The Warcraft Lore series is a collection of articles delving deep into the history of many important Warcraft figures and events. Since World of Warcraft’s story is ongoing in the famous MMORPG and in some new novel publications, I will try to constantly update these articles. My main sources are Warcraft books and comics, Warcraft 1 / 2 /3, World of Warcraft, WoWWiki, WoWpedia, YouTube and some theory-crafting sites. The following article will inform you about the Origins of the Tauren and the Centaur.

In the end of the article you can find a mini Glossary that may prove helpful if you are new to Warcraft lore and some Bonus Content that I managed to find. Let me know in the comments about any errors or inconsistencies you may find. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!

The Spirits of the Earth, guide me


Origins of the Tauren (Pre-Warcraft Era)

The equivalent to Homo Erectus for the Tauren was the Yaungol. The Yaungol was an ancient race of yak humanoids that, nowadays, can be found only in Pandaria. In the past, these creatures lived in Kalimdor under the protection of the demigod Cenarius but eventually were hunted by trolls and enslaved by the emperor of the Mogu, Qiang the Merciless.

The ancient race of Yaungol

Qiang ordered his flesh shapers to experiment on the enslaved Yaungol, in an attempt to turn them into strong and savage disposable warriors for the Empire. He deleted most of their memories, destroyed their traditions and prohibited their religious events. When the rebellion against the Empire began, Yaungol joined the Slave Races, but it was too late. Their culture was long gone and their freedom meant nothing.

A small group of the Yaungol moved north, to the frozen wastes of Northrend and became the Taunka that we know today. The rest of them moved to the Well of Eternity, where they were re-united with Cenarius. The demigod helped them, by reminding them of their traditions and by teaching them to channel the druidic magic of Azeroth. In addition, the Well of Eternity slowly affected this group of Yaungol, turning them into a new race that would later be called Tauren.

Mogu vs Pandaren during the rebellion

Origin of the Centaurs (Pre-Warcraft Era)

Years later, the Taurens roamed Kalimdor once more, living peacefully and in harmony with nature. One day they heard strange elemental whispers from the grassland of Mashan’she. Excited, the Taurens believed that these whispers were the voice of Therazane the Stonemother, the Elemental Lord whom they worshiped. For decades, their shamans and druids were trying to awake the elemental, but when they eventually succeeded, in turned out that the whispers belonged to Therazane’s evil daughter, Princess Theradras.

Princess Theradras inside the Maraudon

Theradras immediately consumed the energy of Mashan’she in order to bolster her strength. The beautiful grassland quickly turned into the barren place that we now call Desolace. She then proceeded to kill most of the Desolace’s fauna, leaving only some old Kodos and Rocs behind. Sensing the immense danger, a druidic organization, named the Cenarion Circle, dispatched Zaetar, son of Cenarius, to take care of the elemental princess.

Unfortunately, Zaetar fall in love with Theradras and the two became lovers. From this disgusting union, a dirty, half-horse, half-humanoid race appeared, the Centaur. The Centaur were vile creatures and when Zaetar tried to communicate with them, they murdered him. A grieving Theradras waged war against the Centaur and brought Zaetar remains back to her base in Maraudon (which is now a 5 man dungeon in World of Warcraft). But the Centaur race was strong, eventually taking control of Desolace, driving Theradras back to Maraudon and the Tauren away from their homes.

The barren lands of Desolace

Tauren vs Centaur (Pre-Warcraft Era)

For many decades the Tauren and the Centaur were in war. The later, hunted the noble Tauren for fun, attacking their settlements and murdering innocent civilians every chance they could get. However, the descendants of Yaungol were equally strong in combat and made the Centaur pay for every unprovoked attack. However, they had no love for war and always opted to find a new home rather than throw their lives away. This led them to being pushed back really deep into Kalimdor. The Centaur began to set their tent settlements in the Barrens, continuously expanding their territory. The Tauren were losing the battle.

