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Horde celebration of victory after the First War.

The History of the Horde spans several decades of an organization[1] (HPG 4) that has taken many forms. In the early years of the Horde, it existed as a ravenous war machine fueled by demonic energy. In the past the Horde was comprised mainly of orcs, but also including forest trolls, ogres, goblins, and undead death knights. It was created through the manipulations of the Burning Legion, in particular, Kil'jaeden the Deceiver, to act as the perfect puppet for their demonic masters and to serve them unquestioningly. In modern times it has become relatively peaceful, and includes orcs, Darkspear trolls, tauren, Forsaken, blood elves, goblins and Stonemaul ogres.

The Horde's major military victory was the destruction of the former kingdom of Azeroth in the First War. Though at first they had the upper hand on the conflict, they were in the end defeated in the Second War, with the surviving orcs placed in internment camps, and their allies going their separate ways. The liberation of the orcs from those camps, and eventually from demonic control, marked the beginning of the modern Horde.

Rise of the Horde

See also: Rise of the Horde
The orcish clans of Draenor were transformed into the ravenous Horde through the machinations of the Burning Legion whose intent was on destroying the draenei.
The Horde's history begins in hellfire, when the shaman Ner'zhul was contacted by an extraplanar being called Kil'jaeden. Ner'zhul was tricked (much like the night elves had been) into thinking that Kil'jaeden was a spirit. Though he had dedicated much of his life to balance and nature, Ner'zhul was lulled by the archdemon's offers of power and was convinced to abandon his teachings in favor of a new path: that of the warlock. The consequences were dire. Once he had learned the basics of manipulating this new infernal magic, his fame grew. Others soon abandoned the old ways to follow his new, quicker path to the manipulation of the natural world.
It took years before Ner'zhul realized his error. By this time he had convinced many to follow his dark path, and the orcs waged war against the draenei. Ner'zhul helped in the first efforts to unify the Horde into a cohesive unit, but when he saw what had become of his race — and what it was still becoming — he denied Kil'jaeden. He refused to compel the orcs to drink demon blood. Kil'jaeden, furious, found a new pawn in the form of Gul'dan, one of Ner'zhul's strongest apprentices, who shared none of his master's honor or compassion. Where Ner'zhul had been held back by a lingering feeling of guilt and regret, Gul'dan's greed and ambition allowed him to grow even more powerful and cruel than his former master. He became Kil'jaeden's instrument of destruction on Draenor, leading the newly founded Horde to levels of brutality never previously conceived of by the orc race. He did not have Ner'zhul's compunctions, and convinced the orcs to drink the blood of the demonic pit lord Mannoroth the Destructor, which irrevocably tainted the orcs who consumed it.
The orcs, the traditional "fathers" of the Horde, slaughtered the few other creatures living on their world and turned to fighting each other; at this point, the only race they might have called allies was the ogres. At this point in time, only the single-headed ogres existed - massive, single-minded warriors who served as little more than walking siege engines for the orcs as they plundered and conquered.
With their aggression heightened by demon blood, the orcs easily overpowered the draenei. The ensuing slaughter united the orcs under a single mantle for the first time; thus, the Horde was born. Gul'dan continued to influence the Horde from the sidelines, but he still desired yet more power and influence. To this end, with Kil'jaeden's assistance, he founded the dreaded Shadow Council. The Shadow Council was a collection of the most vicious warlocks the Horde had to offer. United, these warlocks found it easy to bend the orcs of the Horde - leaders and peons alike - to their will. The overwhelming majority of the Horde did not even know of the Shadow Council's existence, and this covert existence was the Council's greatest strength. Kil'jaeden, now satisfied with the orcs, cut off contact with them and with Gul'dan. Without significant enemies to fight, the orcs turned on each other. Gul'dan realized that unless he found a new enemy for the Horde, it would consume itself. Soon after this, Gul'dan was contacted by a powerful being known as Medivh, a possessed human mage, offering a world called Azeroth that was ripe for the picking. Medivh even created a Dark Portal connecting the two worlds. Gul'dan orchestrated the orcs to bring their army, the now-massive Horde, through the portal. The construction and use of the first Dark Portal marked the beginning of the Horde's invasion of Azeroth, and thus the start of the First War.[1] (HPG 165- 167)
Some historians record that Blackhand was made Warchief of the Horde at this time, but that true power rested with Gul'dan and his Shadow Council. Other historians claim he was made the Warchief after coming through the dark portal (see below).
The Forsaken did not exist at this point, and half-ogres were all but unheard of. Before the coming of the Horde to Kalimdor, the nomadic tauren fought a virtually eternal war against the centaur, living their humble lives from day to day and camp to camp. Deeply shamanistic, probably even more so than the early orcs, the tauren revered nature; this fact allowed them to maintain some level of peace with the night elves, whom they rarely encountered. The night elves and the tauren were well aware of the other’s existence at this time, and simply kept their distance without war or any major trade. The trolls, however, weren't so fond of elves, and still aren't. The forest trolls of northern Azeroth, lead by the mighty Zul'jin, spent much of their lives staging hit-and-run attacks on the high elves of Quel'Thalas. Once, these trolls might have assaulted the elves directly, but the combined power of the human and elf nations whittled the forest trolls down to a mere fraction of their former strength and power. The trolls of the Darkspear tribe lived in the Broken Isles, on an island near the Maelstrom, practicing their ancient cannibalistic variety of voodoo and tainted shamanism. The Darkspear tribe had few enemies; they fought with the murlocs on occasion, and perhaps a night elf here and there, but generally these trolls were highly secluded and had very little contact with the remainder of the world.[1] (HPG 165-166)

