Hari Seldon had foreseen the fall of the Galactic Empire. He was the creator of psycho-history, a branch of mathematics able to predict the actions of man-masses. It was too late to stop the fall, but not too late to begin it’s reconstruction. The period of barbarism between the fall and the rise of a new empire could be reduced from 30,000 years to a mere thousand with some forethought, and psycho-history allowed that future planning. Seldon was able to maneuver officials on Trantor, the capital of the Empire, into allowing him to create a Foundation, in which scientific knowledge would be preserved during the years of barbarism which were to follow. This Foundation would set about creating the Encyclopedia Galactica, which would be a magnificent collection of scientific data taking centuries to compile. With it, the Foundation would forge a New Empire.
50 years after the Foundation had been set up, Salvor Hardin became the most powerful political person on Terminus, an economically useless planet in the far reaches of the spiral arm, on the edge of the galaxy. This was the home of the Foundation. Once Hari Seldon had displayed that the entire Encyclopedia was a fraud, the Board of Trustees, consisting of the Encyclopedists lost power to the mayor of Terminus. Hardin was then able to ride through the First Seldon Crisis once he was in charge. The Crisis consisted of the Four Kingdoms which had broken away from the Province of Anacreon, a portion of the First Empire. The largest and most powerful of these was Anacreon itself. It was this kingdom which threatened the prosperity of the Foundation. Anacreon demanded to set up a military installation on Terminus since it was a strategically important location for Anacreon. Anacreon stated it was to protect the Foundation in the Emperor’s name. However, the Encyclopedists knew beforehand that it was only a preliminary to taking over the entire planet. The Foundation was a tiny island of atomic power in an ocean of barbarism, an infinitely valuable prize. Hardin did not follow the advice of the majority, to withdraw all of the Foundation’s technological aid from the kingdoms and strengthen their defenses to attack first. Instead, he went to visit the three other kingdoms, one by one, and point out to each that to allow the secret of atomic power to fall into the hands of Anacreon was the quickest way of cutting their own throats. One month after the Anacreon force had landed on Terminus, their king received a joint ultimatum from his three neighbors. In seven days, the last Anacreonian was off Terminus.
The Second Seldon Crisis came about thirty years afterward, from the same kingdom, Anacreon. Wienis, Regent and uncle of the young king Lepold, was determined to have revenge on the Foundation. By this time, the Foundation had set up a religious system of distributing atomics, where the priesthood, who had been taught that the Foundation was their religious center, were the only ones who knew how to operate them, since they had been trained on Terminus. Though a small and weak planet, Terminus had overwhelming influence over the Four Kingdoms. Wienis planned to attack the Foundation when their priests had finished completing the repairs on an old Imperial battle cruiser that Anacreon had obtained. When the situation became tense, Hardin made his way to Anacreon. He was met by Wienis on the day that Lepold was to take the throne. Wienis’ goal was to persuade the Foundation to make an alliance with Anacreon, so that together, with the brute force of a kingdom and the technological superiority of the Foundation, the galaxy would become reunited under Anacreon. Wienis knew beforehand however, that the Foundation would not cooperate. He had therefore sent and armada against Terminus to force the issue. Fortunately, Hardin had guessed his move, and even though he was a current prisoner of war, he had the forethought to order Anacreon under the interdict. Now, every individual knew that their government had launched an unprovoked attack against the center of their religion. It was nothing short of sacrilege of the highest order. At midnight, minutes before the attack on Terminus, the priests with the people’s support, cut off all power on Anacreon, except for the temples. Wienis was furious, but he would holdout until the Foundation was destroyed. The flagship “Wienis”, the huge Imperial battle cruiser heading the attack, had been taken over by one of the highest ranking priests of Anacreon. He had been told by the Foundation that the ship was to be used for appalling wickedness. He relieved the admiral of his duties and informed the soldiers of the fleet that they were engaged in sacrilege. After cursing the ship, it was left dead in spaced. An ultimatum was then sent to Anacreon from the fleet. It ordered the arrest and trial of the Regent Wienis and also wanted the guarantee that a future war will never be resumed against the Foundation, or else upon returning to Anacreon, “it will blast the palace to the ground and take whatever other measures are necessary to destroy the nest of sinners and the den of destroyers…”. With this Wienis killed himself.