Leader of the Bloodhoof tribe, Cairne Bloodhoof

The Bloodhoof Tribe (Warcraft 3 Era)

Years later, when Thrall arrived to Kalimdor, following the advice of Medivh, he found the Tauren race in the brink of extinction. Their chieftain, Cairne Bloodhoof, begged the young shaman for help. The Orcs answered Cairne’s call, defeating the Centaur and driving them back to Desolace. Thrall and Cairne quickly became friends, having much in common, like the “nature” culture and the passion for shamanism. Tauren were inducted into the New Horde and established their stronghold in the grasslands of Mulgore. Their new capital was named Thunder Bluff and it was a refuge where Tauren of every tribe were welcome. For the first time in Azeroth’s history, these noble creatures had a place to call it home.

Thrall meets Cairne for the first time in Warcraft 3


Bonus Content

  • Allowing all the tribes to live in Thunder Bluff would later cost many Tauren lives (Cairne included) as the Grimtotem Clan, led by Magatha Grimtotem, attempted a coup d’etat some time before the Cataclysm Expansion.
  • Cairne Bloodhoof was the leader of the Tauren until the Cataclysm Expansion, where he was replaced by his son, Baine Bloodhoof. As of today, Baine is still the Chieftain of the Tauren.
  • Cairne Bloodhoof died in the hands of Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grom Hellscrem, in an 1vs1 duel. However Garrosh’s weapon was coated in poison by Magatha Grimtotem, ultimately costing Cairne his life.
  • The Centaur are heavilly inspired from the Mongols. For example their leader is named Khan, they use tents in their settlements and they leave behind scorched lands.
  • Elite Tauren Chieftain is a playable hero in Blizzard’s MOBA Heroes of the Storm.
  • In Warcraft 3, there is a Tauren hero and two Tauren units.
  • Centaur are now united at Sho’tokar in Desolace (Gelkis, Magram and Kolkar). They even fighted alongside the Cenarius Circle against demon in Cataclysm. Tauren and Centaur fighting side by side !
  • Sometime one Centaur, joined the Horde (Travellers comic)
  • Blizzard’s card game, Hearthstone, features many of the Tauren, like Cairne or Baine.
  • Centaur would be even more powerful if they weren’t engaged in an endless civil war. One of the most popular civil wars, was the conflict between the Gelkis and the Malgram Centaur.
  • Cenarius warned the Yaungol not to travel away from Kalimdor but they did not listen, getting enslaved by the Mogu in the proccess.
  • Yaungol were also known as Ancient shu’halo, before being shaped by the Thunder King.



Barrens – A region in Kalimdor.

Cenarius – Lord of the Forest and patron of many druids, is one of the most powerful and influential demigods of Azeroth.

Kalimdor – The western part of Azeroth.

Kodos – Some big herbivore beasts. The Tauren usually use them as mounts.

Medivh – The Last Guardian. The Prophet. Probably the most powerful mage on the world. Unfortunately, he needs an article on his own.

Mogu – The mogu are powerful, magical titan-forged who live in Pandaria. They are proud, hateful, and powerful both physically and magically. In the past their Empire ruled Pandaria.

Mulgore – A region in Kalimdor.

Slave Races – The races that rebelled against the Mogu Empire. Pandaren led the rebellion followed by Hozen, Jinyu and Yaungol.

Taunka – The taunka (also known as winter tauren) are an ancient offshoot of the yaungol and relatives to the tauren who have adapted to the harsh environment in Northrend. Unlike their more peaceful tauren relatives, the taunka forcibly bend nature and the elements to their will in order to survive.

Therazane the Stonemother – The Elemental Lord of Earth. The other Elemental Lords were Al’akir, Ragnaros and Neptulon.

Thrall – Warchief of the Horde, one of the most popular Orcs in the game.

Well of Eternity – The Well of Eternity was a lake of scintillating arcane energies and limitless power formed from the very lifeblood of Azeroth’s world-soul. The Well was located on the ancient continent of Kalimdor near the night elven city of Zin-Azshari. The present area where the Well of Eternity was located became the Maelstrom after the Great Sundering.

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