Vesta is the third largest and second most massive asteroid in the asteroid belt and home the the Vestal Belters. The body has a mean diameter of 525 km or 326 mi and 9% of total mass of the Main Belt.
Vesta was discovered by Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers on March 29, 1807. Little was known about it for two hundred years until the arrival of the Dawn spaceprobe, which explored the asteroid extensively for a year, discovering the iconic "Snowman" impact formation and the differentiated interior. Follow up explorations were conducted over the years.
The asteroid was first settled by corporate miners as a processing center two hundred and fifty years before the Fourth World War. At first the colony was manned by rotational inhabitants, staying for periods of three years and then being sent home, but permanent settlers became more numerous as time went on.
Adminstration of the colony was first managed by corporate officers and then later by government appointees when the population became more permanent. This change was not looked on favorably by the colonists, feeling their needs were not be well managed by leaders selected without their approval. This was only the beginning of the conflict that would lead to the secession of the asteriod colonies from Earth.
With the outbreak of the Fourth World War, attention to the colonies became almost non-existant. Many of the asteroid colony leaders met in secret on Juno and over a year forged a shaky alliance through the process hostage exchange. With semi-coordinated attacks, the colonists overstretched the government forces and took control of their perspect colonies.
Vestal society is known to be isolationist until the rise of Doge Philobar and his successors.
The Vestal government is similar to the others in the belt. It includes a a legeslative council and the executive office of Doge.