The First Era is a time of the Islands history spanning from the arrival of its earliest settlers to the Day of the Foreigner, which pertains to the first official European excursion upon the islands in 1521.
During the last Ice Age, the Islands were part of a large land bridge spanning from what are now known to be China to modern Australia. Hunter-gatherer peoples from Africa were known to have settled on these land bridges during this time. When sea levels rose, the land bridges became islands, thus ensuring the isolation of these people from the rest of the world for several more thousands of years. At about 3000 BC, people from the Asian mainland, particularly those influenced by the Dong Son culture came to the islands by boat and quickly moved the nomadic hunter-gatherers out of the mountains and seaside, the new arrivals' preferred environment. Around 2000 BC, people from the Malayan peninsula came to the islands by ships called balangkai, fleeing from tyrannical rule in their old home, and settled upon the plains. There were ten of these balangkai, which became the basis of the ten major realms that dominated the political climate of the Islands during the First Era, with the ship captains serving as the realms' first chiefs, or datu. In a few generations, these realms grew, and despite having significantly distanced themselves from each other it did not take long before their borders began touching. To avoid any serious border disputes, the chiefs agreed to form the Confederation of Free Islands, which encourages cooperation amongst the realms, in effect making the Islands work as a single cohesive unit. Centuries passed, and the Islands fell into disarray, just in time when a fleet of Spanish ships led by Ferdinand Magellan accidentally disembarks on one of them at March 1521. Many regard this day as the Day of the Foreigner, and consider it the day when the Free Islands stopped being free. While he and his crew were decimated in the Battle of M'aktan, the expedition's survivors eventually returned to Spain which led to the Island's colonization.