Earth's history produces in its people a depth of emotion that no Solar Nation can truly comprehend. Solar history is but a footnote to the millennia of human existence on Earth. To Earthers of any political allegiance, the Solar Nations are simply an adjunct to their world. The nations of Earth believe that they are humankind in its natural state; their history is the story of humankind and their cultures are humankind's greatest legacy. The achievements of the Solar Nations are seen as little more than theft, built as they are on the ashes of the Fall.
CEGA is fundamentally committed to seeking restitution for this perceived betrayal, thus restoring Earth's rightful dominance and rebuilding everything lost in the Fall. This sense of injustice provides the moral rationale for CEGA's military endeavors, in addition to its basic need for the resources and technical expertise of the colonies. Much of CEGA's emotional vigor had been traced by historians back to religious and social traditions of North America and Europe; despite nearly complete cultural upheaval, many of these traditions have been retained in recognizable form, enabling CEGA citizens to claim superiority based on the words, deeds and beliefs of hundreds of generations of ancestors.
Rise & FallEditSixteen thousand years ago, humans built the first cities in the river plains of what is now CEGA's Mesopotamian Protectorate and the ATS' Yellow River. Until quite recently humankind usually looked to the stars in religious awe; it was only two hundred fifty-six years ago that humanity first left the planet. Solar historians label the period before Yuri Gugarin orbited the mother planet as the Earth Age. This offhand reference has been known to cause fistfights with Earthers irate at "colonial arrogance." Despite such violent protestations, however, only the most recent centuries of the Earth's history have any real meaning in the arena of Solar politics.
The time of the Second Space Race was Earth's highest achievement, as Man boldly stepped forth into the cosmos to claim the rest of the Solar System as his own. Powerful nations directed the destiny of untold millions, and science advanced at an unprecedented pace. Although CEGA citizens loudly proclaim the glories of that time, one will find that many among the Solar nations know that segment of human history far better than people from the planet from whence the colonists came, mostly because the roots of their own space-borne societies can be traced there. Just as the Roman Empire was forgotten in the Dark Ages, so the Superpower Age was forgotten during the Fall.
For all Earth's history and past accomplishments, CEGA and its members are foundling nations, young and vigorous as new nations always are, and their histories are mostly built from Orbital records. Whether they will ignore the lessons of the past remains to be seen.
The Age of Solar ExpansionEdit
The mid-twentieth century was dominated by two superpowers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. It was their intense competition that led to the initial development of space flight and other orbital technologies, in what historians call the First Space Race. In the twenty-first century the two original superpowers were joined by three more: China, the European Union and Japan. Though the United States continued to be the most powerful nation on Earth, thanks to its preeminence in aerospace technology, the other members of the Big Five, as the superpower nations were called, grew to rival the US in military and industrial capacity. The competition between them led to the Second Space Race.
While Solar history books talk of the private concerns that funded the major technological developments of the Second Space Race, like the fusion-powered Megaloader shuttle of 201 1, it was the Big Five who used this technology to colonize the Solar System. Colonial competition was a useful safety valve for national rivalries, especially as the population of Earth grew, straining the planet's resources ever more dangerously as the twenty-first century progressed.
It was, in many ways, a golden age. The superpowers poured money into research, looking for breakthroughs to aid their solar exploration, even to the extent of running down their Earth-based militaries, which were seen as the products of a bygone age. This flurry of research led to major discoveries like fusion power and diamond composites. Scientific success and humanity's conquest of the last frontier combined to produce a global feeling of invincibility, which in turn led to an economic boom of unprecedented proportions. This boom did much to solve the lingering problem of poverty in the more disadvantaged nations, and by 2050 a host of newly empowered states, led by India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa and Indonesia, was rising to challenge the Big Five.
Yet in this economic triumph lay the seeds of the Fall; while Solar colonization was successful, it was not successful enough. By 2060 the various solar colonies had become almost self-sufficient, but they were not returning the hoped-for bounty of resources to Earth. The home of humankind was groaning under the weight of thirteen billion people and in the late twenty-first century the environment started to collapse. Desertification, rising sea levels, ozone layer depletion and pollution on a massive scale ravaged entire nations. The most immediate effect was a dramatic global climate change that caused storms, droughts, and other destructive weather phenomena of a ferocity unmatched in recorded history.
