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There is a large island populated entirely by women. Men are not allowed on the island and are killed or taken prisoner if they attempt to land. These females train to be warriors from the day they can walk, mastering numerous weapons and fighting styles. While they are all experienced fighters, they are all normal people and don't possess super powers. Despite this, they have managed to avoid being conquered by other countries and have survived as a nation for a millennia into the modern age. This nation has outlived many great empires while existing in the open, and their sovereignty is respected today.

These women can only give birth to girls. They reproduce by visiting other nations to concieve with men, then returning to the island afterwards. This is part of the initiation into womanhood, as it is one of the duties of young women to create the next generation. Multiple births are the norm, and death in childbirth is quite rare. The island itself is rich in resources. How could this island of women have managed to maintain their borders and sovereignty for this long without being conquered?

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    $\begingroup$ How does their society function if they are all spending substantial parts of their lives training on numerous weapons and fighting styles? $\endgroup$ – Brizzy Sep 30 '18 at 6:07
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    $\begingroup$ Drone delivery. $\endgroup$ – Spencer Sep 30 '18 at 19:59
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    $\begingroup$ How could this island of women have managed to maintain their borders and sovereignty for this long without being conquered? Is there any reason why you think they might not be able to? How are they less able/expected to remain sovereign compared to literally any other empire/domain? Also, for inspiration, you may want to look into the Gerudo tribe from The Legend of Zelda, who are also a female only society (with only one make born every century or so) $\endgroup$ – Flater Oct 1 '18 at 7:26
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    $\begingroup$ To add to @Flater's point, if the island is at least some distance from the mainland and is mountainous, such places are historically quite difficult to be conquered by an outside force simply by virtue of terrain. Moreso if there's a well-trained native population that are, presumably, eager to defend their homes. $\endgroup$ – Semaphore Oct 1 '18 at 8:05
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    $\begingroup$ Take away the "rich in resources" quality of the island, and there's no reason for anyone to conquer them. If the island is rich in resources but the locals are utterly closed to exchange of ideas/trade... well, they're screwed. (The gender thing is irrelevant.) $\endgroup$ – Grimm The Opiner Oct 1 '18 at 9:30

18 Answers 18

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For purposes of avoiding invasion, the only practical difference of this country and real historical countries is that its army is composed by women. Then, it can prevent invasions by the same means that any other country: war and diplomacy.

It can be argued that average male soldiers are stronger than average female soldiers. However, war is more than one to one fights and strength of individual soldiers alone doesn't determine the outcome of battles. If the Amazon's army has good commandment, good strategy, good logistics, good weapons, good fortifications and enough numbers it has a good chance to defeat an invading enemy. Furthermore, it has the additional advantage of fighting at home, enjoying better knowledge of terrain and easier logistics than the enemy, who is fighting in a far away island.

However, the OP (before being edited) could be read as if Amazons had just one child each in their whole life. As other answers point, that would be a problem, not for defence but for depopulating the country just by negative vegetative growth, even if there were immigration of refugee women from neighboring countries escaping oppressive patriarchies.

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    $\begingroup$ Indeed. How has say Japan or Sweden, two fairly small countries in close proximity to real giants, avoided being being invaded for so long? Answer: a whole bunch of different tactics, none of which would be inconceivable for an amazon nation. $\endgroup$ – AkselA Sep 30 '18 at 11:44
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    $\begingroup$ @AkselA: Sweden was a major power in the early modern period; at one point they controlled half of (what are today) Germany and Poland. And anyway, Sweden is less than 11 centuries old, and Japan a little more than 12 centuries -- and that's being generous and considering that modern Japan is a direct continuation of medieval Japan, which is highly debatable; not exactly examples of survival over milennia. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 30 '18 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP: Yes, living next door to them (Sweden) I'm fairly au fait with their (and our shared) history. What's your point? $\endgroup$ – AkselA Sep 30 '18 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ +1 The only caveat to this answer - and to the OP backstory - is that the amazon island must not be secluded from the rest of the world. Without contacts with the outside world amazones will be left behind in state-of-the-art science and technology, which means behind in warfare. The Amazon island trades with every neighbour, and occasionally takes part in their wars as mercenaries - usually allying with the weakest side, to prevent big unified empires to be born. Pretty much what England has been doing the last thousand years or so. Have a huge fleet and keep watching. $\endgroup$ – Rekesoft Oct 1 '18 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Forget technologies. Being isolated like that means you have zero exposure to diseases like the common cold. That alone can kill you when you visit, or you bring it back and kill a huge chunk of the population. $\endgroup$ – Nelson Oct 2 '18 at 8:10
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The island is home to a plant whose pollen and sap are deadly poison to men. The estrogen in the Amazon women's bodies protects them from the poison. Furthermore, the same genetic anomaly which keeps them from conceiving male babies also causes most of their female embryos to split into identical twins or triplets during conception, which more than offsets the population loss from accident and injury.

