5100-5200AD Imperialism and the Cold War.
Pioneers from the Wald were constantly pushing on into new frontiers, and founding new communities. Although the population in 5100AD was still quite small (about 12 million), it was growing rapidly. In the industrial Wald heartlands the technical capacities of the Big Three were forging ahead (TL6). Aircraft started to criss-cross the skies.
Rivalry between the Big Three powers waxed and waned. As industrial capacity grew, so control of strategic resources became more vital. Resources and labour from overseas colonies and possessions became increasingly important for economic development. Small wars were fought over the most critical colonies. Primitive communities were often cowed into submission by gunboat diplomacy.
Soon the Great Powers began stockpiling nuclear weapons, and a balance of terror was struck. The Powers might compete by proxy in distant lands, but direct conflict could only lead to a devastating nuclear war. The Cold War went on interminably. First one bloc would gain an advantage, then another. Historians compared the period to the East-West rivalry in mid twentieth century Earth. People took comfort from this, as that conflict had not, in the end lead to all-out war.
Even though scientific knowledge was not lacking, technical progress became grindingly slow. The small population hindered industrial advances for centuries, as none of the Powers had enough educated people to embark on the huge development projects needed to start producing really advanced technology.
5200-5258AD Colonial Independence.
As the colonies reached economic maturity, they began to demand independence. The Great Powers resisted, and a long era of terrorism and sometimes outright rebellion ensued. By 5250AD most of the larger colonies had at least a measure of independence.
5237AD Voyageur Returns
Voyageurs return in this year was greeted with hostility and scepticism. Everyone feared that the Crew would side with one of the Great Powers and trigger a war. Memories of their tragic intervention centuries earlier had left the Crew wary of meddling in the mad world of Neubayern politics.
It was nearly a year before the three big powers agreed between themselves to allow Crew from Voyageur to land at all.
Captain Jarvis Massu of the Voyageur decided that the best thing he could do would be to offer a new life to anyone who wanted to escape. He made his offer publically, and did the round of chat shows and news interviews. Some nations did agree to cooperate with him, and the project went ahead.
After a great deal of strife and opposition from powerful nations who suspected his motives, Capt. Massu did manage to put together aload of colonists and colonisation supplies.
In 5250AD they left. The plan was to visit the barren world of Berlichingen first. Then visit the new colony of Topas, before heading off to explore Zuflucht, where they hoped to plant the colony. Unfortunately the colonists got no further than Berlichingen. Thousands of the colonists turned out to be agents of the Southern Empire, bent on capturing the ship and delivering it to their political masters. After the mutiny had been put down, Voyageurs new Captain abandoned the colonists on Berlichingen.