According to the geological record, the island was inhabited in the early Zanclean by a species now known to science as Corvus sapiens
, or the "Zanclean Crows". They were bigger than modern Corvus spp.
, but smaller than humans, with known fossil specimens reaching about two feet in height. C. sapiens
fossils are also found throughout the eastern United States, ostensibly their homeland. Crowsgrave is generally more interesting, however, as there they actually left ruins behind. These ruins are within Mt. Kukana, and are made of magically-reinforced stone, explaining their persistence after five million years. Bas-relief imagery within the ruins depicts various scenes from the lives of these people. It is primarily from these scenes that anything is known about the culture of those C. sapiens
that lived on the island. Every depicted building appears to be made of wood, which may explain the lack of similar ruins in North America. The ruins are claimed by many to be some kind of temple, as within the main chamber, there is what appears to be an ornate altar. What happened to the Zanclean Crows, however, is something that is hotly debated. There is a well-known story, as told by the original human inhabitants of the island to the 18th century settlers: The crows worshipped a great and powerful god of dark powers, and they built the temple to better commune with this god and enact its will, apparently crafting artifacts stored within the temple.+Which, of course, caught the attention of various treasure-hunters throughout the centuries since. None were successful.
One day, they opened a portal to the netherworld, in order to summon their god. They were instead met with the tentacles of the Dark Lord Shghrrkh, who burned the priests alive and cursed the entire species to become modern crows. Of course, none of this can be known for sure through conventional geological or archaeological methods.1
There have been clairvoyants who claimed to have seen the end of the Zanclean Crows with their powers - however, not all conventional scientists fully accept magical empirical methods, as many of them have not been tested to the standards of science. Indeed, some cannot be at all, by their nature. Those methods of clairvoyance that have been scientifically tested average out to a temporal range of a few centuries into the past, with the most powerful so recorded extending out to five millennia - a far cry from five-million-year range necessary to view the Zanclean Crows.
It is unknown when exactly the human natives of the island first got there, though the current best guess is somewhere between 500 to 1000 years prior to the early 18th century settlers. They were of North American stock, speaking something reportedly vaguely similar to an eastern Algonquian language. The aforementioned settlers came in the year 1713 CE. The island had been discovered ten years prior, mystifying the British, who swore they should have been able to discover an island so located much earlier. The island apparently had some kind of obfuscation around it. Whatever it was, it no longer exists, thus cannot be studied particularly well.+Though, some of the aforementioned clairvoyants helped discover what little is known about the obfuscation.
However, it remained in existence after the settlement, which allowed the settlers to mostly avoid British interference. These settlers consisted of Blacks, Whites, and Native Americans who wished to live together peacefully, but were hard-pressed to do so within the Thirteen Colonies because of various colonial laws and pressures. The island's natives, however, were not particularly welcoming of the settlers. Most interactions between the two groups consisted of fighting, though some of the Native American settlers were able to vaguely decipher the islanders' language enough for some basic communication. Almost uniformly, they described the islanders as mad, or possessed. It is from the islanders that the myths surrounding the Zanclean Crows were first known to the West, and the island's English name of Crowsgrave was a calque from the native name for it.
Starting from the middle of the 18th century, Crowsgrave became a haven for what pirates remained in the Atlantic, much to the chagrin of the settlers. This was because the obfuscation that hid the island for so long was still functional, so while the pirates were able to come and go, the British authorities had much trouble finding them. The locals, without any Imperial assistance, could hardly defend themselves against the pirates. The difficulty of controlling the island led the British to effectively give up on it in the mid-19th century. By this point, the pirates of old had been integrated into the island's society, which now sported some lax attitudes towards certain varieties of crime. For a while before, Crowsgravers had taken to commerce - guiding other ships through their mysterious waters and providing a stop along the way across the Atlantic. All for a fee, of course. Given their independence, they continued such practices more strongly, and defined themselves by it. By the end of the 19th century, the obfuscation appeared to be gone, as foreign ships could navigate the waters around Crowsgrave just fine without assistance. However, Crowsgrave still retained its status as an important stop between the Old and New worlds. The mid-to-late-19th century is also when superpowers first began to come to prominence and common knowledge in the world. The confluence of events that led to such is too much to be described here, but it is important, because with this prominence came government sanctions in many parts of the world. Some places charged them with witchcraft or something similar, other places simply sought to control what they saw as dangerous individuals. The United States in particular was especially the latter, especially as it came to prominence in the early 20th century. Many supers, as with people in general, were disillusioned after World War I. Where many had accepted earlier control out of a sense of national pride, now they sought to free themselves from such bonds. In the 20s, various American supers fled to Crowsgrave, which was known to have no laws regarding superpowers. The island's history of piracy had translated to a bustling criminal underworld, and some of the more morally inclined of these super-refugees decided to do something about it. As such, the 20s in Crowsgrave is known as The Cleanup, and it is when the Consortium first emerged. Where another nation might have been completely terrified of such an organization - made by and for supers - Crowsgrave simply absorbed it as an arm of the government. This friendliness to supers led to waves of immigration throughout the 20th century. Combined with Crowsgrave's status as an important commercial port, this actually led to the city-state becoming something of a minor power. With such an influx of commerce and supers, Crowsgrave also became a hub of technological advancement, becoming the most advanced nation on the planet by 2024 CE.
Though, there is a definite point in the fossil record where fossils of C. sapiens
simply end, abruptly replaced by smaller forms. As such, it is recognized that something weird definitely happened, though what exactly is what is so hotly debated.