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The islands are inhabited by Humans. After the Mushroom War, a group of human survivors (also known as the Founders) left what later became Ooo due to the mutants and magical beings that made it a dangerous environment to live in. The humans then came upon the four islands and settled there. They also built a guardian to prevent any monsters from coming to the islands and preventing any of the island inhabitants from leaving with being killed by it.
In the Adventure Time Islands Graphic Novel it revealed that Two Bread Tom led his crew voyage to salvation on the ship the had managed to repair and use it to escape the mainland, they sailed for 34 days and eventually found an island that would soon be called Founders Island, after a while on the island living with another group who were there before them, Tom had became a important role model to the people of the island and became the first of few founders of the island, and a community is built, later he learns that the island is more dangerous than expected and becomes obsessed with protecting his people and begins construction on a large wooden sentinel, possibly the very first stages of or an attempt to create the guardian.
After many generations of repopulating, the human race still exists nearly 1000 years later but only on the islands. The humans (on Hub Island at least) are seen to be given a career as a child and train for most of their life. Some of these careers include helpers (doctors and nurses), seekers (people who would prevent people from leaving the island), experimenters (people who make toys). Many humans (such as Dr. Gross, Minerva, and somewhat Kara/Susan) like to follow "the Founder's plan" which meant staying on the islands away from "the danger of the outside world." Others, however, would like to explore the world and leave the tiny islands. These people are referred to as "hiders."
12 years before the series, Finn was born on Hub Island to his father Martin Mertens and his mother Minerva Campbell. Martin was a con-artist while Minerva was a helper. When Minerva was at work and Martin was left alone with him one evening an old foe of Martin, the widow broke into the Mertens-Campbell home and Martin ran off to a raft in the ocean with the infant Finn. Martin only intended to circle around the island but a storm hit and then the guardian arose. The duo was separated but did make it alive past the guardian possibly being the first to people to do that. After this Dr. Gross sent her most powerful seeker, Kara/Susan on a transport ship to fly over the guardian and get to Ooo to find Finn.
At some point after Martin and Finn disappeared Dr. Gross accidentally released a deadly virus on Hub Island. 62% of the population died from it. Nearly 100% of the helpers died of the virus. Minerva (who was possibly the last helper) gave up on resisting the disease in her body and uploaded her consciousness to the web and became an A.I. With this, she had the power to be hundred of helpers in robotic bodies and cured the remaining humans on the island and later became their leader. All the survivors evacuated to one of the other islands.
In addition to the Hub Island virus, Back-to-Nature Island was once inhabited by humans, however, at one point in time the over-sized animals on the island went mad and everyone was either killed by the animals or evacuated with the exception of Alva who seems to be the only human still living there.
Most of the humans are living on Founder's island and it is where Minerva's consciousness resides. However, there is a large number of humans living on the "better reality" (virtual reality) island where all the humans live in pods where they play video games all day, every day and seem to never leave the pods. They live off of tiny robots that come by daily and give them food and water to survive without having to ever leave the pods.
Finn, Jake, Susan (Kara), and BMO arrive on Founder's Island in "Helpers" looking for Minerva, Finn was surprised that they found her only within a few minutes after arriving. Then after Jake scares the human citizens with his stretchy powers many Minerva bots come to help. Finn and Jake were confused by this. Finn then formally met his mother (via A.I.). In "The Light Cloud", after Minerva refused to let Finn leave the island (she want Finn to upload his mind to the web), Finn wanted to let all the humans free. After a long speech about how the Land of Ooo is a place full of freedom, many of the humans liked the idea of going there. Minerva saw this and was surprised that people were actually listening to him. Minerva was about to upload everybody's brain to island's web. Everyone freaked out about this. Finn told Minerva that it was freaking everyone out. Finn then showed Minerva his memories of helping people all over Ooo. After learning that Ooo taught Finn to behave like that then it may not be all bad. Minerva then allowed everyone to leave the islands if they wanted to. However, no one except for Susan's friend Frieda ended up leaving because it was "too early" for most people. Minerva then spoke to the island guardian and told him that "it's time to stand down" and the guardian was deactivated.
List of Islands
- Founder's Island
- Hub Island
- unnamed Better Reality Island
- Back-to-Nature Island
- Minerva Campbell (on Founder's Island, formerly Hub Island)
- Minerva Bots (on Founder's Island)
- Humans (mostly on Founder's Island and B.R. Island, formerly Hub Island, and Back-to-Nature Island)
- Alva (on Back-to-Nature Island)
- Better Reality Players (on B.R. Island)
- Wolves (on Hub Island, possibly Back-to-Nature Island)
- Giant Parrots (Back-to-Nature Island)
- Albert (on Back-to-Nature Island)
- Finn Mertens (formerly on Hub Island)
- Martin Mertens (formerly on Hub Island)
- Dr. Gross (formerly on Hub Island)
- Susan Strong/Kara (formerly on Hub Island)
- Frieda (formerly on Hub Island, later Founder's Island)
- Two Bread Tom (now deceased)
- The Deceased Majority of Humans on Hub Island and Back-to-Nature Island