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12,756 kilometers (7,926 mi)
Length of day:
Length of year:
-20°C to 40°C (-4°F to 104°F)
UNSC strategic significance:
UNSC threat level:
Earth, also known as Sol III, known in the Forerunner era as "Erde-Tyrene" (pronounced "Er-da-ty-reen") or "Erda", is the third planet and one of four terrestrial worlds of the Sol system. It is the presumptive homeworld of the human species, though this was disputed by some ancient humans, due to the loss of records to technological dark ages and the presence of human ruins on other worlds. It is the current capital world of the Unified Earth Government, and home to the headquarters of the United Nations Space Command.
With a population of around ten billion, Earth was the most populated planet in UEG territory prior to the Covenant invasion. Despite being dramatically reduced during the Covenant invasion in 2552 due to both casualties inflicted by the Covenant and a major evacuation effort, the population had again risen to several billion by the end of 2553.
A report filed by the Librarian during her time indexing species on the planet led her to believe that the Precursors had experimented on the planet's native lifeforms due to the mammalian-level intelligence exhibited by certain scyphozoa and cephalopoda at that time of her filing said report. The remains of a deceased Catalog unit, and a damaged monitor, which revealed that humanity achieved its earliest known spacefaring technological state prior to 1,100,000 BCE and that Forerunners believed humans had "moved their interstellar civilization outward along the galactic arm" by 150,000 BCE. Not only is the dating for humanity's origin less sure now, but the very idea of Earth has humanity's birthplace has also been revealed to have been a matter of debate for the civilization that preceded and witnessed the human-Forerunner wars and some Forerunners. That ancient empire had lost many of the records that could have proven or disproven the issue, and human ruins had also been discovered on multiple worlds beside Earth from forgotten eras of prehistory. Regardless of when and how humanity first evolved and developed, it is clear that humans were present on multiple planets over a million years ago, and it was not until thousands of years into this civilization that leading human scientists traced the species' origins to Earth.
Spreading across the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, humanity underwent several periods of technological and social regression, losing most of their records in the process. During this time, Earth was contested as the cradle of humanity by Forerunners and ancient humans themselves due to loss of records during their dark ages and as the planet had long been feral and abandoned, most ancient humans simply embraced the planet as an archaic relic of their past, since the center of human culture had largely been relocated to Charum Hakkor. Earth was one of the first human worlds to fall to the Forerunners in the human-Forerunner wars. After being defeated by the Forerunner civilization, most humans were exiled to Earth, with their civilization dismantled, populations splintered amongst the many human species and their culture degrading back to a primitive state for millennia. Earth and humanity came under the charge of the Forerunner Lifeshaper, the Librarian, who helped the humans slowly work towards rebuilding a primitive civilization. Remnants of their former technology, such as steam power and hot-air balloon flight, were re-learned under her care but later forgotten after the firing of the Halo Array.
Near the end of their war with the Flood, the Forerunners, specifically the Lifeworkers under the direction of the Librarian, indexed many of Earth's species - including humans - as a part of their Conservation Measure to preserve life in the galaxy after the activation of the Halo Array. Prior to the activation, after surveying the planet, beacons were activated informing humans imprinted with the Librarian's geas to gather to evacuate the planet. Lifeworkers only had time to evacuate one out of a thousand of the planet's large species; countless species would be left behind. Several days into the evacuation the Librarian and IsoDidact arrived in the system to speak with Catalog. The evacuation was halted ahead of schedule as the Flood had broken through the local Forerunner defenses and were entering the system.
After the Ur-Didact composed most of the human population on Omega Halo, the Librarian realized the remaining population would not be enough to repopulate the species. She sent Chant-to-Green to see how much the Flood had taken in the system and save whatever humans she could. The Flood had left Earth untouched after the Forerunners evacuated. Chant was only able to gather a few hundred humans to send to Installation 00. When Precursor star roads began to appear in the system, she told Chant she would stay on Earth and gave Chant the title of Lifeshaper. Later, a Gargantua-class transport arrived to be disassembled and reconfigured, and after gathering the necessary materials, formed a portal to the Ark.
Circa 97,445 BCE, humans were returned to Earth and watched as the Portal at Voi was buried. With human life reseeded on Earth, it successfully re-developed. During this redevelopment, there would be several intense conflicts on Earth between humans, such as the Battle of Thermopylae, Diadochi conflicts, the American Civil War, and World War I.
