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Zeonism, also known as Contolism, is an ideology in the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise commonly practiced by villainous factions of the Universal Century timeline, though the belief itself is not necessarily inherently evil.
Zeonism's core tenets are independence for all of the Side colonies from the Earth Federation. It preaches that the Earth sacred and must be converted into a nature preserve, with humanity emigrating from it to settle the stars. Zeonism further advocates for human emigration into space in order to further humanity's evolution into psychic Newtypes.
Contolism, as it was originally known, was first invented by philosopher Zeon Zum Deikun, who believed in Newtype theory, that humanity would eventually develop a telepathic way of communicating. Deikun settled in Side 3, where he was taken in by his old friend Degwin Zabi and his family. Deikun soon began preaching his beliefs, which found widespread popularity with the citizens of the colonies, who had long suffered under the perceived cultural belief that the Spacenoids living in colonies were inferior to those living on Earth. Eventually, Deikun's political party won major electoral victories and became the majority power in the Side 3 regional government, at which point they declared Side 3's independence from the Earth Federation and became the Republic of Zeon.
In response to Side 3's separation, the Earth Federation imposed the Bartrot Policy, which put an immediate end to the flow of goods into Side 3. Fearing a possible invasion from the Earth Federation, the Republic of Zeon converted its national guard into a full fledged military and began a buildup of arms in case of a possible attack from the Federation.
Rise of the Principality
Later on, Zeon Zum Deikun died under mysterious circumstances. On his deathbed, Deikun spoke only one name, "Degwin Zabi", which his followers took to mean him naming his Vice Chairman Degwin as his successor. Degwin Zabi immediately seized control of the Republic of Zeon, naming himself the Sovereign and re-branding it to the "Principality of Zeon", and began a purge of all Deikun loyalists who were skeptical or opposed to his new regime. Under the direction of Sovereign Degwin and his son Gihren, Zeon began a further buildup of its military might and a campaign of outright aggression against the Earth Federation. The Principality declared the Earth Federation to be a tyrannical power that was oppressing Spacenoids and began seeking to impose Contolism on the Earth Sphere via aggressive force.
Soon enough, hostilities between the Principality of Zeon and Earth Federation erupted at the start of U.C. 0079 when the Principality of Zeon launched invasions of Sides 1, 2 and 4. Under orders from Supreme Commander Gihren, the colonies had their populations exterminated using nerve gas so they could be used for Colony Drops onto Earth. By the start of the One Year War, Gihren Zabi had already undermined most of his father's political power and taken total control of the Zeon military, effectively usurping his father as the "face" of Zeon and turning Degwin into little more than a figurehead. Gihren's grasp over Zeon's political sphere was further tightened when Degwin retreated from the day-to-day running of Zeon after his youngest son Garma's death. Gihren sought to use the Zeon ideology as a vessel for his own fascistic beliefs, which involved the ideology of Spacenoid superiority and for the Earth population to be reduced to less than one billion in order to prevent any possible uprisings against his totalitarian regime. Despite this, Gihren was popular with the Zeon people and had numerous loyalists within the Zeon government. When Degwin attempted to meet with the Earth Federation to make peace, Gihren had him and the Earth Federation General Revil along with both of the forces they brought along with them annihilated by his newest superweapon, the Solar Ray.
Eventually, the Principality was decisively defeated at the Battle of A Baoa Qu thanks to a combination of power struggles and mismanagement on the Zeon side that resulted in the deaths of most of the remaining members of the Zabi family. Gihren had been assassinated by his sister Kycilia in retaliation for his murder of their father, leading several of the Zeon forces present at the start of the battle who were loyalists to Gihren fleeing rather than choosing to fight under Kycilia. During the course of the battle, Kycilia herself was killed by Zeon's ace pilot Char Aznable, who was really Casval Rem Deikun, the son of the late Zeon Zum Deikun, who sought revenge against the entire Zabi family and blamed them for the death of his father. Zeon's defeat at A Baoa Qu ushered in the end of the One Year War and allowed the Earth Federation to claim victory, with Side 3 being annexed back into the Earth Federation.
