by Dr. Jogabe D'sal,
Professor of Federal History, Anatares University
Early Exploration and the Beginnings of the Federal League
Finis Astra is a Type M planet, the fourth planet from its star, with a circumference of 22,000 miles at the equator. It was discovered in Serenity Year 523, when it was miscatalogued as a Type T world. Some historians surmise that it actually was a type T world at the time, and evolved into a type M world in the interval, but there are no other known cases of this. A misjump brought a survey crew into the system in 951 SY, at which time they reclassified it and plans for colonization began.
For a variety of reasons, the world did not undergo a major surge of colonization until the 980s, when the Encyclopedia project began. Dr. Gregory Stingray, prime minister for Serenity IX and X, directed the colonization effort, and by 992 SY, the outlines of Encyclopedia City had been set out and 200,000 colonists had arrived. In 998 SY, the Finis Astra Encyclopedia Corporation formally moved its headquarters actually TO Finis Astra, and approximately 1 million colonists had arrived.
Certain aspects of the events of SY 1000 are known to every school-child, but others remain shrouded in mystery. Princess Rei, cousin of Serenity X, arrived with an elite unit of guards and what amounted to a small fleet worth of escorts for the Millenial celebrations, just days before the Refugee War began. It is now considered almost certain that she was one of Dr. Stingray's allies in the carrying out of the Stingray Plan, yet it cannot be proven. Her presence, and her blood ties to the great houses of Jurai were essential to the defection of Lord Mitako, which saved Finis Astra from conquest during the first weeks of the war.
Within a few weeks, the guards, under the command of Captain Priscilla Hakubi-Masaki, became the core of the army of what soon became known as the Federal League, which formed around Finis Astra and the five nearest inhabited systems. By what is now reckoned as FY 10, it was clear that the Solar Kingdom would not be able to reestablish control of the surrounding systems, which became a petty patchwork of bandit kingdoms ruled by petty Juraiian nobles. Thus concluded the first of the so-called 'Stingray Crises'.
The Rise of the Federal League
Finis Astra became the intellectual and political center of the rising Federal League, which began to slowly gobble up the quarrelling petty bandit kingdoms. The presence of the Enyclopedia Corporation and its massive archives, one of the best outside of Jurai and Earth, along with the fact that it was not just a major magical node, but one growing in power, made it the focus on an intellectual renaissance, at the same time that Jurai, the Solar Kingdom, the Kzinti, and the Khunds were all declining in power and intellectual accomplishment in an endless series of destructive wars.
By 100 FY, Finis Astra, through a combination of immigration, refugees, and natural growth was home to 500 million people, with another 300 million scattered through the other worlds of the system. The Federal League had grown to encompass over a hundred worlds.
The second of the major Stingray Crises came in FY 173-178. During the period 160 to 173, Serenity XI had launched a series of campaigns into the region that had become known as the 'Border Kingdoms', providing the stimulus that finally united the various petty kingdoms into a military alliance known as the Union of Crowns. In 171 FY, however, the Khunds had invaded the Solar Kingdom, forcing Serenity XI to break off her efforts. Under the leadership of Lord Dar of House Flaem, the Union of Crowns turned its attention to the other major threat to the bandit lords, the Federal League.
The War of Crowns lasted from FY 173-178. Federal League victory came not through force of arms, but through the collapse of the economies of the Union of Crowns, which was not able to meet its own wartime production needs. Incensed by decades of suffering, riots broke out on dozens of worlds, and many of the petty lordlings were dragged down. Most were simply replaced by other petty lordlings, but a dozen worlds joined the Federal League, and two dozen more switched sides to get the goods they needed. Finally, at the battle of Rigel, Lord Dar was defeated and slain.
The third Stingray Crisis (FY 225-235) was a political struggle over the political structure of the Federal League, which tended in practice to be dominated by the Founding Worlds. A civil war was narrowly averted and Parliamentary representation placed on a more representative basis.
The fourth Stingray Crisis (FY 336-351) took place when Serenity XIV, the famous 'Spider Queen', launched her effort to reconquer the Border Kingdoms. Already, under her mother, dozens of worlds had been reconquered. In 336 FY, her general, Lord Raye Kino, destroyed the space fleet of the Second Union of Crowns at the battle of Altair, with only two ships escaping destruction or capture. Only the fact that conquering the actual planets was slow work saved the Federal League from immediate attack, but by 337 FY, 70 % of the Border Kingdoms were under Lord Kino's control, and she then invaded the Federal League. The better armed and organized Federal Armies were not such easy meat as the Border Kingdoms, but they were forced back. By 340 FY, Lord Kino controlled 30% of the League's territory. However, the Spider Queen now became alarmed and feared that Lord Kino would be able to use her conquests as a powerbase to launch a bid for the throne, and had her executed. This destroyed the morale of the Solar Kingdom's armies and Kino's various replacements were slowly driven back. Many worlds revolted behind the lines, and the end result of the war was to bring 20% of the Border Kingdoms into the Federal League.
The fifth Stingray Crisis revolved around the collapse of the Kzinti Empire (FY 438-443). The Khunds, armed with new weapons technologies, including the N5 bomb, invaded what was left of Jurai and the Kzinti Empires, and nearly conquered both. Intervention by the Federal League led to the last Kzin emperor willing his empire to the League, and the League supplied Leon III with the weaponry he used to successfully turn back the Khunds, and later destroy them.
In 510 FY, the Solar Republic and most of what was left of the Solar Kingdom joined the Federal League, which now encompassed a third of the Galaxy. By this time, Finis Astra was home to over 3 billion people, and the Federal League included over 8,000 inhabited worlds.
The Dark Circle Crisis and Beyond
The sixth Stingray Crisis (FY 626-633) occurred when the new Republic of Jurai, under heavy assault by the Dark Circle, which had destroyed the Juraiian empire, applied to join the Federal League. This provoked a political crisis, which ended with the Republic joining the league, and the first of three major wars against the Dark Circle. The Dark Circle was driven back, but not destroyed, and the next two centuries were dominated by a series of confrontations and wars between the two main powers of the Galaxy. Most of the remaining inhabited worlds gradually drifted into the sphere of one or the other.
The Seventh Stingray Crisis (FY 851-860) took place when a revolt broke out in the former Juraiian worlds of the Dark Circle's territories, forcing a decision on whether to aid the revolt. The League intervened in support of the rebellion and the end result was that the power of the Dark Circle as a major power was broken permanently. There were three more Dark Circle Wars, but the end result was that it dwindled away.
The Eighth Stingray Crisis (FY 903-906) revolved around the rising movement to move the Federal Capital to a more central location. The 'Movers', as they were called, won, and the Federal Capital was moved to a new world, Nova Astra, which was terraformed between 906 and 912 FY, with the final stages of movement of governmental functions occurring in 922 FY.
The Ninth and final Stingray Crisis occurred in FY 990-1005, when the Borg reappeared after being missing for centuries and began to overrun the Galaxy. With the defeat of the Borg, the work of Galactic unification was complete.
Finis Astra is now home to 20 billion people, and functions as the District
Capital of Finis Astra District. It remains one of the five most
important, populous, and wealthy worlds in the Galactic Federation.