First War

By this time, a large percentage of the orc race had been affected by the taint of demons and was thoroughly under the sway of Kil'jaeden and his followers. This is not to say there were no virtuous orcs at this time; many heroes of the First War refused any contact with the demons, or were blissfully ignorant of their existence. The first successful assaults against the humans lulled the orcs into a false sense of superiority. The orcs, a warrior race, had expected every settlement to be armed; the farms they pillaged during their initial incursions led the orcs to believe that all humans were like the simple farmers they swiftly put to the axe. Thinking an easy victory was at hand, the orcs moved toward Stormwind at Gul'dan's urging; Gul'dan believed if he took Stormwind, Medivh would grant him the location of the Tomb of Sargeras.
Stormwind proved an overwhelming shock to the Horde. The footmen guarding the city’s entrance put up the first fight the orcs had seen, but they still managed to push their way through the gates. By the time they realized that this minimal resistance was a trap, it was far too late. Armored cavalry flanked the Horde's disorganized group, crushing warriors under the hooves of their mounts (creatures unfamiliar to the Orcish Horde) and striking down even the mightiest of orcs with their lances and blades. The orcs learned to call these mounted warriors knights, and cursed the world that had cost them victory for the first time. Shamed, the orcs retreated, hounded by these knights of the Brotherhood of the Horse every step of the way. Gul'dan concealed the final steps of the orc retreat with a wall of impenetrable fog; this simple spell may have saved the Horde from complete destruction.
Furious, the warchiefs blamed each other for the failure, and the Horde's fractured remains threatened to tear asunder the entire organization. Gul'dan knew he needed to act quickly to salvage what he could; to this end, he convinced the Shadow Council to do something unheard of. Blackhand the Destroyer was named Warchief of the Horde; he would lead the entirety of the orc race, not just his own (already formidable) clan. Many challenged the mighty Blackhand in these early days, but all were crushed, either by Blackhand's own prowess or Gul'dan's shadowy enforcers. Another unusual player emerged from the darkness at this time: Garona, the now-legendary half-orc assassin. Garona was a lowly servant of Gul'dan, tasked with recording the war in writing; the mighty orc warriors held little value in reading and writing, and the warlocks had little interest in spending their time chronicling history[1] (HPG 167)
While Garona, Eitrigg, and other orc historians recorded that Warchief Blackhand obtained his position of power sometime after coming through the Dark Portal,[2] (W1ManO #?) [1] (HPG 165-167) other historians recorded that Blackhand was put into power before the opening of the Dark Portal.[3] (RotH #?)
The humans proved to have even more tricks up their sleeves; the archmagi of the Kirin Tor and the priests of Northshire added much-needed magical support to the human armies as the battle was joined in earnest. It seemed that the catastrophic assault on Stormwind may have cost the orcs too much, but at a key point in the battles, the mighty Lord Anduin Lothar disappeared. In Lothar's absence, the human forces were left with inferior leadership, and fell back to Stormwind's walls. Anduin returned for only a short time, routing the orcs briefly, before disappearing again; it was learned later that he had initially sought the Tome of Lost Divinity in the Deadmines, but his second departure was far more significant. With help from Garona and the apprentice mage Khadgar, Lothar slew his life-long friend, the traitor Medivh, in his tower. Gul'dan attempted to wrest the secret of Sargeras's Tomb from Medivh's mind as the Guardian died, but a psychic backlash slammed Gul'dan as Medivh perished.
At the same time, Garona infiltrated Stormwind, where she assassinated the mighty King Llane Wrynn before Lothar had a chance to return. With the king slain, morale fell, and Stormwind fell with it. Lothar arrived only in time to gather the surviving forces and retreat to the north; the orcs had won the First War. Victory cost the orcs much; while Gul'dan remained comatose, Orgrim Doomhammer gained the title of Backstabber by slaying Blackhand and taking the mantle of Warchief of the Horde. While Orgrim was unusually loyal for an orc, he had uncovered the existence of the Shadow Council, and the truth about their manipulations of Blackhand. Doomhammer led a surprise assault on the citadel where the Shadow Council resided, and slaughtered nearly every warlock. Gul'dan awoke with a blade at his neck, and was forced to pledge his fealty to Doomhammer, whispering promises of vengeance under his breath.[1] (HPG 168)