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent idea +1. Interestingly, in less advanced times it is unlikely that the "men die" mechanism could be explained. It is only in modern times that the technology would exist to identify the plant and its effects, but the rulers would presumably make it a priority to prevent study by outsiders and ensure the knowledge does not leave the island. It also creates a threat to the surrounding nations if the plant were introduced into other countries. $\endgroup$ – KerrAvon2055 Sep 30 '18 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ Of course, since everyone is spending their time learning how to fight, their doctors are probably pretty poor, so a lot of complications from multiple births will happen. Plus once women hit menopause they tend to start losing estrogen. So they'd ... die. $\endgroup$ – Brizzy Sep 30 '18 at 6:19
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    $\begingroup$ @Brizzy, natural selection will eventually apply to the multiple-birth complications, leading to a human subspecies with better coping mechanisms for carrying/delivering multiple simultaneous infants. As for the older women dying as their estrogen levels fall, this would actually serve the amazons as their all warrior society would be poorly equipped for eldercare. Being warriors, they face death throughout life, so a dignified death near the end of their best fighting days would probably be socially acceptable. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Sep 30 '18 at 9:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Brizzy You know Galen learned about anatomy by watching gladiators dissect each other. $\endgroup$ – nagamani Sep 30 '18 at 11:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Brizzy Afterwards Galen went on to work as an army doctor. My point is that a violent and militristic society doesn't have to lack good medicine. If anything medicine would be valued as the crippled and the sick aren't exactly ideal fighters. $\endgroup$ – nagamani Sep 30 '18 at 15:55
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The neighboring country thinks they are great.

When the Amazons leave to conceive they almost always wind up in the same country on the mainland. The occasional arrival of warrior women looking to hook up is a matter of local legend in this country, and is celebrated in their culture with songs, stories and other festivities. It is a rite of manhood for teenaged boys if their first time can be with a visiting Amazon virgin. This has been going on for hundreds of years.

The rulers of this country think that is fine just as is. They don't want to ruin it by going and fighting the warrior women, or messing up their ways or anything else. Even if they did try that, there would be a lot of public sentiment against it.

The result: they do not know it, but the Amazon nation is a de facto protectorate of the large country on the continent. Other countries might feel less protective of the Amazons but they do not want to have to deal with their protectors.

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    $\begingroup$ IOW, women think they are strong and independent, but can't escape their ultimate dependence on men. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 30 '18 at 2:41
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    $\begingroup$ This is the only answer which has a sporting chance of working. It won't work in post medieval times (the English or the French or the Spaniards or the Japanese or... will eventually show up in their black ships), and it won't work over millennia (because even the protective realm will eventually hit a snag and be conquered by somebody), but it might work for some time in a pre-modern world. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Sep 30 '18 at 7:05
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    $\begingroup$ " The occasional arrival of warrior women looking to hook up" but they don't need men for babies, why are they showing up to hook up? Oh, I see it was edited recently, maybe that wasn't in the original post. $\endgroup$ – Aethenosity Sep 30 '18 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Combine this with the deadly plant idea and you have a very stable situation. Who would want to deal with the man-killing plants when the island's women will periodically come to you? First-time visitors who haven't taken a liking to these women yet will be killed by the plants. $\endgroup$ – Brilliand Oct 1 '18 at 21:43
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Diplomacy

Every 5 years, there is a tournament of strength in which all of the 18-year-old Amazonian girls battle it out. The winner is sent to different nations as either:

  • The sworn bodyguard of the president/prime minister of the country the tribe most wishes good relations with.
  • The concubines of Princes and Kings throughout the world. If the country's monarchy is already taken then I would say they would mostly become the first bullet point rather than a mistress due to their warrior honour code but up to you.

