The Interstellar Republic – just “The Republic” for short – is the successor state of the Empire. It was founded – or rather came into being – in the 320s, when unrest grew over Imperial policy at a time of severe economic decline. By 330, several worlds had seceded from the Empire and immediately started to cooperate under the banner of the Interstellar Workers’ Union – trying to sort out economic problems and build up defenses over fears that the Empire might invade in order to crush the rebellion.
Instead of using its considerable military power, however, emperor Willem II negotiated a treaty with the secessionists. They agreed, seeing that this would give them time to build up defenses, and then promptly founded the Republic in 331.
Between 331 and 359, the Republic expanded slowly. New members were accepted, but some of them never formally declared independence. By the time Willem died, the Republic had become a sizable nation in its own right.
The Civil War
Miguel, Willem’s heir, immediately took a tougher stance regarding the Republic. Faced with a neglected military and a bankrupt government, Miguel was unable to use force against the Republic. Instead, a “Quiet War” developed – espionage, sabotage, economic sanctions and trade wars as well as some proxy wars were the order of the day.
Miguel made great progress, and as he began to fix the Empire’s many problems, so public opinion improved. With the advantage in numbers still on the Imperial side, the Republic government realized it had to force the issue or risk losing to attrition in the long run. In 371, President Ames ordered the Republic military to “liberate” and “protect” several key Imperial border worlds. Miguel took the bait, and the civil war began. It would last five years and cause great destruction, but in 376 the Republic was able to end it decisively with a surgical strike against the Imperial capital world, Mithra.
With the Empire in tatters and the remaining Imperial forces on the run, the Republic was able to occupy and annex the vast majority of the Empire. This put a great strain on the administration. President Ames feared that it would be hard to hold all this territory, and granted wide-reaching powers to military governors. With nationalistic fervor raging throughout the Republic, victorious soldiers and pro-Republic civilians alike began to systematically hunt, try, and often execute Imperial nobles, bureaucrats, and other sympathizers. On some worlds this became a regular witch-hunt, and many used the purges to denounce ‘innocent’, but disliked, neighbors and officials. The spiral of violence escalated to the point that even members of the Republic parliament were executed for treason.
Now, six years later, the worst excesses of this orgy of violence are over, but much of colonial space remains under military rule and the Republic Security Service still clamps down hard on any threat to the Republic’s security – real or imagined. The mood is changing once more, and many of the “free citizens” of the Republic are now discovering that a “right to vote” does not in itself guarantee more freedom.
Despite its recent victory, the future of the Republic, and of Colonial Space, seems uncertain.