Rise of humanity
- Main articles: Jovian Moons Campaign, Rain Forest Wars, Argyre Planitia Campaign, Interplanetary War
Earth was in danger of overpopulation in the late 21st-century. Though this would be resolved by planetary colonization.
By 2080, humanity's national governments, under the auspices of the United Nations, had begun to establish colonies on the other planets in the Sol system. However, expansion did not come without problems. In the mid-22nd century, two major dissident factions emerged; the neo-communist Koslovics and fascist Frieden, which began to battle one another and the United Nations.
In March–June 2160, Jovian Frieden secessionists attacked United Nations Colonial Advisors on the moon Io, which led to three months of fighting between the Earth military and Jovian Frieden forces. National governments began to support their own colonies which sparked proxy wars off-planet, leading to tension and militarization on Earth. In 2162, armed conflict ripped through South America, starting the Rain Forest Wars, as Koslovic, Frieden, and UN forces all clashed over ideological differences, sparking additional conflicts off-planet. In December of 2163, the three factions clashed, this time on Mars. This was the first extraterrestrial use of Marines, who launched lightning raids on Koslovic positions, permanently affecting military doctrine for centuries. In 2164, UN forces began a massive military build-up and began the first true interplanetary war. The forces of the fledgling United Nations Space Command were significantly bolstered by a massive propaganda campaign running on the victories on Mars and over the next six years took back the Sol system and drove the dissident factions to destruction. Now with a massive military with no enemy to fight, overpopulation, famine, and a collapsing economy, the newly unified Earth faced an uncertain future.
The year 2302 saw the beginning of construction on the Mombasa Tether, the first Space elevator on Earth. Conditions on Earth had deteriorated significantly and by 2310, catching a ride on a new colony ship became appealing to some. A second space elevator, this time in Quito, South America was completed in 2313. In 2332, the Ross-Ziegler Blip was discovered in Earth's carbon and fossil records.
- Main article: Human-Covenant War
- Isabelle: "You know when I was living on Mamore, I thought that Earth was really cool, but it's a dump."
- Kamal Zaman: "Well, what do you expect from a place called dirt?"
- — Isabelle and Kamal Zaman talking about Earth, 2552.
During the entire course of the conflict, the UNSC followed the Cole Protocol, which declared that no UNSC vessel targeted by the Covenant was to retreat to Earth, as a means of ensuring the secrecy and security of the planet's location. In nearly twenty-seven years of galactic warfare, the Covenant never succeeded in determining the location of Earth through the measures taken under the Cole Protocol. However, by September 2552, Earth was humanity's last major stronghold in its war against the Covenant. Nonetheless, the UEG and UNSC maintained plans for an emergency exodus of heavy industry from Earth and Mars, in the event that Earth's position was compromised. Following the disastrous Fall of Reach, these plans were put into effect, due to the Navy's belief that the Earth would be the aliens' next target.
Despite the effectiveness of the Cole Protocol, on October 20, 2552, the Covenant launched their first attack upon Earth, rendering the Cole Protocol moot and initiating the final confrontation between UNSC forces and the Covenant.
Battle for Earth
- Main article: Battle for Earth
- "The entire population of Earth was cut in half as the first battle of Earth began..."
- — Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition)
On October 20, 2552, the first Covenant forces entered the Sol system. A Covenant expeditionary force consisting of 13 battlecruisers and 2 assault carriers arrived in system, first detected around Io, the third largest moon of Jupiter. After the existence of the Covenant presence was confirmed by probes, the UNSC forces went to full alert. The option was taken to wait for the Covenant forces to come to them rather than let Fleet Admiral Harper launch a counter attack. The Covenant began to work on punching a hole through the orbital defenses by taking out the stations in the battle cluster above the Mediterranean Sea via bombs planted by boarding parties. After the Covenant fleet attempted to rush through the newly formed gap the UNSC fleet annihilated them, destroying most of the Covenant battlecruisers but failing to destroy the assault carriers. One of the assault carriers, Day of Jubilation, was successfully destroyed by SPARTAN-II John-117 but the other, Solemn Penance commanded by the High Prophet of Regret arrived over the city of Mombasa in Kenya via slipspace and quickly assaulted it.
