large fleet and army to the Stepstones which destroyed the warlords' army, with the young Ser Barristan Selmy slaying Maelys the Monstrous, last of the Blackfyre Pretenders, in battle. The conflict has become known as the War of the Ninepenny Kings.