The Big Five used the growing list of disasters as an excuse to transform the United Nations into the domineering Provisional Terran Government in 2067. The overwhelming power of the Big Five limited open resistance by smaller nations. However, rather than trying to fix the problems besetting Earth, the superpowers used the PTG to shift the effects of ecological breakdown onto other countries, thus ensuring continued high standards of living for their own populations. The PTG grew rich, and the environment continued to deteriorate.
The 2070s saw the end of the Second Space Race. With dozens of small nations verging on collapse and middle powers becoming increasingly restless, the Big Five turned from solar exploration to military spending. By the end of the decade the superpowers had built massive armies, their troops in constant action maintaining control over the Earth. The most telling event of the decade was Project New Earth, the secret flight of Japanese, German, Chinese and American corporations to Venus in 2072. The Project caused massive public outrage and paranoia; the failure of intelligence agencies to uncover the plot panicked the superpowers into major purges of suspect officials.
Project New Earth, in its effort to escape the possibility of a global disaster, served as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The panic resulting from the Project, including massive withdrawal of industrial, monetary and technical assets, sank the global economy into a deep recession. The Project also upset the balance of power among the Big Five; Japan's business-dominated political system was left in chaos by the departure of its wealthiest components. By the time the civil strife was crushed by a military coup in 2075, Japan had become little more than a Chinese satellite state. The United States' larger economy and more stable political system managed to absorb the damage; the Project undermined faith in the federal government, however, as many senior officials began to move to Venus, following their corporate patrons. The US seized all remaining Earth-local corporate facilities, but could not hold on to them with its weakened space program.
By 2080, the recession had become a global depression. Harvests were failing regularly, natural disasters had become an everyday occurrence and the resulting political problems had severely undermined the remaining superpowers. As their power slipped, the superpowers reduced their overseas commitments and many small nations collapsed. The PTG listed two dozen destroyed states by 2082. PTG troops were only kept in failed states to enforce control of important resources, such as the Nile watershed.
Such 'police actions' added to the hundreds of minor conflicts raging around the world, as hardship ignited dormant ethnic, racial and religious hatreds. In the rising chaos, millions died of famine and pestilence. In these last days before the Fall, millions of desperate people seized every available launch site and fled into space, including the more visionary members of the PTG, which moved to Pyrea Station in 2081. From the Orbitals, the Exodus would continue for another two decades, gradually moving the bulk of humanity to the colonies. In 2085, when Mars declared its independence, the superpowers were too weak to do anything but send noisy protests.
By the end of the twenty-first century the United States was the only remaining democratic superpower. In Japan, China, Russia and Europe, terrified political elites spent the 2090s hiding behind military juntas. The few remaining commercial spaceports cycled through a seemingly endless flood of refugees. The superpowers' desperation led them to demand the control of any resource they felt they needed, often leading to military conflict.
Major wars ripped through Southeast Asia, South America, and Southern Africa. Hundreds of thousands perished in the so-called Resource Wars, and irreplaceable industrial and spaceport facilities were deliberately destroyed. In orbit, many stations began to shut down skyhooks and turn away shuttles, unwilling to become involved in the violence below; more ships left for the colonies. The Resource Wars ended in 2098 when a combined American- European taskforce accepted the surrender of the Brazilian government amid the ruins of Brasilia.
The astronauts and scientists who ran the superpowers' space agencies had been conspiring since the 2080s. The Big Five would eventually turn on each other, and a world war would inevitably spread into orbit, risking the destruction of the space stations that housed the conspirators' families. Loyalty to the vibrant society they had built in space proved more binding than ties to the corrupt and dying nations. When the Chinese Space Corps was ordered to support the invasion of Siberia in 2099, the conspirators acted. As the first Chinese tanks rolled over the Russian border, all the superpowers' remaining planetary aerospace facilities were destroyed or badly damaged by massive explosions.