Why would countries allow this?

  • Bodyguard: In the past, a full trained Amazonian may have been a great bodyguard however firearms generally beat spears so we need reasoning. Perhaps the oath of this devotion has religious connotations or perhaps it is a time honoured tradition. I do love the idea of an Amazonian warrior practising her spear thrust in the hallway outside the oval office.

  • Life Mate: This marriage could be seen as a blessed/holy marriage from the religion that both Amazonians and both share. Alternatively, the Amazonians have been doing this for as long as they have discovered geographical neighbours making this too a time honoured tradition. Some royal families that have long-running incestuous streaks would see this a "strengthening for the form of the family" due to the introduction of varied DNA reducing the genetic degradation. This idea of Amazonian Warriors only matching up with Royalty could also lead to powerful businessmen investing in the island or pledging their loyalty in hopes of deciding an Amazonian Life Mate like those of legend sent to the kings of the world.

Hopefully, you like this idea or it gives you ideas of your own :D

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    $\begingroup$ Marrying off princesses for political alliance is as old as humanity. The problem is that there aren't that many princesses. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 30 '18 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ @RonJohn Simply declare that all of the Amazonians are princesses (as Sikhs do) and there is no longer a lack of princesses. The weaker form of this is that the winner of the tournament is promoted to princess as her prize. But I don't see why it should be "every 5 years". Every year, there's a new crop of girls officially becoming women. Every year's winner becomes a member of this elite group. They can serve a term as a bodyguard for a few years before coming home. $\endgroup$ – Monty Harder Oct 1 '18 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ @MontyHarder stop thinking like a Modern. A high aristocrat wants to marry her child off to another high aristocrat, and won't just take your word that your daughter is a princess. They'll want proof of royal lineage. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 1 '18 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn I don't know if the lineage is that important. The power, the funds, the economic advantages, the promise of an army are. Lineage ? It does matter for those who don't want to be on top of the world. $\endgroup$ – Don Pablo Oct 2 '18 at 13:46
  • $\begingroup$ @DonPablo when you're an aristocrat who thinks you were born better than commoners, lineage is very important. (It's why there are so many royal genealogists in Britain tracking who married whom, who sired whom, etc. I bet there were just as many in Europe before WW1.) $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Oct 2 '18 at 13:49
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The reality is that there is no historical precedent for this in our own world. Every nation has at some point been conquered or partially conquered by another nation looking for their resources. Even strong nations like England or the America's have had their bloodlines mixed up with conquering nations.

I say that to point out that you can, and should, be fine to not be too realistic in your way of solving this conundrum, so long as you follow the golden rule of internal consistency.

Now I'll add my own suggestion to the ones already pointed out. Since there's some great ideas.

The Amazons live on an island that's surrounded by cliffs and coral reefs. A combination of currents, weather, and rocks make sailing anywhere near the island completely impractical, and often suicidal. Of course, the big secret can be that the way off the island isn't over the sea, but rather under it...

Another option is trade and marriage alliances. These girls have a strong military, but as has been pointed out, a purely warrior society is going to skimp on everything else outside of battle. You just have to look at ancient Sparta to see that the solution to that is raiding and slaves. Perhaps they are sensible enough to have built up a web of strong alliances and connections and claims to various overseas thrones that makes it impractical to declare war on them without also seeing a lot of other countries be drawn into the mix. This is the old Civ diplomacy play style paradox, where if you play diplomatically, eventually you have to go to war to support an ally.

