The Old Worlds are a historic region within the Core Systems that was first discovered and settled in the early 25th century. It found prosperity as a major producer of hydrogen fuel and developed its own distinct culture before becoming the nexus of the Galactic Cooperative. GalCop's collapse in 3174 after decades of decline left the Old Worlds economically destitute, but paved the way for the subsequent rise of the Alliance in 3230. In the 34th century, the Old Worlds are regarded as the historic hub of the Alliance, but not all of them remain under Allied control; several systems have become independent or members of the Federation.
Federal, Imperial, and corporate interests led the exploration and colonization rush into what would become the Old Worlds in the early 2400's. The first four colonies, Lave, Leesti, Diso, and Zaonce, were established between 2412 and 2422. These systems quickly became economically self-sufficient, declaring their autonomy from established trade routes and creating their own colonies in Reorte, Riedquat, Tionisla, and Orerve.
Over the course of the 2430s, the annual population growth of the Old Worlds was almost exponential, but this explosion of prosperity came with a price. The unstable Riedquat system became a haven for pirates and other criminals beginning in the 2470's, providing a staging ground for incursions into Lave and Zaonce, which had no space-based law enforcement or standing navies. With the aggressively expansionist Empire edging toward their borders, the leaders of the Old Worlds agreed to build defense forces, and commissioned Leesti's shipyards to construct state-of-the-art "heavy couriers" to protect their trade fleets.
The Old Worlds Coalition
In 2483, the Old Worlds formed a loose mutual defense pact known as the Old Worlds Coalition, which relied on a reserve merchant navy to guard against criminals and Imperial sabre-rattling. In 2498, an Imperial listening post was destroyed in the breakaway Morten-Marte system and the Coalition was blamed. The Empire launched an invasion of the Old Worlds, catching them off-guard. By the time the Old Worlds realized what was happening and moved to assemble their navy, the Empire had already decimated their communications network and other vital facilities. No longer able to mount a unified defense, the Old Worlds had no choice but to accept the Empire's terms, which mandated the permanent disbandment of the reserve merchant navy and the restriction of fleet activity to trade and exploration only.
Despite this setback, the Old Worlds subsequently became an economic powerhouse by exploiting new sources of hydrogen fuel, replacing Alioth as the galaxy's chief supplier. With its newfound leverage, the Old Worlds began raising fuel export costs to the Federation and Empire while granting cheaper trade agreements to independent worlds, forcing the two superpowers to negotiate with them. By 2530, however, it became clear that the Old Worlds would not alter their policies, and the superpowers refocused their attentions on Alioth.
Rise and fall of GalCop
The year 2690 proved to be a major turning point for the Old Worlds. After years of unrest, the Coalition-enforced government on Riedquat reached its breaking point, as the mostly off-world administration had lost touch with the needs of the people. A revolution known as the September Uprisings overthrew Riedquat's government, and the corpses of its former officials were piled at the capital city's spaceport in an emphatic rejection of Coalition policy. The planet then descended into a violent anarchy that would persist for the next five centuries.
Shaken by the failure on Riedquat, the Old Worlds Coalition decided to drastically restructure its policies to prevent another such disaster. The result was the establishment of the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds in August of 2696, an interstellar trade organization that prioritized the preservation of member worlds' economic and political independence, imposed minimal membership requirements, and offered free trade and military protection. GalCop elevated the Old Worlds to a position of galactic prominence, and made Lave its capital in the late 2700's. GalCop peacefully expanded and prospered for centuries, pioneering a new age of space travel and colonization with the creation of the Python and the Coriolis station, and implementing an isolationist economic policy that prohibited all trade with non-member worlds. This exasperated the Federation and Empire as entire systems were locked away from their influence.
GalCop met its end in the 32nd century. During the First Thargoid War that began in 3125, GalCop reassigned a significant number of its trading ships to military duties in order to fend off the Thargoids. As a result, the war exhausted GalCop economically, allowing the other two superpowers to surpass it technologically between 3125 and 3145 and then lure away existing and prospective member worlds. Combined with corruption and scandal at the government's highest levels, GalCop's reputation disintegrated, and by 3170 it had shrunk to only 11 members, all within the original Old Worlds region. On August 19, 3174, GalCop CEO Simmone Hendry was forced to rescind the GalCop charter, dissolving the organization. The demise of GalCop led to the decline of the Old Worlds, which remained stagnant well into the 3300's, but also fostered the eventual rise of the Alliance out of the Alioth system in 3230.
List of Old Worlds