5049-5114AD New Blood from Amondiage
Colonisation from Amondiage began when the Asterix arrived in 5049AD. The Outward Bound visited Colchis a third time in 5055AD, bringing with it yet more French-speaking colonists from Amondiage.
The new arrivees were fiercely Catholic christians. They were appalled at the power and influence of the pagan Chaos Cults. Galvanised by this fresh impetus, the Free State at last began to act against the herders. Local militias were bolstered by newly formed French battalions. A unified command was set up, and punitive raids began.
At first only those nearby villages and towns deemed to be 'nests of villainy' were targeted. The success of this campaign which later become known as the 'First Crusade', was mixed. By 5060AD the cities of the Free State were largely free from harrassment by gangs of ruffians. But the herders had organised their own defences and inflicted a number of serious reverses on the Free State's field army.
5061AD Pastor Guillaume
In 5061AD a Catholic priest named Guillaume Destrier began to preach a series of vitriolic sermons against the Chaos Cults. He taught that they were tools of the Devil; a sign of the last days. Wheelies were all part of a diabolical plot, which must be fought by all right-thinking Christian folk.
Pastor Guillaume's message struck a chord amongst the poor and uneducated masses of the Free State. By the end of 5062AD huge rallies were being held across the State, in support of his fractious creed. Many civic leaders, keen to share in the Pastor's popularity, lent him their tacit support.
Mainstream Wheelies were horrified by this turn of events. The Free State was home to hundreds of thousands of peaceful Wheelies, who had nothing to do with the Chaos Cults. Even out in the ranch country, only a minority actively followed the Raksasas. Now, all Wheelies were being lumped together as the natural enemies of every right-thinking Christian.
In early 5063 Pastor Guillaume declared a 'Crusade' against the Cults. Their menhirs and henges were 'temples of evil' and he declared that he would not rest until they were all 'returned to God'.
The latter years of the 51st century saw a rising crescendo of violence. At first only the physical manfestations of the Chaos Cults were attacked. But soon the Cults themselves were proscribed, and their members were being persecuted and killed. The Cults were too fractious to effectively fight the organised zealots; instead they fled deeper and deeper into the outback, away from the expanding influence of the Free State.
In the wake of the crusaders came missionaries, who made little distinction between cultists and ordinary Wheelies in their fervour. Whole communities were torn apart.
The Asterix stayed for 30 years, long enough to meet up with La Revolution,which arrived empty from Acadie in 5081AD. The crew of La Revolution had decided not to return to Amondiage, but instead to explore the virgin worlds of the New Islands.
By the 5090s, even moderate Wheelies, who had never supported the Chaos Cults or risen a hand in violence were being persecuted thoughout the Free State. They were banned from holding public office by means of a widely adopted 'loyalty test', and they could no longer practise their religion. In all but the most remote ranch country, the Cults themselves had gone underground. Most met in secret, and many started to operate a 'cell' structure.
The crew of La Revolution were not so keen on supporting the crusade as that of the Asterix. At first Marcel, their captain argued with the Pastors who lead the Crusade, and with the authorities of the Free State. They used their shuttles to ferry persecuted Wheelies from the cities far out into the pagan outback, where they could hope to live a quieter life.
Then, in 5098AD, Captain Marcel declared that La Revolution would depart Colchis within 10 years. He pledged that the ship would offer places to as many of the persecuted Wheelies as they could.
At first, the Crusaders and the Free State greeted the news with delight. The fewer 'evil' wheelies they had to deal with, the better. But then as the years passed, they began to resent the huge cost of fully stocking a colony ship. By 5103AD the Free State had withdrawn all official support from the La Revolution. Families chosen for colonisation places were victimised.
In 5105AD all prospective colonists were expelled from the State and left to wander in the outback, prey to to bandits and robbers. La Revolution had to shift its base of operations to the small rancher town of Nuzhat, 7000km from the Free State.
Of course, this disruption and the relative poverty of the outback delayed the colonisation preparations. It wasn't until 5114AD that La Revolution finally launched itself towards the New Islands with a full complement of Wheelie refugees. The settlers were carefully screened to excluded Chaos Cultists, and they went on to found the thriving colony world of New Colchis.