Ever since the dawn of civilization the peoples of Earth have been fascinated with what we now call the Universe. The thought of what might be found 'out there' has always appealed to many people. As soon as it became known that 'out there' was an actual place people have been dreaming about discovering and even conquering this great unknown.
These wild dreams however were offset by a complete lack of evidence regarding the existence of any alien life. Anything coming even close to being evidence could quite easily be reasoned away as only rumours out of the third hand, clever trick photography and childish pranks in a field of barley. As there was no threat and no short term profit to be gained by going into space no one succeeded in gathering sufficient funds to put man beyond the moon.
Thus it came to be that while the peoples of Earth still struggled with the constraints of limited amounts of real-estate offered by a single habitable planet, a reality of galactic magnitude intruded upon humanity with a great splash. That was the day an huge object fell, completely unannounced, from the skies into the Atlantic. This object caused many a tidal wave. The first ones consisted merely of water but still were a great wakeup call. Thus rudely awoken, waves of surprise, consternation, outrage, grief, happiness and curiosity coursed over the Earth. Finally these energies were harnessed and lead to a wave of technological advancements and sociological mud slides.
First the Union of North American States sent in its navy, along with a contingent of NASA researchers to the place of impact. Their principal mission was to find out what it was that could crash onto Earth undetected and thus cause so much havoc on the north American coasts. Even before the researchers could make a first statement, the UNAS declared it a national security issue and kept their navy there in an attempt to keep any and all discoveries top-secret.
Nevertheless it soon became know to the world that this was no mere meteorite but an actual real life space ship. (Or more accurately a real dead space ship.) Whom it belonged to and how it came to crash on Earth was then and to this day still is a mystery as there were no understandable marking or references as to its origins. Nevertheless, although the spaceship was completely abandoned, it still contained many hints about space travel technology. Thus it came to be that mankind, finally put on the right track, started developing their own outer space program.
After only a short time of experimentation and research a Rusk-Italo-Algerian conglomerate marginally beat the NASA to building the first light-speed drive and a year later both groups managed to send out an exploration craft. These crafts were followed only a year later by de first Indo-Australian explorer.
These first space exploration vessels were great items for rallying the population but since their engines were far too bulky to be used for in system flights and response times were expected to be over 30 years the public support for the space program soon slackened and no more civilian could be found for the manning of these missions. Due to the long time span these projects required, the peoples of Earth returned to their daily squabbles and provincial attitudes.
Almost a century later the first radio signal mentioning an alien civilization returned to Earth again spurring an new wave of technological developments. These further developments guided by hints from this transmission led amongst other things to several new propulsion designs. Most notably were the miniaturization of the light-speed drive, making in-system space-travel economical, and the FTL drive, allowing long distance travel in a useful manner.
The giant efforts needed to get the first generation of intersystem ships off into space led to a gigantic increase of the influence wielded by the major corporations of Earth. In many areas rich in resources and poor in political structure this led to actual corpocraties while in other areas the big corporations only told the puppet politicians what to decide. This way all things were reduced to resource profit and financial accountability. People being people however did not mind as log as they got sufficient food and a reasonable amount of gadgets per pay period.
Economics being economics its growth refused to continue indefinitely and gradually the resource work force became an abundant resource resulting in a fast decline of the standards of living. This surplus of work force however did not really like their current situation and started demanding their rights. Unfortunately for them they did not have many rights left. The situation went from bad to worse but finally resulted in a revolution overthrowing the leadership of most of the corpocratic nations by more representational systems. Many of the larger states were broken up in the process as people still distrusted large organizations. In the minds of the population they were too susceptible to corruption.
Several of the magnates, having the resources of the world still under their control, have managed to disappear taking a large amount of the gathered resources with them. Some rumours still speak of hidden bases and roaming pirate empires founded by these people even though common sence suggests there were not that many resources to begin with and these people probably just hid among the general population as they were mostly known by reputation and not by face, besides, face reconstruction was not that expensive (to them).
As time moved on several attempts were made to establish diplomatic contacts between other worlds and Earth. These attempts kept failing due to the splintered political situation on Earth with its many independent states. Finally as Earth started to realise it was not being taken seriously they managed to put together a front end government representing many of its nations. This organisation became known as Earth League of Independent Nations (ELIN). The first problem the League had was finding a suitable location for its capital as none of the nations would allow another to lay claim to this prestigious institute. Furthermore a rotating, turn based, capital was deemed even worse. Finally the solution was found in the building of an artificial island in the South Indian ocean. Eventually several Earth threatening asteroids were captured and gently lowered into the ocean to lay a foundation for the capital that came to be known as the Residence.
Of course several nations could not find themselves in the politics of this organisation. These were mostly the Autocratic and the last remaining Technocratic nations. They managed to unite themselves in the the Confederacy of Free Countries (CFC) and are a large enough group to prevent the ELIN from claiming to rule Earth. Then there are still some nations left to stubborn or independent to join either group but they are usually just ignored by the aliens which suits them fine.
Nowadays Earth has found its place among several inhabited and space faring worlds. This mainly thanks to the newly founded world government and its residence. This residence is still being built by the inhabitants of Earth but despite it being unfinished it is already a matter of pride for its builders and it inhabitants. One branch of the government here gaining more power than was intended is the League Department of Alien Relations as it starts to have well developed relations with foreign officials that cannot be ignored.
Another institution quickly gaining fame is the Earth International University with its departments of alien technology, xenobiology and linguistics. The Residence is also becoming quite touristic as many people want to see were there taxes are going. This has resulted in a faux ancient city center and a museum of Earth history starting with a stone age cave and ending with a replica of the crashed spaceship.