Second War

The orcs followed the humans north, enjoying the conquest of yet more land. The fledgling Alliance rose to combat them, but the Horde too proved capable of finding allies. The forest trolls had long hated the humans and elves, but proud Zul’jin initially refused to join with the Horde; this changed when the troll leader was captured by human forces in Hillsbrad, and rescued at Doomhammer’s command. With trolls, ogres and orcs fighting side by side it was not long before the enterprising goblins saw the potential profit in aiding them. Dark magic brought the Horde the remainder of their allies. Gul’dan was furious at the slaughter of his council, but he found little difficulty in training others to follow his path. Kil’jaeden whispered secrets to him again for the first time since Medivh’s coming, and at the demon lord’s coaxing, he learned to command the dead. Gul’dan learned to stretch his consciousness into the Great Dark Beyond, and found the souls of his fellow warlocks eagerly awaiting a new host. His first attempts at resurrection and raising the dead met with failure; the flesh of his necrolytes and apprentice warlocks proved too weak to house the spirits of these ancient warlocks. When the Horde laid siege to Caer Darrow, they were repelled for a time by a massive artifact; a powerful runestone, enchanted with ancient magic of unknown origin. Gul’dan perverted the artifact, slicing it into great slabs to construct the first Altar of Storms.
Gul’dan called his minions to the altar, sacrificing many of them in dark rituals to ensure his success. His efforts were not without fruit; Gul’dan first experimented with the living, and used the runestone’s magic to create a new breed of warlock that would not so easily fall to Doomhammer’s swords: the ogre magi. Cho’gall, the first of these new ogres, was fanatically loyal to Gul’dan for his gift. Together, the two created yet more ogre magi, and prepared for the next step of their plan. Doomhammer, having betrayed his own master, was highly suspicious of others; Gul’dan convinced him that Rend and Maim, the sons of Blackhand, planned to turn against him. Doomhammer disbanded Rend and Maim’s legions of raiders and dispersed them to save his own hide, but this weakened the Horde’s mounted cavalry in the process. Gul’dan, of course, had the solution — he would create an army of undead riders, loyal only to Doomhammer. This concept pleased the warchief, although he clearly did not trust the warlock, and with good reason. This situation bought Gul’dan time, however; and while his initial experiments with Cho’gall failed, the two gathered orcs and ogres around them, forming the Stormreaver and Twilight’s Hammer clans. As time went on, Orgrim demanded results; Gul’dan, not yet prepared for war with the warchief, searched desperately for a solution. He realized he had been working only with the bodies of his own ground troops; he needed trained riders, with bodies built for mounted combat. In a stroke of insane genius, he placed the spirit of one of his former companions, Teron Gorefiend, in the corpse of a mighty human knight. To his surprise, Gorefiend took control of the body, and perhaps more importantly, still proved capable of channeling dark magic while his spirit was encased in the skeletal shell. Thus, the first death knight was born. Even with death knights and ogre magi, the Horde suffered many defeats early in the Second War; this could partially be attributed to the strength of the newly-formed Knights of the Silver Hand, but the main reason was far more blatant: the Alliance had air support. The mighty Wildhammer dwarves of Aerie Peak rained lightning from the heavens on the helpless ground forces of the Horde, evading the counterattacks of the Horde’s spellcasters and troll axe-throwers. The veterans of the war knew the Horde desperately needed their own beasts of the skies, but found none to answer their call.