Another option is simple superstition. Their island could be seen as cursed and make nations wary of attacking simply because they believe it will bring a blight on them.

Yet another option is that they're a religious center for a major religion, ala Rome or Jerusalem. Religious centers are rarely attacked out of reverence, and when they are it's usually by a competing religious group.

Another option is the Swiss gambit. Be:

  • A) Surrounded by naturally difficult terrain
  • B) Cover your country in explosives (If you come, we'll take you with us)
  • C) Have the best troops in the world
  • D) Be neutral and the place where neutrality and alliances are established
    (Geneva Convention)
  • E) Own all the major banks
  • F) Have the best chocolate.
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  • $\begingroup$ Anything under the sea is going to be flooded... $\endgroup$ – Tim B Oct 1 '18 at 12:09
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There either needs to be a reason for people not to invade, or a reason why they cannot invade.

Barring magic or some weird quirk, you're population growth rate will be lower than other surrounding nations. If we're talking medieval levels of technology, a 'normal' woman would pop out anywhere from a couple to a dozen kids, any one of which probably has about a 50% chance of making it through the first few years.

Your Amazons would be technologically stagnant and would probably have an even lower survival rate, because instead of learning to be doctors or farmers or inventors, they are learning how to fight.

There are very good reasons why generally only a small proportion of a society train to be soldiers. And traditional soldiers are not learning multiple fighting styles which means that it's an even greater time sink for your Amazons.

Your amazons would be ground down. They will suffer more injuries than a similar group of men during combat training and they will be more debilitated by those injuries and require longer to recover.

https://www.livescience.com/52998-women-combat-gender-differences.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-gender-gap-in-sports-injuries-201512038708

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/26/army-stats-show-that-women-are-injured-twice-as-of/

Men are generally faster and stronger than women and require less work to get there, so there isn't a feasible world where a society solely of women with the parameters you have set will be able to prosecute a series of wars. This could be somewhat mitigated if they survive into modern times, but they will be technologically behind, so still not in a great place.

So, that aside, what can we do?

We can make your island really resource poor. A barren wasteland populated by crazy people could be unattractive to invasion. But our history shows that someone will probably want to invade it anyways at some point.

We can make the island remote, or geographically isolated by reefs that only the inhabitants have studied enough to navigate. The remoteness is a problem because they need outside males to reproduce, so not the best solution. The geographic isolation is probably your best bet.

We could make the island spiritually or religiously important to the rest of the world - any reason would do - so most people don't want to invade them at all. Still, at some point in historical time frames it will probably face some sort of invasion, but maybe just pirates and such. Plus then it has at least some of the rest of the world on it's side.

You could make the island politically important - maybe there is a small sub-island and that island is where all international summits are held. The Amazons are politically neutral and pretty much incapable of offensive wars, so it's a natural fit.

You could have native fauna that is incredibly hostile and the Amazons have learned to work around it, so they only have to mop up survivors when someone invades.

Or just go with magic- they have a protector deity that keeps people away.

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    $\begingroup$ Barren wastelands can be very useful if they're near your enemy, and remote islands are very useful (just ask the US Navy about Oahu, Wake Island, Midway, etc). $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Sep 30 '18 at 15:15
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    $\begingroup$ I point out that Switzerland has universal conscription. Every male spends time in the military and the reserves in case of invasion. And yet Switzerland keeps up with the technology of its neighbors. There have been plenty of tribes where the males all practiced to be warriors, and yet they managed to also do stuff necessary to keep the society functioning. $\endgroup$ – M. A. Golding Sep 30 '18 at 18:15
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    $\begingroup$ @M.A.Golding Switzerland does a bit more than just keep up. And look at Finland; a country of 5.5 million people of whom nearly a million are reservists. The Finns certainly aren't lagging behind in tech. Look at Taiwan and South Korea and others. There's no reason for OPs Amazons to be technologically stagnant. $\endgroup$ – nagamani Sep 30 '18 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ Universal conscription for two years for basic military training is not training since the day they can walk in numerous weapons and fighting styles. Training to use firearms is not the same as training to use muscle powered weapons. The concepts are fundamentally different. Males training to be warriors is fine because traditional societies generate large numbers of functionally disposable males. If even a reasonable percentage of males survive they can produce many children because their women are all alive, and it doesn't cripple society. All women couldn't do that. $\endgroup$ – Brizzy Sep 30 '18 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ The CMR is a right-wing organization which opposes gay people and women in the military; their founder is mentioned in SPLCs hatewatch. I would instead look for peer-reviewed studies, eg here: "Women experienced twice as many injuries as men [...] Women entered training at significantly lower levels of physical fitness than men, but made much greater improvements [...].In multivariate analyses, where demographics, body composition, and initial physical fitness were controlled, female gender was no longer a significant predictor of injuries" $\endgroup$ – tim Oct 1 '18 at 11:24
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The purpose of an army is so you don't have to use it. With every person trained as a warrior, taking and keeping the island would be much more trouble than it's worth.