Despite the Principality of Zeon's defeat and dissolution, numerous Zeon Remnants continued to surface after the One Year War to continue fighting for Zeon's cause.
The largest of these was Axis Zeon, formed from a group of Zeon forces under the command of Admiral Maharaja Karn who fled to the Axis asteroid base. There, Maharaja pronounced Mineva Lao Zabi, the infant daughter of Dozle and Zenna Zabi, to be heir to Zeon. Numerous other Zeon remnants began to flock to Axis to join in reestablishing the Zabi family line; those who went there included Char Aznable, who also assisted in raising Mineva. After Maharaja Karn died, the executive council of Axis voted to have him succeeded as regent to Mineva by his second eldest daughter Haman. Despite beliefs that she would be easy to control, Haman quickly seized power from any potential rivals and molded Axis Zeon into a cult of personality based around herself. With her charisma, Haman rallied the people of Axis Zeon around herself and began wresting power away from the other leaders at Axis, until she held complete leadership over the colony. Too young to rule, Mineva Zabi was little more than a figurehead and puppet for Haman. Despite Haman's popularity among Axis and how she had raised the morale of the Axis people, Char Aznable began to fear Haman's ambitions to rule and left the colony.
Eventually, in U.C. 0083, a group of Zeon remnants under the command of Aiguille Delaz, a Gihren loyalist, perpetrated an attack against the Earth Federation known as Operation Stardust. The Delaz Fleet hijacked one of the Earth Federation's colony cylinders and dropped it onto the Earth Federation food grainery in North America. In response to the destruction caused by the attack, the Titans task force was founded by the Earth Federation to patrol the Earth Sphere and combat violent Zeon Remnants. However, the Titans themselves soon became tyrannical and used the pretense of combating Zeon as an excuse to oppress and murder Spacenoids, leading to the rise of rebel groups to combat them such as the Anti-Earth Union Group and Karaba. In what came to be known as the Gryps War, the Titans allied with Haman's Axis Zeon to combat the AEUG. After the end of the Gryps War saw the destruction of the Titans, several of their remnants went on to join Axis, which had now been re-branded to "Neo Zeon"
Neo Zeon Wars
With the Gryps War having left both the Earth Federation and AEUG drastically crippled, Haman's Neo Zeon emerged as the only visible winner of the conflict and the way was paved for her total domination of the Earth Sphere. Now the strongest power in the Earth Sphere, almost immediately after the Gryps War ended, Neo Zeon declared war against the Earth Federation and launched an invasion of planet Earth. This was accomplished by a Colony Drop Haman orchestrated on Dublin, which left the Earth Federation badly weakened a paved way for Neo Zeon to mount a ground invasion of Earth. With the Earth Federation attempting to make peace and the AEUG's resources too reduced for it effectively combat Zeon, Haman's victory seemed all but certain.
However, in the midst of Haman's conquest of the Earth Sphere, a rival faction emerged within Neo Zeon. This faction was led by Glemy Toto, who claimed to be the descendant of Gihren Zabi himself, and advocated for Haman to be overthrown so the Zabi family could be forcefully put back into power. The civil war instigated by Glemy triggered a split in the ranks of Neo Zeon, buying the Earth Federation a chance to strike back against Neo Zeon. A joint AEUG-Earth Federation task force then launched a decisive attack on the Axis asteroid base. The ensuing three way battle between Haman's Neo Zeon, Glemy's Neo Zeon and the AEUG saw the deaths of both Glemy and Haman and ended in Neo Zeon surrendering.
