Holds are the nine administrative divisions of Skyrim, different from each other both in climate and local government.
Each of the nine Holds is governed by a Jarl who resides in the Hold's capital city. The Jarls are largely independent, but swear fealty to Skyrim's High King, who in turn swears fealty to the Emperor upon joining the Septim empire in the late Second Era.
Given the independent nature of governance, crimes are tracked independently by each Hold, and a criminal who is wanted in one Hold may have no bounty in another.
Winterhold, Eastmarch, The Rift and The Pale are known collectively as the "Old Holds," and have remained more isolated—not only from a geographic standpoint, but a political one as well, given that they are all initially aligned with the Stormcloaks during the civil war. The Old Holds are bound together in history, as these holds were inhabited by the ancient Nords.
Falkreath, Haafingar, Hjaalmarch, The Reach, and Whiterun are all a part of West Skyrim. The Nords of Western Skyrim are known to be progressive and would see an influence from the Empires of Cyrodiil and other places such as High Rock or Hammerfell. These Holds tend to stick with each other in times of war such as during the Skyrim Civil War and the Alliance War.
The Holds of Skyrim
- Taking a carriage to a hold that has no stables (Falkreath, Morthal, Dawnstar, and Winterhold) costs 50 , whereas those with stables (Windhelm, Solitude, Markarth, Riften, and Whiterun) costs 20 .