Earth

The homeworld of humanity, Earth has suffered from a number of environmental indignities which taken together, reduced the human population from an estimated peak of 8.8 billion in 2070 to no more than 1.7 billion by 2160 which is the date widely believed to represent the end of this downward trend. In subsequent years, population growth has been much slower and for the remainder of the third millenium it has remained stable at about 2.5 billion.

History

For much of its early history Earth was ostensibly governed by the so called "nation states" who were responsible for maintaining law and order within specific local geographical areas. This often gave rise to wars for territory or trade as the rulers competed for power and influence. In some cases large Empires were carved out and survived for significant periods, but these all fell when they were unable to meet the aspirations of their citizens. Even so, over time, the economies of scale and the interests of mercantile powers led to the formation of larger and larger alliances which strove to reduce regional tensions and equalise economic opportunity. By the beginning of the 21st century, power was starting to concentrate within a few large blocks in Europe, the United States of America and greater China.   The effects of a world wide pandemic which began in 2019 and the Great Intercontinental Trade War that followed seemed to mark a return to a resurgent nationalism and with the rise of the Moderators in the United States in 2054 it looked briefly as if this historical trend might be reversed.   The first great flood struck in 2070, proving once and for all that the failure to manage greenhouse gas emissions and to develop sustainable agricultural and environmental policies could no longer be denied or ignored. This was the start of the so called "dislocations", a period of famine, drought, flood and local wars, during which the human population was substantially culled. At the end of this period of chaos, the people turned on the old nationalists and the fossil fuel companies and in a brutal and very bloody coup in 2140, the first dynasty of the Resource Management World Government came to power. A unified world authority, albeit under six different dynasties, remained a feature of Earth government for almost all of the following seven hundred and fifty years, until the sixth and final dynasty collapsed in 2888, and more localised structures of government came back into fashion.   In the early 24th century, the Luminal Forge at IO, manufactured and tuned strip engines for the great emigration fleets of the Golden Age Of Adventure. Pictured below, we see the Viracocha class starship "New Morning" in Earth orbit, shortly before departure to Green Home. Ships built to the Viracocha design took the first generation colonists to Green Home, Blue Home, Unity, S'arys and Escaloda. There were no substantial improvements for over a hundred years, until refinements in the engine development process allowed for the creation of the larger Irawo class vessels which began to replace them from the beginning of the 25th century.  
Leaving Earth by DMFW with Terragen
  During the period of the Limitation, (2348 to 3541) Earth was at the centre of the Bubble and for many years at the beginning of this period it was the dominant regional political force, chairing the Solar Group and exerting control over the Great Commercial League.   Earth's power had already begun to weaken during the fourth dynasty of the Resource Management World Government when the colonies were dismayed by the irrational, inconsistent and unpredictable policies imposed from the centre. Alarmed by the rise of the Zed Men and by a growing xenophobia which also (we have subsequently learned) disturbed the Society Of Contemporary Races the colonies began to flex their economic muscles and to demand greater voting rights within the Solar Group. The S'arys Contract in 2455 had been the first attempt to shift the balance of power and this accelerated when Gall V signed the contract in 2475. With the completion of the Great Hammer in 2485, there was a viable alternative to the Luminal Forge which gave the colonies a way to build their own starships, beyond the direct control of Earth authorities. Even so, the Zephyr insurrection of 2531 was the first open declaration of independence and its success shocked the Solar Group and led to military escalation on Earth.   Many considered that the Bubble in the early 26th century was in a dangerous condition of interstellar tension which might have given rise to open warfare between Earth, her close allies and the more trenchant opposition at the edges of the Bubble. This was prevented when the fourth dynasty of the Resource Managment World Government collapsed under somewhat mysterious circumstances, recounted in the famous but questionably accurate tale of the Nine Meditations In The Temple Of Chromatic Enlightenment   Shortly after the fifth dynasty of the Resource Management World Government came to power, the Republic broke away from the Solar Group in 2540, in a move which is considered to mark the start of the fragmentaion of the Bubble and a significant weakening in the authority of Earth over its old colonies.   The end of the last dynasty of the Resource Management World Government in 2888 coincided with the end of the Solar Group and was a further major decline in the influence of the home world on the Bubble, although naturally Earth continued to carry some political weight by virtue of history and tradition, long after its economic and military power had dwindled. This was, however, divided and diffused between the independent regional blocks that now competed with one another.   In 3478, Earth had a seat on the council of the newly reformed Second Solar Group but by now it was only first of a community of near equals and the leadership of the Group operated on a rotating timetable.   When the Bubble burst in 3541, the second Solar Group made an important contribution to further outward expansion into the galaxy and the fabled Exodus From Earth in 3680 was at the heart of the so called, Ultimate Diaspora. By about 3920, it is widely believed that there were more humans living on the many colony worlds than there were on Earth itself.   In the long ages to follow, Earth would be of less and less importance and interest, gradually fading to become little more than a mythical Garden of Eden in the minds of most humans. Our documented history ends before this, however, when humanity was finally admitted to the Society Of Contemporary Races in 4085.


Cover image: Leaving Earth by DMFW with Terragen

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