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While humanity had made contact with two extraterrestrial species -- the Vulcans and the Centaurians in the 2060s -- and environmental damage was being repaired with their help, there were many areas of the planet that were reduced to anarchy and barbarism.
The renewed depredations of this period -- which, in later centuries, would be referred to as a new "Dark Ages" -- helped motivate many to pursue extrasolar colonization efforts. (Star Trek: Shadowstar Station: "Heritage", "Esteban")