Orcs rampaging

Then an orc chieftain, the shaman Zuluhed, through mysterious resources, uncovered an ancient talisman said to be capable of tremendous wonders. The only trouble was that it did not respond to shamanistic spellwork, no matter how great Zuluhed’s effort. That led Zuluhed to turn to the only warlock he felt he could trust, a warrior loyal to Dragonmaw clan. Thus Nekros inherited the Demon Soul. With this object, the orc was able to call upon great feats of magical power — but the Soul’s true secret was the power to control dragons. In time, even the mighty Alexstrasza, the Dragonqueen, succumbed to the power of the Demon Soul. Chained within Grim Batol, Nekros forced her to produce an army to serve as the airborne cavalry of the Horde. The red dragonflight served the orcs, knowing their queen would be destroyed if they did not, with only a handful managing to escape or resist. Zuluhed the Whacked took credit for Nekros’s victory, and his Dragonmaw Clan led the reds to war. With the dragons at the orcs’ sides, the Second War ground to a near stalemate; but somehow the Knights of the Silver Hand and their allies managed a push to the citadel of Blackrock Spire, led by none other than the champion Anduin Lothar.
Lothar was separated from the main body of his troops in this, perhaps one of the greatest of all of Azeroth’s battles. Amid the chaos, he fought with Orgrim Doomhammer; some say he was defeated in single combat, others claim that he was ambushed and slain by a group. Regardless, his blade fell from his dead grasp, though it did not lie cold for long. One of Lothar’s lieutenants, Turalyon, took up the rallying cry, “For Lothar!” which spread among the troops of the Alliance until the piercing howl struck fear even into the hearts of the mighty orcs. Turalyon’s unbridled assault pushed the Horde back again and again, forcing them all the way to the Dark Portal. Somewhere around this time, the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, Durotan, learned the truth of Gul’dan’s contact with demons. He spoke against Gul’dan, and the Horde banished his clan to the frozen tundra of the Alterac Mountains in punishment. In time, he gathered more information and proof, and sought Orgrim Doomhammer. He explained to Doomhammer the truth about Kil’jaeden, and Doomhammer believed him and sent Durotan off for a few days with an armed escort while he considered what to do. One of the guards, however, was a traitor; he called in assassins who killed Durotan and his wife, leaving only their infant child alive. Lord Aedelas Blackmoore, a cunning man, found the babe in the forest and took the orc child as a slave, naming him “Thrall” .
At the Dark Portal, the orcs stood proud, with Doomhammer refusing to retreat through the swirling gateway. As the battle raged on, Khadgar, once the apprentice of Medivh and now the Archmage of Nethergarde, began to channel the greatest destructive spell seen since the days of Aegwynn. Thousands had died that day, but as a glow appeared in the sky above the portal, human and orc alike stopped for a moment to watch in wonder and anticipation. The pillar of light that Khadgar called pierced the portal and sundered it, shattering the massive gateway and the morale of the orcs along with it. Kilrogg Deadeye of the Bleeding Hollow clan led a retreat; the Alliance captured all others, including the Warchief, Orgrim Doomhammer.[1] (HPG 169-171) Kilrogg Deadeye was later captured and put into an internment camp.

