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For a more detailed summary of the pre-Imperium history of the Corrigan system, see Corrigan System.

History

Pre-Imperium and Republic

The world of Corrigan was, by the coming of the Decline, one of the wealthiest and most populated worlds in human space. It weathered the Decline largely intact, remaining largely political unified. Still maintaining some degree of interstellar travel and communication with nearby systems, it became the prominent member in a group of core worlds.

When humanity again took the stars, the substantial magnetic monopole reserves in the Corrigan System now thrust it to pre-eminence among worlds. It’s rulers, descendants of the old Oligarchs, saw their opportunity to rebuild their ancient empire, and thus began pushing for greater unity between worlds. Corrigan’s wealth allowed it build a navy, a merchant fleet and gain control of many emerging trade routes. Secret deals with the Macropedia/Imudring gave it a first-buyer right, allowing indirect access to markets not immediately available to the core worlds.

When the unification movement finally did solidify, it was not in the model that the Corrigan Oligarchs wanted, but rather as a democratic confederation of worlds. Despite its reserverations, Corrigan was a signatory of the treaties that founded the Terran Republic. The Republic was heavily reliant upon Corrigan’s navy and trade routes, and thus it did manage to assert its pre-eminence when the Republican Congress declared it the capital of the Terran Republic.

The Early Imperium Era

While difficult to prove, it seems very likely now that the Corrigan Oligarchs played some role in the failure of the Terran Republic. The wealthy Tawmeriks of the Fasauntari System must have seemed a logical choice for the Oligarchs, too cautious themselves to assert any direct authority. It is very clear that they were exerting their influence, as the Tawmeriks selected Corrigan, rather than one of the ancient and wealthy worlds Fasauntari System, as the capital of the Imperium.

The Tawmeriks, on the other hand, felt no loyalty to these erstwhile kingmakers, and worked quickly to suppress their position. Anti-Oligarch propaganda was spread, much of being directed from the Court, and within a few generations of the founding of the Imperium, the Oligarchs of Corrigan had seen much of their power and influence wrested from them. Corrigan was now the Imperium world, and no longer the realm of the last of the Oligarchs. Quietly these Oligarchs became extinct.

The High Imperium

During this era Corrigan became the cultural as well as political and economic capital of the Imperium. Each Emperor put their own stamp on the world with grand buildings, vast parks and glorious monuments. The riches of a vast interstellar empire collected on Corrigan, and it accumulated wealth unimaginable.

Corrigan also collected aristocrats, from old families to new blood from the merchant clans. It is said that generations of hereditary rulers of some worlds at a time would not visit their domains, choosing rather to remain in the glory and luxury of the world that had now become known as Corrigan the Golden.

The Failing Empire

For most of the history of the Imperium, Corrigan was supreme in almost every respect. To the uncounted vastness of the Imperium’s citizens, it represented power and wealth. Corrigan’s fate had become inseparable from the Imperium’s, and as the old order was pushed aside, first by the Grand Reforms and then by the Imperial Interregnum, Corrigan itself visibly waned. New monuments were built with much less frequency. Older palaces were plundered first for their artwork and furnishings, and then even for their stone. The last Emperors still lived in unbelievable luxury, but around them their own world was decaying.

The first ruling Premiere, Durin Bonish, reflected the austerity of his time. The old Emperors were now viewed as wanton hedonists. The old Imperial Palace was abandoned, used only for the ever-growing number of solemn state occasions, where the people of Corrigan in particular were reminded of how fortunate they were to be rescued from the evils of wealth, privilege and even unblemished beauty.

The Collapse

The reign of the Bloody Pretender and the ensuing Hundred Bloody Days were something of a false dawn for Corrigan. Buildings and monuments were built in great numbers, but they were only cheap and crude imitations of those made during the true Age of the Emperors. The people of Corrigan, largely Normals, were disquieted by the growing reports of the abuses of Macropedia/Anthorphs, but pined so greatly for a return to the old days that they accepted even a madman, so long as he promised that an Emperor would once again sit on the throne.

