The Federation of Asteroid Republics, usually abbreviated to FAR, was formed in 2060 by the League of Asteroid Settlers. The LAS itself was established by independent settlers in 2052 as a measure to protect themselves.
During the first phase of space colonization space habitats were primarily created at the Lagrange point of both the Earth-Moon system (by terrestrial governments) and the Earth-Sun system (mostly by political groups and corporations). In the latter group society is organized around ideological lines, while in the former group colonists sought to replicate the social conventions of their respective motherlands. Some individuals had troubles to cope with this and they decided to move on to the Main Asteroid Belt to create their own settlements.
The independent settlers were an ideologically diverse group, but most of them had anarchist inclinations. And unlike the earlier space colonies they operated in small groups consisting of family and friends. Most independent settlers had lived in regular space settlements and used all their savings to obtain second-hand space ships for their journey to the Asteroid Belt.
Simple living, self-sufficiency and hard work are the main values of the independent settlers. And even today FAR citizens will stress their commitment to these values. Mining and agriculture have always been the main sectors of their economy. Interestingly to note is that most independent settlers subscribed to naturalistic pantheism and religious naturalism, while they had, on the other hand, a strong aversion towards organized religion.
By the early 2050s approximately a hundred groups had been settled in the Asteroid Belt on their own. Most of these communities had less than fifty members. Virtually all these communities were devoted to self-governance and non-interventions and as such most communities had only limited relations with each other. And such relations were mostly limited to barter.
Things changed when Eric R. House, a physician and collective anarchist, was expelled from Elysia. Because the independent settlers had difficulties to organize their healthcare system they were eagerly to accept him.
When he arrived at the Asteroid Belt, Eric House realized that the several communities founded by independent settlers should improve their cooperation. So he invited representatives of all asteroid settlements to discuss the matter. Most did send representatives and at this meeting they agreed at the establishment of the League of Asteroid Settlers.
In their final resolution it was made clear that the LAS was in no ways a state. Settlements were free to join and leave the League at any moment and their internal sovereignty was fully respected. The League was supposed to have the following purposes. First of all, it should further inter-settlement cooperation. Secondly it should represent the members’ collective interests to third parties. And finally the league should provide financial assistance to new independent settlers.
One of the issues the LAS had to face was the non-monetary nature of the economies of the independent settlements. This caused problems with obtaining goods from Earth and the Lagrangian settlements. It was realized that export was necessary but it was difficult to find something for which was sufficient demand. The Lagrangians were self-sufficient in both agricultural and mineral commodities and they also had a comparative advantage in the trade of these products with Earth.
Another concern was foreign relations. The ambiguous nature of the LAS caused many difficulties in dealing with third parties. In particular third parties were wondering what the LAS exactly was: a non-governmental organization, an inter-governmental organization, a state, a (con)federation? This uncertainty made the status of the independent settlers in international law difficult.
Nevertheless the LAS seemed to be working during the 2050s. Most independent settlers were busy to mend their own affairs and more people joined them. By 2056 there were about 10,000 independent settlers.
In 2059 the Elysian senate passed “the settlements act (2059)”. The contents of this law are (1) that Elysian subjects who are interested in settling in the Asteroid Belts are entitled to cheap loans and (2) that those settlers are entitled to protection by Elysian military. The Elysian government made no attempts to hide its expansionist agenda.
The free communities in the Asteroid Belt felt threatened by this Elysian law. And the League of Asteroid Settlers made an official complaint to the Elysian government, to no avail. In early 2060 the general meeting of the LAS passed a resolution which established the Federation of Asteroid Republics.
However, this decision was not without objections. Eric R. House was fiercely opposed to this resolution, but unlike him most independent settler were not devout anarchists. In fact “theoretical anarchism” was eschewed by the majority of independent settlers, instead they wanted just to defend their freedom and independence from Elysian imperialism.
With the creation of the Federation of Asteroid Republics the independent settlers also created a national currency and a national military. Though a central government was established, the 2060 Constitution left significant power with the individual communities, from then known as “republics”. (In the discussions about the creation of the FAR, proponents of this move liked to compare their new union with the Delian League.)
A few communities voted against the FAR and left the new “state”, despite the complete absence of the word “state” in the constitution. But they represented only a radical minority.
Though Elysia was the clear rival of the FAR in respect to colonizing the Asteroid Belt, the former country was the first state to recognize the latter and to congratulate the independent settlers with their new political structure. Partially this move was motivated by self-interest on the side of Elysia. No longer were the independent settlers peaceful individuals living far away, but they were citizens of a nation.