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  • $\begingroup$ Add some montains, and you have the new Switzerland. No one want to fight at 4000m To bad it's hard to achieve 2.500 to 4000m montain as frontiere on an island. $\endgroup$ – Drag and Drop Oct 1 '18 at 7:18
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Your island is hidden for most of their history

While this is a bit cliche (think Wonder Woman), an island hidden from the outside world is perfect. For them to exist in the open, they will eventually show themselves to the outside world or be discovered by foreign people.

When your island emerges onto the political scene, they need to be powerful enough to defend themselves against invasion. If their island has good resources for making weapons, including wood for fires and plenty of ores, your islanders will have the ability to defend themselves.

If their warrior tradition exists before they are discovered by the outside world, they need to have had an enemy to defend against, hence their ability to fight. Some wild boars or other dangerous creature on the island, whether they prey on the humans or are hunted by them, would serve to make the humans into adept hunters. On the other hand, frequent Viking raids may have the same effect. Vikings were very good navigators, so they could have found the island and known how to return to it for its loot. Then when the Vikings raids stopped, somewhere between 793 and 1066 according to this article, the inhabitants kept their militaristic tradition.

Because the island is small, their scientific/technological progress will be much slower than the outside world. For them to survive to present day, they need to show up early in civilization's history and stay up-to date on discoveries, or they need to show up late, when the world is more settled down and fighting is at a lull (think end of WW2 - present).

  • If they show up early in history, their technology will be on par with the rest of the world, and their country will be fairly wealthy from ore and timber exports.

  • If they appear in the 20th or 21st century, their technology will be way behind the rest of the world. They might be left mostly alone as a primitive civilization. However, they will have a lot of visitors. Historians, missionaries, and mining/petroleum companies come immediately to mind.

Whichever way you want to go with when they emerge is up to you.

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I refer you to Sentinel Island.

A place whose inhabitants have violently repelled or killed almost every person who ever tried to set foot there and even successfully repelled aircraft.
They are pre-industrial, they have no access to metalworking or smithing beyond small amounts of material they've scavenged from shipwrecks.
The Indian government fully accepts their right to privacy and accepts that they will kill anyone who enters their territory.

There is now a 3 mile exclusion zone around the island.

It turns out that the best way to keep people from invading is to make it very clear that they will die a violent death if they try, and to not engage outsiders in conversation or dialog.

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Many societies throughout history have had all the men practice fighting and required them to serve in time of war.

Many primitive tribes required all men to practice their fighting skills and turn out to fight in case of war. In medieval England and Scotland all men were required to practice archery. That is why the 15th century Scottish Parliament passed laws forbidding golf and other pastimes, to keep men practicing archery instead of playing golf and other sports.

And of course medieval nobles spent a lot of time practicing fighting skills.

In the British colonies in North America all men were required to own muskets and belong to the militia and practice drilling and to serve in case of Indian or foreign wars.

In modern Switzerland all men are conscripted into the army and after a period in the army have to belong to the reserves for decades, ready to serve in case of war.

