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Earth, also known as Terra or Sol Ⅲ, is the third planet of the Sol system, and one of its four terrestrial worlds. Homeworld of humanity, Earth is the greatest hub of human politics and, technically, still the capital planet and the dominant superpower, with its governing body the United Nations. It has always been at the forefront of human history.


History

Prehistoric to Modern Age

Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago and gave rise to the first single-celled organisms about 3.9 billion years ago. About 437,000 years ago, the ancestors of modern humans, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa and eventually spread across the entire planet. Eventually, the humans, originally consisting of groups of hunter-gatherers, began to organize themselves into larger societies. More and more of these societies became organized as imperial states from the Chinese Empire to the Roman Empire, which grew by conquering older ones like Egypt and claiming the heritage of the Hellenistic world in its struggle with Persia, adding their mark on societies to come. With time these empires changed and for example, the Roman Empire divided into two different sovereignty, of which one was conquered shortly thereafter. The other, which historians refer to as the Byzantine Empire, reigned until 1453 accommodating and struggling with the rise of monotheism.

For the better part of the post-classical age, the Islamic Golden Age made way for empires like the Mongol Empire which furthered transcontinental trade, becoming a driving factor for transcontinental colonization. Empires of PortugalSpain, Netherlands, France, England, and Russia emerged and fought among each other over the colonization of most parts of the planet.

With more products available population and knowledge grew, enacting an infrastructure for a globalized planetary society.

Post-Modern ages

By the year 1914, much of the world was divided into two factions, the Triple Entente, or Allies: the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and later the United States of America, and the Triple Alliance, or Central Powers: the German Empire and Austria-Hungary and other states. The Central Powers were defeated at the end of World War I in 1918, resulting in a decade of prosperity and the rise of state socialism, followed by economic depression and the rise of Fascism in many countries. In 1939, another World War erupted, between the Allies (Britain, the Soviet Union, China, the USA, and many other nations) and the Axis (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and the Empire of Japan). These times saw a historic climax in mass persecution and outright genocide.

In 1945, the Allies defeated the Axis. Later that year, the victorious nations, in an attempt to prevent more genocide, mass persecution, humanitarian plight and wars of any scale founded the United Nations, an international assembly of nations, whose goal was to settle international disputes peacefully and was the predecessor to the current, unified UN.

After World War II, humanity would lack war on that scale, although smaller wars and conflicts erupted, including the Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, and prolonged conflicts in Southwest Asia. In the early 21st century, terrorism became a particular political hot-topic for governments on Earth and small wars broke out along with civil unrest in many countries. However, no full wars on the same scale as past World Wars erupted until three centuries later.

With social movements like feminism and decolonization, universal suffrage increased and became to dominate politics. The times had come for societies to revolve around mass welfare and mass freedom enforced through democratic statehood. The centerpiece of this change was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specified through the two UN treaties of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

In 1957, humanity finally made their way into space with unmanned probes, and by 1961, humans themselves had gone into space. With 1969, humanity had stepped for the first time on an extraterrestrial surface - Earth's sole natural satellite, Luna.

With space infrastructure, the importance of the UN grew and space governance was introduced with treaties like the Outer Space Treaty and culminating in the Moon Treaty.

Interplanetary colonization

By the mid and late 21st century, humanity's national governments, under the auspices of the United Nations, then simply a supranational organization, but with considerably more power than at its inception, had begun to establish colonies on the other planets in the Sol system, the most notable of these being Luna and Mars. However, after continuous success and because of the precarious state of Earth's ecosystem due to extensive pollution, the nations decided to relinquish their national governing rights and make the UN into a global, unified government.

Solomon Epstein's drive technology allowed for Mars to secede and achieve its independence.

Eventually, in the 23nd century, the colonial government that administered humanity's first colony demanded that they be independent. The United Nations, reticent to cede their control over Mars, refused. It was only thanks to Solomon Epstein Books • TV and his groundbreaking invention, the Epstein drive, that war was avoided. The colonial government offered the UN access to the revolutionary drive in exchange for independence. To avoid Mars having a tactical advantage, the UN agreed.