Several years after the end of the first Neo Zeon War however, a new Neo Zeon emerged to wage war against the Earth Federation. This Newborn Neo Zeon's members included former AEUG personnel and was led by none other than Char Aznable, who had chosen to embrace his father's legacy and beliefs and instigate a forced migration of humanity from the Earth Sphere. Char's Neo Zeon attempted to accomplish this by dropping the Axis asteroid base onto Earth to render the planet uninhabitable, but the Axis colony drop was stopped by the Earth Federation's Londo Bell task force. The ensuing battle saw the death of Char Aznable and the end of the second Neo Zeon movement, though remnants of it, known as "The Sleeves", would resurface in the subsequent years following the end of the second Neo Zeon War before finally being wiped out by the Earth Federation Forces.
Eventually, the ideals Zeon Zum Deikun had strived for would finally be somewhat achieved in the Regild Century where, hundreds of years after the Universal Century ended, humanity was forced to leave the Earth due to a reduction in resources.
Principality of Zeon
The Principality of Zeon was the regime formed out of the government of Side 3 following its declaration of independence from the Earth Federation and the death of Zeon Zum Deikun. The Principality was effectively a military dictatorship ruled by the Zabi family and was the first Zeon movement to wage war against the Earth Federation. Under the oversight of Gihren Zabi, eldest son of Sovereign Degwin and Supreme Commander of the Zeon Armed Forces, the Principality promoted a fascistic form of Zeon ideology that emphasized Spacenoid superiority over Earthnoids and crafted a cult of personality around the Zabi family, as well as advocating for the population of Earth to be dramatically reduced. The Principality was ultimately defeated and abolished at the end of the One Year War against the Earth Federation yet despite this, remnants of it would continue to fight against the Earth Federation, seeking to carry on the Zeon ideology.
The Delaz Fleet were a group of Zeon forces led by Aiguille Delaz that fled the battle of A Baou Qu before it started after hearing of Gihren Zabi's death. After the One Year War ended, the Delaz Fleet reemerged and launched Operation Stardust, a plan to do a colony drop on North America to cripple the Earth Federation's food supply. The operation was a success, but the remaining members of the fleet were killed by the Earth Federation Forces soon afterward. The Delaz Fleet's actions would later be used as one of the justifications for the formation of the extremist Titans task force to police the colonies.
Axis Zeon, later referred to as Neo Zeon, is the name given to the Zeon remnants that converged at the Axis asteroid base. Following the Gryps Conflict, under the leadership of Haman Karn, Axis Zeon declared war on the Earth Federation and launched a successful ground strike against Earth. Despite coming close to conquering the planet, Axis Zeon was broken apart from within by a coup launched by a splinter faction led by Glemy Toto to restore the Zabi family to power. This coup had the affect of splitting apart the Zeon forces and thwarting the Earth invasion and ultimately triggering the collapse of the movement.
Neo Zeon was a movement founded by Char Aznable to realize his late father's original ambition of humanity to emigrate from the Earth to the stars, which he hoped to achieve by using a colony drop of the Axis Base to force a migration into space. Interestingly, the bulk of Neo Zeon's forces were not comprised of Zeon remnants but by former AEUG and defecting Earth Federation personnel. Char's Neo Zeon was destroyed following the failure of the operation to drop Axis onto the Earth, but later received its own remnant faction in the Sleeves led by Full Frontal.
The Sleeves were a group of surviving remnants from Char's Neo Zeon led by the mysterious Full Frontal, who claimed to be the second coming of Char. They emerged in response to the Earth Federation's plans to dissolve the Republic of Zeon and remove Spacenoid independence.
Mars Zeon are a group of Zeon Remnants from the original Principality of Zeon that fled Mars after the end of One Year War. After 41 years, the Remnant faction finally made their move to destroy the Earth Federation in U.C. 120. They were nicknamed the "Oldsmobile Army" by the Earth Federation for the older appearance of their Mobile Suits.
ReZeon were a group of remnants from Axis Zeon that fled to Mars after the end of the First Neo Zeon War. They were able to bolster their power by taking in surviving remnants of the Titans after the organization was disbanded following the end of the Gryps Conflict.