Kovir and Poviss are without a doubt the richest realms in the North. Few today remember that this was not always the case, yet their poverty was once literally on everyone's lips, in the form of now-antiquated common sayings. As recently as the days of Heribert the Quarrelsome, one spoke of a particularly impoverished person as being "poorer than a mouse from Poviss," called bone broth "Koviri delight" and referred to beggars as "praxedes," after the bay along the shores of which these kingdoms lie.
Similarly, few remember that a mere handful of generations ago Kovir and Poviss were still part of Redania. King Radovid I, known as Radovid the Great, handed dominion over them to his hated brother, Troyden, with one stipulation – that he never leave his newly-acquired demesne and not interfere in matters of state.
Handing over this rocky scrap of far-northern ground (where, the saying went, the year had two seasons – August and winter) was naturally meant as a cruel joke, a slap in the face for the over-ambition Troyden.
Yet time soon proved that Radovid the Great had made a grave error. Before long it was discovered that Kovir's bare rocks hid priceless treasure in the form of enormous deposits of precious metals and rock salt. This discovery in turn led to tremendous growth in productive industry. Mills, forges and workshops sprouted up like mushrooms after a hearty rain.
Radovid III decided to correct his famous forebear's mistake and take back the northern frontiers of his kingdom. He was convinced the combined armies of Redania and its then-ally Kaedwen would quickly bring this ever more audacious vassal in line. History took a different turn, however, and Kovir won a resounding, crushing victory. Radovid III was forced to sign the First Treaty of Lan Exeter, granting Kovir independence while binding it to eternal neutrality – a promise Troyden's successors have kept with great diligence.
Until recently Kovir was ruled by Esterad Thyssen, a king as wise as he was greedy. Yet his untimely demise did not stop his lands from continuing to develop and blossom. Koviri metallurgists proudly compete with the best Mahakam can offer, and many believe the University of Lan Exeter long ago surpassed the famous Oxenfurt Academy as the leading seat of higher learning in the North. And so it has come to pass that, over the course of a few generations, the inhabitants of Kovir and Poviss have turned from paupers into princes, from beggars into bankers.