On 27 April 2074, Captain Jan De Wyze and the crew of the Freedom 4 returned from the first manned interstellar voyage to the first extraterrestrial planet whose natural environment could support Human life. Since space warp had not been invented, the round trip had taken 15 years in Earth’s time frame plus the additional 46 months Freedom 4 had spent studying the new planet. Forty years passed before the first pioneers left for Wyzdom to establish the first permanent colony.
During that period, two larger exploratory parties travelled to the Alpha Centauri system to gather additional data needed to plan the colony. The uncertainties of building a colony so far from Earth, the difficulties posed by the high gravity and atmospheric pressure, the violent weather, and the potential for disease appeared overwhelming in those days, so limited was people’s knowledge of ecology, disease, and the limits of Human physiology.
Two thousand and seventy pioneers established their home on the Jan Plateau 254 years ago. They chose the Plateau because its atmospheric density approximates Earth’s, and they feared the effects of violent winds at lower elevations. Despite the years of planning, the colony did not proceed as smoothly as new colonies do today. The group contained a preponderance of scientists and political undesirables, and neither sort makes particularly successful settlers. Because of the high cost of early interstellar travel, colonists skimped on the supplies and equipment they brought. They planned to rapidly produce the additional food and machinery they needed to survive. Had they failed, resupply would have been impossible; for the absence of large starships with warp capability made travel times unacceptably long.
All did not go according to plan. Although Earth’s grains grew poorly in the foreign soil and climate of Wyzdom, mercifully, disease did not prove to be the hazard it could have been. The colony’s scientists, writers, and bureaucrats could not be motivated to do the manual labor required on the new world. Machinery broke down frequently, but the colony had few skilled mechanics to repair it. During the second winter, rations were reduced to a mere 1000 calories per day. Forty-three newborn infants and more than 200 older immigrants died of malnutrition and cold caused by frequent power failures at the central plant.
A council elected by the colonists governed the original colony according to socialistic principles, but bickering among council members brought practical decision-making to a standstill. At the end of the second winter, the pioneers rebelled against the elected government and in desperation turned to Medhat Hadar.
Hadar, a young businessman from the ancient city of Beirut, operated the only successful farming/ ranching enterprise on Wyzdom. In theory, private enterprise was illegal, but Hadar operated his farm so efficiently that his 150 hectares, a mere fifteen percent of the land under cultivation, produced 40 percent of the colony’s food, much of which was sold on the black market. The colonists offered to make Hadar absolute dictator if he would get them out of their predicament. Hadar agreed and immediately abolished the socialistic economy. He parceled out land to individuals willing to work it and loaned farm machinery to those who could best use it. Farmers repaid loans in the form of goods to a central trading company operated by Hadar himself. Medhat abolished all scientific research and put the personnel to work at mundane tasks. He loaned the machine shop to a group of engineers and mechanics who operated it for profit and paid back the community for its use. Within eight months after taking charge, Hadar’s government had sold all community-owned capital equipment to the highest bidders who could demonstrate the ability to repay a loan. Within three years the colony prospered and profits from the loans of communal machinery began to flow into foundations supporting scientific research and the first school system on Wyzdom.
After seven years, Hadar voluntarily stepped down as dictator and restored a democratic form of government. Before abdicating he drafted most of the present consitution guaranteeing not only personal rights, but property rights as well. He had become the wealthiest man on Wyzdom and remained so for the rest of his life. Upon his death, he left the bulk of his fortune to found the University of Wyzdom, which remains the largest and most important institution of higher learning on the planet. He also had firmly established Wyzdom’s pattern for growth and development, a pattern that has served most of the subsequent Human colonies. In recognition of his contribution to the planet, the pioneers posthumously named the capital city after him.
From Hadar’s time on, the Wyzdom colony grew, both from the birth of natives and from the influx of immigrants which accelerated after the building of transports with warp capability. During this time the population’s standard of living increased as well. The colony achieved self-sufficiency in all physical goods about 160 years after it began, though even today Wyzdom relies heavily on information from Earth for everything from engineering designs to movies and books.