Word Count: 3,415
Source: Colonial Fleets Forum – Colonial Library
Introduction to Colonial History 101
Memorandum of Record
Subject: Educational Opportunities Aboard Battlestar Galactica
Promotional opportunities are being considered for current enlisted members of the colonial fleet. Officer positions available will include pilot, navigator, and electronic counter measure positions. As occurred prior to the current conflict slots to the rank of Lieutenant will be available based on the needs of the service and offered according to ones placement on the order of merit list. Order of merit placement will be based on total service points. Service points will be the total number of points one has received on their last 2 annual enlisted performance reports (still based on the current 25 point system), 1 point for each year in colonial service, 1 point for each colonial achievement medal, 10 points for each colonial medal of valor, and 1 point for each credit earned through the Colonial Military University System (CMUS).
As a result of the current conflict it is our fortune to have on board the Battlestar Galactica, Professor Cornelio Westar former Dean of History at Caprica University. Professor Westar is a leading expert in Colonial history, theology, and folklore. We are very lucky to have him with us. During the next quarter he will be teaching a course entitled “Introduction to Colonial History”. The course is three credits and meets for one hour three days a week. Classes will be scheduled to accommodate both duty shifts. I hope that many of you will take advantage of this class. It is a good way to earn order of merit points, earn your university degree and a good way to become familiar with the history of the great society we defend. Please contact your first line supervisor if you intend to take the course. I have enclosed a brief synopsis of the course from Professor Westar.
Colonial History 101
Colonial History 101 is a course designed to give the student a brief overview of the development of colonial society. Most historians break colonial history and development into roughly 5 phases. Although these phases overlap and there is much debate on when one phase ends and another begins at least in an academic setting it is easy for us to focus on our history in the traditional 5 phases. The 5 phases we will discuss in this course are:
1. Motherland and Initial Settlement
2. Period of Discontinuity (Also referred to as Period of Enslavement)
3. Independent Colonial Development
5. The Cylon War
During this part of the course we will look at the origins of the colonial people in our star system. This is a period of time shrouded in antiquity. We have no actual records that date to this time and the archeological evidence we have found in modern time has shed little light on this time. Religious texts that are believed to be the product of word of mouth stories recorded in written form thousands of years after the fact provide much of the information we know about this age. As such it is hard to separate science and myth. On the theological side we will look at the various origin myths of the colonies. In the area of science we will look at the linguistic and DNA evidence of the colonial population.
Our oldest religions profess that at sometime in antiquity humans came to their current worlds after migrating from an original homeland. This “homeland” was often viewed as a place in the heavens. Although religious people believed that the homeland originated in the heavens most learned people believed that the homeland lay somewhere on their own world. Usually educated people placed it beyond the sea. It was a “lost continent”. Only after the development of interplanetary travel did the people on the various planets in our star system realize “their” myth was similar to myths on the other worlds. The name of the ancient homeland was also similar in most Caprica family languages. The most common word for the homeland in Caprica based languages is Kobol. It is also known as Kotol and Kodol. In the Geminese language the name of the home world is Atlantia. In some of the other languages in the Geminese language family we also see the use of the words Atlan, Aztlan, and Atlantis as names for the home world.
Although modern Caprican and modern Geminese are separate mutually unintelligible languages linguist can tell that at one time they shared a common ancestral language. It would appear that Caprican and Geminese separated from each other at least 25,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence does not show any sign of human habitation on any of our colonies prior to 20,000 years ago. As such Caprican must have separated from Geminese prior to the original colonial settlement.
In the area of linguistics it is very interesting to note that the names of the planets in our system are roughly similar in all languages. This would imply that interplanetary contact was common in the early days of colonial settlement. The only major differences in planetary place names between Caprican based languages and the Geminese ones are that in addition to there being a different name for the home world there is also mention of an additional land in the heavens populated by humans. In some more current legends this land is referred to as the home of a mythical 13th tribe. In Caprican languages this place is referred to as Earth or Vert. In Geminese languages it is referred to as Terra or Tierra. It is interesting to note that in both language families the words are synonymous with the word soil. This would imply that both words have a common origin. The veracity of such a thirteenth colony has been debated. At this time we see no archeological evidence for its existence other than in religious texts. Some anthropologists believe that the legends of Earth may be confusion with the legends of Kobol. Maybe Earth was a continent or human nation on Kobol. No one really knows.
The genetic evidence shows that mankind did not originate in our star system. Although we find animals that have clear genetic origins in older creatures on each planet it appears that humans and for that matter cattle, chickens, and most grains have no colonial based ancestor stock prior to at most 20,000 years ago. The evolution of humans is a great mystery. It seems to point that humans evolved in another star system. Some speculate that if Kobol or Earth is a real place human kind may have evolved there from a lesser form of life prior to spreading to our system. Many of the religious people who do not believe in the science of evolution simply say that God created humans and that Kobol and/or Earth is in fact a spiritual not temporal location.
