A Short History of the Inner Sphere
Before the Battlemech
The K-F Drive
The Kearny-Fuchida Drive (K-F Drive) is the single most important invention in the history of mankind, leaving the internal combustion engine, the battlemech, and the light bulb in the dust. Of course, in an ironic twist, the theory behind this drive, discovered by Takayoshi Fuchida and Thomas Kearny, ruined the reputations of its proponents when it was put forth in 2018. It wasn't until 2102 that scientists were able to construct a working drive and prove the theory...oh yeah, it also opened up the stars for the human race
Thus began the Diaspora. By 2235 over 600 planets had been settled, and the Terran Alliance was beginning to lose control of her colonies. The birth of the five Houses and their respective Successor states is too convoluted to go into. Let's just say that by 2400 House Davion ruled the Federated Suns, House Marik the Free Worlds League, House Kurita the Draconis Combine, House Liao the Cappellan Confederation, and House Steiner controlled the Lyran Commonwealth. Oh yeah, the Terran Hegemony still existed, controlled from Terra, and it is from there that the Second Greatest Invention of the 4th Millennium (nice huh?<g>. Has a sort of ring to it...), the battlemech was to come.
The Golden Years
The Star League
The Star League was the brainchild of Ian Cameron. The Cameron Family ruled the Terran Hegemony. The Terran Hegemony fielded the first battlemech unit in 2439. The other states eventually got copies of the plans for this first mech, the Mackie, but were a good bit behind. Do you understand where I am going with this? Ian Cameron was a man of peace and vision, but, like Teddy Roosevelt, he carried a very big stick<g>. The pen might be mightier than the sword, but the Terran Hegemony was MUCH stronger than any two other nations, so they had a lot of incentive to choose the pen<g>.
By 2575 all the six states had joined the Star League. The Cameron family (Ian was the first) ruled the Star League with the advice and consent of the Council of Lords (the other five Lords). And, with the end of the Reunification Wars (2577-2597)(which brought the Periphery states into the Star League) Ian Cameron became the first man to rule over a united human race since the collapse of the Terran Alliance 300 years previously. However, it was not to last.
The Bad Old Days
The Collapse of the Star League and the Exodus
In 2762 Richard Cameron assumed the mantle of First Lord of the Star League. This was a bad thing. Historians differ on whether Richard was incompetent or just inexperienced, but it is certain that by the Autumn of 2766 conditions were ripe for a coup. There is no doubt that Stefan Amaris, ruler of a small Periphery state was ambitious and self-serving and evil. However, whether he was any worse than the five rulers of the Great Houses is arguable. In any event, in December 2766 Stefan Amaris murdered Richard Cameron and his entire family, root, branch and leaf, moved his troops to Terra and claimed rulership of the Star League. The five Great Lords could do little (and truth be told were not willing to do anything). They pretty much ignored Amaris.
However, not everyone did so. General Alexandr Kerensky, Commander of the Star League Defense Forces, and one time Regent (while Richard was growing up), was not sitting idle. He had been in the Periphery when the coup took place, and it took him until 2772 to reunify the disparate loyal units of the SLDF. By 2779, the SLDF had Amaris cornered and surrounded on Terra. The coup ended when Kerensky's Orion kicked down the gates of the palace and marched in. Stefan Amaris was killed (and is buried as a common criminal on New Samarkand in Draconis space). Kerensky took the mantle of Protector of the Star League, and the five Great Lords met on Terra to choose the next First Lord.
They could not do so. They only agreed on three things: 1). They stripped Kerensky of the title of Protector. 2). They appointed Jerome Blake (a civilian who had lead Kerensky's special communications group) as Minister of Communication (important<g>), and 3). None of them liked any of the others. Actually, the word hate might fit better. All five Lords claimed the throne. John Davion had probably the best claim, but it was tenuous at best. The wrangling went on until 2784. It was then that General Kerensky, still head of the SLDF, and sickened by the back biting and general foolishness of the Council, took his marbles and went home.
Actually, he gathered up as much of the SLDF as he could (about 75%, although the numbers range from 40%-90% depending on who you believe) and fled beyond the Periphery. His purpose was to stop the impending fight by removing the troops. It failed. He fled northeastward through Draconis space. His troops, or their descendants, would not be seen for almost 300 years. The Exodus ended all fiction of uniting the Star League by peaceful means. The Succession Wars began.
