10 million years ago, the Bestachawan Plate began to slide over a hotspot far out in the eastern reaches of the ocean. For eons, lava leaked out into the ocean depths, forming seamounts and underwater mountains, some larger, some smaller, until about 300,000 years ago a larger vent opened. Lava poured from this vent, cooling quickly in the deep ocean waters, and gradually forming what would one day become Mount Hyaltitoud, rising through the water column. Hydrothermal vents appeared on the slopes of the growing mountain, with all sorts of strange deep-sea organisms calling the inky-black waters home. About 20,000 years ago daylight first reached into the pelagic depths to light the rising seamount, and familiar small oceanic creatures began to call the area home as a reef began to develop on its slopes. The seamount continued to grow, with periodic eruptions pouring lava down its flanks, rising ever higher until about 10,000 years ago it first broke through the Bestachawan surf into the warm tropical air.
An ecosystem slowly developed as seeds were carried to the new island on oceanic currents, as birds were blown off course in tropical storms, and as driftwood carried small creatures from the islands they had previously called home. Eventually a thriving tropical forest began growing in the rich volcanic soil of the island, surviving and re-growing after typhoons, tsunamis, and the continuing eruptions of the Hyaltitoud volcano. The island continued to grow as well, and the earliest SimNatives sailing their canoes through the turquoise-blue waters of the Bestachawan Ocean followed the clouds that built up on its slopes as moist ocean air was forced high into the atmosphere by the mountain.
While SimNatives knew of the island for hundreds if not thousands of years, it never was a significant population center of their culture, as its remoteness and the frequency of its volcanic eruptions made its value questionable at best. Occasional fishing voyages would stop on the beaches ringing the island to dry their catches before heading home, but few ever stayed for long. The island was not discovered by the larger Sim world until the late 17th century when Admiral Landgraab sighted it on his famed circumnavigation of the globe (shortly before his undoing at the hands of disgruntled island natives)
Landgraab merely marked the location of the island on his charts however, not stopping for any longer than most SimNatives had. The island would not appear in the historic record again for another 70 years, with the great eruption of 1706. Prior to this eruption, the mountain was a fairly symmetrical volcanic cone, rising considerably higher than it does now, but in the spring of 1706 a cataclysmic eruption tore out the northeast flank of the volcano, sending a towering column of ash and smoke thousands of feet into the sky, high enough to be visible to representatives of the East Takemizu Trading Company hundreds of miles away.
Sailors reported that the entire northeastern side of the island was destroyed, with several small islands having been formed out of the remains of the mountain, and a sheltered cove was formed in the crater where the peak had once been. Much of the island had burned as lava from the eruption poured down the slopes of Mount Hyaltitoud, but several secondary peaks and southwestern slopes had remained above the lava flows and still had surviving forests at their summits. In the years that followed sailors taking advantage of the new sheltered cove to ride out severe tropical storms were astonished to see how fast the rainforest reclaimed the slopes of the shattered caldera.
Ferns and palms quickly sprouted in cracks in the lava flows, their roots working into the rock and slowly prying it apart. Typhoons and tropical storms battered the jagged rocks of the shoreline, grinding it into a fine sand and re-depositing it as shimmering beaches around the island. By the middle of the 19th century the only sign of the catastrophic eruption of 1706 was the broad shape of the caldera itself, the high rainfall and rich volcanic soil of the island helping the native ecosystem to quickly reestablish itself across the island.
In 1867 Landgraab Trading Co., one of the remnants of the dissolved East Takemizu Trading Company, decided that Mount Hyaltitoud was ideally located for a global trading port, and began developing a small seaside town in the center of the inactive volcano. Square-rigged ships were commonly seen in the harbor alongside Takemizu junks and Twikkiian ocean-going outrigger canoes, and the port city quickly became one of the busiest ports of its size in the eastern Bestachawan Ocean. The port city would survive as a company town for several decades, but in the early 20th century it, like so many other colonial settlements, would begin fighting for its independence.
In 1932 the inhabitants of Mount Hyaltitoud were a widely varied mix of the descendants of European merchants, Twikkiian natives, and workers brought in from Takemizu and other nearby villages. The colonial governors were shocked to see such a strange mix of people banding together in common cause, but as protests increased with the global depression forcing the Landgraab Trading Co. to close down many of its operations, a majority of the islanders came together and demanded home rule for themselves.
Eventually the colonial government was forced to agree, and in 1947 a treaty was signed establishing Hyaltitoud as an independent state and a part of the Commonwealth rather than a colony. The island continued to play an important role in shipping through the Bestachawan Ocean due to its ideally-situation location, and the local economy quickly began to grow. Disaster struck in 2004 however, as one of the strongest typhoons on record smashed into the island, almost completely destroying the existing settlement and reshaping the beaches and reefs surrounding the island dramatically. While the rest of the world provided significant aid in the years following, the Hyaltitoud government decided that it would not be possible to rebuild exactly as it had been before, and new plans were drawn up for the development of the island.
And what will those plans look like? Well, aside from the roads and the island itself, that's up to you! Will you rebuild a tropical port city in the spirit of the old Landgraab and East Takemizu Trading Company settlements? Will one of the island's cultures see its architectural influence dominate the landscape? Will you take the opportunity to develop the island under a unified and forward-looking plan? The future of Mount Hyaltitoud is in your hands!
I based this terrain off a scenario map from SimCity3000, where the premise was that sea-level rise had left just one city on Earth and you had to ensure that it survived in a very eco-friendly way. While climate change certainly makes sea level rise a threat, it's ridiculous to think it could leave only one city on Earth, but it was an interesting scenario to run a city-state with that kind of environmental focus. The attached picture that's not from TS2 is my city from that scenario, and you're welcome to use that as a model for your own development of this island if you so choose! Some of the TS2 photos are also decorated in a similar way, with dense jungle covering the slopes of the mountains and giant windmills generating the power needed for a city on the island at their peaks. As uploaded the map contains no decoration however, so you can add in whatever ecosystems and developments you see fit! (The concrete version of the map in particular makes me curious what a rocky, snowbound, far-northern or far-southern polar island based on this map could look like, if you want to go in a completely different direction!)
While this is certainly an ocean-focused map, trying to get beach lots to work on it with the controls of SC4 just wasn't happening, so if you're going to try to add those in your game, you'll need to be prepared to do some tweaking to the map in-game to make them place correctly. There's room for a few large regular lots in the central (downtown?) area within the caldera as well as on the southeast shore, and plenty of tiny lots can be placed elsewhere along the coastline or in the mountains.
While you'll need to rotate the camera to actually have all the roads show up in some cases, you DO NOT need a camera mod to access all the buildable areas of this map.
This is the first upload of mine that isn't a lot or set of lots, and since it's just an SC4 map, it's also the first time that I can actually say that it's base-game-compatible! However, if you want to decorate it the way I've done in the decorated screenshots, you'll at least need a few of the expansion packs. As with any of my creations, let me know if you encounter any problems, and I'll do my best to fix them!