Groundside, the Covenant assault carrier had already deployed its ground forces and occupied the city. The Covenant ground forces immediately constructed defense emplacements and structures to reinforce their newly-acquired sites against the counter-offensive UNSC forces. The UNSC In Amber Clad was the first UNSC ship to respond to the Covenant occupation. The ship sent in their complements consisting of SPARTAN-II John-117, Sergeant Avery Johnson and elements of the 7th Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Battalion. The Covenant were subsequently dislodged from Old Mombasa and, following the destruction of a Protos-pattern Scarab, from New Mombasa as well. The High Prophet of Regret eventually ordered a general retreat and had his assault carrier initiate a slipspace jump while still over the city. The In Amber Clad and 4 other ships followed in the carrier's wake, while the city was left in chaos. Following this, a significantly enormous Covenant excavation fleet sent by the High Prophet of Truth, under command of Jiralhanae, arrived over Mombasa on October 21 to begin digging through to a Forerunner excession complex buried under the city after securing it along with its surrounding areas.
The Covenant continued to assault the planet with even more additional Covenant fleets arriving in the Sol system and their forces being deployed all across Earth in the following days and weeks, including at Mount Erebus and the sea floor off of the Yucatan Peninsula. Additionally, human colonies in the Sol system such as Mars and Luna were attacked by the Covenant. The Covenant also attacked Sydney, home of the UNSC Headquarters, HIGHCOM Facility Bravo-6. Fortunately, despite the enormous damage inflicted on the city and Australia, the UNSC HQ survived completely unharmed, owing to its underground facilities. By November, the population of Earth reduced to around 5 billion, initially around 10 billion before the Covenant invasion. When the Great Schism began on November 3, 2552, the Jiralhanae and now-casted out Sangheili forces turned each other as the Covenant civil war stretched from the human homeworld all the way back to Sanghelios, with many Sangheili subsequently allied with the UNSC. At the Centennial Orbital Elevator in Havana, Cuba, the Jiralhanae forces were stymied by the three SPARTAN-IIs of Blue Team, who were re-deployed to Onyx soon after.
The bloodiest battles for the planet were fought in mid November when the Covenant now led by the Jiralhanae and the Prophet of Truth began to concentrate more of their forces on Earth shortly after UNSC's defeat on Mars, and when a massive Covenant loyalist armada, which include the Jiralhanae-led High Charity defense fleet remnants and many Covenant loyalist survivors from the Fall of High Charity, arrived in the system. Despite the dramatic increase in Covenant deployments, the works of Colonel James Ackerson in the Battle of Mare Erythraeum helped buy UNSC ground forces on Earth precious time, as the Home Fleet would engage in full force against the massive Covenant attack in high Earth orbit by the time that the Forerunner Dreadnought carrying the Prophet of Truth would jump to Earth on November 17. However, the vast majority of the numerically-inferior UNSC fleet despite the orbital defense platforms was completely destroyed by the Prophet of Truth's overwhelming fleet, only leaving a few ships remaining on the planet. With the subsequent bombardment from the Covenant, the enemy fleet wiped out most of the human presence of Earth. Immediately after the fall of Mars, Cleveland, Ohio was hit in an attempt to find a supposed Forerunner artifact, but this attack was repulsed through the efforts of ODST forces and the self-sacrifice of Colonel James Ackerson who finally managed to delay the Covenant from pressing their assault on Earth with his plans before the planet could be heavily glassed. Shortly after, Earth population was swifty now only about 200 million.
The arrival in-system of SPARTAN-117 in a Covenant-controlled Forerunner Dreadnought aboard, freshly escaped from the Battle of Installation 05, was unexpected. SPARTAN-117 disembarked from the dreadnought in Earth's atmosphere, later recovered by Marines and taken to Crow's Nest. With the aid of the Arbiter Thel 'Vadam, Commander Miranda Keyes, and Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, SPARTAN-117 breached the Covenant anti-air defenses near the excavated artifact, clearing the way for an aerial strike on the Dreadnought powering it. The strike was unable to disable the device or prevent the Prophet of Truth from traveling through the portal. After a brief intervention by the Flood a joint Sangheili/UNSC force departed through the portal in pursuit. Some of the final remaining Covenant forces led by the Jiralhanae leadership were defeated in December in Operation: MARSH FLASH, in Arizona, United Republic of North America. Ultimately, the UNSC eliminated the Covenant presence on Earth once and for all.