The Succession Wars
The First Succession War began in 2785 when Draconis units invaded the Federated Suns. Other states soon jumped in, and by the end of 2786 all five Successor states were at war with one another. The First Succession war was followed by the Second and the Third. The Third Succession War ended in 3020, pretty much, with Archon Katrina Steiner's call for peace. It probably would have meant little, except that the Inner Sphere was ruined. 250 years of war had ravaged the planets and tech base of all five States. House Liao came out the worst, losing a majority of its territory, but no one fared well. The Periphery has degenerated to barbarism and piracy. The Inner Sphere has taken a huge step backwards. The most optimistic estimates put us at the same tech level as we were in 2400 just before battlemechs were invented. No new battlemech factories had been built in decades, and the surviving ones were badly off.
The Ares Conventions (made after the horror of the massive all out First Succession War) has banned the use of nukes, and fortunately the naval forces have ceased to exist. However, what is left is in shambles. The number of active shipyards still producing jumpships and K-F drives could be counted on one hand (and House Liao had none). Fewer than a dozen new jumpships were being produced, and most commerce traveled in ships that were new when Ian Cameron founded the League. If these had gone, billions would have died, and man would once again be confined to single systems.
The New Age
The Renaissance of technology
Life in the Inner Sphere carried on much the same way for hundreds of years, until in the early 31st Century a Star League era memory core was recovered intact from a previously undiscovered library. This core had technical data on Star League era battlemechs and other technology lost for centuries. This spawned a technological renaissance during which old manufacturing technologies were rediscovered, new battlemech factories were built, and for the first time in over a hundred years completely new battlemech designs were produced using technology lost since the fall of the Star League. This renaissance continued on even through the 4th succession war and the war of 3039. In fact, technology still continues to evolve even to today, 60 some years later.
The Clan Invasion
In late 3050, a new force entered the Inner Sphere from out of the periphery. This force arrived with highly skilled warriors piloting battlemechs far beyond even the most advanced Inner Sphere designs then being developed. At first thought to be aliens, it was soon discovered that these warriors were in fact descendants of the Star League troops who had fled the Inner Sphere with General Kerensky hundreds of years before. Calling themselves the Clans, they ripped through the Inner Sphere, cutting down hundreds of elite units in their stated goal of purging the Inner Sphere of the "corrupt defilers" and restoring the Star League. It wasnt until 3052, on the planet Tukayid in Rasalhague Republic space, that the Clans were finally defeated in a proxy battle with the Com Guards. The Com Guard commander, Precentor Martial Anastacious Focht, had negoiated a deal with the clans that if their combined might was unable to defeat his ComGuards on Tukayid, that the Clans would advance no closer to Terra for a 15 year truce period. With their hard fought victory, the ComGuards bought the Inner Sphere time to regroup, and ultimately to do what the clans strived to do, reestablish the Star League.
The Star League Reborn
In May of 3059, the Houses of the Inner Sphere once again united under the banner of the Star League to eliminate the Clans once and for all. It was decided to target a single clan first and wipe it out completely as a sign of Star League might. Because of attrocities it commited during the Clan Occupation war, Clan Smoke Jaguar was chosen as the initial victim of Star League vengeance. In a surprisingly brief campaign, Smoke Jaguar forces were virtually purged from the Inner Sphere, taking back dozens of worlds lost years before. At the same time this was going on, a secret Inner Sphere attack was engaging the Smoke Jaguar home planet of Huntress back in the Clan home worlds area. During this bloody campaign, the Smoke Jaguars were finally defeated, even as the last of their troops were purged from the Inner Sphere.
The Saga Continues
After the Smoke Jaguars were defeated, the Star League lost some of its luster. The mistrust and infighting that destroyed the original Star League also undid its latest incarnation. While some Houses stayed allied with one another, there was no common banner or command structure, which limited their effectiveness and prevented them from removing the remaining Clans. There were additional wars between the Clans and Inner Sphere after the truce of Tukayid ran out in 3067, but by that time the Inner Sphere had advanced their technology considerably with the help of recovered Clan weapons and equipment, to the point where the 2 sides possessed roughly equal technology. The Clans still had their genetically engineered warriors, but the Inner Sphere had superior numbers and shorter supply lines. The result was a stalemate that saw little change over the next 30 years. Now, in the year 3100, many clans have been vanquished, but new ones always seem to appear to take their place. Also, as the threat of the clans diminishes, the Inner Sphere Houses seem to mistrust each other more and more. With the clans virutally eliminated as a threat to the entire Inner Sphere, tensions are running high and the threat of a Succession War is back for the first time in almost a hundred years.