Midkemia originated as a Role Playing Game (RPG) world, which was later developed and marketed by Midkemia Press. Raymond E. Feist writes the history of Midkemia, in the period starting 500 years before the game time.
From: Raymond E. Feist
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 1995
In 1975 or so, I fell into a game with some friends at an apartment off campus (UCSD). It was called "D&D" but it wasn't. By the time I came aboard, they'd already tossed most of the original rules as being "dumb" and replaced them with "house rules" which we got on xeroxed sheets. If you're old enough to remember the original white box of D&D, you'll understand how incomprehensible most of the rules were. Anyway, Midkemia was original a bunch of unrelated dungeons, but by the time I came aboard, they had started running overlands from dungeon to dungeon. We got into keeping "real time" and having the DM keep the character sheets. That eliminated a character being run in multiple-dungeons at the same time (common in D&D back then) or suddenly showing up with massive treasure and weapons while still in another dungeon (also common) and other irritating stuff along those lines. Cities were begun as a place to do stuff between adventures, and became environments of their own. It was Conan LaMont who coined the name "Midkemia" and he said he had no idea what it meant--he just liked the sound. The environment has evolved for over 20 years now, with tens of thousands of hours of creation by dozens of people.
From: Stephen Abrams
Date: Thu, 29 Feb 1996
The first 'true' Midkemia game/campaign started in 1976. It was mostly composed of a group of University of California, San Diego, students and graduate students. At it's most active (early to mid 80's), there were as many as 12 active GMs, each controlling and developing pieces of the world, varying from single Cities (and 'dungeons') to entire continents (like Ray's Novindus). There are a handfull of groups out there that got seeded with rules (mostly by someone leaving San Diego and starting a new group). Local role-playing has unfortuneately taken a backseat to work and raising families but we're working on a new 'adventure' as we 'speak'. I guess I could be called the 'original GM' with Jon Everson #2 (you know, Abramsev and Evdem [no, we didn't make up the names, just got pasted with them]).