From the Publisher
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Broadly speaking, the Gundam series can be described as eclipsing four parallel worlds. There is Mobile Suit Gundam from the Universal Century (UC), Mobile Fighter G Gundam of the Future Century (FC), Mobile Suit Gundam Wing of the After Colony (AC) period and Mobile Suit Gundam SEED from the most recent series, which hails from the Cosmic Era (CE). All are tales of the near-future, a time in which almost all humans inhabit deep space.
It is, however, in the early series, set in the Universal Century, where the world view is laid out in most detail. Human beings construct colonies in space to cope with the overflowing population of Earth, the plan being to have a share of the Earth's population live there. Thus, the first year that humans migrate to space and begin living there becomes Universal Century Year 1.
The first part of the Gundam series, Mobile Suit Gundam, is set in the UC Year 79. However, the period leading up to UC Year 79 is also recounted in great detail. It is an important prologue to the entire series and gives the Gundam series the realism it is so admired for.
So, let's first return to the period between the start of UC and the arrival of Gundam.