The Centauri Commonwealth has its roots in the crew of the Colony Ship "Babel's Ark". It was the first colony ship to depart from Earth in 2320. It was originally funded as a united Christian effort to depart from the planet Earth in order to found a new utopia. The original destination was Alpha Centauri, however it was soon discovered that none of the planets were suitable for life. The Exodus continued however and ultimately arrived at a system with a planet capable of supporting life, much further from Earth. As the system that they occupied had no official name outside of a numeral designation, they adopted the name "Nova-Centauri" for the system and Eden for their planet. Due to the limited supply of Mythril and a lack of desire to remain in contact with Earth, contact between the two quickly faded.
The Christian Republic of Centauri quickly took shape, with some autonomy granted to minority religions who had joined the first space flight for other reasons. The Republic overcame some of the earlier difficulties of terraforming, however they were over-optimistic about the terraforming process and through rushed efforts found themselves in a sudden and major food shortage and with some reports of disease throughout the republic.
What occurred afterwards is known as the Dark Ages. The initial period is indeed reflexive of this; "Cain-syndrome" [named so retroactively, for being the first native danger of Eden] spread throughout the colony and most colonists retreated to the safety of the limited Ark pods. During this time, terraforming efforts declined, where they were not abandoned all together, and the government of Eden fell into obscurity.
As time progressed and the political situation stabilized, the age of the Eight Realms emerged. A cultural, spiritual and philosophical awakening occurred in the various colony pods and terraforming efforts resumed as they hoped to spread outwards. Scholars trace the much of the Commonwealth's culture to this period, both the streak towards regional independence, religion, and strong cultural ties to societies on Earth which have since radically changed. While it has historically been viewed as a dark time due to loss of a great deal of early Centauri history, the awkward return to the old cultures, political division and even occasional conflict, some revivalists prefer to see this as a golden age of Centauri Culture.
This age was brought to a close with the rise of Emperor Matthias, who managed to unite the fractured realms around 2600. Matthias' method is remembered as "resembling that of the Great Alexander", he rose from a humble Polish Duchy to eventually uniting the Centauri under a loose confederation of kingdoms and counties. Carefully deploying his forces and mastering terrain and smaller scale engagement tactics, he managed to slowly gather an army and realm that would rival the largest and most powerful kingdoms. In order to further his goals, he distanced himself somewhat from his Polish heritage, preferring Latin and Russian in his court and offering a great deal of independence and benefits for those who joined his cause willing. After a few key battles, all of Eden belonged to Matthias.
Another move which he undertook to separate himself from any particular realm was adopting "Matthias Centauri" as a name, opting for Biblical Latin "Matthew of Centauri" as a name. His reason for selecting this name remains obscure, most believe it is either a latinization of his Polish name, due to a particular affliation with the Apostle [or another Saint] or both. Adopting of a ruling name [which is typical Latin] has become common practice amongst Emperors, as is the surname "Centauri".
With Eden united, the movement back into space soon began again. A series of attempts to replicate the initial colonization of Eden were met with varying success, though within a hundred years, New Jerusalem, Nouvelle Aube and Thames were colonized. Eventually, republican sentiments would lead to a bloody revolution on Aube and spur a minor war of succession. The conflict, while short lived and a decisive military victory for the Edenite-Monarchist faction would see two major events. First, the war would see the first deployment of All Terrain Mobile Chassis, which would eventually develop into Frames. The second, was the spread of republican sentiments within the Empire. Sensing the potential for a major uprising, Emperor Eduard I made several concessions of power to his parliament. One of these was the law of Popular Language, which saw English and French rise to become the primary spoken languages, along side Russian and later Spanish. Latin remains in formal use for documents along side these languages, but the sessions are typically spoken in English with occasional need for interpreters. This saw both the end of the immediate conflict as the republicans either disarmed or lost public support and the rise of the Parliament from a board of advisors into the most powerful institution in Centauri.
Also see Category:Centauri Planets for a list of worlds within the Centauri Confederacy.
While the power of the Emperor has been drastically reduced from when the position was founded or even the Eduardian reforms, the Emperor significant influence and power within the Commonwealth. Some hold that this is still largely symbolic, since any strong independent action from the Emperor has resulted in conflict and difficulties with the Parliament and a history of co-operation would make any sudden shift dangerous. However, even co-operating with and complying mostly to the will of elected official, the Emperor remains able to significantly influence the political situation, which often turns him into a scapegoat amongst politicians.
The Emperor is succeeded by his oldest child. Originally, this was oldest male child, but the law has since been changed.
Officially, highest ranking person outside the Emperor, is the Viceroy of Leon. There are other positions within the Empire to rival Leon, though none officially as prestigeous, including the Grand Prince of Mishi and the Shogun of Atarakyo. However, for the most power, the Emperor is recognized as the Sovereign of most individual planets within Centauri and retains similar rights over their smaller parliaments.
The actual power of Nobility varies widely, on larger metropolitan systems, the titles are largely symbolic. Nobles in Thames and Aube are granted traditional estates and nothing little. On more traditional planets, including New-Tyne and Atarakyo however, Nobility may possess a great deal of power and rights. In New-Tyne in particular, the Nobility hold sway in the Judicial branch, with the right to preside as judge over any trial within their jurisdiction and veto laws [although in both cases, this is often used in moderation and appeal to a higher levels can be made to overturn it].
Parliament and the Prime MinisterEdit
The Centauri Legislature has three bodies, the Upper Chambers; the Chamber of Peers, the Middle Chamber; the Tribunal Chambers, and the Lower Chamber; Chamber of Representatives
The Tribunal Chambers is composed a rotating 100 Seats, with 50 from each of the other Chambers. It rotates at a rate of ten every month, elected by their respective parties. They are in charge of deciding what is to be brought forward to the other Chambers and what is to be revised or dismissed.
The Chamber of Representatives has 1,134 seats with one granted to each "Traditional Duchy" within the Commonwealth. This Chamber is available to all citizens by election, though in reality, a majority possess at least Knighthood, if not a position of landed Nobility. The Legislators are given first vote over a bill, if it is accepted, it is passed on to the Chamber of Peers. However, a two thirds vote in favour of a bill may veto any decision made by the Chamber of Peers.
The Chamber of Peers consists only of those with landed Titles. Only the Prime minister may nominate persons for this position, however it must be approved by either the Emperor or the Leader of the official Opposition. It was 345 seats, though these sits are rarely entirely filled. The Chamber of Peers may demand a bill be reformed by the Tribunal Chambers, for further review. If they accept the reviews, it may also be returned to the Chamber of Representatives for final approval. With a two-thirds majority, they may also entirely reject and veto a bill entirely forcing it to be rewritten from scratch.
The Prime Minister is elected from the Chamber of Representatives and approved by the Emperor, though since the concessions of Eduard, there the Primeminister has never been vetoed by the Emperor.
Major Political PartiesEdit
The Centauri colony ship was originally launched by various Christian denominations, however certain minorities were allowed on board for various personal reasons. Christian