They used to be Humans and Elves before the Scourge came and poisoned the unlucky ones, turning them into Undead monsters. They sacked the human city of Lordaeron forcing the inhabitants to flee for their lives. You will notice that some of the Forsaken NPCs have human names and thats because that character was human at one time.
During a battle between the Lich King and Illidan Stormrage, a group of the Undead broke free from the powers of the Scourge. Led by Sylvannas Windrunner, they took control of Lordaeron and built a City underneath. They hate the term the Undead, preferring to be known as the Forsaken instead.
The Scourge was the name of a virus that was created by Professor Putricide in the Icecrown Citadel on Northrend. All those infected became walking Zombies. Putricide's ultimate aim was to create a virus that would kill all living creatures on the planet.
Fortunately for all the life on Azeroth, heroes managed to break into the Citadel and kill Putricide before he could unleash the virus. The stockpiles of the virus was destroyed and the world was saved.
Lady Sylvanas was an elf at one time but during a battle with the Lich King, she was killed and corrupted by the Scourge. Sylvanas had two sisters, both of whom are allied with the Alliance. Sylvanas was able to break free from the powers of the Burning Legion and lead a large group of the undead to independence. Sylvanas became their queen.
After the events of Legion, Sargeras destroyed Silithus by ploughing a large sword into the ground causing Azerite to bubble to the surface. The Night Elves mined this Azerite and took it to their capital city Teldrassil. Sylvannas attacked and destroyed Teldrassil causing the Night Elves to be homeless.
It was a highly controversial move by the designers and Sylvanas was called a War Criminal for good reason. In retaliation, the Alliance assaulted Undercity in order to capture Sylvanas and put her on trial. Sylvanas turned into a banshee and escaped.
Copyright: Blizzard Entertainment
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