5446AD The Blight
The transmission of disease from alien to Earth-descended species was always a real, if incredibly unlikely possibility. In 5446AD, this theoretical possibility started to become all too real.
It started with cattle. Between 5446-52AD millions of cattle were killed by a mysterious wasting disease. Millions more healthy creatures were slaughtered in an increasingly desperate series of attempts to curb the spread of the disease. The cattle ranching business was all but destroyed by this terrible illness that was known to ranchers as the 'blight'.
Unfortunately the blight did not stop with cattle. Already by 5451AD there was evidence that the disease could spread to other Earth mammals. In 5452AD the Free State government confirmed that human cases had been identified. By 5458AD, the blight was claiming a million human victims every year.
The catastrophe was complete. The alien organism was completely without precedent in human medicine. There seemed to be no way to stop it. Destitute refugees fled their barren ranch land, into the starving cities. Desperate city-dwellers attacked the refugees, fearing that they carried the blight and knowing that they would compete for scarce food supplies.
Military rule was imposed by every major jurisdiction on the planet. Millions of starving refugees roamed the countryside, turned away wherever they went. Many turned to banditry, thereby creating a huge swathe of anarchic no man's land, ruled only by the law of the jungle. Communities fell back into their nationalistic prejudices, and made war upon their neighbours.
5490AD Blight defeated by genetically engineered virus.
Finally in 5490AD, scientists at the Perth Multi-Disciplinary Institute found an answer. They generically engineered a Colchis-native virus to attack the organism which caused the Blight.
The Cure was successful, but the cost had been enormous. Colchis' human population was estimated to be about 300 million, a hundred-million below its pre-blight peak. The damage to agriculture and rural communities was almost total. The years of chaos and anarchy had devastated the planet's infrastructure.
Perhaps worst still, the blight had left lasting genetic damage in those whom it had spared. For a century afterwards every normal birth was won at the cost of one deformed child and two miscarriages. Even today, only half of Colchian pregnancies are successful.
5524-5542AD The Belter Threat
Colchis was still recovering from the blight when contacted by the Serendip Belt Corp. So although it was ripe for corporate takeover, the belters saw little profit in the world.
The presence of an outside agency did galvanise the recovering states of Colchis to institute a limited form of World government.
5542- Modern Times
Colchis has failed to present a unified face to the outside Universe. Its three communities spend too much time bickering amongst themselves for the world to have made its mark on interstellar politics. Instead, Colchis has become the target of interfering Worlds, each hoping to promote their own interests by sponsoring one faction or another.