Invasion of Draenor

See also: Horde of Draenor
As the humans pursued Kilrogg’s remaining forces, Gul’dan led the remainder of his clan to the Tomb of Sargeras, no longer willing to wait to claim his godhood. There, he released the demons within the tomb, and a mighty battle ensued. It is unknown what demon finally took the warlock’s life, but only a handful of his clan lived to tell the tale. Gul’dan never found the Eye of Sargeras; it’s likely the world would have been shattered if he had succeeded in his goal. Kilrogg Deadeye, the last orc hero of the First War, led his people to another portal to Draenor; the orcs gathered several artifacts in order to summon the portal for their retreat. The Alliance, fearful that the Horde would return with greater numbers later on, sent some of their bravest to follow Kilrogg through the portal. With the Alliance hot on their heels, the Bleeding Hollow Clan reunited with the orcs who had remained on Draenor, and they braced themselves for a new battle.
Kilrogg found the orcs of Draenor under the control of Ner’zhul, the ancient shaman who had once refused Kil’jaeden. Many ancient clans were still strong in Draenor, and the humans found themselves outnumbered; Ner’zhul was quick to put Kilrogg’s experience to good use, and they coordinated to devise the best possible tactics to defeat the humans. The fighting on Draenor had not raged for long before Ner’zhul made an unusual decision that would change the course of history. The shaman no longer found Azeroth or Draenor suitable for his people, so he used his immense power to open another portal — and another, and another, each to a different world, potentially ripe for conquest. He didn’t realize that Draenor couldn’t handle that many portals at once. The world began to tear itself apart. Khadgar and the humans who had followed the orcs through the portal thought that was pretty keen at first, until they realized that if Draenor exploded, the explosion might leak back through their portal and hit Azeroth as well. The humans set up camp at the last portal back to Azeroth and defended it with their lives — not to protect the portal, but to shield Khadgar as he prepared the spell to destroy it. Nearly every human was slain as the orcs turned their full might upon the small group, but their lives bought the archmage enough time to finish his spell and shatter the portal. With no known world to retreat to, the orcs and humans fled to a random portal; some failed, and died in the blast as Draenor combusted. What remained of the orcs’ homeworld was a blasted continent of floating red rocks in the Twisting Nether, with only a handful of survivors, most of whom were horribly wounded. Kil’jaeden plucked Ner’zhul and his followers from Draenor after they entered one of their portals and stuffed him into Northrend, where he became the Lich King.[1] (HPG 172-173)

