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Beautiful on the surface, but rotten underneath. Don't ever, even for a second, doubt that this is the most dangerous world in the galaxy... Danger does not always come in the shape of orks with bolters, Ragnar. This world is where the elite of the Imperium have gathered. We are talking now of the most ruthless, ambitious, unscrupulous collection of rogues ever culled from a million planets. This is the place they have come to realise their ambitions, and on Terra they can, and will not let anything stand in their way. Not me, not you, not their own kin if need be.

Map Basic Data Planetary Image
px Name: Terra Terra.JPG
Segmentum: Segmentum Solar
Sector: Sector Solar
Subsector: Sub-Sector Solar
System: Sol System
Population: 200 Billion[38] to Quadrillions[31c]
Affiliation: Imperium
Class: Hive World
Tithe Grade: Aptus Non

Terra [15], also dubbed Holy Terra and known in antiquity as Earth[13a], is the homeworld of Mankind, the resting place of the Emperor, and the most holy and revered place in the Imperium. Pilgrims throughout the Imperium flock to Terra - even the barren soil that pilgrims tread upon is considered holy. It is effectively a temple the size of a planet.

As the capital world of the Imperium, Terra is also home to the main headquarters of many important Imperial organisations, including the Adeptus Terra, the Administratum, and the Departmento Munitorum[1].


Old Earth

The Age of Terra is the name given to the period of human history dating from the dawn of mankind to the Dark Age of Technology. Early in Mankind's history, the mysterious Perpetual known only as The Emperor is said to have ruled as a king with Oll Persson as his Warmaster. The two engaged in a war with a Cult which in time would become known as the Cognitae. During their war, Persson defies the Emperor's orders by destroying a Warp-generating tower constructed by the Cognitae.[47]

Later, cities such as Atlantys and Nova Yoruk are cited as being the most legendary and ancient cities of Terra.[8b] Nations known as Jermani, Merica, Britania are said to have prospered and wilted during this time. Eventually humanity was able to invent space travel, allowing for the colonization of the Solar System.[4b]

Stellar Exodus

During the Dark Age of Technology Terra was finally able to leave the Sol System thanks to the advent of Warp Drives. Mankind was able to colonize much of the Galaxy as a result. Terra was the center of an empire that coexisted peacefully with its first colony, Mars.[4b]

Old Night & Unification

Terra's landscape

During the Age of Strife, Terra fell into chaos and mayhem as Techno-barbarians, mutants, warlords, and Psykers rampaged throughout the planet. Becoming a wasteland, it was not until the arrival of the Emperor and his Thunder Warriors that the birthplace of mankind was again unified into a single polity.[11]

Before the completion of the Unification Wars, Terra was divided into several competing nations, including[13]:

  • Afrik — continent with dusty plains[23]
  • Akkad — Central Asian kingdom[45]
  • Albia — ruled by the Unspeakable King
  • Albyon — inspired by the real life British Isles.
  • Achaemenid Empire — One of the earlier geopolitical entities to swear allegiance to the Emperor, the Achaemenid Empire had therefore suffered little during the Wars of Unification, avoiding both atomic strike and invasion by Thunder Warriors. A monarchical empire, the population were separated into tribal factions and were apparently a culture of truth and discourse. As a result of the relative peaceful nature of the region and the protection enjoyed by early adoption of Imperial allegiance, the Achaeminians sported few of the genetic defects or abnormalities seen amongst humans during this time and were therefore selected as a recruiting source for the infant Legiones Astartes. The Achaeminians provided the initial Terran intake assigned to Legion XV. The Achaeminians appeared to posses a form of superstitious belief in the mystical power of their ancestors; emblems of Dhul-Qarnayn (their greatest King) were used as charms against harm.[9]
  • Boeotia — An area of Terra mentioned in Imperial records as holding out against full Unification for some considerable time; while tacitly recognizing the Emperor's dominance, the ruling monarchy of Boeotia used all manner of diplomacy in order to avoid losing power. In a show of great patience and benevolence, the Emperor allowed the ruling family of Boeotia - the Yeselti - to carry on like this for over 150 years, with the intention that they would integrate themselves into unified Imperial Terra at their own speed and with as much dignity as possible. Instead, the Yeselti clung onto their independence to the point where, firstly, the Imperial Army was forced to invade the province and finally, Legiones Astartes of the Thousand Sons were assigned to quash the trucculent little state. Boeotia was notable both for the presence of industry and at least one buried shrine to gods worshiped by humans in an earlier age.[10a]
  • Caucasus Wastes — Based on the real life Caucuses.
  • Ethnarchy — Ruled by eugenicist oligarchs in the Caucasus.[14]
  • Europa, (Ancient Europa)[42]
  • Franc
  • Ceylonia — hives of this country were attacked by the Emperor's Skylance drop-ships.[16c]
  • Hy Brasil — Based in South America.
  • Ind — hives of this country were attacked by the Emperor's Skylance drop-ships.[16c]
  • Panpacific Empire — Based within the pacific region
  • Maulland Sen Confederacy — Based in the Nordic region.
  • Merica
  • Saragorn Enclave
  • Adedeji - Based in Eastern Africa[40]
  • Terrawatt Clan — Ruled from the Ural Mountains
  • Ursh[43b] — Based in Central Asia
  • Yndonesic Bloc
  • Sumatura, or Sumaturan[43a]
  • Old Muscovy[43a]
  • Taiga - location of nomadic caterpillar cities[43b]
  • Nordafrik Conclaves[43b]
    • Xozer - had great and well defended oases. Local 'hierophants knew how to summon daemons. Was destroyed by Ursh[43b]

Age of the Imperium

Holy Terra


Proclaimed the capital of the newly-formed Imperium by the Emperor following the unification of the planet, Terra remained the center of humanity throughout the Great Crusade. Terra was the site of great change during this period, with the continent-spanning Imperial Palace being constructed and the burgeoning Imperial bureaucracy settling on the new throneworld seeing a massive population and construction boom. The Emperor during this time attempted to restore the nature and wildlife to Terra, but ultimately the Horus Heresy would see these dreams crushed.[33a]

During the Horus Heresy, Terra was the site of the dramatic final battle of the conflict that saw the Emperor crippled and the traitorous Warmaster Horus killed, the Battle of Terra.[12] Terra was devastated during the battle and even ten thousand years later, the scars of the siege were still visible on its ancient infrastructure.[31d] During the battle the Emperor's Children were particularly vicious towards Terra's population, engaging in acts of cruelty and debauchery. The terror was so great that in the ten thousand years since the Heresy, the populace of Terra has retained a terror of all Space Marines, loyalist and otherwise.[8b] For this reason, there are only a handful of Marines on Terra at any given time, including the Wolfblade, a small unit of Space Wolves assigned as bodyguards to House Belisarius of the Navis Nobilite.[8c]


Since the Heresy, Terra has largely stood as the untouched center of the Imperium, though it was the site of violence during the War of the Beast, The Beheading, Siege of the Eternity Gate, Years of Madness, and the Age of Apostasy.[5] Recently, there have been Genestealer Cults spotted on Terra, beginning the Unthinkable War.[46]