Following the victory at the Battle of Earth and the Battle of Installation 00, the Human-Covenant War officially came to an end in March of 2553 with a ceremony at Voi. Project Rebirth was initiated sometime afterward to repair locations damaged by the battles on Earth.
Only two years after the end of the war, Earth faced yet another invasion, this time led not by a hostile alien hegemony, but a Forerunner ancilla, 000 Tragic Solitude, the monitor of Installation 00. As a means to repair the Ark and to get revenge on humans for damaging it, the monitor tricked the UNSC into opening the portal which allowed him to send thousands of Retriever Sentinels to mine Earth for raw resources. The sentinels were engaged by the Home Fleet, which lost at least ten ships in the ensuing battle. Tragic Solitude's plans were thwarted by a joint UNSC and Swords of Sanghelios team on the Ark itself.
In July 2557, the Forerunner known as the Didact arrived in-system aboard his flagship, the Mantle's Approach, planning to use a device known as the Composer to enslave humanity. Having been forewarned by the now Captain Thomas Lasky of the UNSC Infinity, along with Battle Group Dakota engaged Mantle's Approach. Meanwhile, Master Chief John-117 had stowed aboard the Mantle's Approach and with help from the Infinity, boarded the ship. Before the Master Chief could stop the Didact, the Composer began to fire on New Phoenix, Arizona, digitizing its entire population. John-117 eventually destroyed the ship with a nuclear device, ending the threat of the Didact and the Composer for the time being.
- Main article: Created conflict
In October 2558, Cortana reemerged as the self-proclaimed leader of the Created, a collective alliance of human and Forerunner AI constructs whose aim was to enforce the Mantle by bringing the entire galaxy under the control of AIs. This plan called for several Guardians to be deployed across the galaxy. Two such Guardians were deployed to Earth, subjigating the entire planet.
The first Guardian proved too powerful for even the Infinity and the vessel was forced to abandon Earth for deep space. The second one arrived at Sydney, destroying defending F-41 Broadswords and possibly leveling the city by damaging or outright destroying the defending UNSC Plateau. All technology on Earth and all orbiting vessels were disabled, resulted in the planet falling under Created control.
Government and society
By the 26th-century, the United Nations is the acting administrative body for the National governments of the planet. The Unified Earth Government and United Nations Space Command are based on Earth, specifically in Sydney, Australia.
In Halo 2 and Halo 2: Anniversary, a total of four Campaign levels take place on or above Earth. The Armory and Cairo Station take place in space above Earth. Parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East can be seen. Outskirts and Metropolis take place on Earth in the city of Mombasa in Africa. The final cutscene of the game in The Great Journey also takes place above Earth.
A number of multiplayer maps also take place on or above Earth. Midship and Elongation take place in orbit above the Earth, showing the same view of Earth as The Armory and Cairo Station. Terminal, Turf, District, Ivory Tower, Tombstone, Headlong, Zanzibar, and Foundation all take place on Earth in various places.
- Main article: Halo 3
High Ground, Last Resort and The Pit from the original line up of Halo 3 multiplayer maps take place on Earth. The Heroic Map Pack maps, Blackout and Ghost Town of the Legendary Map Pack, and Orbital and Longshore of the Mythic Map Packs were eventually added that all took place on Earth.
Halo 3: ODST
- Main article: Halo 3: ODST
All the campaign levels and Firefight maps of Halo 3: ODST take place on Earth.
- Main article: Halo: Reach
- Main article: Halo 4
A large portion of the level Midnight is set on the Mantle's Approach resting above New Phoenix, Earth. North America and parts of South America can be seen in the skybox of the level. The Epilogue also shows some scenes in the Earth city of New Phoenix.
Halo: Spartan Strike
- Main article: Halo: Spartan Strike
Halo 5: Guardians
- Main article: Halo 5: Guardians
The final cutscene of Guardians features the UNSC Infinity over Earth. Only one multiplayer level, Breakout Arena, takes place over Earth, set on Munera Platform A7. Parts of Eastern Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and Northern Africa can be seen in the skybox as the planet rotates.
Earth as seen from Cairo Station, with the orbital defense grid and Home Fleet in view.
The severed frigate UNSC Forward Unto Dawn seen falling towards Earth orbit in 2552.
The American city of New Phoenix, Arizona in the United Republic of North America in the year 2557.
Centuries-old architecture in Old Mombasa.
