Eridanus League, The

The Eridanus League; Early Interstellar Empire: Trade Routes

Eridanus League Map
Image from Aaron Hamilton
Even before the development of the wormhole, trade routes were established between the stars of the Eridanus League

Overview

The Eridanus League was one of mankind's first attempts at a unified interstellar civilization. Although the League ultimately did not last, it is remarkable in having brought together several billion humans from dozens of diverse colonies over a span of over 40 light-years. The League was started unilaterally by the broadcast of the River of Stars Charter from the moon Epsilon Eridani II-D, although the concept had been proposed and promoted among the colonies by Hoa-van-Huynh and his followers since AT 770 (2739). About half of the colonies that received the broadcast eventually joined, although after varying levels of debate and often only in a nominal fashion. Despite this there was a surprising level of pride among colonies to belong to the League, especially in small communities which were used to being overshadowed by more powerful nations in the same solar system.

The League worlds developed their own ethnic mix (the old racial/ethnic categories of Earth had disappeared, but the Eridan mix was somewhat more East and South Asian than other early worlds); this plus shared religious freedom were reasons why the worlds tried to unify, but the distances were too great. Epsilon was terraformed by some of the earliest interstellar colonisation ventures (Mars Interstellar, Kelkemesh Ventures and Eridani Vision Inc.) in the Nanotech Window, after a period of initial disagreements forming the Eridanus League to oversee the terraforming and administration. The original colonists remained divided into three "nations", although relations were steadily becoming more cordial. When successive waves of post-nanodisaster colonists appeared the League allowed further colonisation of the planet, incorporating the new groups into the League government. It was never a strong political force and the local inter-colonist conflicts several times erupted into warfare, but the formal institution remained. During this period it became the major centre of Etodism.

The Eridanus League Flag

Eridanus League Symbol
Image from Aaron Hamilton

During the Expansion era several colonies were founded, but the introduction of fast (relativistic) conversion drive ships, and eventually wormhole links also undermined the local rule. Unable to settle on any particular allegiance the League government found itself governing a number of nations allied with different interstellar empires (most notably the NoCoZo, the Mutual Progress Association and the Keterists). After an abortive attempt to join the Mutual Progress Association the League was dissolved and the AgreeToDisagree Pact gave each nation independence. Due to migration and cultural assimilation the Pact was eventually discarded as the remnants all joined the NoCoZo in 2690.

Although based mainly on voluntary agreements to standardize laws and values, the League was successful in its goals of promoting peaceful coexistence between religious and ethnic enclaves, organizing long-term trade relationships, and the development of new colonies. The ambassador-judges exchanged between colonies set a high standard for fair justice, and because of this the four-pointed star of a League court was the symbol of ultimate authority to most local rulers and corporate officers even when there was no System Control Ship or even a Remora-class escort vessel available to back up a judge's decision. The League's greatest cultural impact, however, may have been the exchange of ideas that led to the rise of several major religious including Etodism which in the crisis years had gained 800 million followers across the League. The League lasted for many centuries primarily because of the common interests of the member worlds, not because of its ability to use force to keep colonies in line; as soon as the population crisis peaked on several colonies the League began to split apart. To their credit, the military forces organized by the Epsilon Eridani council to defend other worlds never used their armaments to force defecting worlds to return to the fold, and even in the crisis years there were surprisingly few attempts by the SCS commanders to alter the local balance of power during inter-colony disputes.




Member worlds

Epsilon Eridani system
Epsilon Indi system (includes the brown dwarfs Praxis and Gnosis)
40 Eridani (Keid: includes the world Twilight)
82-(G) Eridani system (includes the world Terranova)
Kang 021 system
Chaihuea-Eridani system
Ross 128 system
P Eridani binary star system

Timeline

770 River of Star Charter proposed and promoted among the colonies by Hoa-van-Huynh and his followers from Epsilon Eridani IID; invitation messages sent to nearby stars
790 Nova Terra replies to message; declines to join Eridanus League
792 No reply from Solsys
800 Twilight joins Eridanus League
815 Epsilon Indi joins Eridanus League
850 P Eridani joins Eridanus League
1000 Eridanus League becomes aligned with but not part of the First Federation
1080 Terranova joins Eridanus League
1110 Ross 128 Joins Eridanus League
1000-1900 Second wave of colonists sent out by Eridanus League to colonise many worlds, some of which become the Yoson Confederacy and the FSA
1900 Eridanus League breaks up; Epsilon Eridani joins Terranova Foundation and eventually the NoCoZo.




The extreme distances involved were the obstacle that prevented the success of any of the early Human interstellar empires; in one oft-repeated example, the Umbandist 'Star Spirit 3' space station orbiting Epsilon Indi renounced membership in the League, then two years later broadcast its intention to re-join even before the original message had reached the other League star systems. As the League faded into the history files, partisan colonial self-rule would continue to be the trend for centuries to come. However, the spirit of the League was never forgotten, and it also has blood links to the great civilizations that followed it. The elite citizens from many League worlds were instrumental in organizing the 'second wave' of colonists to the new frontier worlds that would in time become the core of both the FSA and the Yoson Confederacy.
 
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Development Notes
Text by Aaron Hamilton, adapted by Steve Bowers

Initially published on 31 July 2000.