|Series||The Chronicles of Narnia|
|Creator||C. S. Lewis|
In C. S. Lewis's fantasy novels the Chronicles of Narnia, Archenland is a nation to the south of Narnia, and to the north of both nations' occasional (and final) enemy, Calormen. Its borders are formed by mountains to the north and by the River Winding Arrow to the south. Its capital appears to be the castle located below the Anvard pass, which allows passage to Narnia.
Archenland is described as a hilly nation constituting largely open parkland, with many different species of trees, but the trees are not spaced close enough together to form forests. It occupies the river basin of the Winding Arrow, a large river that runs from west to east through the whole country and drains into the Eastern Ocean. The river is partly navigable and probably provides a major trade route for Archenland and southern Narnia.
Despite a large desert being situated immediately to the south, Archenland does not have an arid climate as the Winding Arrow moderates the climate and provides much fertile land.
Archenland is protected by the mountains (north and west), desert (south), and sea (east) and has never been successfully invaded.
Anvard is the moatless castle where King Lune of Archenland resides. It is made of red-brown stones and sits on a green lawn in front of a high woody ridge. In The Horse and His Boy, the wicked Prince Rabadash led a force of two hundred horsemen in a siege against its occupants but was defeated by King Edmund and captured. Castle Anvard would stay the home of the kings and queens of Archenland long after the reign of King Lune thanks to King Edmund.
Anvard is situated north of the River Winding Arrow (but not on the river) and controls the main pass (and trade route) into southern Narnia.
In The Horse and His Boy, which is set fourteen Narnian years after the main events of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (year 1014), during the reign of High King Peter and his siblings (and one year before the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), Archenland is allied with Narnia, and is inhabited by humans. Narnia by contrast is at that time populated almost entirely by talking animals. King Lune had twin sons, Cor and Corin, but Cor was kidnapped and did not return till years later. Prince Rabadash of Calormen unsuccessfully attempts to conquer this land as the prelude to kidnapping Queen Susan and a planned invasion of Narnia, but this failed due to Cor warning King Lune. Lacking siege equipment, Rabadash's expedition had relied on surprise and Cor's warning removed this. The Calormene force was engaged and defeated and Rabadash taken prisoner.
It is said in The Magician's Nephew that the second son of King Frank, the first king of Narnia, became the first king of Archenland; Aslan himself had decreed Archenland's existence to Frank before he took the throne. However, in Lewis's Narnian timeline, King Col of Archenland is said to be the son of King Frank V of Narnia, and he settles Archenland 180 years after Narnia's creation (year 180). Unlike Narnia, Archenland keeps its line of rulers unbroken at least as late as the time of The Horse and His Boy, and the main character of The Horse and His Boy, Shasta, is of this line. Archenland still exists at the time of The Last Battle (year 2555).
Although not stated explicitly it is likely that Archenland ensured stability in Narnia after the disappearance of High King Peter and his siblings (year 1015). Before the Telmar invasion minor royalty may have become rulers of Narnia when required.
Archenland retained some degree of independence after the invasion of Narnia by Telmar, possibly acting as a buffer state between Telmarine Narnia and Calormen. Prince Caspian was advised to flee to King Nain when his uncle, King Miraz, planned his death (year 2303).
The following are known Kings of Archenland; it can be assumed that there were other kings and queens since Archenland history spans 2,335 years.
- King Col (son of King Frank V of Narnia), fl. 180
- The warrior Fair Olvin (fl. 407) is sometimes listed as a King of Archenland, but this is not stated by Lewis.
- King Lune, fl. 1014
- King Cor, son of Lune, married to Aravis of Calormen, d. c.1050
- King Ram the Great, son of Cor and Aravis, reigned from 1050
- King Nain, fl. 2303
- The Kingship of Archenland is not broken by either Jardis or the Telmarines, so the line from King Frank I and Queen Helen remains unbroken, and Archenland still exists at the end of the world.
- Manguel, Alberto; Gianni Guadalupi (2000). The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (Newly updated and expanded ed.). San Diego: Harcourt. p. 31. ISBN 0-15-600872-6.
- Duriez, Colin (2004). A field guide to Narnia. InterVarsity Press. pp. 168–169. ISBN 0-8308-3207-6.
- Sammons, Martha C. (2004). A Guide Through Narnia (rev. ed.). Regent College Publishing. p. 27. ISBN 1-57383-308-8.