The island nation of Ibben consists of several islands and settlements on the mainland of Essos. The largest island of Ibben is Ib, a forested and mountainous island containing the cities Port of Ibben and Ib Nor. South of Ib are scattered islands in the Bay of Whales, while another smaller island is located directly to the north. Southeast of Ib is a moderately-sized mountainous island called Far Ib, containing the city Ib Sar.
South of the Ibbenese islands on the mainland of Essos is the city of New Ibbish, situated on a forested peninsula north of the Kingdoms of the Ifeqevron. Southeast of New Ibbish are the ruins of Ibbish, now known by its Dothraki name, Vaes Aresak.
According to George R. R. Martin, has said that "if you visualize Westeros as a big Britain and the eastern continent as mainland Europe, Ibben is kind of up where Finland would be... except there's no Scandinavia, nothing north of the Baltic except ocean.".
Main article: Ibbenese
The Ibbenese are typically short and squat, seldom being more than five and a half feet in height. Their physical appearance is brutish, as they have sloping brows with heavy ridges, small sunken eyes, great square teeth, and massive jaws. They have also been described as a hairy people who prefer to chew blubber. They have their own language, which has been described as grunting and rasping. The Ibbenese are ferociously strong, and are considered a cunning folk consisting of skilled craftsmen, able hunters and trackers, and doughty warriors.
The Ibbenese are considered to stand apart from the other races of mankind. Although they can reproduce with the people of other lands, the children Ibbenese men father upon the women of other lands are frequently malformed and always sterile, while Ibbenese women, when impregnated by men from other lands, birth only stillbirths and monstrosities. Such couplings are uncommon, however. Regardless, scholars have speculated that certain groups of people have some Ibbenese blood in their heritage.
Ibben was ruled by a God-King until the Doom of Valyria. Now the power lies in the Shadow Council, whose members are chosen by the Thousand, an assembly of wealthy guildsmen, ancient nobles, priests, and priestesses.
Gold, iron, and tin are abundant in the mountains of Ib, whereas timber, amber, and hundreds sorts of pelts can be found in the island's forests. Whale bone, blubber, and oil are Ib's chief stock-in-trade. Among Ib's trading partners are Lorath, Braavos, the Summer Isles and Volantis. Before its destruction, Ibben also traded with the Kingdom of Sarnor.
Ibbenese are mostly known as whalers, piloting fat-bellied whaling ships with hulls black with tar. These ships are a common sight in the ports of King's Landing,, Oldtown, the Summer Isles, and Volantis. Whalers and sealers often venture into Lorath Bay, as Lorath does not have enough military strength to prevent them from doing so. Whalers from Ibben are "big-bellied" ships.
The Ibbenese sail the eastern waters of the Shivering Sea as one of the few who do.
Andalos, the lands on which the Andals eventually settled, was originally inhabited by a tribe called the hairy men. The Pentoshi believe these hairy men were kin to the hairy men from Ib, while others believe Andalos was inhabited by hairy men from Ib, and yet others believe the hairy men from Andalos eventually settled Ib.
Lorath, before it became a Valyrian settlement, was for a while inhabited by a dark, small, hairy people akin to the men of Ib. After the followers of Boash had settled in Lorath and the city became a daughter of Valyria, men from numerous lands, including Ib, traveled there. Likewise, before the Valyrians settled in Norvos, other people lived in the city. While most consider them to have been Andals, there are some who believe them to have been cousins of the men of Ib.
Evidence of Ibbenese settlements has been found on the Axe, the Lorathi isles, along the shores of the Bitterweed Bay, the Bay of Tusks, the Levithian Sound and the Thousand Islands. Ib has often fought with Lorath over the supremacy of the waters of Bitterweed Bay. And although Norvos claims dominion over the Axe, the Ibbenese often violently dispute this claim.
The Ibbenese were ruled by the God-Kings from their castle at the Port of Ibben on Ib. The last of these kings was thrown down in the aftermath of the Doom of Valyria. Ever since, rule over Ib and many of the lesser isles has been held by the Shadow Council.