In all of those cases - and many other cases - the men don't spend all of their time practicing and preparing for war, but spend the majority of their time in civilian pursuits keeping their societies running, and of course the women spent all of their time with civilian tasks and helped keep their society running.

And your Amazon society wouldn't have any men to help with civilian tasks to keep their society running. The women would have to do everything necessary themselves, which would put a limit on how much time they could spending drilling and training for war.

Of course little girls could become old enough to do light housework and other civilian tasks years before they might start training and practicing for war, and women over a certain age limit might be freed from military obligations and able to do light tasks and supervise the girls. But strong young women would have to do all the hard physical labor which would reduce the proportion of the time they could spend on military training.

Unless the Amazon society isn't populated entirely by the Amazons. The Amazons could be the master class and there could be slaves or serfs or second, third, fourth, etc. class citizens below them.

Possibly the Amazons buy slaves - men, women, boys, & girls - and make them do all the civilian tasks. It might be possible for the slaves to gain their freedom and probably leave the island and seek their original homes. Note that slaves have rarely reproduced faster than they died and thus most slave owning societies have had to constantly import more slaves.

They might have a permanent class of serfs.

Possibly girls from neighboring countries serve terms as indentured servants on the Amazon island. They might be hired about age 12 to 15 and serve for ten years until about age 22 to 25 and then be sent back to their homes with payment based on the value of their contribution to Amazon society, payment which makes them attractive potential wives. Maybe a smaller number of men are also hired as indentured servants for the heavy work.

And in modern times the Amazons might hire foreign guest workers like wealthy Arab countries do and treat them harshly but much better than slaves.

Since the Amazon island is an island, the Amazons probably have a navy and train for naval fighting as well as land fighting.

And the Amazon island probably has many defensive fortifications, so that an invading enemy force would have to capture many fortifications with a heavy loss of life.

With modern weapons, physical strength is less important than it used to be. Thus many rebels and guerrillas use teenage and younger kids as combatants. So it is possible that every Amazon girl over the age of ten has a light weight assault rife and ammo and is trained how to use it.

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  • $\begingroup$ So basically sparta, but instead of being effectively a matriarchy that sends it's men to fight (women in sparta owned most of the land, ergo most of the resources, ergo they ruled sparta). we have a matriarchy whose own members fight instead. $\endgroup$ – Garret Gang Oct 1 '18 at 3:02
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Just for Starters

The fact is that with the Amazon's island being located in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle offers several real advantages to securing the sovereignty of the country.

Natural Barriers

A natural phenomenon of unpredictable magnetic displacement, sudden storms, and impenetrable fogs make physical detection unlikely. As noted when individuals wash up on their shores, the Amazons deal with them using extreme prejudice (but perhaps not terminally as a memory substitution produces the same effect). Organized exploratory forces are met by technologically superior advanced Amazonians.

Millennial Scientific Knowledge

Because of their specific locale and the highly unusual physical properties of their active environment, it is reasonable to expect that Amazonian scientific focus continues to explore the nature of this environmental activity. With millennia of continuous scientific development, the Amazons have developed protective electromagnetic energy shields, invisibility cloaks, and many other tools to provide more than adequate protection against any hostile force. While neighboring "modern" science still has barely even rediscovered anti-gravity.

It would be extremely unlikely that such a long-lasting society would not make scientific progress (take the last 100 years of computational history as a simple example of scale). The Amazonian tools and methods mentioned above are tools that our science is just beginning to understand. Given their continuous history, such tools have undoubtedly advanced beyond what we can imagine.

Independence

An abundance of resources and with no need for external interactions with underdeveloped cultures, the Amazons live a self-contained societal life with a few carefully trained spies to ensure their continued existence remains a "myth." Their scientific and cultural advancement is beyond what we can imagine since over the millennia, lack of natural predators has allowed Amazonian science to advance in unparallel ways.

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Mugluck does not take the Swiss approach seriously enough. War and all other economic activity is about making a profit. If you make it unprofitable to invade, no one rational will bother. (That cannot rule out the irrational, but the irrational can never be ruled out.)

