A Capsule History of the Ages of Modern Man

Nine hundred years have passed since mankind nearly destroyed itself through war and ecotastrophe; the best part of a millennium in which all aspects of human life changed beyond recognition. The following is a concise guide to modern human history, divided into rough and overlapping eras, based on the predominant political, cultural, technological, and social characteristics of each period. These divisions are imposed by the historian, and the reader should take note that the realities of history are never so clear-cut.

All years are in VSY, Viridian Standard Years (identical with ‘City Years’ for those who prefer the older chronology).

The Wars of Secession (2494-2582)

The First War of Secession (2494-2498) occurred when the small scientific community of Prime, chafing under Viridian regulations, declared their independence from the homeworld and, in a brilliant series of defensive battles, successfully upheld their claim. The primitive and unspecialised ships of the era and the extreme distances involved, the breakthrough AI technologies employed by the Prime scientists, and VASA’s increasingly uncooperative stance toward Viridian centrism all compounded to frustrate Viridia’s attempts to hold her most distant colony.

Inspired by Prime’s success the volatile penal colony of Ironglass was next to declare independence in a violent series of rebellions that sparked the Second War of Secession (2558-2580), a far bloodier conflict than its predecessor which saw fighting across the homeworld system and in the fragile newly established colonial holdings of neighbouring systems. The peace dictated by a fully independent VASA at the close of this war established the Tripartite Confederacy, an alliance of Viridia, Ironglass, and Prime overseen by an erstwhile neutral VASA that clearly delineated the balance of power among the factions.

The Age of Exploration (2600-2789)

Though grav shunting was perfected in 2463 and extra-solarian colonies established soon after, it was not until the turmoil of the Secession Wars quieted with the ratification of the Treaty of Vacillus in 2582 that mankind begun his galactic adventure in earnest. It is theorized that much of the energy that may have otherwise gone into further civil wars was now being channelled successfully into the vast frontier opened by grav shunting technology. Humanity, having once again veered dangerously close to self-destruction, spread itself outward with at an almost frenzied pace.

This age could just as well be termed the Golden Age for, while humanity moved rapidly from system to system, it enjoyed an era of unparalleled peace and prosperity. The checks and balances of the Tripartite Alliance ensured a genuine peace, and even the colonial wars that would become endemic in later eras were of minimal duration and intensity. Most colonies of this era were still ruled as direct holdings of one of the Great Powers, or maintained a close affiliate status.