When that all came crashing down, Corrigan was left defenseless. The so-called Ten Rapes of Corrigan, where successive groups of invaders and warlords from other systems tried first to seize the system, and failing that, simply steal everything they could, left Corrigan a shell. The Imperial Congress held on, and while still asserting its theoretical power over the Imperium, held barely enough power to be called the government of the Corrigan System. Only humiliating payments of tribute to neighboring warlords have allowed it to remain intact and at least govern in name a small rump of the old Imperium. Where once it’s wealth and might allowed it to dictate its terms to other worlds, it now survives by doling out the remnants of the accumulated wealth of centuries.

Important Sites

Though modern Corrigan may be a jaded woman, once beautiful, but now only so in memory, it remains still the world to best view the might of the old Imperium.

Imperial City

Originally called New Paris, capital of the first colony on Corrigan, it was renamed after the rise of the Imperium to the Imperial City. Three great rivers converge here, and no less than two thousand bridges can be found. At one time, some two hundred million people, many employed in the service of the vast bureaucracy of the Imperium lived here. Now many of its suburbs are abandoned and are already falling into ruin, though the population still sits at seventy one million, and it remains one of the largest cities in human space.

The Imperial Palace

The Imperial Palace, with its two hundred square miles of structures, and thousand square mile parks, was (strangely) barely touched during the Ten Rapes. Though in need of repair, and the gardens going wild, it still takes one’s breath away. On my visit a Standard year ago, the Golden Tower, the residence of the Emperors, had had half of the gold lining of its vast three thousand foot height removed to make the tribute payment. Still, I was invited on a tour, seeing even the Imperial Residences, dusty, but still extravagant beyond the reckoning of a simple man of learning like myself.

The Grand Space Port

First constructed during the First Expanse, the Grand Space Port is largely abandoned, with only a small section in use. At one time, it is said, half a million shuttles a year landed here carrying the riches of the Imperium to its heart and soul.

The Imperial Congress Buildings

Said to have been modelled on the ancient capital of the Old Terran American-Antarctic Treaty Alliance capital of Washington, the Imperial Congress Buildings are built around a great dome nearly twelve hundred feet high. The Imperial Congress still sits, and have maintained the libraries, museums and archives, hoping perhaps for better days.

The Temba II Museum

Founded by Temba II, this grand building of ten thousand arches and a million columns sits between the Imperial Congress Buildings and the Imperial Palace. It also extends at least three thousand feet underground (Corrigan authorities refuse to give the exact number). Sadly it has been looted many times, and treasures as old as before the First Expanse have been lost. Still there are huge collections to be found in the vaults, and who knows what lies far beneath the ground.

Corrigan’s Walk

The day before I left Corrigan, my hosts invited me to a place both ancient and revered, though I doubt more than a handful of offworlders even know of it. Corrigan’s Walk lies several hundred miles away from the Imperial City in a shallow valley that are all that remain of an ancient impact crater. Here a simple dome building, old but still intact, protects the remnants of Lander 3, the first shuttle, carrying Captain Niels Corrigan and the first of the original five thousand colonists that had left Old Terra in subluminal slowboat vessels. The ship, a rather crude vessel by modern standards, has been preserved, and though no one is allowed inside, various holograms show its narrow passageways and tiny bridge. As much as seeing the diminished grandeur of the Imperial City was breathtaking, for a historian, to see this most ancient piece of history is an experience I cannot even begin to describe, and I feel tears well in my eyes at the very thought of it.

References

  1. Macropedia/Anthorphs
  2. Corrigan System
  3. Durin Bonish
  4. Fasauntari System
  5. First Decline
  6. First Expanse
  7. Grand Reforms
  8. Hundred Bloody Days
  9. Imperial Congress
  10. Imperial Interregnum
  11. Macropedia/Imudring
  12. Tawmerik Dynasty
  13. Temba II
  14. Terran Republic

Related Articles

  1. Grand Reforms
  2. Tawmerik Dynasty
  3. Hundred Bloody Days
  4. First Decline
  5. Imperial Interregnum
  6. First Expanse
  7. Durin Bonish
  8. Imperial Congress
  9. Terran Republic
  10. Imperium Edition Index
  11. Corrigan System
  12. Macropedia/Imudring
  13. Temba Ii
  14. Magnetic Monopole
  15. Fasauntari System
  16. Decline
  17. Macropedia/Anthorph
  18. Tawmeriks

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