Zingara was founded by people who were an admixture of Valley of Zingg folk (possibly of Shemitish origin), invading Picts, and the Hyborian tribes. Most lore masters placed the Zingarans among the Hyborian peoples. The Zingarans were engaged in agricultural, commercial, and pastoral activities, and were ruled by petty princelings only nominally subservient to the capital city of Kordava that lay at the mouth of the Black River and the Zingaran monarchy that dwelt there. Because some believed the ancient Zingg Valley dwellers were Shemites, it was often disputed by the Nemedian scholars whether or not Zingara was to be considered a “non-Hyborian” kingdom.
Numerous rivers flowed through Zingara, including the Alimane, which also formed Zingara’s border with Poitain, one of Aquilonia’s most powerful provinces. Aside from Kordava and one or two other great cities, it was a kingdom of mountains, woods and fields where farmers prayed to Mitra for rain. Precisely how the love of the sea entered the Zingarans’ veins is known, but in Conan’s time, Zingara was engaged in a fierce maritime rivalry with neighboring Argos for trade and regional supremacy. Each nation sought to build and maintain the largest merchant fleet of galleys in the West. Yet it was the king of Zingara, not Argos, who gave official status to buccaneers and freebooters as privateers and mercenaries of the Zingaran Crown by granting them royal letters of marque.The leadership of Argos was more prone to call these Zingaran agents pirates—although no doubt there were many Argosseans who cheered wildly when they watched a Zingaran galley sinking far out at sea, its prow and sails flaming as a result of the actions of ships that had set out from Argos’ capital of Messantia!
Bordered by the Shemites to the east and south, and the powerful Pictish tribes to the north, the Zingarans continued their economic expansion by building ships and sailing the Western Ocean. Zingara’s chief adversary and rival, as noted above, was Argos. The Zingarans blamed Argos for the extensive pirate activity in the Western Ocean, and saw the Argosseans as “cutting in” on their shipping.
Zingara was a land truly ruled by minor nobles, who paid only lip service to the Zingaran Crown in the capital city of Kordava on the nation’s eastern coast. Its seamen were often pirates and privateers and its proud, armored mounted warriors seemed always to be engaged in bloody civil wars with each other.
Zingara had few allies. The Zingarans’ haughty manner and domination of the sea had made them few friends, although their privateer captains ensured that all the Hyborian coastal nations were very respectful of Zingaran interests. Zingaran pride and independence made it a very fractious nation. Internal problems, dissensions, and even civil wars long prevented Zingara from eliminating her enemies and once more ruling the Western Ocean.
In theory, Zingaran law came from the king, much as in Aquilonia. In practice, each major Zingaran noble made his own justice, and unless an important noble or commoner was involved, the king ignored such flouting of his authority. Executions were by hanging (for commoners) or beheading (for nobles). Commoners could also be mutilated (hands removed, etc.) for crimes, while nobles were at worst fined and (for the most serious crimes) exiled.
The Zingarans were halfhearted Mitra worshipers since they found the strict Mitraic code of morality difficult to uphold. Their devotion was not as strong as in Aquilonia, but their isolation made it difficult for other faiths to gain a foothold.
Names: Zingaran names tend to have a Spanish, or Gypsy, air to them. Names often end in ‘o’ for men and ‘a’ for women. Zapayo Da Kova is an interesting example of a full name, roughly translated it means ‘Zapayo of Kova,’ with Kova probably being the family estate. Examples: Beloso, Galbro, Gebbrelo, Gebellez, Valbroso, Valenso, Zapayo, Zaporavo, Zarono, Zingelito; (female) Belesa, Sancha. Suggestions: (male) Castel, Devante, Iago, Inigo; (female) Adoncia, Bonita, Catalina, Cochiti, Jachinta, Madra, Neva, Perla.