Ten thousand years after the Heresy Terra faced its greatest challenge since Horus' betrayal. Due to the forming of the Great Rift the Astronomican went dark for a period known as the Noctis Aeterna, which on Terra lasted a little over a month. Most travel to Terra was paralyzed and Warp energies began to manifest on the planet, leading to widespread riots, starvation, and madness. Though formidably defended, Terra's defensive forces could not contain the massive social upheavals outside of key structures such as the Palace and many Hives fell into full-scale anarchy. Chaos Cults began to operate openly and recruit from the desperate masses as the mayhem spread. At the behest of Inquisitorial Representative Kleopatra Arx the High Lords of Terra issued the Arx Doctrine which saw much of Terra ceded to mob rule while remaining Imperial forces reinforced the Palace, Forbidden Fortress, and other key structures. Ultimately some 1/4th of Terra was temporarily lost to anarchy.[31d] While the Custodes and other forces ventured outside of the Palace walls to contain the worst of the heretics, they were unable to prevent the summoning of a great Khornate army onto Terra's soil. In the ensuing Battle of Lion's Gate the Throneworld faced its 2nd major invasion. In the end, due to the intervention of the Custodes, Sisters of Silence, Grey Knights and the reborn Roboute Guilliman the legions of Chaos were turned back.[31e] Afterwards, Guilliman took the mantle of Lord Commander of the Imperium on Terra and oversaw a massive purge of Imperial bureaucracy that became known as the Primarch's Scourge. During this campaign, many xenophile and Chaos cults were exposed and collateral damage spiraled across Terra.[35] While Terra was secured from Daemonic invasion, it still took many months for Imperial forces to secure the planet outside of the Imperial Palace and other key zones. The chaos of the Noctis Aeterna and the demands of Guilliman's Indomitus Crusade prevented the Imperium from swiftly restoring order to the planet, leaving much of the fighting to the over-extended Custodes and Arbites. The issue proved very controversial to the High Lords of Terra.[41a]


One of Terra's hives[3a]

Terra is a hive world; stripped long ago of all forms of resources; its soil is utterly barren and its atmosphere is a fog of pollution. Massive, labyrinthine edifices of state sprawl across the vast majority of the surface. Its oceans have long ago boiled away, though newer artificial ones were created by the Emperor after the Unification Wars[21]. Many mountain ranges have been leveled, perhaps all of them except the Himalayas, which seemingly remain all but untouched due to the laboratories said to be underneath and the chambers of the Astronomican that course throughout the whole mountain range.[Needs Citation]

Despite being devastated during the Horus Heresy and earlier than that during the long Age of Strife, Terra is probably the most vastly-populated and built-up hive world in the Imperium. Beneath countless layers and millennia of urban accretion, catacombs hold older cultures completely different from the surface ones.[Needs Citation]

Much of the population of Terra exists in the most terrible squalor, their greatest hope that one of their offspring might be accepted into the Adeptus Terra, the Priesthood of Terra, as a Menial, an adept of the lowliest sort.[6][7] A square metre of land on Terra costs more than a palace on any Hive World; only the most wealthy can even afford to own a small section of land[8a].

Terra is also home to Orbital Plates. These orbiting cities were old even by the time of the Unification Wars, but during the Horus Heresy in the prelude to the Battle of Terra Rogal Dorn had them all dismantled, moved, or abandoned over questions of their safety.[33b] Also in orbit are countless orbital defense platforms.[22]

Although Terra is nominally the homeworld of the Imperial Fists chapter, the chapter itself rarely visits Terra, if at all, and bases its operations from its gargantuan star fortress, the Phalanx.[31b]

Notable Locations

Terra during the Horus Heresy, an orbital plate is visible in the background

Terra is the heart of the Imperium, and the home of many of its most important organisations. Most importantly, it is the homeworld and resting place of the Emperor of Mankind. The most important places and organisations based on Terra include:

Terra's landscape
  • The Forbidden Fortress — Built throughout the mountain range of the Himalayas. A single peak is carved to form the Chamber of the Astronomican, where ten thousand psykers continuously power the Astronomican beacon with their own life energies. The "psychic light" of the beacon reaches thousands of light years across the Warp. The Astronomican is utilised by the mutant psykers known as Navigators to guide interstellar ships through otherwise trackless chaos of the Warp. Without it, long-distance Warp travel would be impossible and the Imperium would disintegrate.[31f]
  • The Trench of the Astronomican - An enormous, seemingly bottomless trench that connects the cables of the Astronomican to the Golden Throne in the Imperial Palace. The trench has an ominous reputation on Terra and is lined with the machinery of the Mechanicum. It is mounted with Void Shield arrays and gun batteries to protect the trench against any attack or sabotage.[37b]
  • Fortress of the Inquisition — The Inquisition's headquarters on Terra is a sprawling complex built beneath the south polar ice caps.[6][7] The Fortress, deep underground, is heavily warded and equipped with psyker dampening devices and null-fields. Only members of the Inquisition and sparse numbers of doomed prisoners are permitted to enter the underground complex. The Fortress is overseen by a senior Inquisitor known as The Castellan, which changes every year to ensure no single man or woman can establish a powerbase over the facility.[20]
  • Assassinorum Temple — Although its agents operate throughout the Imperium, the Officio Assassinorum is based on Terra. Its School of Assassins and most of the temples that comprise the Officio are said to be located on Terra, although their actual locations are closely guarded secrets. The Assassinorum Temple serves as the headquarters of the Grand Master of Assassins.[17]
  • Ecclesiarchal Palace — The headquarters of the Ecclesiarchy, the Ecclesiarchal palace sprawls over almost the entirety of Terra's southern continent. It is also home to one of the two major convent-fortresses (the Sanctorum) of the Adepta Sororitas (The Sisterhood)[2][4].
  • The Cathedral of the Saviour Emperor — A large cathedral that is popular among pilgrims. It contains what is claimed to be pieces of the Emperor's armor and ashes from Roboute Guilliman's cloak. Pilgrims will take multi-year journeys to the Cathedral and endure massive lines, only to be granted a mere 3 seconds in the presence of the relics before moving on.[19]
  • Eternal City — A vast city of both splendor and squalor that exists close to the walls of the Imperial Palace.[31a]
  • The Catacombs — Vast underground passages, so large that they require oversight by a designated official known as the Mistress Plenary who is a lesser member of the Senatorum Imperialis.[31b]
  • The Plaza of the Nine Primarchs[36b]
  • The Administratum Centrum Subsector Solar[36b]
  • The Ways of Mourning[36b]
  • Hive Karelia — Home to a library containing knowledge of the Dark Age of Technology. The library was bombed by Pro-Panpacifists and had been scheduled for demolition until Hawser succeeded in recovering over 7,000 texts from a data archive deemed worthless[10b].
  • Novion Urban Primus - Hive City[31b]
  • The Walking City - Mobile industrial city that perpetually walks across the equator of Terra.[34a]
  • Wyvern's Gate Spaceport - Northern polar regions.[46]


Teeming with untold billions, Terra has endless causeways which stretch across both above and below its surface. These include conventional highways and roads as well as skylanes for aircraft. The transportation networks are divided into three groups. The first is the Via Ordinaria which are chaotic and cramped passages used by the commoners of the planet. The second is the Via Exclusiva, which was actually the largest network and used by security personnel. The third is the Via Prohibida, which is kept clear at all times and used only by the highest echelons of Imperial society such as high-level members of the Adeptus Terra, senior members of the Adeptus Arbites, and the Inquisition.[37c]


It is often said that Terra consumes everything and makes nothing, and while an exaggeration the maxim holds a degree of truth as the planet requires tremendous amounts of resources to be shipped in from off-world to sustain its gargantuan population and is itself devoid of any self-sufficiency. Without daily shipments from thousands of vessels, Terra would quickly starve and plunge into anarchy. The Imperial Tithe ultimately is for the benefit of Terra, and makes it the site of both incredible wealth and extreme poverty. While Terra had a grand splendor and was heavily restored during the time of the Great Crusade, as of the 41st Millennium most of its structures have decayed.[37a]


Rogal Dorn and his staff on Terra during the Solar War

As the throneworld of the Emperor of Mankind, Terra is among the most heavily defended worlds within the Imperium.[25] As Terra itself faced few assaults in the ten thousand years since the Heresy, even the idea of attacking the planet was seen as ridiculous by many Imperial officials.[20a] Nonetheless, the planet has always sported significant defenses which include forces from:

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