So here's the first installment:
Mankind Spreads It’s Wings
In the late 22nd Century mankind discovered that it is possible to travel faster than the speed of light. Using an adaptation of the theory a method of FTL communication was also discovered. Soon countries formed economic coalitions to be able to afford to build the first interstellar probes to explore previously detected exoplanets. The initial results, while exciting for scientists, yielded no planets suitable for establishing human outposts. Most, even if they were capable of being terraformed, were too close or too far from the primary star to sustain human life without constant fear of a breach in a colony wall. The first manned missions were scientific in nature and of limited durations.
Eventually though, planets were found that could sustain human life with little problems. Due to the range limitations of the FTL drives, stations were established on the quickest routes to these habitable planets and became important trade hubs and way stations. Often times mining operations would be established within the systems containing these stations to harvest the mineral wealth of the uninhabitable planets and asteroids. As time went on, more and more habitable worlds were found and colonized. Some turning into wealthy population centers, others remaining little more than mining outposts.
Due to the gravitational effects of the FTL drives jumps are performed far enough away to not interfere with the gravitational fields of the stars or planets in system. Eddies created by the interaction of planetary gravity fields with the stellar gravity fields do allow for jumps closer in system. Because they are always in motion they are considered unsafe for routine use. The eddies are have been used in emergencies and invasions, but minor miscalculations in their position lead to the destruction of the inbound vessels and in some cases environmental effects on nearby objects due to the disruption of the gravity field.
During this time, Earth had become more homogeneous, both racially and geopolitically. Eventually Earth fell under a worldwide government that was known as the Terran Confederacy. The different countries were represented equally, but the colony worlds and way-stations each only had one representative each as Earth still felt the colonies were possessions rather separate entities. There was occasional agitation for equal representation by the colonies and sometimes even independence. But the economy was stable which fostered a desire to not shake things up and on the question of independence, most of the outer worlds were still quite dependent on Terra and the older wealthier colonies.