Dragoons of the Seven Snakes
Colonization of the Inner Sphere began in 2108 when the Terran Alliance launched the first manned faster-than-light mission aboard the TAS Pathfinder. Between 2108 and 2235, the Terran Alliance colonized and ruled the first centralized interstellar government in human history, controlling more than 600 colonies within 120 light years of Terra. However, corruption and logistics made it impossible to adequately govern such a large body. Private concerns “illegally” funded exploration and colonization of Inner Sphere worlds as well as worlds located in the Periphery and the Deep Periphery. Despite the best efforts of the Terran Alliance to end “blockade running”, by the end of the Outer Reaches Rebellion, the Terran Alliance was declining.
From c. A.D. 2300 to 2787, the Inner Sphere was divided into five “pie wedges” around a central, roughly circular core:
The Free Worlds League, established 2271
Rulers: House Marik
The Federated Suns, established 2317
Rulers: House Davion
The Draconis Combine, established 2319
Rulers: House Kurita
The Lyran Commonwealth, established 2340
Rulers: House Steiner
The Capellan Confederation, established 2367
Rulers: House Liao
The central Terran Hegemony, established 2315
Rulers: House Cameron
Shortly after the formation of the Great Houses, the Age of War began. The end of the Age of War accompanied the formation of the Star League, a multinational administrative and peacekeeping treaty, which lasted for ~250 years. During the Star League era, mankind achieved technological marvels, and the relative stability of the age is still viewed as a utopian period by the people of the Inner Sphere – though the stability of the Star League may be more myth than legend. With the collapse of the Star League in 2781 and exodus of the Star League Defense Force from the Inner Sphere, the Great Houses consumed the moribund Hegemony and turned on to each other. Only Terra remained independent under the aegis of neutral interstellar communications agency, ComStar.
During the next 250 years, civilization was hammered from its 28th Century peak down to 21st Century technology on many worlds and to more primitive states on others – and hundreds of worlds had their populations exterminated altogether. The cause for this warfare was a matter of feudal succession to the throne of the fallen Star League, hence the four wars of this period were called Succession Wars, while the five Great Houses were said to rule Successor States.
The First Succession War, 2786-2821
The Second Succession War, 2830-2864
The Third Succession War, 2866-Present
Despite hundreds of billions of deaths, the first three Succession Wars resulted in little change to the map after the First Succession War divided the Terran Hegemony between the five Successor States.