The Nyissans were a race of humans who lived in the small, Southern nation of Nyissa on the main continent containing Aloria. The Nyissans worshipped the god Issa, had the totem animal of the snake, and were ruled by a matriarchal monarchy under Queen Salmissra. The queen was essentially a figurehead, and the government was in fact operated by the bureaucracy comprised mainly of male eunuchs. The most senior political figure was Sadi, the Nyissan Chief Eunuch - a minor character in the Belgariad and a companion in the Malloreon.
The Nyissan people were famous for their skills with poisons and drugs as a result of the wide range of flora in their jungle country. Nyissan assassins were formidable and involved in many crucial murders, such as the death of King Gorek the Wise, and the poisoning of Emperor Zakath.
Nyissa's economy also depended on the slave trade, and Nyissan slavers were a familiar sight throughout the world, especially around battlefields - slavers captured prisoners from the Tolnedran campaign against the Marags, inadvertently helping to continue that race, albeit in captivity.
Due to their skill with pharmaceuticals, drug addictions were commonplace throughout the population and many Nyissans were almost permanently affected by chemicals. Their political apparatus was routinely affected by power struggles, and marked by assassination - even of accredited ambassadors from other sovereign nations.
The Nyissan people managed to survive despite their precarious geopolitical nation and lack of alignment with either Alorn or Angarak. To achieve this, the government developed a very strategic, if cynical and immoral, international policy of appeasement and preference.