For the next century and a third, the United Nations and its newly proclaimed rival, the Martian Congressional Republic (MCR), often competed over living standards, technology, and military strength. However, no true conflict erupted between the two superpowers, and relations kept a decent level of cordiality. After both nations had access to the drive and were able to mass-produce it, humanity expanded beyond the confines of the inner Sol system and began establishing outposts on asteroids of the Asteroid Belt, such as Eros and Ceres, eventually reaching the moons of the gas giants, such as Io, Ganymede, Europa, and more distant ones, such as Titan and Titania.

UN-MCR Cold War

Until the discovery of the Protomolecule roughly eight years prior to the Eros incident Books • TV, the UN and the MCR remained neutral one towards the other, but continuously oppressed their colonies' inhabitants in the Belt and outer planets. Small insurrections started taking place but were quickly stifled. This authoritarian process continued, which led to the formation of the Outer Planets Alliance, a multi-movement organization that sought the independence of the Belt and outer planets from Earth. Called 'terrorist' by both Mars and Earth, the organization saw itself as opposed by the two superpowers. Eventually, through Tycho Station, Fred Johnson Books • TV, a former United Nations Marine Corps (UNMC) marine, became the OPA's de facto leader and spokesperson.

Around the mid-24th century, the Martian government issued a project regarding the exploration and eventual exploitation of Phoebe for raw materials, mostly water. Their finding there prompted Mars to prolong research regarding the Saturn moon, establishing a decently large laboratory. They sought partnership with Protogen, a mega-corporation owned by Jules-Pierre Mao Books • TV. Ultimately, they concluded that the pathogen found there - in the meantime dubbed the Protomolecule, or the 'Phoebe bug' - was extra-solar in origin and must have been implanted there by an alien civilization. The Martian government saw this as an opportunity to finally gain the upper hand over the UN.

The Eros incident marked a major shift in UN policy and the geopolitics of the system.

After a series of events involving Julie Mao Books • TV, the eldest daughter of Jules-Pierre, the Protomolecule was let loose on Eros station, killing 100,000 people. The biomass of the victims was absorbed by the alien pathogen, which then began manipulating gravity at the quantum level and launched Eros towards Earth. Hysteria quickly spread through the planet's population, while governmental officials were already evacuating to Luna. Eventually, thanks to former detective Josephus Miller Books • TV, human extinction on the planet was avoided, with Eros ultimately impacting Venus instead of humanity's home-world.

A relatively short amount of time later, marines of the United Nations Marine Corps and the Martian Marine Corps were attacked by a human-protomolecule hybrid on Ganymede. The incident on the ground escalated into full engagement in orbit around the Jovian moon as the Ganymede incident Books • TV. Thousands of residents lost their homes, while others had to leave the station as refugees to other human settlements across the system. Following the incident, the UN issued a research project regarding Eros' impact crater into Venus by sending the scientific vessel UNS Arboghast.

The later death of the remaining human-Protomolecule hybrids determined the Protomolecule to launch a 1,000-km wide Ring two astronomical units outside of Uranus' orbit. The Ring proved to be an artificially sustained usable wormhole, capable of transporting ships to a hub of other Rings, each leading to a different system. This enlarged humanity's horizons, finally uplifting the species to the interstellar scale.

Interstellar ages and conflicts

The opening of the Ring network allowed millions of Earth's population to seek a better life as colonists.

The United Nations sent multiple probes to other systems, pursuing the existence of a habitable planet for humanity to colonize. Eventually, Ilus was found to be a suitable candidate. Unbeknownst to Earth's government, the planet was already populated by Ganymede refugees. The UN gave the rights of colonization and exploitation to the Royal Charter Energy, but the company was unsuccessful. It took James Holden Books • TV and his crew's methods for the situation to come to a resolution.

Following the colonization of Ilus, the United Nations began sending multiple colony ships through the wormhole gates to colonize other planets in other systems. In a relatively short period of time, humanity had a decent number of interstellar colonies, having expanded more in a decade than it did in two hundred years. Prior to the ignition of the Free Navy Conflict, the colonies, Earth, and Mars had a relatively tension-less relationship.

Free Navy Conflict

The first stealth-coated asteroid enters the atmosphere above West Africa.

Roughly a decade after the Eros incident, a radical group known as the Free Navy, led by Marco Inaros Books • TV, who, in turn, received commands from a rogue MCRN Admiral Winston Duarte, launched an offensive on Earth and Mars simultaneously. Before the UN and its allies could repel the invading fleet, Earth was left crippled with the Bombardment of Earth Books • TV, a devastating attack of MCRN stealth technology-coated asteroids launched at the planet, killing millions and destroying regions in North America, West Africa and South Asia.