The Third World War is considered to have formally started when Europe, hoping for access to Siberian resources, joined Russia in its war against China. Japan, along with Vietnam, Singapore and India, honored their alliances with China and committed military forces. The Europeans and Russians brought in Iran and various African and South American countries. There was little popular support for the war in these satellite states, but the pro-superpower puppet governments did as their masters ordered.
The Third World WarEdit
Only the United States held itself apart, distracted by the desire to retrieve its lost orbital facilities. While the other superpowers were furious, the war quickly absorbed their attention. The US, however, was not going to give up so easily, especially since it had possessed the majority of the rebelling orbital facilities. More importantly, the conspirators within the United States Space Forces (USSF) and NASA had not been able to cripple America's ability to attain orbit. In 2100 loyal units of the USSF marines retook a number of low earth orbit stations, depressurizing the one station that resisted. Plans were then made to bring the whole of Earth orbit and the Moon under American rule, regardless of the individual stations' nation of origin.
Before the US could accomplish this grand design, an unknown agent crashed the North American Information Grid. The Grid was central to the command and control of police and military forces, as well as the day-to-day operations of business and government. Present-day CEGA propaganda blames this attack on the Orbitals, but there is no conclusive evidence; so many factions and nations had both motive and ability that the true perpetrators will likely never be identified. The chaos caused by the Grid's crash was not fatal, but in the confusion, a coalition of South- and Central American countries sought revenge for their defeat in the Resource Wars. While the forces involved were only a minor threat, the attack drew the United States into the conflict. Within a year the US had been driven from orbit by Asian and European missiles. By 2103, war losses meant that none of the superpowers was in a position to reach orbit, let alone control it.
In 2105, the Russians made the first use of chemical weapons and then in 2106 released an engineered fast-burn virus in Beijing. A Chinese nuclear missile destroyed Novosibirsk in retaliation. While nuclear and chemical weapons were destructive in limited geographical zones, gene-hunting bioweapons devastated entire peoples across the planet. Employed by almost every faction, these cheap and easily modified weapons wiped out entire bloodlines and broke countries up into isolated and fearful communities.
By 2116 the fighting had been reduced to little more than a series of local wars, though historians judge the Third World War to have continued until 2119, when the last President of the United States, Mary Ball, was killed by a nuclear strike on Colorado Springs. With her death the last and greatest of the superpowers ceased to exist as a unified state.
The Long WinterEdit
The mass destruction of records during the Fall obscures the details of life on Earth from the late twenty-first to mid-twenty-second century. The best information comes from the detailed observations of the Orbital colonies; in their records the horror of this time is laid out in dry statistics. From a high of 13 billion, the population of Earth dropped to no more than 3 billion by 2130. A death toll of 10 billion is an impossible figure to truly comprehend. To put the figure in perspective, the dead would populate the existing Jovian Stations twenty times over, and is nearly twice the current sum total of humanity. Understanding the mental scars left by this terrible period is central to any study of CEGA's modern outlook.
Earth was devastated. Orbital observers estimated that ecological failure and war damage reduced arable land by 80 percent, leaving barely enough to support the survivors. Nuclear fallout in the upper atmosphere produced a limited nuclear winter and average global temperature dropped by two degrees, producing further dramatic climate changes. Numerous areas were radioactively, chemically or biologically contaminated and the basic infrastructure of civilization, like bridges, roads, power plants and ports, lay shattered or abandoned. The resources needed to rebuild, including clean water, raw materials, trained personnel and reliable communications, were either exhausted, contaminated, destroyed or needed to hold off starvation as harvests failed for lack of clean soil, reliable rain and warm weather.
The people of Earth did not go beyond basic subsistence for many decades, making only the smallest moves to overcome the great obstacles that every community faced. It was in Europe and North America, which had possessed the most advanced nations before the Fall, that the first signs of revival appeared. The most important factor was the depth of technical knowledge among the populations of those regions. Even with the massive death toll and the departure of the scientific elite, there were still people to repair and build generators, radios and weapons. Rebuilding was a slow process, however; towns were reluctant to overcome their fears of disease and starvation and only a few visionary leaders worked to reestablish ties with other communities.