The final crisis does not occur until well after Hardin’s death. It revolves around the Foundation having suspicions that there may be another atomic power. By this time, the Foundation had built up a huge trading economy with which they extend their power through economical means. Recently, they had lost three trading vessels within the Korellian Republic. Hober Mallow, a Smyrnian trader, had been asked to venture into the republic, and act as a spy of the Foundation. He invited along Jaim Twer, who was one in the first group of Outlanders to receive a lay education from the Foundation. When Mallow entered the fringes of Korell, he was intercepted by a squadron of Korellian ships, which, for a week now, had left Mallow’s requests for an audience with the local government unanswered. He landed the “Far Star” in an empty field, a space port deep in the sleepy far section. Without his knowledge, Mallow’s crew had let aboard a Foundation missionary who was in need of hospitalization. Mallow knew that Foundation missionaries were prohibited by law to enter Korell. Immediately, a mob of hundreds of Korellians approached the “Far Star” and demanded that they turn over the priest. Against the wishes of his crew, Mallow agreed. This all made Mallow suspicious. Within moments of the incident, Mallow received a communication from Commdor Asper Argo, ruler of the Korellian Republic, which politely invites Mallow into his presence. Mallow asks the Commdor if Korell could lift its trade restrictions, so that both the Foundation and Korell can benefit from free trade. However, the Commdor is unwilling to do this because he knows trade with the Foundation will also bring its priests and religion to the Korellian Republic, and his power would suffer. Mallow proceeded to tempt the Commdor with electrical and atomic wizardry and told him of the benefits of simple household gadgets. He also offered to retool Korell’s factories and increase production (so that he could determine if the factories were using atomic power). All this would not require the presence of priests, Mallow promised him. In return for the Foundation’s gadgets, Korell would supply them with iron, coal, bauxite and anything else which Korell has in abundance. The Commdor gleamed at the government monopoly he could set up. During his brief stay, Mallow was astonished to discover that the Commdor’s personal guards were carrying atomic weapons, discretely. But most importantly, they were engraved with the Spaceship and Sun symbol of the Galactic Empire.
When the “Far Star” was back out into space, Mallow turned the captain’s seat over to a subordinate after giving specific instructions and left in a life boat. With only old maps to guide him,he landed on Siwenna, looking for the centre of government in this Imperial Sector. Among the ruins, he met Onum Barr, an old hermit who was once Patrician of the Empire. Barr informed him that the government of the Normannic Sector had been relocated to Orsha II, twenty parsecs distant. Mallow also found out from Barr that Siwenna had atomic power. In order to verify this however, Mallow had to bribe a tech-man so that he could see one of the city’s generators. And there they were.
Six months later, Mallow became the first Merchant Prince. After his dealings with the Korellian Republic, Mallow was a rich man. This made the Foundation’s bureaucracy suspicious, and Mallow was brought to trial for “the murder of an Anacreonian priest, in the service of the Foundation.” Jorane Sutt was his opponent. During the trial, Mallow uncovered the fact that Jaim Twer was a hired spy of Sutt. Surprisingly, he also proved using visual evidence, that the priest, Jord Parma was a member of the Korellian Secret Police. Both Sutt and Korell wished to rid themselves of Mallow as cleanly as possible. Once the trial was over and Mallow was victorious, he had Sutt and others arrested because “they’ve been inciting the priesthood of the outer planets to take sides in the factional quarrels of the Foundation.” They were charged with “endangering the State”, so that they would be kept out of Mallow’s way until he had become mayor. Once he was mayor, he could effectively solve the Third Seldon Crisis.
For two years now, Mallow had been mayor and for just as long they had been at war with Korell. However, Mallow was waging an economic war with the Republic. He had succeeded in establishing a plutocracy, that is making the Foundation a land of traders and merchant princes so now the Foundation controlled its neighbors through economical means instead of through religion. When Korell finds its equipment failing, it will crumble, for there is no replacements, not even from the mighty Empire.
KORELL … And so after three years of war which was certainly the most unfought war on record, the Republic of Korell surrendered unconditionally, and Hober Mallow took his place next to Hari Seldon and Salvor Hardin in the hearts of the people of the Foundation.