This was the commencing act of the deadliest war humanity would come to see, the Free Navy Conflict Books • TV. Eventually, the Free Navy was defeated, leaving the Consolidated Fleet victorious, but at costs deemed not worth perceiving. Even after the war, Earth remained ecologically devastated and its effects were still notable decades after.

Laconia-Sol Conflict

A recovered Earth thirty years after the Free-Navy conflict faced a new threat during the Laconia-Sol Conflict. When the self-isolated Laconia system suddenly emerged to take control of the slow zone Books • TV and Medina Station Books • TV. The now named Laconian Empire then shifted their sights to take the Sol system. This was however met with resistance by the Earth-Mars Coalition and Transport Union who were attempting to defend their system. Following this, Laconian military representatives sent their Magnetar-class battlecruiser, the Heart of the Tempest to take control. This conflict was however short-lived when the Tempest single handedly slaughtered the opposing forces fleets. Following this defeat, the UN surrendered to the Laconian Empire and the balance of power shifted away from the Sol System for the first time in the history of humanity.

Living standards and civilian life

Pre-bombardment

In the 24th century, prior to the Bombardment of Earth, the planet faced extreme scarcity and relied heavily on resources provided from the Belt to run its global economy. The combined population of Earth and its colonies stood at 31 billion citizens, and there were far more people than available jobs.

Anyone who could not apply for a job had the option of either enrolling in a governmental educational institution (commonly abbreviated as GEI), or living off of the UN welfare system known as Basic Assistance. Over half of Earth's population lived on Basic.

When an individual applied to a government educational institution, that individual was required to have a minimum of one year's worth of work credits in order to apply. This was mandatory to ensure that classroom space is not wasted on individuals without work discipline and lack of ambition.

Melting of the polar ice caps from prior Global warming, had led to a significant rise in sea level by more than 20 metres.

Earth's society is highly stratified. With more than 30 billion inhabitants, resources are scarce and there are simply not enough jobs for everyone on the planet. Although many Earth corporations and the United Nations itself are extremely wealthy, much of the planet’s population lives in severe poverty. Broadly, Earth’s citizens can be divided into two groups: those with jobs and those on Basic Assistance. The employed drive the economy, both with their purchasing power and their surplus production, which supports the rest of the planet’s population. The simple fact that they have currency is a mark of both status and social class.

Nevertheless, there are still sharp divisions among the employed based on just how much money they have. The extremely wealthy live and shop in their own enclaves, and private security ensures they never have to mingle with low or middle-income earners, much less anyone else. Those with jobs have access to high-quality food and medical care, the ability to purchase land and property, and the right to have children, provided they can afford the license and taxes to do so. Instituted by the United Nations in an attempt to curb Earth’s overpopulation, the so-called “baby tax” is prohibitively expensive, so it is not unheard of for groups of people to form civil unions or family co-ops where multiple parents share the tax burden (and even DNA) for one child. It is, of course, possible to have children without paying the baby tax, though only if one relies on the black market and unlicensed doctors, or wins one of the few opportunities for exemption each year.[1]

Post-bombardment

The Bombardment of Earth from the Free Navy at the beginning of the Free Navy Conflict left the planet's infrastructure and environment crippled, with many residents, including officials of the UN government, resorting to immediate evacuation.

In the wake of the Free Navy Conflict, a part of Earth's inhabitants chose to return to the planet and begin the rebuilding process. However, the population afterward was half of what it once was.

30 years after the conflict, Earth had recovered from the devastation it received and had finally opened its doors for trade. The power it once held over all of humanity however then came to an end after being defeated in the Laconia-Sol Conflict.

Human geography

Locations

Location Type Notes
New York City City Federal capital of the United Nations, hosts the nation's government and military centers, mainly the UN Secretariat with the Secretary-General, his cabinet government, and the General Assembly legislature. Also the location of the embassy of the MCR to the UN.

Before the global unification, New York served as headquarters of the United Nations Secretariat and General Assembly, then supranational organizations.

