Admiral Sevein Estigarribia
born -2158, ruled -2108 to -2071, abdicated -2071, died -2060.
Following Michael's death, the Council of Noble Officers met to consider the succession. Although Michael had named his eldest son (Captain Andrew O'Connor) as successor, the Council was deeply divided after the turbulent times of Michael's rule. As a result, they were ill-disposed to ratify his choice and perhaps institute an era of dynastic succession. Although Andrew was a capable officer, his fitness as a ruler was also questioned. Fortunately, Andrew was not nearly as stubborn as his father. In a short speech to the Council, he withdrew his claim to the throne, asking only that his career not be prejudiced by the succession crisis.
To succeed Michael, the Council chose Admiral Severin Estigarribia, the popular hero of the recent Battle of Muurim. A dashing figure, and direct descendant of Hiroshi I, Admiral Estigarribia was a relatively easy choice for all factions of the council. He was also isolated from the politics of the Imperial court, and it was hoped that he would prove to be somewhat more malleable than his predecessor.
One of his first acts as Emperor was to deal with the Vargr. Despite their defeat at Muurim, Vargr corsairs continued to raid across the Empire's coreward borders. The Vargr Campaigns (-2107 to -2099) saw the full might of the Rule of Man directed against the raiders for the first time. After a series of decisive victories over the Vargr, a buffer zone was established beyond the frontier and many Vargr states immediately coreward of the empire became satrapies of the Rule of Man.
With the Vargr 'muzzled', Hiroshi set about launching a series of internal reforms. The first, the decentralisation of the treasury system, had the support of the senior military officers - largely because few of them had more than a peripheral interest in economic matters. The second and more contentious issue dealt with the Naval hierarchy. To this point, all of the most senior naval officers (and therefore all of the members of the Council of Noble Officers) were pure Solomani. Hiroshi promoted several non-Solomani to key posts within the fleet, the most contentious of which was the appointment of the Vilani Admiral Luushighil Ka Khalaami to the General Staff. The move alienated some of the more extreme Solomani, but shored up the loyalty of the Vilani majority at a time when continuing reforms to their social structure were feared and disliked. Hiroshi's popularity soared, and he was able to cement his authority as Emperor.
In many ways, Hiroshi's reign marked the high water mark for the Rule of Man. External threats had been dealt with, and informal dissent was at a low point. The economic slump that had plagued the Imperium had appeared to have bottomed out, and hope was held that a sustained boom was not far away. Hiroshi used his popularity to strengthen the powers of the Emperor at the expense of the Council, particularly in the executive branch of government.
Hiroshi was the only Emperor of the Rule of Man to voluntarily give up the throne before his death. By -2071, he felt that his empire was secure enough to pass on to his successor. He abdicated in that year, retiring to estates on Varward/Old Expanses. He died nine years later, popularly known as 'Hiroshi the Wise'.