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Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far Future
Second Imperium

-2204 to -1776

A short-lived interstellar empire, also known as the Rule Of Man or the Ramshackle 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 (1827 Solomani Rim), and incorporate the conquered regions into the Terran Confederation. The commander-in-chief of the Terran navy, Admiral Hiroshi Estigarribia, realised 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, uniting both states in the Rule Of Man. Nearly all the fleet sided with Estigarribia, both because it was composed largely of colonials (who were under-represented in the Terran government), and because of Estigarribia's careful preparations. The Confederation was dissolved without significant resistance.

The Terran fleet headquarters on Dingir (1222 Solomani Rim) became the capital of the Rule Of Man. The bureaucratic centre of the Imperium remained on Vland (1717 Vland), although arrangments were undertaken to gradually transfer it elsewhere.

Upon Estigarribia's death, he was suceeded by his chief-of-staff, who crowned himself Emperor Hiroshi II . Estigarribia, 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 (Massillia). 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, becoming 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 using a rigid caste system with all citizens rooted permanently in their places. 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 denotes the financial collapse of the central government. This is deemed to have been when the Treasury at Hub refused to honour a monetary issue of the branch treasury at Antares (2421 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.

As the successor to the First Imperium, the Rule Of Man had taken over the territories and the problems of its predecessor. Pro-Second Imperium histories contend that the Rule Of Man delayed the inevitable collapse. Pro-First Imperium (and anti-Solomani) histories claim that the First Imperium was stagnant, but stable, and that the Ramshackle Empire actually precipitated the Long Night by looting subject worlds and promoting Terran superiority.

The Third Imperium refers to the Rule Of Man as the Second Imperium, which emphasises its own roots in the Solomani-dominated Second Imperium and the Vilani-dominated First Imperium.

Refs: SUPP-11, 1107; MT-ENCYC, 1120