40K Lore: Holy Terra


Today Loremasters we talk of the birthplace of mankind – the most important planet in the galaxy – Holy Terra

Terra, is the homeworld of Mankind, it is 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.

Old Earth

The Age of Terra is the name given to the period of human history dating from the dawn of mankind to the founding of the Imperium. Cities such as Atlantys and Nova Yoruk are cited as being the most legendary and ancient cities of Terra. Nations known as JermaniMericaBritania are said to have prospered and wilted during this time.


Unification Wars

During the Age of Strife, Terra fell into chaos and mayhem as Techno-barbariansmutants, 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.

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

  • Albia – ruled by warlord clans
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Caucasus Wastes – Based on the real life Caucuses.
  • Ethnarchy – Ruled by eugenicist oligarchs in the Caucasus.
  • Ceylonia – hives of this country was attacked by the Emperor’s Skylance drop-ships.
  • Hy Brasil – Based on the real life South America.
  • Ind – hives of this country was attacked by the Emperor’s Skylance drop-ships.
  • Panpacific Empire – Based on The real life Pacific Ocean
  • Maulland Sen Confederacy – Based in the Nordic region.
  • Saragorn Enclave
  • Terrawatt Clan – Ruled from the Ural Mountains
  • Ursh – Based on real life Central Asia
  • Yndonesic Bloc


Age of the Imperium

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. During the Horus Heresy, it 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. Since the Heresy, Terra has stood as the untouched center of the Imperium, though it was the site of violence during the War of the BeastThe Beheading and the Age of Apostasy.

In the ten thousand years since the Heresy, the populace of Terra has retained a terror of all Space Marines, loyalist and otherwise. 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.

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.



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. 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.

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.

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. 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.

Terra is also home to Orbital Plates. These orbiting cities were old even by the time of the Unification Wars. In orbit with the plates are countless orbital defense platforms.

Learn More of Holy Terra


~If Abaddon wants it – he’s going to have to come and take it..

  • Seienchin

    Apparantely so important that Orks materializing near it in a giant ork faced moon cant be stopped from devasting it… AHHHRG RETCON it already GW – PLEASE. I want my Terra back that has only been invaded once. By the mightiest Chaos fleet ever after a long bloody war.

    • mrbleak

      Hells no, I love the war of the beast. Gork all you whinny haters ;D

  • jmaximum

    So yeah, Beast Book1 has the Imperial Fists based on Terra, very rarely leaving Terra to venture forth for…..anything. Very NOT the lore of the Fists and their successors. Also included some absurdly silly naming convention for the Fists.