Exalted: Heroes of Creation
Elemental pole of Earth (Central)
Dawn of Time
When the primordials created the world it was actually the Blessed Isle that they willed directly into existence as a template and the rest of the world grew from this one seed. You can see its importance in that Yu Shan, or heaven, is built to the exact shape of the Blessed Isle. During this time Yu Shan was the home of the primordials only and the Blessed Isle was instead the home of the gods and the world was run from this place.
After the gods and exalted defeated the primordials during the primordial war, the gods chose to move into the abandoned realm of Yu Shan, claiming the throne of Heaven for themselves. As part of the creation ruling mandate they granted the exalted dominion over the Earth and gave the Blessed Isle to mortals. The new capital of the world Meru was built on the Imperial Mountain and for many thousands of years the Solar Deliberative ruled the world.
When the Solars eventually became corrupted tyrants, their servants rose up against them. A great feast was hosted in Meru for all the Solars and this was the moment when the surprise attack was launched. Even isolated at a feast with their entire infrastructure turned against them, the personal power of the Solars was too great to go down without a fight. So much magical power was wielded in this pitched battle that the city of Meru was permanently destroyed and the very fabric of reality was ripped and torn even here at the very heart of Creation. Meru will never again be capital of the world and is now merely a hiding place for the Sidereal exalted to meet in Creation unobserved.
After the first age ended, warlords fought over the remains of that ancient world's glory. Despite the violence and wars this was still an age of prosperity with access to most of the magic, technology and progress that the exalted had achieved working together in the first age. Although replacement and innovation was no longer possible without the combined power of the exalted, the Dragon Blooded were able to at least maintain most of these wonders themselves.
The Contagion and Balorian Crusade
A little over seven centuries ago the Great Contagion destroyed ninety percent of all life, from people to animals and even trees or blades of grass. Even the Blessed Isle was not immune to this destruction. Such an impossible scale of death caused reality itself to shudder and begin to collapse in upon itself almost ending the world. From outside of Creation the Fair Folk sensed this weakness and invaded, unraveling large sections of the world back into the chaos from which it formed. The Dragon Blooded fought back against the invasion but they could see that defeat was certain. A single unit went back to the Blessed Isle and struggled to find their way into one of the greatest weapons of the First Age, the Sword of Creation. Only one member of that unit survived the building's deadly traps and guardians to gain access to the controls of this mighty weapon. The weapon, simply by turning it on, devastated the land and broke most of the damaged magical infrastructure of the first age from which it drew its power. However it worked and destroyed the entire invading army of the Fair Folk. With the power of this mighty weapon the one survivor declared herself the Scarlet Empress and ruler of the world.
It wasn't true that the Scarlet Empress ruled the world, but no one else could make a better claim for it. She established a new civilization known as the Realm which controlled the entire Blessed Isle. The might of the Sword of Creation was a powerful threat but in truth it could not be safely used again, so her empire expanded beyond the Blessed Isle only by the standard sorts of war, politics and trade. Regardless over the next few centuries the Realm held powerful influence over the rest of the world, creating a series of Satraps and puppet-states around itself known as the Threshold.