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The Fire Nation (in Chinese: 烈火國) is the main antagonistic faction in Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender and a minor neutral faction in its sequel series The Legend of Korra. It is one of the four elemental nations. As the name suggests, some citizens of the Fire Nation have the talent of Firebending. It was up to Avatar Aang to stop them before Sozin's comet hit.
Members of the Fire Nation have black or dark brown hair, amber/gold, dark brown or dark gray eyes, and pale skin. The men in older years sport beards and mustaches, and almost all Fire Nation citizens have topknots. Members of the army wear red and black uniforms that may have yellow touches to them. Civilians wear red and white or red-tinted outfits. Nobles and politicians wear a two-pronged flamed topknot piece, and the Fire Lord wears a gold flame topknot piece. Their clothing and architecture seem to reflect Chinese and Japanese influences.
One hundred years before the beginning of the Avatar: The Last Airbender story, Fire Lord Sozin declared war on the other three nations, claiming it was an attempt to unite them and bring peace to the world. The Fire Nation's attacks were brutal, with a deliberate campaign of extermination against the Air Nomads, in an attempt to destroy the young Avatar Aang.
The lion turtles granted the element of fire to predecessors of the Fire Nation. The power was granted through energy bending. The lion turtles gave the power to them when they would go into the Spirit Wilds to gather food and resources so they could protect themselves.
When the people started to leave the lion turtles cities in order to startup communities some went to the western hemisphere along the equator where they settled and became the ancestors of the first citizens in the Fire Nation.
The era of the Warlords
The Fire Nation is an absolute monarchy. The Fire Lord is the Head of state and the Fire Sages are the religious authority.
The Fire Nation archipelago resembles a flame flipped sideways as well as a human skull.
The Fire Nation's crimes were inspired by the atrocities committed by Imperial Japan during World War II, such as the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the Rape of Nanking. In addition, the Fire Nation's genocide against the Air Nomads was partly inspired by the Chinese annexation of Tibet.
Some fans theorize that the Fire Nation's colonization of the other three nations parallels those of European colonial powers, despite it being based off Imperial Japan, which happened to be a highly industrialized colonial empire that expanded its territory into neighboring countries, such as China. However, the Fire Nation does share some similarities with the European colonial nations, such as the British Empire, as they conquered much of the world to expand their influence on other nations, resulting in genocides of various indigenous ethnic groups.
Fire Lord Sozin's plans to colonize the rest of the world to share his ambitious ideologies parallels the ideologies of Emperor Meiji, who also believed that his country should share its prosperity with other nations. Sozin's justification for his atrocities was also used by French scholar Joseph Ernest Renan, who justified the acts of European colonialism as a means of "civilizing" other nations.
Before the end of the Hundred Year War, the Fire Nation school that Aang went to downplayed the Fire Nation's atrocities and demonized the Air Nomads to justify the genocide of the airbenders. Likewise, Japan's education system downplays its atrocities in World War II and refers to the Rape of Nanking as "The Nanking Incident".