Hi everyone! In this post I’m going to explain my theory on the Void Century. I’m going to give an outline of the events and the factions involved, as best I can with the existing evidence (and without any details that I can’t back up).
Points covered will include:
– Why history was erased.
– What the mysterious “enormous kingdom” was.
– What Joyboy’s role was.
– A parallel between the Void Century and the Alabasta arc.
– Luffy and Blackbeard’s respective roles in the present storyline.
Let’s start with what we know from Ohara.
The Enormous Kingdom
The archeologists of Ohara discovered that during the 100 years of blank history, there existed a certain “enormous kingdom”. From this information and the fact that its history was told in the Poneglyph, they deduced that the kingdom must have been destroyed near the end of the century, and that the ones who tried to erase it from history must have been the World Government.
Considering that 20 kingdoms had to band together in order to fight gaainst it, and that only after defeating it were they able to create the World Government, it’s quite reasonable to assume that the world was dominated by the Enormous Kingdom before it was destroyed.
Still it was defeated, and thanks to that the 20 kingdoms’ alliance was able to take control of the world, founding the World Government. And, for a mysterious reason, they felt the need to go further and erase all traces of the kingdom’s existence from history.
According to Professor Clover, this could be because they were wary not just of the kingdom itself but also of its ideas.
Joyboy was a man who was active near the end of the Void Century. It is almost certain that he had the powers of Nika and thus represented the figure of the “warrior of liberation”.
So Joyboy was a liberator. A freer of slaves. Similar to Luffy, he probably visited a number of places where people were oppressed, and freed them by fighting whoever was the oppressor.
The liberated people could include the fishfolk, the minks, Shandora, Wano… These people would all become Joyboy’s friends, and side with him when the time would come.
Now who were the tyrants that Joyboy fought against? This was before the creation of the World Government, so it couldn’t have been them.
No, this all was during the era of the Enormous Kingdom. I think the villains that Joyboy fought (or most of them) actually belonged to the Kingdom.
With all of the above in consideration, it’s time to say what this Kingdom was.
The Pirate Kingdom
The concept of “Pirate Kingdom” has been around for a long time, if nothing else because it complements the idea of the “Pirate King”.
I’m going to explain what I think the Pirate Kingdom was exactly.
The Pirate Kingdom did not possess any land, instead it was encompassing all the seas of the world (it doesn’t get more “enormous” than this). But at a time when things were very different from today. You could say it represents a state that the world was in. From roughly 900 to 800 years ago, there was a 100-years long Great Age of Piracy.
I’m saying that, very concretely, anyone was free to take to the seas and go do whatever they wanted. Countries and governments existed, of course, but none of them had jurisdiction on the sea.
People who didn’t want to obey the laws of their country, or wanted away for whatever reason, would leave and become pirates, that is to say, inhabitants of the Pirate Kingdom, citizens of the sea.
The Navy did not exist to chase after pirates. The World Government did not exist to tell you what to do and what laws to obey. The sea was a place of complete freedom. As long as you were on the sea, you were free. That was the Pirate Kingdom.
What fundamentally changed with the creation of the World Government was that now, law would be enforced on the sea. The Navy was created for the purpose of arresting any people who won’t obey, in other words pirates. Something that they still do today. The sea would no longer be a place where you could be absolutely free, and so the sea stopped being the Pirate Kingdom.
The World Government and the Pirate Kingdom are two entities that cannot exist at the same time. They represent antithetical states of the world: one in which no place is beyond the reach of the law, and one in which that place is the sea.
The desire for freedom is what defines a pirate in this world.
I don’t need to tell you that neither “freedom” or “pirates” is good or bad in principle. Of course some pirates were good people and some weren’t. And there’s no telling that the world under the Pirate Kingdom was better or happier than the current one.
In fact, I think that in Joyboy’s time, the world was in a terrible state.
The Pirate King
The Pirate King is the one who reigns over the seas of the world. There doesn’t have to be one all the time, and different Pirate Kings will be different.
We all know Luffy’s philosophy: the Pirate King doesn’t need to control anything, he’s just the Pirate King, the freest man on the sea. But not every pirate thinks the same. For Blackbeard, being the Pirate King is synonymous with conquering the world.