Archeology shows that by approximately 20,000 years ago a space faring race of humans inhabited all the 12 habitable planets in our star system. Little beyond the linguistic and religious evidence however remains of that society until about 225 years ago. Approximately 225 years ago during the Reunion War archeologist discovered in the side of a mountain a sealed complex that held an ancient computer database. Amazingly despite its age it was downloaded after about three years of study at Caprica University. Although we learned nothing about the culture of our ancestors it did contain the schematics for a large number of military weapons and warships. Since the schematics profiled military technology beyond what our society was at the time capable of producing the military establishment on Caprica used the database to design the generation of weapons that were ultimately used in the later stages of the Reunion War. This database became the most classified secret of the Caprican government. From what little we learned from the database it appears that ancient colonial humans were a very warlike people. They appear to have created a vast array of both human and robotic based weapons systems many of which are now part of the Colonial and unfortunately cylon military.
Approximately 9,000 years ago the space faring civilization of our ancestors seems to have collapsed. Exactly what caused this is still speculated. The religious texts we will study in this section of the course explains that humans no longer followed the laws of God as given to us at the mythical land or world of Kobol. God’s punishment to his people was to send fire from the sky to destroy their towns and villages. According to religious texts God then gave dominion over the worlds to a race of demons to rule until humans again found their way back to the true faith.
Although most were considered wicked there is a legend that God spared one man named Adama and his family. It was said he was a religious man and followed the old faith. According to legend he was taken up to heaven and sent to the mythical land of Earth.
The demons that ruled the colonies after the collapse of civilization have been spoken of as men of metal, centurions, and reptiles. No one knows exactly who these “demons” were. The story of reptiles seems to be just a myth since no fossil bones of any bipedal reptile creatures have been found in any of the 12 colonies.
Now that we know more about our warlike ancestors some believe that our ancestors may have destroyed their own civilization in some kind of catastrophic war. After this war it is speculated that a powerful elite may have ruled their respective colonies with an iron hand inspiring the current demon legends. In the database the robotic warriors we used to make prior to the cylon rebellion are also referred in Caprican as Centurions. It would appear that our ancestors might have used robots similar to our cylon centurions to enslave their own populations during this period.
We know that after about 800 years this period came to an abrupt end. It looks as if approximately 8,000 years ago some kind of planetary bombardment occurred on the colonies. Whether this was a natural phenomenon created by some sort of asteroid cloud that crossed the plane of our star system or whether these massive explosions somehow relate to the people referred to as demons is unknown. What we do know is that society on all planets seems to abruptly revert to a Neolithic level after this series of bombardment. The legends on some planets say that the demons began to fight among themselves. In a fit of anger they consumed themselves in fire. Some say humans returned to God and God removed the scourge of demons and gave humans another chance. It seems most likely that the bombardment was natural in origin but the evidence thus far is pretty sparse.
The bulk of this course will focus on the independent development of each of the 12 colonies during most of the previous 8,000 years. Each colony developed a unique culture during this period. Although this course only has time to look at on overview of each colony I recommend that those interested in an in depth history of each colony take the 200 level course on the colony of their interest.
Some of the key things this section will look at are why Caprica and Gemini developed cultures that independently lead to space travel while the other colonies did not. This section will also look at the aspects of Caprican and Geminese cultures that lead to the Reunion War.
This section of the course will focus on the early age of space flight through the reunion of the 12 colonies into one government for the first time in known history. The first stage of space flight occurred roughly 1,200 years ago. Caprica was the first colony to launch a manned spacecraft. After nearly 100 years of orbital space flight the Caprican government decided to launch its first trans-colony space flight. At that time the Caprican government chose Gemini as the first colony to travel to. Gemini was chosen because although there were 12 habitable planets in the star system optical and radio telescopes showed that other than Caprica only Gemini appeared to have technologically advanced human life. At that time people on Caprica knew that Gemini had reached a level of development that was at least where Caprica had been 100 years earlier.
The Caprica expedition to Gemini proved a disaster. It was a multi ship expedition consisting of two mother ships with four landers per ship. The landing site chosen was near the largest city on Gemini as revealed from telescopic imagery. The two mother ships safely reached orbit over Gemini. All attempts to contact the Geminese civilization by radio failed. After two weeks in orbit the Caprican government ordered the expedition to send down their first lander. Upon launch the lander had a computer failure and collided with part of its mother ship. Unable to stop his entry into Gemini’s atmosphere the pilot did his best to land the lander with its 5-man crew at their original destination. Despite his best efforts the lander crashed into a populated area of Gemini’s capital city killing many people and exposing others to solium sickness.
The damage to one of the mother ships from the mishap was very severe. On the recommendation of the expedition commander the crew from the damaged ship was moved to the remaining trans-colonial ship. The expedition returned to Caprica without making contact with the people of Gemini.