The Kingdom of Sarnor originally was a trading partner of Ibben. Yet the Ibbenese also attempted on several occasions to seize control of the mouth of the Sarne, which resulted into war with the Sarnori settlements Saath and Sarys. After the destruction of most of the Sarnori cities by the Dothraki during the Century of Blood Saath remained as the only Sarnori settlement. This diminished city mostly survives due to the support given by Ib and Lorath.
The Ibbenese eventually succeeded, under leadership of the God-Kings, in gaining a foothold on the mainland of Essos. They conquered the Kingdom of the Ifequevron, although whether the Ibbenese extinguished the Ifquevron or not is a matter of dispute; While some claim the Ibbenese killed the race, others simply believe the so-called "wood walkers" went into hiding or fled. At the height of its power, the land the Ibbenese controlled on the mainland of Essos was as large as Ib itself. Many Ibbenese travelled to this rich area, which fell under the dominion of Ibbish, which grew to become a thriving port and the second city of Ibben. Near two hundred years ago, Dothraki khals began to attack the Ibbenese lands on mainland Essos, leading to numerous battles. Ibben won a famous battle against Khal Onqo, but were pushed further and further back by the dothraki as khalasar after khalasar came. Khal Scoro took Ibbish for the first time, and although the Ibbenese rebuilt the city, a generation later Khal Rogo arrived to put half the city to the torch.
Eventually, Khal Onqo's grandson, Khal Dhako, arrived at the city, ready to sack it. Learning of his approach, the inhabitants of Ibbish fled across the sea back to Ib. Infuriated by this cowardly move, Dhako put the city and much of the surrounding land to the torch, resulting in the loss of most of the lands the Ibbenese had ruled on the northern coast of Essos. Following the destruction of Ibbish, the Ibbenese constructed a new colony, New Ibbish. From this colony, build on a peninsula protected by great wooden walls, the Ibbenese rule over their modest remaining foothold on the Essosi lands.
A Game of Thrones
When confronting Queen Cersei Lannister about the fact that he has discovered the truth about the paternity of her three children, Lord Eddard Stark tells Cersei to "take ship for the Free Cities, or even farther, to the Summer Isles or the Port of Ibben.".
A Clash of Kings
A Storm of Swords
An Ibbenese axe-man is among a group of foragers that Nymeria slaughters in the riverlands. Several Ibbenese sellswords of the Brave Companions are encountered by the brotherhood without banners squatting in a remote sept, carrying shaggy brown shields during the ensuing battle.
A Feast for Crows
A Dance with Dragons
When mistakenly believing that his sister Arya Stark is being held at Winterfell, Jon Snow considers numerous locations to which he could send her after she is rescued, including the Port of Ibben.
- So Spake Martin: Various ASOIAF Questions (April 21, 2000)
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Cental Essos.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The North: The Kings of Winter.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Lorath.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Norvos.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: Ib.
- The Lands of Ice and Fire, Central Essos.
- So Spake Martin: Ibben and Armor (November 9, 2002)
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, Vaes Aresak (Ibbish).
- A Feast for Crows, Prologue.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 3, Daenerys I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, The Free Cities: Braavos.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 18, Catelyn IV.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 6, Arya I.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Rise of Valyria.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 5, Tyrion II.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Ancient History: The Arrival of the Andals.
- The World of Ice & Fire, Beyond the Free Cities: The Shivering Sea.
- George R. R. Martin's A World of Ice and Fire, New Ibbish.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 24, Theon II.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 18, The Iron Captain.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 11, Daenerys II.
- A Game of Thrones, Chapter 45, Eddard XII.
- A Clash of Kings, Chapter 30, Arya VII.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 3, Arya I.
- A Storm of Swords, Chapter 39, Arya VII.
- A Feast for Crows, Appendix.
- A Feast for Crows, Chapter 34, Cat Of The Canals.
- A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 44, Jon IX.