It was not until the late 2140s that anything resembling central government returned to areas larger than a few hundred square kilometers. These small states quickly attracted support, which allowed them to rebuild industries and develop limited resource bases, but environmental and economic conditions remained fragile. Within a decade, nations had been reborn, but by necessity, these were small nations. The new governments brought law and order to the chaos left by the Fall and famine ceased to be an everyday problem, though a bad harvest could still make starvation a real concern and much of the planet remained devastated and untamed. Inevitably, scarce resources led to conflict, but the fighting was limited; there were insufficient resources to support long wars. What these conflicts did, however, was quicken the pace of integration and technological renewal.
The Unification WarsEdit
By the 2160s four new nations dominated North America: the Green States of California, the Maritime League, the New American States (NAS) and the Republic of Texas. Beyond their borders the continent remained split into isolated communities; so much rebuilding was needed that peace could probably have gone on for another century were it not for the NAS' expansionist policies.
Religiously and racially fundamentalist, the NAS wished to conquer the continent and purge it of those they considered incapable of handling the responsibility of rebuilding North America. However, their attempt to annex the northwest coast led them into conflict with California, and in 2163, the first Unification War broke out. The Republic of Texas launched a surprise attack on the distracted California in early 2164, in an effort to gain control of water resources along the coast. By 2165, the Texans and NAS were also at war, fighting over resources in the Great Plains. Only the Maritime League, protected by the Midwestern Desert, managed to stay aloof from the fighting and concentrate on industrial and technical reconstruction.
During this same period three powers had ailsen in Europe: the Confederate Kingdom of Poland, the Kingdom of France and the Empire of Turkey. The first European Unification War started in 2165 when the Poles and Turks went to war over salvage rights in southeastern Russia. The Kingdom of France used diplomacy to keep the Poles and Turks focused on each other, funding its reconstruction by selling arms to both sides and developing close trade ties with the Maritime League.
With resources at a premium, armies were mostly infantry formations; a few tanks or aircraft could change the course of a battle. The desire for better weapons quickened the pace of reconstruction, but military production used more resources than the fighting gained. Afraid of another collapse, France and the League worked to unite North America and Europe. They secretly armed restless minorities, even within their own territory, until guerrilla warfare erupted throughout both continents. As soon as the fighting had sufficiently undermined political and economic stability, they took diplomatic action.
The French invited the Turks and Poles to a conference in the ruins of Berlin. At the meeting the French claimed that if the three states cooperated they could crush all opposition to their dominance; otherwise, unrest would eventually sweep all three nations away as they squabbled among themselves. Beset by rebellion the Turks and Poles agreed and on March 28, 2170, the United States of Europe was formed. Joint campaigns to crush internal dissent were a great success; the abrupt cessation of secret French arms supplies left the various rebel groups unable to resist the assault.
In North America, the League approached California and the Texans and offered them a strategic alliance, hoping to draw the isolationist NAS in later. The North American Alliance was signed on October 2, 2170. The new allies immediately began diplomatic entreaties to the NAS. After a year, an agreement was reached. The NAS would become a military and economic ally with the other Alliance nations for the sake of presenting a unified front in international dealings, but it would maintain closed borders; all interaction with the rest of the Alliance would be through carefully controlled border consulates.
By 2172 both the USE and Alliance completely dominated their respective continents, bloodless saber rattling having brought the remaining small states into line. From this powerful base the two alliances poured resources into reconstruction and territorial expansion. North Africa and Central America were quickly conquered, but in 2176 the strategic situation changed dramatically. USE armies in western Siberia were stopped by the Siberian Republic, a joint military expedition in the Congo Basin was defeated by the previously unknown Azanian Compact and the Alliance's marauding Pacific fleets were attacked by both Japan and the Australia-New Zealand Allied Commonwealth (ANZAC). Determined to pursue their dreams of global reunification, the Alliance and USE formed a temporary pact known as the Union, and attacked their new enemies. The result was the last and longest of the Unification Wars.