Potential adversaries need to have the mindset that attacking the Amazon nation is madness. Prepare defenses that can be womanned by any Amazon; prepare every Amazon to fight to the death; prepare to scorch the terrain on retreat; and most critically, make sure every potential adversary knows it. Start every day with a prayer for the chance to die in defense of the Amazon homeland. Ostentatiously pack two weeks of food and replacement weapons on your back into every conference with a foreign national. The foreign observer should not just be in awe of your martial bearing; they must believe it has progressed to obsession.

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  • $\begingroup$ A good answer I think, but its flow could be improved by a Conclusion at the end as another paragraph. Keep in mind also that the Swiss have comparatively difficult to attain natural resources when put alongside their neighbours, this nation of Amazons doesn't have that perk. $\endgroup$ – Ruadhan Oct 2 '18 at 8:17
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I don't have enough rep to comment or ask for clarifications but for what it's worth I will add my 2 cents. With regards to North Sentinal Island, they are quite a good example of a land untouched by modern times albeit it hasn't remained completely untouched (having been conquered a few times in the past) I thought it was worth mentioning due to this statement (emphasis is mine):

Nominally, the island belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.[8] In practice, Indian authorities recognise the islanders' desire to be left alone and restrict their role to remote monitoring, even allowing them to kill non-Sentinelese people without prosecution.[9][10] Thus the island can be considered a sovereign area under Indian protection.

This to me would solve the problem when the war technologies of other countries overtake the Amazon's own technologies because at some point there would be no need to land on the island to obliterate the resistance. Ideally, this protection could have taken effect when the neighbouring countries own society was on par with the Amazon's due to traditions of entering manhood to a virgin Amazon (as some others have pointed out) and building a healthy close relationship.

Prior to this, however, what would lend to the island not being touched until the neighbouring countries were protective of them would be if the island was horseshoe shaped with the only landable beach being in the bay in the middle.

This has the dual purpose of being very defensible as well as preventing prying eyes from seeing what happens on the island. My point with this is that the OP says that all men that ATTEMPTED to land were either killed or taken prisoner, my assumption on this is that no one escaped which means no one ever knows that the Amazon home is on that island in the first place unless of course there was a ship off the coast watching and waiting to see what happened to the landing party, (mitigated if it were horseshoe-shaped as the ship would need to be closer than if it were say an oval-shaped island with beaches all around). Due to this same reasoning then it doesn't matter to the outside world that the island is "rich in resources" as no one knows what is on the island. Given this then there is no reason to send an invasion or fleet as the only thing they know about the island is that ships/people disappear there.

Another mitigating factor that could be introduced is the presence of a barrier reef, far enough away from the island that most will not risk taking a rowboat out, deep enough that it is difficult to spot even at low tied but shallow enough that only the smallest of boats can pass over it.

TL;DR

  • The island would need to be mountainous to the point where there is only one sheltered entry point with potentially a barrier reef surrounding the island.
  • The island should be sufficiently far enough away to require open ocean technologies
  • Once societies do start exploring, ensure that none that arrive escape to tell the world about them until protective measures from surrounding countries/islands are ensured. This will remove the possibility of the outside world knowing where they live for the time being.
  • Promote the tradition and status of losing ones virginity to an Amazon to help with securing a protective relationship. Trade options could help here as well.
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Wars are expensive. Does the island have any strategic or economic value? Enough to bother funding a war to take it? Especially since if they don't complete it quickly, there's going to be a backlash about our boys picking a fight with a bunch of girls and losing. "Mission Accomplished" with a 10+ year occupation isn't going to cut it.

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Weapows of mass destruction.

No country that was willing and able to use WMD (specially nuclear weapows) has ever been invaded - raided, like the arabs do on Israel, maybe, pointless and irrelevant frontier skirmishes that are no threat to the status quo, like in Indian-Pakistani border, maybe.

