Rule of Man (-2204 to -1776)
A short-lived interstellar empire formed after
the conquest of the Vilani Imperium by the
Terrans. The conquered territories
were under military rule from -2219 to -2204. Vilani military forces
were incorporated into the Terran forces. Terran naval officers took
over key posts in the Vilani bureaucracy (which was otherwise retained intact).
In -2204, the Terran Secretariat attempted to transfer control directly to
Terra and to incorporate the conquered regions into the Terran Confederation. The commander
in chief of the Terran Navy, Admiral Hiroshi Estigarribia, realized that
the Confederation government could not
possibly control the vast territories of the Vilani Imperium. He proclaimed
himself Regent of the Vilani Imperium, and Protector of Terra, so both states
were now united in the Rule of Man. Nearly all the fleet sided with
Estigarribia both because it was composed largely of colonials, who were
under-represented under the Terran Confederation government, and because
of Estigarribia's careful preparation. The Confederation was dissolved
without significant resistance.
The Terran fleet headquarters on Dingir became the capital of the
Rule of Man. The bureaucratic center of the Imperium remained on Vland, although arrangements were undertaken
to gradually transfer it elsewhere.
Upon Estigarribia's death, he was succeeded by his chief of staff, who crowned
himself Emperor Hiroshi II. Estigarribia, even though he did not actually
assume the crown, is therefore known to history as Emperor Hiroshi I.
Hiroshi II transferred all functions of government from both Vland
and Dingir to a more centrally located world, renamed bilingually Hub
/ Ershur. This world was to remain the capital of the Rule of Man for
the next four hundred years.
During the Rule of Man, large numbers of humans from
Terra and its oldest colonies emigrated throughout the Imperium. People
of Terran ancestry or culture (many of them assimilated Vilani) assumed positions
of power on most worlds and became industrialists and administrators.
The problems of sheer size and scientific stagnation, which had brought about
the fall of the Vilani Imperium, continued to plague the Rule of Man. The
Vilani had coped with the problems of ruling a large empire by a rigid caste
system with all citizens rooted permanently in their places, but this system
could last only as long as there was no significant external threat. The
Terrans did away with this system but were not able to replace it with a
new social order. The destruction of the caste system swept away the
foundations of society. Key industries fell apart as their workers
became free to move elsewhere.
The -1776 date for the end of the Rule of Man is arbitrary, and it notes
the financial collapse of the central government, which occurred when the
Treasury at Hub / Ershur refused to honor a monetary issue of the branch
treasury at Antares. The resulting lack
of confidence within monetary circles marked the end of large-scale interstellar
trade and of effective governmental power within the Rule of Man. Although
the Imperium did not completely fall apart for many years, the Rule of Man
had effectively ceased to exist as a viable interstellar community, and the
period known as Twilight had begun.
The Third Imperium refers to the Rule
of Man as the Second Imperium, which
emphasizes its own roots in the Solomani dominated
Second Imperium and the Vilani-dominated First Imperium. Anti-Solomani elements
emphasize the failure of the Solomani-dominated Ramshackle Empire.