Earth (Foundation universe)

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This article is on the history of Earth, as presented in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series, Robot series, and Empire series.

History[edit]

Ancient (before 2065)[edit]

  • 1982: Susan Calvin is born. Lawrence Robertson forms United States Robots & Mechanical Men, Incorporated.
  • 1996: 'Robbie' manufactured by United States Robots.
  • 1998: Lefebre-Yoshida expedition to Mars takes off from Lunar Base.
  • 1998: New York passes ordinance keeping all robots off the streets between sunset and sunrise.
  • 2003-2007: Most world governments ban robot use on Earth other than scientific research.
  • 2005: Fatal First Mercury Expedition launched.
  • 2008: Susan Calvin obtains Doctorate and joins United States Robots as robopsychologist.
  • 2015: Second Mercury Expedition financed by United States Robots and by Solar Minerals.
  • 2029: Hyper Base closed for a period of two weeks after the loss of an NS robot. First interstellar jump by Gregory Powell and Michael Donovan under the control of "The Brain".
  •  ????: Unsuccessful demonstration of the hyperspatial jump on H937.
  • 2031: First practical hyperatomic motor produced.
  • 2037: Stephen Byerley becomes Regional Co-ordinator for the Northern Region.
  • 2044: The Regions of Earth form a Federation and appoint Stephen Byerley as its first World Co-ordinator.
  • 2048: Stephen Byerley elected for a second term as World Co-ordinator.
  • 2052: Earth population at 3.3 billion.
  • 2064: Susan Calvin dies.

Spacer Era (2065 to 4728)[edit]

  • 2065: Earth colonises Aurora; later colonized 49 more worlds.
  • 3664: Founding of the 'City' of New York
  • 3961: Great Rebellion resulting in the independence of the Outer Worlds from Earth.
  • 4700: War starts between Earth and Santanni.
  • 4704: End of war. Earth victorious.

Pre-Imperial Era (4728 A.D. to 1 G.E.)[edit]

  • 4750: Solaria becomes independent.
  • 4747: United Worlds of the Galaxy formed
  • 4934: Elijah Baley born on Earth.
  • 4991: Spacetown established on Earth. Spacetown Barrier Riots.
  •  ????: Shanghai anti-robot riots.
  • 5001: Bentley Baley born on Earth.
  • 5010: Population of Earth 8,000,000,000. Population of the 50 Spacer worlds 5,500,000,000.
  • 5011: Earth sociologists conclude that the Spacers are becoming too powerful for Earth's survival.
  • 5020: R. Daneel Olivaw constructed.
  • 5021: Spacetown disbanded.
  • 5024: Earth allowed to begin a second wave of Galactic colonization.
  • 5030: Earth begins the second wave of Galactic expansion. Baleyworld founded.
  • 5040: Earth and Spacer worlds sign the Earth-Spacer Treaty of Friendship where Earth agrees not to colonize any world within 20 light years of any Spacer world.
  • 5222: Earth's natural radiation begins to increase as a result of the actions of Kelden Amadiro and Dr Mandamus.
  • 6300: Colonisation of the Horsehead Nebula begins.

Galactic Era (beginning circa 10,000 A.D.)[edit]

  • -200: Earth is already ruled by Trantor during the events of The Currents of Space
  • 543: First Earth rebellion against the Empire.
  • 720: Second Earth rebellion against the Empire.
  • 750: Third Earth rebellion against the Empire.
  • 810: Earth population 20,000,000.
  • 817: Earth scientists isolate the Common Fever virus.
  • 822: 100,000 people die on Earth during a famine.
  • 823: Lord Ennius appointed Procurator of Earth.
  • 825: Affret Shekt develops the Synapsifier.
  • 828: Joseph Schwartz, Bel Arvardan, Affret Shekt, and Pola Shekt avert a plan, formulated by Earth Zealots, to destroy the Galaxy. The Empire begins transporting soil to Earth.
  • 900: Abandonment of the attempt to restore Earth
  • 910: Plans to terraform 'Alpha' in the Alpha Centauri system. Gets as far as creating an island three-fifths the size of Sicily.
  • 930: Earth's remaining inhabitants are evacuated to 'Alpha'

Late Galactic / Early Foundation[edit]

  • 12,117 (50 F.E.): Human origins are "lost in the mists of antiquity". 'Sol' is mentioned by Lord Dorwin as one of several candidates for the original planetary system. Sirius, Alpha Centauri, 61 Cygni and Arcturus are among the alternatives.
  • 12,566 (499 F.E.): Golan Trevize and his ship discovers Earth. It has become inhospitable to all life, so the crew instead lands on the Moon, where they meet the robot R. Daneel Olivaw.

During the Imperial Era, Earth is disliked by the rest of the Empire, and it is discriminated against. Because of its radioactivity, it is a very poor planet. Anyone who is unable to work is legally required to be killed. Earthpeople must also be executed when they reach the age of sixty, with a very few exceptions for people who have made significant contributions to society.

Fictional places[edit]

  • Schenectady — Primary plant of U.S. Robots (Ancient Era)
  • New York City — Home of Elijah Baley; population >20,000,000; population density: 4000/km² (Spacer Era)
  • Chica (Chicago) — One of the largest cities of the Galactic Era
    • Fort Dibburn (Fort Dearborn?) — Imperial Garrison
    • Institute for Nuclear Research — Institute where synapsifier developed
  • Procurator's palace — Home of the Procurator of Earth; 13 km² (5 mile²); artificial garden in the Himalaya (Galactic Era)
  • Temple of Senloo (St. Louis) — Base from which Earth Zealots attempted to launch their attack on the Galaxy

Radioactivity and fading memories[edit]

  • In The Stars Like Dust, the Earth is radioactive, apparently from a war. No one doubts its status as the planet of origin: indeed the exact order of settlement is remembered on Rhodia.
  • In The Currents of Space, thousands of years later, and not far from the start of the Trantorian Empire, Earth's progenitor-status and legacy is no longer remembered by most of the galaxy.
  • In Pebble In The Sky, the status of Earth is even more uncertain. Some experts believe that humans originated separately on many worlds.
  • In Foundation, 12,000 years later during the fall of the Galactic Empire, "Sol" is just one among several candidates for the original home of humanity.

But why is Earth radioactive? In the Afterword to "Grow Old Along With Me" in The Alternate Asimovs, Asimov explains:

I gave the Earth of the future a radioactive crust, at least in spots, yet it had a remnant of life and humanity clinging to it. Clearly, I meant this to be taken by the reader as the result of a nuclear war in our future; and the story's past... It is of crucial importance to the plot.

This was retained when "Grow Old Along With Me" became Pebble In The Sky, published in 1950. When Asimov returned to his future history with Foundation's Edge (1982), he no longer thought a nuclear war could make the crust radioactive without destroying all life. Instead, he assumed that the crust of the planet was deliberately made increasingly radioactive.

In Robots and Empire, he establishes how the Earth was deliberately made radioactive, by a Levular Mandamus, a Spacer attempting to cripple Earthborn and Settler attempts at colonization. Instead, the net result, as is hinted in various books, is that the Settlers, unattached to their "holy" homeworld of Earth, are further driven to colonize and thus go on to establish the Galactic Empire, all but crowding Spacer culture out of the Galaxy.