Current-era Humans are a "remnant" of the previous era of Humanity, who were wiped out by the God of Darkness due to Salem's attempted revolution.
Humans are known for being intelligent, resourceful and strong, especially when united against a common threat. These traits have allowed them to survive in a hostile world. However, their tendency to fight among themselves when divided represents a serious weakness.
As living creatures possessing a soul, Humans possess Aura, the natural manifestation of their soul that protects them from harm and gives them certain abilities and powers. Unique expressions of these abilities are specific to individuals and are known as a person's Semblance.
In modern society, Humans have a higher social standing than the Faunus, who continue to face discrimination from Humans. Some Human-controlled corporations, such as the Schnee Dust Company, use Faunus labor in conditions that are "controversial". These racial tensions are a common thread throughout Faunus and Human history.
The early history of mankind is told in myths and legends, though the reliability of these stories is questionable.
Legend tells that Humans were born from a primordial state known as dust. For as long as Humans have existed, they have been locked in a struggle against the Grimm, mysterious creatures who appear to be determined to destroy mankind and all of his creations.
In truth, Humanity was created by The Gods as a compromise to end their brotherly feud, after the younger brother created Grimm to destroy the elder brother's creations. These gods created Humanity as a masterpiece that embodies the elder brother's gift of creation, the younger brother's gift of destruction, and the gifts of knowledge and choice. The most important of these gifts is choice - the free will to choose whether to use their gifts for light or darkness.
Mankind lived alongside their creators for ages, until a young woman named Salem approached the gods asking for them to return her lost love, Ozma to her. They refused her, and when she attempted to force the issue, they cursed her with immortality. Frustrated and angry, Salem got Humanity to rebel against the gods, to which the God of Darkness responded by effortlessly wiping out the entirety of Humanity, sans Salem herself before they both departed the world, stripping it of magic in the process.
Eventually, Mankind somehow recovered from its extinction and managed to harness Dust, a naturally-occurring energy source mined from the ground. Using Dust, Humans were able to create weapons and technology that could defeat the Grimm, using their Aura to control and manipulate it.
The use of Dust-powered weapons and tools drove back the Grimm. This gave Humans the breathing space they needed to develop their civilization further.
The Great War
As time passed, many Human civilizations would rise and fall before coalescing into the four Kingdoms of Vale, Vacuo, Mistral, and Atlas (formerly Mantle). These Kingdoms would endure where others fell thanks to the presence of natural barriers and Human tenacity.
80 years before the present day, the Great War, the largest-scale war in recorded history involving all four Kingdoms, tore Remnant asunder. The war was fought for "countless reasons", though chief among them was the concept of individualism. The outbreak of war is attributed to the suppression of self-expression and the destruction of art.
Ultimately, those in favor of the preservation of individualism prevailed, and the four warring Kingdoms met on the small island of Vytal to discuss an end to the war. Today, Remnant enjoys peace and "unity through diversity". This diversity is celebrated in cultural events such as the Vytal Festival, named after the place where the peace was brokered, as well as through a naming tradition.
The aftermath of the Great War led to the creation of the Huntsman Academies in each of the four Kingdoms; Beacon Academy in Vale, Shade Academy in Vacuo, Haven Academy in Mistral and Atlas Academy in Mantle. The intended purpose of the academies was to train Huntsmen and Huntresses, warriors whose sole purpose would be to fight the Grimm, and whose allegiance would not be tied to the Kingdoms.
However, sometime after the end of the Great War, Mantle fell and was succeeded by the Kingdom of Atlas, and the government, military and academy were combined. Atlas still possesses a powerful, highly mechanized military that includes air fleets, battle mechs, and robot soldiers.
After the Great War, the Cross Continental Transmit System was developed by the kingdom of Atlas and gifted to the world to allow the kingdoms to remain in communication. This technology allowed instantaneous wireless multimedia communication over large distances and is regarded by some as the most influential technological innovation of all.
The Faunus Rights Revolution was a fairly large-scale conflict lasting at least 3 years that erupted from the history of tensions between Human and Faunus populations. The cause of the war is attributed to the Humans' attempts to confine Faunus to an area of Remnant known as Menagerie.
Facing permanent subjugation, the Faunus fought back, leading to a full-scale war. After a series of military victories considered by historians to be very much against reasonable expectations, the united Faunus race forced the Humans to the negotiating table. Although the settlement of this conflict theoretically led to equal standing between Faunus and Humans, the underlying hatreds remain. Many Humans see Faunus as 'animals' and treat them as such.
As a consequence of this ongoing discrimination and oppression, there is a strong and growing Faunus civil rights movement, protesting the exploitation of Faunus and discrimination against them.
Additionally, the White Fang, an organization set up in the aftermath of the war to promote unity, equality, and peace between Humans and Faunus, has become radicalized and has turned into a powerful terrorist movement. So powerful is this movement and so extensive are its activities, that it now represents a major threat to continued overall peace between the races.
Today, Humans primarily live in the four Kingdoms, where agriculture, industry, and life may continue without continual threats from the Creatures of Grimm.
It is not unheard of, however, for people to venture outside of the Kingdoms. Roaming nomads and villages are not uncommon and located throughout the planet, though the threat of the Creatures of Grimm remains significant, and beyond the safe haven of the Kingdoms, such pocket settlements can disappear overnight.
Although the world is said to be in an unprecedented state of peace, social issues seriously threaten the status quo - racial tensions between the Faunus and Humans caused by continuing prejudice in society, the immoral practices of the Schnee Dust Company, as well as agitation from the White Fang terrorist group, continue to cause friction in society.
The Grimm still thrive in the wild areas outside the territory of the four Kingdoms, whilst plotting by mysterious groups threaten them from within.