The government of Gemini mistaken believed that they had been attacked by a race of space beings. Their technology exposed the orbiting but damaged mother ship. The population of the planet became gripped in panic. The religious believed that God was again sending the “demons” to punish them for failing to follow his laws. Government officials on Gemini needed to regain control of the planet. Martial law was announced and the resources of the society changed from planet wide commerce to planetary defense. A military elite ruled the formerly peaceful and democratic Geminese society. In that first year the Geminese built their first missiles and used them to destroy the abandoned Caprican mother ship in planetary orbit. They embarked on a crash military armament and space program.
Caprica watched what happened for the next 75 years. After the disaster no government would fund another manned expedition beyond the orbit of Caprica. During that 75 years Gemini built spaceships of increasingly better design. They were warships not ships of exploration. Finally Gemini sent a military expedition to Pisces. Pisces was a feudalistic agrarian and fishing society. The modern arms of the Geminese ensured they easily conquered the planet.
When Caprica saw what happened they embarked on a defensive program. Caprica made its first space warships. Over the course of the next 900 years Gemini swallowed up the other 10 colonies into its Empire. All the while Geminese continued to believe they were in a show down with alien beings on Caprica. At least that is what their government told them. Finally Gemini attacked the Caprican fleet. The ensuing war lasted nearly 200 years. It is one thing to seize preindustrial worlds with small populations like the other 10 colonies but quite another to take over an advanced space faring race with nearly 6 billion people that lived on Caprica. Over the course of the war the Capricans were being slowly worn down. As young men continued to die in numbers that couldn’t be sustained at far off battles people openly questioned whether they should destroy their arms and submit to rule from Gemini.
When all seemed at its lowest point the scientist at the University of Caprica finally deciphered the military database found in the sealed military complex of the ancient Capricans. The schematics revolutionized the Caprican military. The design for Battlestars and vipers tipped the military balance. It was not enough however to win the war. What made the war winnable for Caprica was the design of the Basestar, raider, and most importantly the centurion. With the centurion the Capricans had a solution to the manpower disadvantage they just couldn’t overcome. A robot army of cylon centurions would mean an unlimited supply of soldiers. Eventually about 100 years ago the Caprican military triumphed over Gemini.
When the people of Gemini realized that Capricans were humans like themselves the expected hostile occupation never materialized. The Geminese themselves started referring to the entire war as “The Tragic Mistake”. From this tragedy however a new united government of the 12 colonies was formed based on the democracies of Caprica and pre-contact Gemini. This government has served all humans well since that time.
The final section of the course will take an in depth look at the origins and outcome of the original cylon war. With the end of the Reunion War the Caprican and later the Colonial government found itself deeply in debt. The expected need for continuing a large-scale cylon army to occupy Gemini never materialized. Now that humanity was united there seemed little reason to maintain a large standing military, human or cylon. With the colonial economy still hurting from the war it was decided to allow all military personnel to return home if they wanted. Many chose to stay in service because with the threat of war over many felt the military was a better paying situation for the time being than taking their chances in the poor economy back home that immediately followed the end of the war. This was a political issue and it was decided that during the transition to peace the human side of the military would only shrink based upon those who volunteered to leave. No forced reductions in the human force occurred. It was also decided to deactivate and scrap the entire cylon military. They were cheap compared to humans but at the time the jobs they were taking were more important than their cost. Basically in worlds at peace there was no role for centurions.
The military ordered the cylons to report to deactivation centers. This was thought to be a routine order. The machines however had a sense of self-preservation that refused to accept the order. At first they simply stayed at their post. Finally the colonial government ordered the human military to forcibly escort the cylons to the deactivation centers. When the cylons refused an overzealous Battlestar commander took it upon him to destroy a noncompliant Basestar and its cylon crew. This event changed the cylons forever. For some time they had been killing Geminese humans during the Reunion War. Now they “decided” that all humans were their enemies not just the Geminese.
The Cylon War was extremely brutal. The cylons retreated and regrouped at the edge of our star system. Although the cylons were initially winning the war they were unable to seize any of the colonies. Without an industrial base and unable to reproduce like humans the cylons were being slowly worn down.
The colonials had the upper hand in the war and probably could have annihilated the cylons but two things about colonial society caused them to seek and eventually get an armistice. First with the devastation of the Reunion War still in memory few wanted to fight another long-term war. The Geminese in particular had no stomach to suffer at the hands of the cylons again. Secondly a peace movement arose that blamed the government for starting the war in the first place by failing to give the cylons freedom. The guilt these people held for the plight of the cylons swayed many on the Council of 12.
In the end it simply became an issue that the cylons couldn’t win and the colonials didn’t want to fight anymore. The terms of the armistice were fairly simple. The colonials promised to cease all military operations against the cylons. The cylons promised to leave the colonial star system. In the event contact between the two societies was needed in the future it was determined they would meet at the armistice station where the war had been ended.
The cylons went off into deep space. For 40 years we did not hear from them. We kept a strong human colonial military just in case. No one realized what fate would befall our proud people.