The Hague City Headquarters of the UN civil administration and the principal nucleus of the judicial branch.
Baltimore City Birthplace of Amos Burton Books • TV.
Copenhagen City
Kano City Elvi Okoye Books • TV studied there at the Kano University of Science and Technology.
Abuja City
Paris City
Cedar Rapids City Birthplace of UNN Lieutenant Jordaan Nemeroff.
Saint Petersburg City Home of Anna Volovodov Books • TV.
Boston City Klaes Ashford Books • TV studied at the Lunar campus of the Boston University.
Tel Aviv City Paolo Cortázar Books • TV studied there at the Tel Aviv Autonomous University.
Montana Region Birthplace of James Holden Books • TV.
Gulf of Denmark Region Location of Copenhagen.
Yukon Archipelago Region Location of Anchorage Island, home of Franklin DeGraaf and Craig.
The Pit Maximum security penitentiary Officially the Chesapeake Maximum Security Correctional Center (C.M.S.C.C.), Clarissa Mao Books • TV was imprisoned there after the slow zone incident Books • TV.
Winnipesaukee Island Residential enclave Location of various summer residences of wealthy Earth families, site of the gun battle in Winnipesaukee.
Earth administrative zones UN administrative division

Urban centres and socio-economics

With such a high population, most of Earth’s citizens congregate in its teeming cities, which sprawl across the planet’s surface. At one time, the Urban Arcology movement attempted to address Earth’s overpopulation problem by building vast structures to house dense concentrations of people with minimal impact on their surrounding environment. Powered by their own self-contained fusion reactors, these arcologies were designed to exist as self-sustaining ecosystems, but the technology did not yet exist to fully exploit the concept. Nevertheless, failed arcologies litter many cities on Earth, towering into the sky or stretching for miles through the urban landscape. Some people still inhabit these crumbling monoliths from a more optimistic time, but the Urban Arcology movement never lived up to its promise.

Today, most cities have a central commercial district, filled with skyscrapers housing corporate offices and luxury residential apartments for the wealthy. Basic and minimal-income housing neighborhoods ring the commercial districts and stretch for miles, making up the largest proportion of real estate in most cities. Even with this much area, space is at a premium. Basic housing is crowded, and government apartment blocks are often old, underfunded, and derelict.

Shared accommodations are usually mandated, and extended families inhabit squalid living spaces designed for half as many people. Low-income homes are an improvement over Basic housing, consisting of either simple apartments or small, mass-produced, single-story houses on tiny plots of land. Their key distinction is that their residents pay rent or mortgages for them, and thus get some say over their condition and location. Finally, on the outskirts of the cities sit the orderly grids of middle-income suburbs and strip malls. The roads linking the various city districts together incorporate an electric network that powers and directs vehicles, from private cars to public transit such as the free automated bus service provided by Basic in most urban centers. Streets are invariably crowded with an automated traffic and the packed throngs of people, either those with jobs traveling to and from work at shift change, or the aimless masses of those on Basic, wandering the streets and searching for some meaning in their small, dismal lives.

Rural areas and infrastructure

What open land remains outside Earth’s sprawling urban centers is dedicated mostly to automated industrial farming, where machines labor to produce the food and other organics to sustain not only Earth’s population but much of the Solar system as well. Private land ownership is rare outside the ranks of the ultra-wealthy, though small family farms do persist in some areas, contributing their own tiny share to the planet’s total food production.

High-speed rail lines connect major cities to one another, and vast solar-powered cargo vessels carry humanity’s trade across Earth’s polluted oceans.[2]

Government and politics

Chrisjen Avasarala is the currently acting Secretary-General of the United Nations

The government is called the UN or United Nations. The United Nations is the centralized political body of Earth, having been founded from the merger of Earth's sovereign nations. Instead of having separate governments for each country, the UN wields authoritative power over Earth, however it is still heavily devolved and is comprised of numerous autonomously-acting states.

As a democratic parliamentary republic, the UN's government is divided into three branches. The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the principal executive leader, serving as head of state, head of government and de jure commander-in-chief of the United Nations Navy. The office heads the cabinet government and United Nations Security Council, is directly elected and comprises the executive branch. The United Nations General Assembly serves as the country's legislature, and the Court of Justice as its independent judiciary. The Secretariat, the executive government, and the General Assembly are seated in New York City, while the Court of Justice is located in New Hague on Luna.

Media

See also

References

  1. The Expanse Roleplaying Game, chapter 8 - Earth
  2. The Expanse Roleplaying Game, chapter 8 - Earth

External links


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