There is an island paradise in the wide Saragasso Sea known as Themyscira. For thousands of years, the island has been home to the Amazons, an immortal race of female warriors. Created by Otrera, the Queen Goddess of the Amazons, she charged the Amazons with a mission to serve as an inspiration to male-dominated societies by promoting the ideals of peaceand tranquility. Originally settled in Pontus, a small city on the Aegean Sea, for centuries the Amazons successfully demonstrated the merits of these ideals, ultimately leading to the creation of democracy in the Athenian cultures. Oddly enough, while Man's World started accepting some of these ideals, the Amazons chose to remain a matriarchy, ruled by their Queen.
In 1200 B.C., the Amazon mission was compromised after Queen Hippolyta, the immortal daughter of Otrera, was seduced by the demi-god Herakles. As the bastard son of Zeus, the Gods required Herakles to perform 12 labors as penance for the death of a rival prince. The ninth labor required Herakles to steal Hippolyta's belt, it being a sacred gift from Hera to the Amazons.
Herakles reached Pontus on a ship called the Eurylus. Captained by Phylptus, a cunning prince who'd earned a fierce reputation as a leader of his Dorian pirates, the Eurylus sailed quietly into the Pontian harbor on the last whispers of an ebb-tide on a summer afternoon. Upon his arrival, Hippolyta was immediately smitten with Herakles. After hosting a feast in honor of a son of Zeus, she invited him to her bed later that night. In later years, many songs were written about the passion shared between the two lovers that night. In the morning Herakles stole away from the island with Hippolyta's belt safely tucked in his waistband, not realizing Phylptus and his Dorian pirate army had enslaved the Amazon nation while he sailed away.
The Amazonian enslavement lasted 15 years, but the experience was a humiliation from which the Amazons never recovered. The proud female warriors found themselves slaves and unwilling sexual partners of the Dorian pirates. Hippoylta herself was required to submit to Phylptus' whims on a daily basis, deepening her humiliation. Despite their agony, the Amazons worked constantly and with deep secrecy to fashion weapons. Seeing they were as well armed as their pirate captors. Hippolyta and her Amazonian Army broke free, turned and defeated the Dorian Army in an epic battle. The gods were impressed with the fortitude of the Amazons and offered Hippolyta the right to slaughter their former captors. However, in keeping with their original mission, the Amazons elected to forego their right of vengeance.
After their humiliation at the hands of the Dorians, the Amazons desired peace and rest from the weary toil of Man's World. They requested of the gods a place where they might heal in peace. The gods, mindful of the Amazons' compassion and bravery, created Themyscira. Magically transported away from Man's World, the women lived in tranquility for the next 800 years. . To protect the Amazons, the gods cloaked the island behind a magical barrier, thereby sheltering the island from prying eyes. Given their newfound distrust of men, Hippolyta decreed that any man found on the island would be immediately put to death, while any Amazon found guilty of bringing a man to the island would subsequently be banished from the society for eternity.
During the ensuing centuries, Themyscira grew to be accepted as a myth by the Western World, fueled only by occasional sightings of Amazon women, which were dismissed as delusions by the majority of the population. There was some truth to the rumors, of course, as the procreation of the tribe demanded new daughters. While Amazons were loath to leave the island, especially given their distrust, and sometimes hatred, of men, the procreation of their race demanded that women of childbearing age occasionally leave the island. Sailing vessels were maintained in order to provide safe transport to Man's World and upon arrival in that strange place, the Amazons located a suitable male demonstrating both physical and mental agility, traits highly favored by the Amazons. Seduction followed and upon conception of a child, an Amazon would immediately return to Themyscira. Female infants were kept in order to maintain the population, while male infants were transported off the isle and returned to the father.
Although men were not allowed on the island, male gods were exempt from that policy. Hades, lord of the Underworld, visited Themyscira and managed to seduce Queen Hippolyta. With the assistance of Ares, whose power increases from the strife caused by war, Hades betrayed his fellow gods by tricking Hippolyta into unlocking the earth-side portal to the Gates of Olympus. Once the Gates were open, Hades, the Dark Lords (including Circe) and an evil new generation of gods, the Titans, attacked Zeus and his family. For years the skies thundered as the gods battled for supremacy. After much bloodshed, Zeus and his family emerged from the war victorious. Zeus imprisoned Hades, Circe and the rest of the betrayers in the Pit of Tartarus, still unaware of Ares' treachery. As penance for their unwitting role in the war, the gods tasked the Amazons to guard the gateway to Tartarus for eternity. To aid this effort, the gods granted the Amazons immortality, thus obviating the need to procreate the race, as well as superhuman strength to aid them in their battles against the forces of evil.
In 500 A.D., Hippolyta begged Athena for a daughter, citing her lonely vigil over the Gates and the difficulty of shouldering that responsibility without an heir to the throne. Athena agreed to the request and instructed Hippolyta to mold the visage of a 6-year old out of clay. Once she brought the child to life, Athena granted the little girl the strength of Gaea, the speed of Mercury, the power of flight and two magical accessories, including bracelets which would deflect almost any weapon, as well as an unbreakable lasso, woven from the girdle of Gaea herself. She was named Diana.
