What Happened Between Oblivion and Skyrim??
Where did those 200 years go?
The first thing you need to remember here is that Oblivion took place 200 years before Skyrim. It is the biggest jump in time between any two ES games. So here we go:
The empire is breaking. Martin Septim sacrificed himself to end the Oblivion Crisis Cyrodil was left with no emperor. As quickly as the daedra came in from Oblivion, they disappeared. The Thalmor (elven supremacists) saw this opening and took it. They claimed that they were the ones who closed the Oblivion Gates using their magic. The population put up no fight and hailed the Thalmor as their heroes.
High Chancellor Ocato, who was named as temporary ruler, was assassinated before a new emperor was placed in command. Many people claimed that the Thalmor were behind it but there has never been any proof.
Elswyr and Black Marsh (homes of the Khajiit and Argonians, respectively) decided to secede from the Empire. Vivec, the ruler of Morrowind, who is a living god, kept the forces of evil away until he lost his godhood after the events that unfolded in Morrowind.
The Argonians, after being slaves to the dark elves (Dunmer) for generations, invaded Morrowind while it was weak. Dark-elf refugees ran to Skyrim, settling in the slums. Namely in places like Windhelm and Solitutude.
After 7 years of war for the Emperors throne, a warlord named Tits Mede took power. His descendants ran the empire up until the time of Skyrim.
While this was happening the Thalmor backed a coup of the Bosmer (aka wood elves) home of Valenwood. Loyalist wood elves were eventually defeated and Valenwood crumbled. The Thalmor took this land and named it the Aldmeri Dominion, after the elven nation that existed before the empire.
Years after this an Aldmeri ambassador came to Imperial City with a list of demands for the new emperor, Titus Mede II. He would have to give up large areas of Hammerfell, disband the Blades, and outlaw Talos worship. (Talos was hated by the Thalmor for destroying the first Aldmeri Dominion with a weapon that he borrowed from the elves.) Titus II refused and the ambassador showed him that he had come with the head of every Blade agent living in the Aldmeri Dominion. This began war.
The Aldmeri took Hammerfell and Cyrodil, and eventually managed to surround Imperial City. The emperors army fought its way out and made it to Skyrim while the elves destroyed the Imperial capital. The capital was burned to the ground except for the White Gold Tower which was looted.
The Thalmor believed they had won, with Titus II encouraging the idea while he planned a counterattack. The attack came to be called the Battle of the Red Ring. The elves were destroyed in the attack with the help of Nord reinforcements.
Titus II used this time to negotiate a peace treaty. The White-Gold Concordat (signed at the White Gold Tower) was exactly what the Aldmeri wanted in the first place. He agreed to all three demands of the Aldmeri (ban Talos worship, cede Hamemrfell, and disband the Blades). He gave in because he believed signing a treaty after a standstill is better than giving in to begin with and he knew the Empire could not last through more war.
Skyrim and Hammerfell felt betrayed (Skyrim for giving Nord reinforcements in a war fought for nothing and Hammerfell for being given to the Aldmeri) The Redguards (occupants of Hammerfell) rejected the treaty and fought the Aldmeri for about 5 more years eventually driving them out. Many Nords were angered a the banning of Talos worship, many soldiers from Skyrim died to retake the Imperial City, and the White-Gold Concordat seemed like a betrayal.
So here begins Skyrim:
The Aldmeri are waiting for the Empire to crumble from all the civil unrest within and the Empire is biding its time, until it can fight the Aldmeri again. Ulfric Stormcloak has just gone to see the high king who is, in Ulfric’s opinion, not doing enough to preserve Skyrim.