The first major interstellar civilisation known, politically and culturally dominated by the Vilani, a major race of humaniti originating on Vland ( Vland / Vland 1717).
The Vilani developed jump drive in -9235, and immediately began exploring their local region. They discovered a number of interfertile and technologically primitive races of humaniti on worlds within 60 parsecs. These were gradually brought to a high technological state with Vilani help and were assimilated into a loose interstellar community bound by trade and common culture.
Eventually the client races themselves explored beyond their local spheres, contacting and trading with still more races. These new races gained technology without being assimilated into Vilani culture; the resulting increased friction eventually resulted in a series of wars beginning about -5400. Vland began tightening its control of its trade sphere, and finally organised it into a centralised state in -5273. This marked the beginnings of the First Imperium, although as yet there was no emperor.
The Consolidation Wars (-5273 to -4045) lasted for the next thousand years, with Vland conquering and absorbing its enemies until there were no longer any civilised states on its borders (except for a portion of the Vargr Extents, isolated from the Imperium by the Great Rift).
The last war ended in -4045, and the Vilani declared the establishment of an interstellar government to govern all Vilani territory. The new empire was named the Grand Empire of the Stars (Ziru Sirka in Vilani), and is also known as the First or Vilani Imperium. It was established in -4045, and Vilani dating begins from this point (1 VI). The First Imperium became a far-flung empire encompassing 27 sectors and nearly 15,000 worlds.
No new sectors were added to the First Imperium after -2900. Instead, with cultural maturity, it became a pinnacle of interstellar diplomacy. Client-states under the protection or patronage of the Vilani numbered in the thousands, while the influence of the Imperium stretched from Zhdant ( Gavel / Zhdant 2719) and Lair ( Grnouf / Province 2408) to Kirur ( Ruupiin / Thirty 1315) and Guaran ( Guaran / Ricenden 0827). Indeed, Vilani suzerainty and the Pax Vilanica is credited with the protective embrace which allowed the development of most major races into their current status.
Control over the First Imperium was maintained by three bureaux, based on the ancient societal groupings of Vland. The cost of maintaining this centralised control was cultural rigidity. Exploration ceased, scientific research slowed to a halt, and a hereditary caste system emerged. The First Imperium was in decline by -3000.
Without exterior threat, the Grand Empire was safe; but despite all efforts, technology leaked across the borders. New interstellar states arose, and the Imperium could no longer afford to absorb them. The Imperium began to lose territory along its coreward and trailing marches. Finally, in -2422, the Imperium was contacted on its rimward border by the Terrans, who had just emerged into space. Terran expansionism led to a series of Interstellar Wars, which ultimately resulted in the Terran conquest of the Imperium in -2204 and the founding of the Rule of Man.
(ADV-2, 1106; MT-ENCYC, 1120)
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