Darwin is a habitable planet that orbits third from its star in the New Darwin System. It is an generally arid world with a few areas of dense jungles around its equator and more temperate zones in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Discovery & Colonization
Darwin has the almost singular distinction of having been settled by the same people that discovered it. In 2105, the University of Melbourne launched an exploration team aboard a ship called the Endeavour to search for a habitable world. After fifty days of traveling, they arrived in the star system they dubbed the New Darwin System and found Darwin, the single inhabitable planet among fifteen.
Of all the worlds, it is perhaps the most Earth like, orbiting third from its sun at almost exactly 1 AU and with several continents and a range of diverse kinds of life. While the total landmass is less than that of Earth's, it is approximately the same size if not a little smaller. They knew they had a winner.
After a brief survey of the planet to catalog some of its more dangerous lifeforms, the explorers returned to Australia and informed the government of what they had discovered. Less than a year later, the government encouraged its citizens to settle the world to guarantee an Australian presence in the new colonies. By 2107 the first such settlers arrived, 62,000 of them.
A large percentage came from the bush and were more than ready to rough it, setting up new ranches with their bare hands if need be. But more than a few city dwellers were interested also.
The Australian government, in a singular move again differentiating its self from the other world governments, issued a settlement plan, charting where the first four cities would be and issuing rough plans for how those cities would be laid out based upon orbital surveys. The centers of Little Melbourne, Big Island City, Big Surf, and Bayton still reflect these grand designs even if only Little Melbourne still carries the original name given to it.
In 2112, the Australian government even opened an office in Little Melbourne to address citizen concerns and bring mail back and forth between Earth and Darwin. In this, it was again unique.
By 2115, Darwin had a population of close to three million people though, by now, a healthy portion of the new settlers were as equally as likely to come from the UK, the United States, South Africa, or New Zeland. Still, the Aussie culture was entrenched, so much so that the demonym remains "Aussie" for anyone who comes from Darwin regardless of their Earth lineage.
Because of the countries from which people emigrated, Darwin also remains one of the few places where the English spoken could still be easily mistaken for English spoken on Earth, with fewer adopted words and less changing of the accent.
By the time independence was declared in 2169, Darwin boasted a population of over 25 million and had become as much of a tourist spot as any world could be in the Republican Star Cluster. People came from all over to ski at Taos-on-Darwin or surf at Big Surf. Camping in the mountains near New Darwin City was also popular because of the views it allowed and the many waterfalls fed by mountain lakes.
Darwin was an active supporter of the independence movement even though the planet didn't participate in the First Republican Defensive. It was, however, a major battleground in the Second and the final destruction of the UUHA fleet occurred in what became known as the Battle Over Darwin.
The "Police War"
The original incident that led to the civil unrest began with a mistaken raid on the Little Melbourne house of Cindy and Abram Goldman in 2242. Police, deploying "flash-bang" grenades, accidentally set the house alight killing Cindy Goldman's father upstairs and their child Kizzie several days later from burns incurred by the fire.
Months later, the police released the the results of their investigation into the incident, clearing the officers of any wrongdoing, further inciting a feeling of distrust in the police and governmental authority.
Three days later, in the city of Bayton, police conducting a sobriety check on a driver found their use of force being observed and protested by local pedestrians growing increasingly unruly. The police ordered the people to disperse but instead found themselves overrun. The crowd killed both the officers and torched their police car.
But rather than end there, the discontent continued to spread, leading to one sniper positioned outside the courthouse in South Town to shoot people on the courthouse steps, eventually killing six officers, four lawyers, and a judge.
Riots soon spread to every city and town on Darwin, with the police being the primary target but judges and prosecutors also in the line of fire. In the two weeks following the original traffic stop, one thousand police officers, fifteen judges, twenty planetary legislators, and dozens of other state officials from vehicle registration clerks to tax collectors were killed by the rioting public.
- See Also: A History of the Age of War Chapter 2 - The Police War for more information about how the riots on Darwin changed the balance of power between the people and their governments.
Many of Darwin's products are agricultural, ranging from wheat and corn to livestock. It is a major exporter of foodstuffs to other Republican worlds.
In 2140, Darwin was the site of the Kaesong Motors expansion and a factory was opened outside of South Town to produce automobiles for the planet and export what went unsold. Darwin was in desperate need of cars since its terrain was difficult to traverse on foot or horse and trucks were in constant need for the agriculture industry. As such, there was a constant shortage from the main Kaesong plant. With the opening of the factory in South Town though, Darwin could produce all the cars it required and more for the nearby planets.
Darwin also produces a range of television and movies but most of the market remains planetside as much of the rest of the Republic has a hard time understanding them given they had not adopted Colonial English like the rest of the worlds.
Perhaps because of its Australian origin, baseball was never a popular sport on Darwin. Recreational leagues exist but the most popular professional sports remain cricket and Soccer (called "Football" on the world). There are several teams that compete but even there viewership and attendance remains low.
Aussies prefer to be outside and be active themselves. There is a large surf scene in almost every city that borders the coast and recreational polo is perhaps the single largest pastime of the planet.
The climate on Darwin is perhaps the most varied of all the Republican worlds. Much of the inland areas of the two big continents is arid because of the mountains blocking the prevailing winds. The coastal land in the northern and southern hemispheres is temperate and this is where the majority of growing happens. The equatorial continent and the lands that intersect with the line is often very tropical and covered with the sort of aggressive vegetation one would find on Earth.
Native & Transplanted Life
Because of the great diversity of climates and regions, Darwin is probably second only to Earth in biodiversity. It has creatures that swim, crawl, walk, and fly across all the phylums. However, one thing does stand out to make Darwin different. On average, the creatures appear to be much larger than on Earth.
The biggest grazers can stand a head taller than an elephant and packs of up to two dozen are common. Even the biggest predators, animals that look not unlike dogs, can stand as high as an average cow. Flying lizard like creatures can easily have wingspans of up to three meters and a flock can almost blot out the sun. Even the "sebbit", a native rodent like creature can grow to be almost three times as large as an Earth rabbit.
While humans have had few problems keeping the native life at bay, Earth animals have had no luck surviving on their own on Darwin. There have been no documented cases of escaped animals co-habitating with the native life. Domesticated animals that live within the human settled areas however, survive just fine on the native plant life.
Perhaps the biggest success story for Earth life, beyond humans, is with agriculture. Earth species of plants seem to have no problem blending in with the native species, competing at times but neither finding dominance nor being wiped out. The soils of Darwin prove to be a good match for Earth crops, perhaps a major reason why Darwin is a breadbasket of the Republican Star Cluster.
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- Rugged Individualists - The Parker family settled on Darwin.