See what happened to Iraq (willing but unable) and what is happening to North Korea (willing and able). Your amazons need nukes or SCUDs full of nerve gas able to hit the big cities of the enemies. Also, there is a hierarchy of weapows of mass detruction. Chemicals are barely a deterrent (are not saving Syria from having it`s territorial integrity violated by interlopers). Nukes are always a deterrent, even if they are few, as mr. Kim is showing.

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I don't have the rep to comment on the question, so I'll add this here, even though it isn't really an answer:

If they have advanced medical technology, there is absolutely no need for any external interaction, not even to reproduce. And no, not parthenogenesis... there is a better way through creation of synthetic sperm. As you see, scientists in France and Israel have already got this right, so why not a nation of Amazon warrior-scientists who figured it out ages ago?

The presence of advanced technology might need some kind of explanation - perhaps a local mineral to help it stay well ahead of the rest of world (like Wakanda's vibranium), or perhaps the tech had an extra-terrestrial origin centuries ago. In the case of the latter, the ET's might have left ages ago and never came back, but the technologies they left behind could have catapulted this island into the future.

Actually, this is looking like a possible answer after all, so here goes:

They survived all this time by going completely undetected. They have had advanced technology (either of ET origin or local mineral that helps) for centuries, and used it to hide themselves. It helps that their island has a forbidding coastline, so passing ships or satellite photos see only impossible reefs and no actual island. They manufacture synthetic sperm in their facilities, which means that ZERO contact with the outside world is required. They are great fighters because they fight a lot, and the various local clans do so often amongst themselves, perhaps in order to gain mastery of the technology or precious minerals.

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These Amazons are a population of women using melee weapons. No matter how fearsome they are in battle, no matter how inhospitable the terrain, there will always be a population of men who will try to invade. The thing of value in their land is them.

Any one of them who wandered off would be at grave risk of abduction and worse, and there would always be some men willing to risk death for glory.

Young men in particular, would be fascinated by them. After all, they only know non-Amazon women, and would feel certain that they could prevail by force of arms. The danger would make them extra valuable. Only the greatest fighters would be able to successfully abduct them. They would never know peace. Their martial competence just makes them more desirable as trophies.

Also, they are hostile. Men are killed or taken prisoner when they land. However, warrior cultures are fairly common, it's only the unisex nature of the Amazons that is peculiar. Actually they also do not seem to be expansionist, but at any point that could change. They are not magical. Their society does not have male viewpoints, so it's difficult to believe that they can maintain parity in their culture with the rest of the world, any more than a patriarchal society can.

So outnumbered and confined to an island, how can they acquire the resources needed to avoid invasion, while feeding and arming themselves?

The only thing I can think of is advanced psychological techniques. Think of the Bene Gesserit, from Dune. You'd need that level of engagement and manipulation to be treated as they are described. Otherwise, they'd be oveerrun. My point is that they'd have to be engaged with the world, and have very well honed abilities to read people and situations, as well as a great deal of background information on various cultures. Isolation is not the way one gets this kind of knowledge however.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hello. Sorry, but I do not see how does it actually answer the question as asked. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Oct 2 '18 at 8:13
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Warning: controversial answer coming up.

They could be smarter than their neighbours. As an analogy, humans are physcially far weaker than chimpanzees, but chimpanzees are no match for humans in military terms. It is our intelligence, and the teamwork and tools derived from our intelligence that give us our advantage.

I should note that I am not suggesting that women are smarter than men (or vice versa), just this specific society. The intelligence edge could come from any of several other factors. You say that the island is rich in resources - perhaps the food is particularly nutritious. Improved nutrition has been responsible for significant increases in human IQ over the last few centuries. As mothers are all engaged in the (military) workforce, perhaps they couldn't care for their children themselves, and developed a system of community childcare and education before this was common in the rest of the world. This education system might train engineers who develop brilliant military technology. Probably just a small edge would suffice, but maybe the technology is sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from witchcraft (to fit with the gender theme and to paraphrase A.C. Clarke). Or their engineers might develop brilliant agricultural technology, further increasing their nutritional advantage.

If the culture values intelligence, then there are added advantages, such as choosing military commanders based on their leadership qualities rather than on a hereditary basis.

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