Internment years

Many orcs slipped through the portal to Azeroth before Khadgar’s forces set up their defensive perimeter; among them was Grom Hellscream, who brought a large chunk of the Warsong Clan through the portal. The Warsong Clan became a nuisance for the humans, who had placed most of the remaining orcs in internment camps rather than simply slaughtering them. During this time, the family of one of Lord Aedelas Blackmoore’s servants raised Thrall for the first few years of his life. These fleeting years were more kind to Thrall than the next score; the young daughter of the servant’s family befriended him and treated him as a younger brother. Her name was Taretha, and she was the closest thing to family that Thrall ever had. Sadly, Thrall was torn away from the servant family as soon as he was old enough to begin his scholastic training, and even that was brief; he was taught the basics of how to read before his military training would begin. Blackmoore intended to use Thrall as a gladiator at first, but later developed a much darker plan to give himself power over the Alliance.
As the young Thrall trained, Grom Hellscream fought his guerilla war, and Doomhammer escaped from Terenas Menethil II. Doomhammer did not immediately join the rebel clans; rather, he became a hermit, and spent his days in contemplation. Such was the way of many warriors who were not ready to give up the fight, but neither did they have the strength left to rally the fragments of the Horde. Thrall’s arena matches grew more brutal as time went on, and he eventually fled with help from his human “sister.”
He first sought the internment camps, getting captured and observing them from the inside, but finding it amazingly simple to escape. The orcs had fallen into a pitiful state of apathy; few resisted capture. Thrall investigated, eventually seeking out the legendary Grom Hellscream. After proving himself to Grom, Thrall learned that the orcs were in withdrawal; they had grown dependant on the demonic magics wrought by Gul’dan and his servants. Grom also told Thrall about the young orc’s rightful clan, the Frostwolves; and Thrall sought them out, vowing to return and work with the mighty chieftain when he could.
Thrall nearly died of the cold trying to reach the Frostwolves, and they concealed their surprise at being reunited with the heir to their chieftain. The Frostwolves, now lead by the shaman Drek’Thar, tested Thrall before accepting him into the clan. After he proved himself, he trained as a shaman. One day, a cloaked warrior wandered into the camp, and the Frostwolves offered him hospitality. Thrall thought the warrior was insulting him and his clan, and he challenged the traveler; the other orcs gasped as the wanderer threw off his cloak to reveal black plate and a massive hammer. Thrall, unaware who he faced, defeated the wanderer in a brief duel; the warrior then laughed and revealed himself to be Orgrim Doomhammer, the Horde’s warchief. He made the mighty Thrall his second, and together they planned to assault the human camps and show their brothers how to fight again. Thrall reunited with Grom, and the three mighty warriors led the orcs in reclaiming the prisoners of war. Blackmoore hounded Thrall at every turn, until finally Thrall turned his growing Horde toward Blackmoore’s forces at Durnholde Keep and crushed him. Orgrim Doomhammer fell in the fighting, and Thrall took his place as Warchief of the Horde.[1] (HPG 173, 175)

Third War

The Horde avoided conflict with the Alliance as much as possible for a time, sacking only the prisoner camps, until a mysterious visitor — the prophet Medivh — visited Thrall and told him that his people would find a home in the west, on the forgotten continent of Kalimdor. He made his offer to many, hoping to bring enough strength to Kalimdor to protect the World Tree when the Burning Legion arrived. Thrall was one of few who heeded Medivh’s warnings, and he took the majority of the Horde across the sea, meeting with the Darkspear trolls and allying with them on the way.
When Thrall reached Kalimdor, the orcs encountered the shamanistic tauren, led by Cairne Bloodhoof. The two races allied, since the tauren were in need of aid against the centaur, and the orcs needed friends and guides in this foreign land. They found that their people were similar, but the tauren had fortunately not lost so many to the study of dark magic. After aiding the tauren against the centaur, Thrall and Grom split up for a short time while Grom’s clan went to gather supplies in Ashenvale Forest. When the orcs took their axes to the ancient trees, the night elves responded, seeing it as an attack on nature. Hellscream fought an uphill battle against the elves, but just as the last of his troops were about to be defeated, a familiar figure entered the scene — Mannoroth the Destructor. Mannoroth secretly offered Hellscream a chance to regain his former fury and power — enough for his people to defeat the elves, and their demigod, Cenarius — if Grom was willing to drink from a well tainted with Mannoroth’s blood. Grom knew the price of his actions, but he was not willing to lose in battle. He, and his troops, drank from the fel-tainted water and were imbued with demonic strength. They slew Cenarius and many elves in their berserker rage. After the battle, Mannoroth revealed himself to Grom and asserted his dominance.
As Grom succumbed to the will of the Burning Legion, Medivh visited Thrall again. Thrall’s orcs united with Jaina Proudmoore’s human forces at Medivh’s request, and together they captured Grom’s spirit and freed him from his demonic taint. Thrall and Grom then went alone to seek their vengeance against Mannoroth. The two defeated the pit lord, but Grom suffered a mortal wound after saving Thrall’s life. Thrall grieved for his friend, whom he had seen as a brother, but he knew that the orc’s sacrifice had not been in vain. As the Burning Legion and the Scourge took more of Kalimdor, the orcs and humans allied with the night elves, and together the three forces stood at Mount Hyjal, fighting the fury of Archimonde, lord of the Burning Legion. It was there that Archimonde fell, though at the cost of many lives from every race. The Legion retreated in the aftermath, and for a brief time, there was peace.[1] (HPG 175, 176)

