Whilst the Interstellar Wars apparently dominated the Terran Confederation’s policies, the period is also marked by a massive expansion into unexplored space by the Confederation. In reality, until the final Vilani collapse, this colonial expansion accounted for the majority of the Confederation’s growth. This expansion is usually referred to as the “Terran rimward expansion”, a name that is rather misleading as it also included significant lateral colonisation to spinward and trailing. The key element of this colonisation was that it was directed towards areas not already controlled by the Ziru Sirka.
The rimward expansion resulted in much of the growth of the Confederation throughout this period. By 2160 AD, there were over 1,600 million Terrans living off Terra, by 2235 AD this had grown to more than 17,500 million (compared with the 17,200 million living on Terra itself and the 6,000 million absorbed Vilani in the former Ziru Sirka territories). By 2300 AD, these colonials made up over 75% of the Confederation’s Terran and absorbed Vilani population (roughly 160 billion at that time). However, they remained chronically under represented in the Secretariat throughout the period; a situation that was to ultimately result in Estigarrbia’s coup and the downfall of the Confederation.
One of the more unusual facets of this expansion was the Terran Confederation’s policy of deliberately establishing settlements far beyond its conceivable sphere of influence. It is not know exactly how many of these colonies were established, since the entire project was shrouded in secrecy throughout the period, but hundreds of such colonies were established. Many of these settlements were established hundreds of parsecs away from the Confederation, well beyond its ability to administer or support and they consumed considerable resources for very little tangible return. These colonies were a form of long term insurance against the possibility of the Confederation’s defeat.
The agency responsible for these long range colonisation efforts was the Confederation Agency for the Preservation of Indigenous Cultures (CAPIC). Set up in 2124 AD in response to the fears of the smaller Terran nations regarding the loss of their cultural identities in the face of the expanding authority of the Confederation, CAPIC was charged with ensuring that the unique cultural heritage of Earth should be preserved regardless of the outcome of the Wars. Thus CAPIC embarked upon an ambitious program of long range colonisation. Many (though by no means all) of the colonists in the CAPIC program were drawn from Earth’s ethnic and linguistic minorities who already feared the loss of their identity in the rapidly evolving Confederation culture. It was a policy established by CAPIC’s first director (Dr Kenji Schwartz) that as many of Earth’s cultural and linguistic groups should be resettled; and that in an attempt to minimise any “cultural contamination”, each world was settled by only one cultural or linguistic group (Dr Schwartz lived in mortal terror of the loss or corruption of even one of “Terra’s priceless linguistic treasures”). In order to effect this policy, various methods were used to encourage groups to resettle. Most of these took the form of incentives (financial and otherwise), but CAPIC was not averse to using “strong arm tactics” if it proved necessary to encourage reluctant colonists to emigrate.
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