So, in my world, Terrans, also called humans, have colonized a hefty amount of Milky Way Territory, and have many subjects under their rule, about 200 billion spread across a space about 1,350 lightyears. Earth is the main capital of all human colonies in the galaxy,and the flag of the Terrans sports a phrase at the bottom in Latin, which says “Terra non fecit” or Earth will never die. Other main planets in the Terran territory are Amon, in the Alpha Centauri system,Tengelle, in the Orion system, and Kelstar, a system near where Tau Ceti is. Their are thousands of other, lesser known planets in between the main 4 like Torlon, Deloron, and the Orion Territory, but the 4 main planets all have something in common.


All the main 4 planets I mentioned above have one thing in common. Their all clustered near the edges of Terran space, even Earth, the Capital. It would make more since to have the planet in the uttermost center of Terran Territory be capital as it it closest to planets in the center. What would be a plausible reason why the Terrans would have their Capital be a planet far away from the center of their territory?

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    $\begingroup$ please clear up your mind with units: the Milky Way has a diameter of 100000 light years. 1350 light years span is a bread crumble of that extension, not an hefty amount. Also, "terra non fecit" means "not made on earth".... $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:14
  • $\begingroup$ I studied latin in high school. He did not land makes also sense. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Off-topic: This is not worldbuilding, but "How can you write the story for me?" Earth could be just a symbolic capital. If this civilization has warp drive, there is no limit to the resources available, nothing would be owed to Earth. In fact, with enough development, the Solar System would have enough natural resources to sustain Earth's needs $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:21
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    $\begingroup$ @MindX Kind of, Latin words do not have a single stable spelling, the words change their spelling depending on their usage and context within a sentence; it gives automatic translator programs a hernia because they're governed by the G.I.G.O. principle. $\endgroup$
    – Ash
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ @MindX I invite you to go to Latin Language and ask there about Latin. Terra non fecit means Earth did not make or not made by Earth. If you want to mean Earth will not die you need a verb that means to die, and conjugate it properly $\endgroup$
    – Rafael
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:38

4 Answers 4


The infrastructure and human resources on Earth very likely ensures it stays relevant and it's historic power will keep it powerful even after colonies get pretty advanced. Earth maintaining its status as the human capital is not implausible presuming the humans stay unified enough to have any capital and travel from the farthest part of their territory isn't too obnoxious.

The territory growing asymmetrically might be explained by natural or artificial constraints;

  • different stars orbit the galaxy at different rates (ours is about 1/200 million years) over long time lines that could cause a natural smearing.

  • a space object like a nebula or potential nova could make some patch of the galaxy risky for long term colonization causing people to expand away from the hazard.

  • if the first attempts at interstellar travel were poorly controlled resulting in a few far flung colonies it might make sense to backfill rather than continue stretching once better control was established.

  • a rival space power could contest Earth's control in some direction.

  • if there was a goal of getting to some far off interesting object conceivably colonization could be diverted to work our way there.

  • if that's where the best looking planets happened to be. Colonies are for sure going to be expensive, going anywhere but to the best looking places would be silly.


In the center of the empire are economically important systems. The capitals are in the periphery because the provinces worry that otherwise the economic center will dominate completely.

This is an American way of thinking. England and France are apparently fine with having their economic center also be the political capital. But in the US (where the capital is Washington DC, not the old economic powers of New York or Philadelphia) and almost every American state the political capital is not the same city as the economic capital. The capital of New York is Albany and the capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg. The capital of California is not Los Angeles or San Francisco, but Sacramento.

So too your empire. The center is the commercial hub and the placement of the capitals is a purposeful effort to keep this hub from getting too powerful.

Of course these capital planets might also be capitals because of tradition. An empire that lauds their home planet in their motto is probably not going to relegate it to secondary status. The other capital might also be the oldest colonized planets for whatever reason, and so tradition has kept them as centers of power. Maybe the early jump drives were unpredictable and so the empire did not grow via a logical spread outwards from Terra.


Whatever method of faster than light travel your universe has is not a simply 'point and go' X light years per day system it instead has some complexities and nuances to it.

For example in Star Wars (at least legends) Hyper-lanes are used to add strategic blockades and vast unexplored wilderness without having to comprise on the speed of ships in the starwars galaxy.

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similarly if your FTL system requires (or perhaps is just significantly aidded by) "roads" then Terra serves as a nexus of these roads all laid by ancient colony vessels travel across these existing 'roads' is easy but the laying of new "road" a herculean endevour.

For another example in Warhammer 40k faster than light travel is only permitted by a giant holy space beacon the astronomicon so of course mankind's territory is centred where that is brightest and becomes less civilised away from it (though because of how absurdly complex WH40K lore is that is an over simplification). There is no reason of course your space beacon need be holy or even a beacon it could perhaps simply be the outputter of whatever technological wind your ships travel upon (forgive my flowery language).

the WH40K galaxy 'the centre' is Terra despite it being clearly offset from the geographical centre

That being said perhaps your best bet is to not hand wave this away but instead use it a source of conflict. How dare those stuck up earth-folk not see that Kelstar is clearly the better placed easier capital? Why do those foolish colonists not respect Terras ancient historical and cultural significance as the cradle of mankind? alternatively take an hybrid route, perhaps colonists demand to be interconnected but Terran politicians know that this will loose earths position as the dominant planet. these could be problems for your protagonists to overcome


Fundamentally, this seems a question about Politics more than worldbuilding.

The French offer several instructive examples. Paris today is the capital of a global empire of small colonies...but they're not actually colonies (anymore). They are part of greater France, the inhabitants are full French citizens with the same political rights and voting power whether they live in Tahiti or Paris.

However, Paris 100 years ago also controlled colonies in Africa and Asia...that broke away (sometimes quite bloodily) in response to classical colonialist discrimination and exploitation.

The politics of your Terran Hegemony determines the desire of outlying possessions for independence. The distance/time to communicate or reach those outlying possessions determines the difficulty and cost to the bureaucracy (or Space Navy) to maintain the Terran Rule Of Law. The economics of your outlying possessions determines whether they can raise the resources to locally overmatch the Space Navy and win their war of independence.

In order for Terra to maintain it's Hegemony then, like France today, it's Rule of Law must minimize Discrimination and Exploitation or it's cost to administer that Rule of Law in the outlying territories must be reasonably low.

Alternately, Terra's wealth and technology must be so overwhelming that it can easily daunt or smash the many rebellions that regularly crop up against it's tyrannical rule.


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