Foundation of Durotar

Thrall founded the city of Orgrimmar, named after Orgrim Doomhammer, in the valleys of Durotar, named after his noble father Durotan. Jaina of the humans and Malfurion of the night elves allowed the Horde to live in peace, and tauren constructed on their own city for the first time — Thunder Bluff in Mulgore. It was not long before tensions rose again, however.
Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, one of the leaders of the Alliance in the Second War, came to find his daughter Jaina. In spite of her protests, he launched assault after assault on the orcs, until Jaina was forced to aid the Horde against her father. Thrall honored her sacrifice by sparing those loyal to her within her city of Theramore, but the battle proved to many that lasting peace between the Alliance and the Horde was impossible.[1] (HPG 176)

The Cold War

See also; Horde.
More and more battles sprung up in spite of the efforts of both leaders to keep diplomatic relations strong. When the naga emerged from the sea and attacked both human and orc cities, each side blamed the opposing faction. And so, things grew worse and worse. Back in Lordaeron, Sylvanas Windrunner, a banshee and former ranger general of Quel’Thalas, broke free of Arthas’s control and created her own undead faction — the Forsaken. As the situation in Kalimdor grew bloodier, Sylvanas offered an alliance to Thrall, which he grudgingly accepted. The introduction of the undead to the Horde infuriated the Alliance further; while Jaina still did her best to stop the fighting, the humans in Stormwind took action against the Horde again, and the situation deteriorated. More recently, Thrall has been in communication with the Revantusk forest trolls, who agreed to a tentative alliance with the Horde.[1] (HPG 176) The Revantusk tribe is now loosely allied with the Horde. While not members of the Horde, they are its friends.[1] (HPG 10)

Current History

With King Varian of Stormwind having declared war upon the Horde following the events of the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate and Battle for the Undercity [4] The dreams of Doomhammer, Durotan and his mate have been crushed. Complicating matters further is Thrall's decision to resign as Warchief in order to focus his efforts on repairing the damage wrought by the Cataclysm. As his replacement, he appointed Garrosh Hellscream, whose hotheaded attitude and willingness to reciprocate Varian's aggression have increased tensions within the Horde's constituent races to the point where Thrall himself is beginning to wonder if he did the right thing.

History of membership

First War

Mostly orcs. However there were a few goblins and ogres. The forest trolls of Zul'jin were neutral during the conflict, however, they promised not to attack any orcs.

Second War

New allies of the Second War

In order to expand beyond their territory among the ruins of Azeroth, the orcs found a number of allies:

Despite their bolstered forces, the Horde was ultimately defeated in the Second War, its power in Azeroth was forever broken.

Clans of the Horde (Second War)

The following clans were known to have been a part of the Horde during the First and Second Wars. Though other, minor clans may have also been present, the following were the only clans to receive mention in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.

The invasion of Draenor

Most of the Horde's new allies abandoned them, however, Kilrogg Deadeye returned to Draenor and brought with him some forest trolls, some goblins and a few still-controlled Red dragons, while Teron Gorefiend brought his order of Death Knights. Both of them and with the help of the elder shaman Ner'zhul they reunited the Horde.

Old allies

New allies

Even with old and new allies they were hard pressed by the Alliance Expedition, however Ner'zhul betrayed the Horde, he opened numerous portals and escaped in one of them while the rest of the Horde was left to die, many Horde warriors managed to cross to the safety of Azeroth, but a great part of the Horde stood on Draenor and became the Fel Horde.

Clans of the Horde (invasion of draenor)

The following clans were known to have been a part of the Horde during Beyond the Dark Portal. Though other, minor clans may have also been present, the following were the only clans to receive mention in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.