Where Luffy’s conception of the Pirate King is “the freest man on the sea”, to Blackbeard’s it would be “the king of the world”.
I believe that in Joyboy’s time, around 800 years ago, the Pirate Kingdom was ruled by an evil Pirate King. He was the one terrorising the world to such an extent that kingdoms had to ally against him.
The battle at the end of the Void Century
You’re familiar with the classic One Piece dynamic “Good pirate” – “Evil pirate” – “Navy / Government”, which we all expect to see play out in the eventual final war.
In the Alabasta arc, Luffy defeated the evil pirate Crocodile to free the country from him ; however the Navy took the credit for this victory, and the Strawhats’ battle was never told in history.
Well things were exactly the same 800 years ago.
I believe that Joyboy, a pirate, fought and defeated the evil Pirate King.Very likely, he became the Pirate King himself. However, just like Luffy, he had no intention of ruling anything.
The 20 kingdoms’ alliance simply took advantage of Joyboy’s victory to claim the power that he didn’t want.
Erasing the history
What I think happened afterwards is, the “victorious” 20 kings wanted to never again see the world harmed by pirates like the evil Pirate King.
So, despite the fact that the pirate Joyboy was the one who won the fight for them, they decided to put an end to piracy altogether. They decided that stability in the world was more important than the ideal of freedom. It’s possible they even arrested their saviour Joyboy for being a pirate, and even executed him.
The World Government created the Navy to make sure pirates wouldn’t run free ever again. But they also realised that even if the Pirate Kingdom didn’t exist anymore, people would always keep yearning for freedom, as long as the idea of it existed.
That is the reason why the World Government chose to erase the very idea of the Pirate Kingdom from history. The Pirate Kingdom had existed for a whole century, and it had probably deeply marked the history of every country in the world, so they erased the whole 100 years of history.
You know the rest: many people, most notably Joyboy and his allies, couldn’t let this happen ; so they came up with the Poneglyph, a plan to safeguard the most important elements of their history.
The Nefertari ruler of the Kingdom of Alabasta did not agree with the other kings’ decision, so they got involved with the plan as well. That is why the Nefertari family had been guarding a Poneglyph stone despite being a founding member of the World Government.
This determination to remember the past was passed all the way down to the present day’s King Nefertari Cobra.
To complete the story, the other 19 royal families decided that, since the history was forgotten, they might as well start calling themselves gods. And since there was no history to learn from, they slowly but surely turned into the tyrants that they had originally been fighting.
Now they are the ones who are bound to be overthrown by a pirate who bears Joyboy’s legacy.
I believe Blackbeard is preparing to take advantage of the chaos to claim the throne of king of the world. After all, every single thing he’s done so far (gathering strong crewmates, getting powerful devil fruits) has been in order to increase his strength, as if preparing for a battle that he knows will happen.
His success would mean repeating the events of 800 years ago, only in reverse, going from World Government to evil Pirate King. And obviously Luffy will fight him over the title and eventually win.
Before we go, there’s one last thing to talk about. The fishfolk and merfolk, being targets of racial discrimination, had been forced from long ago to live at the bottom of the sea.
Joyboy, very likely, promised Fishman Island and the mermaid princess of his time that he would make it possible for them to come live on the surface. He must have thought that by beating all the evil pirates and becoming the Pirate King, he would be able to do it.
While he did succeed in beating the bad guys, it wasn’t enough to make that promise a reality. The World Government didn’t do anything to help, and instead maintained and even participated in the discrimination. Thus, despite all his strength, Joyboy couldn’t fulfill his promise.
In the present, too, while Luffy used force to kick Kaido out of Wano, he didn’t do anything to change the people; they just returned to their old ways and you can easily tell how injustice is still very present in their society.
To fulfill his own promise, Luffy may have to change people’s hearts somehow. Maybe that’s the role of the people around him?
The Void Century was a 100-year long Great Age of Piracy.
The “Pirate Kingdom” refers to the sea back then, because pirates were out of the reach of any real countries.
There was an evil Pirate King, who Joyboy defeated, and the World Government took advantage of that to take control of the world.
They tried to put an end to piracy forever by creating the Navy and erasing the idea of the Pirate Kingdom from history.
Theory by SalmyGondy (https://www.reddit.com/user/SalmyGondy)