The Two Rivers is a region in the west of Andor, though most there don't know it (TEotW, Ch. 33), it has not seen a tax collector in six generations, nor theQueen's Guards in seven (TEotW, Ch. 40). It is bordered on the west by Westwood and beyond that the Mountains of Mist, the north by the River Taren, the south by the Manetherendrelle and beneath that the Great Blackwood and to the east, the Waterwood and the mire, an area of swampland, both being fed by the Winespring Water. There are some dangerous passes through the mountains (LoC, Prologue), but the main way in and out of the region, has for centuries, been north, by ferry across the Taren. For this reason, and the fact that the area is sparsely populated, with little of great economic worth, few visit there and it is one of the most isolated places in the westlands. Other than merchants and pedlars, few people ever visit the region (TEotW, Ch. 2). Outside of the region, most have not even heard of it (TEotW, Ch. 14; Ch. 36), though Two Rivers tabac is known and loved in many places (TEotW, Ch. 46; TSR, Ch. 13) and there is even a song, The Old Two Rivers' Leaf (TGH, Ch. 21).
In the years of the Compact of the Ten Nations, it was the centre of Manetheren, and the village of Emond's Field marks where Aemon fell in the battle in which Manetheren was destroyed. Though the people remember nothing of the event, the long desperate fight to hold onto their lands changed them and this change still holds (TEotW, Ch. 9), Moiraine claimed that in the region, the Old blood was strong (TEotW, Ch. 18).
Traditionally, each village ruled itself, under the organisation of the Village council, led by the mayor and chosen by the men of the village and the Women's circle, led by the Wisdom and chosen by the women. The two are often in opposition, though in theory, they have well defined boundaries. For example, the Women's Circle is responsible for women's affairs and for matters considered the responsibility of women, such as when to plant and harvest (TEoTW, Glossary).
The Village Council and Women's Circle also hold trials when necessary. The defendant chooses whether the Village Council or the Women's Circle holds the trial. Sometimes men think the Women's Circle will give them a better hearing than the Village Council. When the Women's Circle finds a defendant guilty, the Wisdom pronounces the sentence (TGH, Ch. 46).
More recently, with the increasing troubles in the world and the Trolloc raids, the villages chose themselves a Lord, Perrin Aybara, who has authority over the region in general (TSR, Ch. 53; LoC, Prologue).
In an attempt to draw the Dragon Reborn to the area, Padan Fain brought Whitecloaks to intimidate the people. As a response to this, Slayer brought Trollocs through the Waygate that had been located at Manetheren. Perrin heard rumours of the trouble and returned, to hand himself over to the Whitecloaks so that his family could be released. On learning they were dead and that there were Trollocs in the area, he started to lead resistance against them, culminating in them proclaiming him lord. Around this time, in the turmoil following the Seanchan invasion, many people crossed the Mountains of Mist and arrived in the Two Rivers, swelling its population and bringing in trades and skills not seen in generations.
The people there were fiercely loyal to Perrin, presenting a difficult problem to Elayne who did not want to set precedent that any man could proclaim themselves lord. She was however, persuaded to do so, naming him Steward for the Dragon Reborn, who was given the Two Rivers as his seat in Andor. It was to be exempt from taxes, which would be held locally, should the Dragon Reborn want them, and available to Perrin and his heirs to spend. It was also decided that Faile and Perrin's children would be encouraged to marry into the Andoran line (ToM, Ch. 47).
The people are mostly dark of hair and eye with few of the men over six feet tall (TEotW, Ch. 40). Women wear their hair long, in a single braid and being allowed to do this is a sign that the Women's Circle considers the girl in question to be a woman, most eagerly awaiting the day (TEotW, Ch. 2).
They are known for their stubbornness and refusal to surrender (TEotW, Ch. 1; Ch. 16) but are also able to take a great joy in life, needing little excuse to sing or dance (TEotW, Ch. 1) and can be led if they feel the person is worthy (TEotW, Ch. 40). Taren Ferry was traditionally an exception to this, as it had greater mixing with the outside, and since the village was almost entirely wiped out by Trollocs, almost all who live there are outsiders (LoC, Prologue).
In the future seen by Aviendha through the Glass Columns in Rhuidean, there were seperate plans for dealing with the rulers of Andor and the Two Rivers, though it is not clear if this means they had become separate countries (ToM, Ch. 50).
"That was the way of most Two Rivers people. People who had to watch the hail beat their crops or the wolves take their lambs, and start over, no matter how many years it happened, did not give up easily. Most of those who did were long since gone." (Rand, The Eye of the World, Chapter 1)