Air and naval battles raged across the Pacific as Alliance, ANZAC and Japanese forces clashed over various island chains. On the Serengeti plains, Azanian and USE armored units fought a series of mobile campaigns, while an infantry war raged in the jungles of the Congo Basin. On the vast West Siberian plain and among the Kazakh Hills, air-mobile and armored battles raged between the USE and Siberian Republic. In 2178, the Chinese Federation and Japan allied with Siberia to form the core of the Asian Trading Sphere (ATS). Not long after, Chinese and Japanese reinforcements appeared on the Siberian Front.
The last Unification War was fought with increasingly high-tech weapons and reconstruction reached a fever pitch. As a result the fighting quickly became unsustainable, and by 2182, all sides were exhausted. Once more, France and the League persuaded their allies that further fighting would be unprofitable. Opponents of peace were distracted by a new goal, that of regaining contact with the colonies. In secret tests on the Azores, France and the League had successfully launched a space shuttle, giving the two continental alliances limited access to the industrial, technological and material riches of Earth orbit. Control of orbit, it was argued, would guarantee USE and Alliance domination of Earth at a low cost.
Already planning their orbital campaign, the Alliance and USE called an armistice in 2183. After six months of negotiations the Jerusalem Accords brought an end to the Unification Wars. Under the accords the Alliance and USE guaranteed they would not seek to expand on Earth by military means. In return ANZAC, the ATS and the Azanian Compact agreed not to back insurgents within USE or Alliance territory. With their Earth holdings secured, the USE and Alliance founded the Central Earth Government & Administration on January 1st 2184, claiming to be the rightful government of Earth and all humankind. On the basis of this claim, a fleet of shuttles left Earth on July 20th, 2184 and requested the membership of the orbital stations.
The members of CEGA were exhausted by their exertions during the latter Unification Wars. Even the armistice did not improve matters, as massive resources were diverted into making the Orbitals into effective military production facilities. The Orbitals, having barely survived the preceding decades, willingly joined CEGA in return for much-needed food and water. Covering for each other's weaknesses, the Orbitals and the Earth-bound states put every effort into consolidating the new government.
Consensus and ControlEdit
The turn inward was necessary; pressing internal problems were undermining political stability in every nation, especially in the hard-line Alliance states. The leadership of both the Alliance and USE were products of the Unification Wars, highly focused on internal security and Earth in general. Concerned and somewhat cowed by Orbital reports of a vast and wealthy nation near Jupiter, the Alliance and USE elected to curtail space operations until the Orbitals had completed the first production run of new warships. Until then, it was decided to solidify CEGA control over North America and Europe, in order to prepare a unified face to the Solar System.
CEGA's first decades were a period of seemingly unstoppable growth. The West Indies chose to join, as did Quebec (under League pressure). In Europe, the Swiss Corporate State and the United Kingdom were allowed to withdraw from the USE and become independent members. The African Union was founded, Orbital technology flowed in and Lunar assets slowly expanded. Many started predicting that CEGA would become the first true planetary government Earth had known. Such talk ignored the fact that the continental alliances remained central to the Administration's existence. Even so, when CEGA announced its presence to the Solar System at large in December 2184, its arrival was widely heralded as the dawn of a new Golden Age. This illusion lasted only as long as it took CEGA to launch its new space navy and demand favored trade status from all of its former colonies.
During this period, thanks to the economic power of the League, the Alliance recovered faster than the USE, allowing it to claim a slightly superior position on the new CEGA Council. This did them little good, however; the League soon found itself fighting the Venusians for economic preeminence in the Orbitals, and the hard-line states diverted too many of their resources into CEGA, leaving themselves with ever-increasing internal problems. The USE was content to let the North American nations act as if they were the natural leaders of CEGA, instead staying focused on economic development and security. European politics were fundamentally conservative and somewhat restricted by the presence of the Scandinavian Kingdoms, whose liberal social systems made them unwilling partners in imperialistic adventurism. The USE badly miscalculated their estimate of the Alliance's internal problems, however. North America was so busy putting down dissidents and guerrilla movements that it left control of CEGA to the ambitious bureaucratic and military officials in command of the Joint Services.