For 1,500 years, Diana slowly matured until reaching the fullness of her womanhood. Trained to be the Amazon Champion, at the dawn of the new millennia in Man's World, Diana elected to leave Themyscira in order to help the heroes of Man's World defeat the Invaders, an alien species which laid siege to the Earth. Intrigued by the many pleasures (and horrors) of Man's World, Diana decided to form the Justice League along with Batman, Superman, Martian Manhunter, the Green Lantern, Flash and Hawkgirl. Her introduction to the foreign culture of Man's World was initially painful as her distrust of men led to a number of misunderstandings with her teammates. While friendly, her teammates generally viewed her as aloof, domineering and imbued with a superiority complex given her aristocratic upbringing.
As word of Diana's Amazonian origin spread, a sorcerer of the Dark Arts named Felix Faust subsequently penetrated the magical barrier surrounding Themyscira. He utilized an amulet to turn the Amazons to stone, then held the statues hostage until Diana retrieved the key to unlock the Gates of Tartarus in order to free Hades from the Pit.
Diana and the Justice League returned to Themyscira and ultimately defeated Faust and Hades, consigning them both to the Pit. The price of the victory was high, however, as Hippolyta decreed Diana had violated the most sacred Amazonian law by bringing men to the island. After the decorations were handed out, Hippolyta ruled Themysciran law required Diana's exile from the island for eternity.
Diana managed to leave the island with a grace befitting a Princess. She saved her tears until the Javelin-7 departed the island, then collapsed in the back seat of the plane, her anguish evident to all of her teammates. During the flight back to the Watchtower, her teammates (with the notable exception of Batman) tried to comfort her with meaningless platitudes she knew were well intended but otherwise fell on deaf ears. After filing out of the plane at the Watchtower's landing bay, Diana found it oddly comforting when Batman asked, "You going to be okay?" in his typically gruff manner, then departed without waiting for a reply. She later realized he was too embarrassed to wait for her reply, not wanting to demonstrate any emotional attachment to a teammate.
Abiding by the ruling without complaint, Diana did not attempt to contact her mother until two exceptional circumstances required her to do so. In the first instance, a rogue Amazon known as Aresia decided to take the Amazonian hatred of men to an extreme conclusion. Aresia was born in Man's World, arriving on Themyscira with the aid of a male sailor who sacrificed himself to rescue Aresia from a capsized ship. After synthesizing a viral strain specific to the male chromosome, she attempted to launch a viral attack against men on a global level, with a stated goal of decimating the species. As her male teammates succumbed to the virus, Diana, Hawkgirl and Hippolyta ultimately prevailed in battle against Aresia. Luckily, the women were able to locate Aresia's notes. They used the information to synthesize a cure, thereby saving their colleagues and the infected male population from certain death.
In the second instance, Superman was apparently killed by an energy weapon during a battle with Toyman. As the League prepared to mourn their friend's passing at a memorial service, Diana contacted her mother. Despite her exile, Diana requested she be allowed to wear her royal uniform at the funeral of a man who had been honored by the Amazons. In light of Superman's demonstrated heroism in the battle with Hades, Hippolyta granted the request, even visiting her daughter for a short period of time in order to deliver the regalia befitting a Princess of Themyscira. After the funeral, Diana briefly chatted with her Mother. The conversation was strained, however, as the women made small talk about everything except Themyscira. For Diana, it was yet another grim reminder that she would never return to the island.
For the next 18 months, Diana resigned herself to the fact that her home was now a distant, pleasant memory. Her only reminders of Themyscira came on separate occasions as Ares and Circe renewed their mischief in Man's World. To satisfy his hunger for the strife on which he fed, Ares stoked the flames of a civil war in Kasnia by supplying both sides with munitions. Diana was able to peacefully resolve the conflict, thereby denying Ares the precious strife.
A month later, Circe emerged from Tartarus. She spitefully turned Diana into a pig as a form of vengeance against Hippolyta and the rest of the Amazons for their role in imprisoning Circe after the War of the Gods. Given her royal background, Diana was mortified she'd been turned into a pig, especially in front of the man she had chosen to pursue romantically. The one positive result of the experience was her emerging certainty that Bruce, the Batman, cared for her more than he let on.
Confronted by Batman and Zatanna (a mage and League teammate), Circe demanded he sing to win Diana's freedom from pig-dom. Circle wrongly assumed that she could feed on the magic of his impending humiliation. Surprisingly, he serenaded the Amphitheatre at Mykonos in a well-tuned voice. After the confrontation, Zatanna replayed the image of Batman singing on her crystal ball for Diana, well aware that her teammates were in love. Diana capitalized on the opportunity and seduced Batman when they returned to the Watchtower the next day. While making love with a man (a mortal no less!) was contrary to her Amazonian training, Diana's new relationship with Batman further solidified her place in Man's World.
Given her newfound comfort in Man's World, Diana was floored by the irony four weeks later when J'onn received a garbled message from Hippolyta asking for the League's assistance.