The Portal, buried thousands of years on Earth, unveiled by the Covenant.
"Fight For Her"; a poster rallies the UNSC to defend Earth, as seen on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn.
The deserted city streets of New Phoenix in 2557; its terraced urban architecture reflects that of other worlds such as Reach.
Quito, one of many massive metropolises on Earth and home to the Quito Space Tether.
The city of London during the Covenant invasion of Earth in 2552.
|Browse more images in this article's gallery page.|
List of appearances
- Halo Waypoint: Universe - Location - Earth
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), p. 282
- Twitter: @HaloWaypoint Hey, what was the population of Earth prior to November 2552?
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 54
- Halo 3 Bestiarum
- Halo: Warfleet, page 22
- Halo Waypoint: Query Answer: Human records indicate that the assembly (ref: United Nations) is a vestigial organization responsible for adjudication of administrative tasks between territorial sectors on Erde-Tyrene.
- Halo: Official Spartan Field Manual, page 91
- Halo 4, campaign level Epilogue
- Halo Channel, Encyclopedia
- Halo: Cryptum
- Halo: Primordium, page 238
- Halo: Primordium, p. 238
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), Earth, p. 284-285, (2009); p. 296 (2011)
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, chapter 23
- bungie.net, Legendary Map Pack (Retrieved on Feb 8, 2021) [archive]
- Halo: The Flood (2010), Adjunct
- Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 16
- Halo: Silentium, String 2
- Halo: Silentium, String 37
- Halo 3: The Cradle of Life
- Halo Legends, Origins
- blogspot, ilovebees, August 24
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), Timeline, p. 31
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), Human Colonization of Space, p. 42
- Official Halo Wars Community Site - Timeline (defunct, Archive)
- Bungie.net, Field Guide entry: New Mombasa (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
- Halo Waypoint: "Space Elevator" article (Archived on Archive.org)
- Xbox.com: Halo Storyline (Defunct, Copy on HBO Forums, Wayback Machine, and Halopedia)
- Halo 3, multiplayer map Orbital
- Halo: Evolutions, "From the Office of Dr. William Arthur Iqbal"
- I Love Bees, Axon Clips, Chapter 10 - Kamal: "Family Reunion"
- Bungie.net: Jason Jones Interviewed By You (Archive)
- I Love Bees, Axon Clips, Chapter 12 - "Enter Kevin"
- Halo: The Fall of Reach, ??
- Halo 2, campaign level Cairo Station
- Halo 2, campaign level Outskirts
- Halo 3: ODST: Sadie's Story, Circle 1, Arc 2
- Halo 2, campaign level Metropolis
- Halo Waypoint - Ten Twenty
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Vergil Reality (Retrieved on Jun 15, 2021) [archive]
- Halo 3: ODST, campaign level Coastal Highway
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 203
- Halo Legendary Crate - Data Drop #2: First Twelve Hours
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), chapter Earth: p. 284-285, (2009); p. 296-297 (2011 edition)
- Halo 2, campaign level The Great Journey
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 220
- Halo Uprising, issue #3
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), page ??
- Halo 3, campaign level Crow's Nest: "The Prophet of Truth's ships breached the Lunar perimeter. Smashed what was left of the Home Fleet. Terrestrial casualties from the subsequent bombardment were... extreme."
- Halo Uprising, issue #1
- Halo Uprising, issue #4
- Halo Uprising, issue #2
- Halo 3, Bestiarum
- Halo 3, campaign level Sierra 117
- Halo 3, campaign level Crow's Nest
- Halo 3, campaign level Tsavo Highway
- Halo 3, campaign level The Storm
- Halo 3, campaign level Floodgate
- Halo Legendary Crate, Data Drop #2
- Halo Waypoint, Community Update - Chasing Shadows (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]
- Halo 3, campaign level Halo
- Halo: Legacy of Onyx, chapter 2
- Halo: Hunters in the Dark, ??
- Halo 4, campaign level, Midnight
- Spartan Ops, S1E1 - Departure
- Halo 5: Guardians, campaign level Guardians
- Halo: Fractures, Rossbach's World
- Halo Waypoint: Universe - UNSC
- Halo Waypoint, UEG
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 129
- Halo 2, campaign level The Armory
- Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 191
- Bungie.net, Halo 3: ODST Field Guide, "Superintendent" entry
- Halo Wars: Genesis