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The Great Merchant Wars was a major armed conflict between competing merchant houses of the Hub. The political instability caused by the wars would lead to a major political reform that stabilized the situation within the city.[1]


The prelude to the Great Merchant Wars was the establishment of the office of governor in 2120. The first governor was Angus, its founder and architect of its success, who labored for 27 years to ensure its rise to prominence.[2] The concentration of power in the hands of a single man didn't do wonders for his life expectancy: Just five years later, in winter of 2125, he was murdered. The sudden vacancy at the top of the food chain threw the Hub into chaos.[3]

The Wars

Seizing the opportunity, a group of unscrupulous water merchants seized Barstow's water tower, attempting to corner the market by force. Unsurprisingly, such a move was met with furious resistance, leading to the Great Merchant Wars. The merchants controlling the tower, though outnumbered, managed to fortify and effectively seal the town. As a result, the war raged on for the better part of three years, consuming lives and money. It was finally ended when Roy Greene, grandfather of future Sheriff Justin Greene, negotiated an agreement that put an end to the war.[4]


The settlement was a landmark reform, turning a primitive autocracy into an oligarchic city-state, ruled by a city council staffed by representatives from the three largest merchant companies (two from each, for a total of six representatives).[1] To avoid further disputes related to water prices and their gouging, a price cap was enacted.[5]


The Great Merchant Wars are mentioned by Beth in Fallout and the Fallout Bible


  1. 1.0 1.1 Fallout Bible 0: "2126-2128 The Great Merchant Wars are fought, the Water Merchants seal up the town, but are outnumbered. A man named Roy Greene (Justin Greene's grandfather) makes the peace and negotiates a settlement. The Hub's Central Council is formed, composed of two representatives from each of the Hub caravan companies. A long period of indecisiveness and meetings maintain the status quo in the Hub."
  2. Fallout Bible 0: "2120 Angus rules over growing Hub and establishes himself as governor."
  3. Fallout Bible 0: "2125 Winter Angus is murdered. Hub is thrown into chaos."
  4. The Vault Dweller: "{170}{}{The Water Merchants.}"
    Beth: "{177}{}{They're in charge of all the water. Greedy people, I wouldn't want to work for them. Their pay is the worst and the jobs are just as bad.}"
    The Vault Dweller: "{178}{}{Did they always control all the water? }"
    Beth: "{183}{}{No. From what I've heard, a while back a group of merchants seized control of the water tower and proclaimed that they were the water merchants and people had to get water from them. The merchant war raged on for years until a man named Roy Greene - yeah, Justin's Grandfather, that's it - helped to negotiate an agreement that ended the war.}"
  5. The Vault Dweller: "{184}{}{What kind of agreement?}"
    Beth: "{188}{}{Well he set up the city council and set a limit on the price of water. Personally I think they should have beat the tar out of them - oh, sorry. I mean they should have showed them who's boss.}"