Notable orc chieftains

Current membership

The alliances which comprised the Horde in earlier times, were never restored following their defeat in the Second War. Instead, the orcs forged new alliances which reflected their rediscovered shamanistic heritage, including the tauren and the Darkspear trolls. Even their pact with the undead Forsaken was based on compassion and a genuine desire to help the restless undead of Lordaeron. That alliance was consummated only reluctantly, however, and relations between the Forsaken and the rest of the Horde remain uneasy.

Between the Horde and the Alliance, the current situation remains tense, however despite true peace apparently not being possible, both sides appear to prefer a state of cold rather than total war. There have also been isolated times, when the need was sufficiently great, that the two factions have been able to look past their differences and assist each other. Examples include both the Third War itself, and the brief resurgence of the Scourge, which saw members of both factions allying with the Argent Dawn. While the modern Alliance still retains representatives from all of the races which comprised the Alliance of Lordaeron (though very few high elves remain), the modern Horde has only one major member race in common with the pre-Thrall Horde, the orcs. There are also small factions of ogres (the Stonemaul clan), forest trolls (the Revantusk tribe), and goblins (responsible for zeppelin transportation). There are even orc clans that refuse Thrall's leadership in Eastern Kingdoms and so they formed the Dark Horde.


  • The above article is based on history of the Horde as told to Brann Bronzebeard by Eitrigg, and based on other orc historians such as Garona, and other scholars (Horde Player's Guide, the Warcraft I manual, the Warcraft III manual, in-game books), history of the Horde as told by Gul'dan (Warcraft II manual), history of the Horde as told by other historians in and the history of the Horde as told by Thrall and Drek'thar (Rise of the Horde).
  • This article provides a history of the Horde as an organization (not that of its component races).[1] (HPG 4)
  • The early Horde is described as the "old Horde" (lower-case "old") in only one known instance in lore, and never used since (most of the time he just calls it, "Horde").[5] (LotC 211)
  • Some fans call the early history of the Horde, the "Old Horde" (upper-case "Old"), and it is used to describe the way the Horde existed until the end of the Second War. This term is in fact a misnomer, as it has always been the same Horde throughout history. Thrall inherited what was left of the Horde through Orgrim Doomhammer and only revised its policies and beliefs, and members changed over time. This is referencing the fact that the modern day Horde is called the "new Horde" occasionally, in the games and lore, so in comparison, fans call the Horde of the past, "the old Horde".
  • While the "early Horde" and the one that Thrall still commands are the same Horde,[1] (HPG 165-176) some in-universe characters and sources refer to it as the "new Horde" or "new horde"[1] (HPG 135) [5] (LotC 210)[6] [7] by Alliance or Horde characters, though these sources also simply call it the "Horde" in other examples.[5] (LotC 214) When it is referred to as the "new Horde" by Alliance, it is because they believed they had completely wiped the Horde out during the Second War (Alliance commanders wondered what they had done wrong in allowing an upstart warchief assemble a new horde),[1] (HPG 135) whereas when used by the Horde it refers to a new value and belief system created by Thrall that changed the Horde into what it is today — an ideal, rather than a new organization, its only a nickname (not the official name for the Horde).[8] (LoM 41) Both in the quest in WoW called H [1] The New Horde and in Horde Player's Guide, Eitrigg admits the Horde has changed (he doesn't say it has become a completely different organization, however, he always just refers to it as "the Horde"), but it is still the same Horde according to the "History of the Horde".[1] (HPG 165-176) The use of "new Horde" is similar to use of "new America" whenever some new policy that affects all the nation is passed in the USA (it is not literal use, but more of a philosophical nickname use of the term). A third use of the term "new horde" refers to second wave of orcs led by orcs such as Ner'zhul, Grom Hellscream, and Kilrogg Deadeye, and released on Azeroth during "Beyond the Dark Portal" after the Second War.[9] (W3man 18) Although, they are usually referred to as the Horde of Draenor.