The Great Collapse (also known in various regions as the Great Devastation, the Semi-Apocalypse, and the Great Cataclysm) was a dramatic, worldwide economic and political breakdown beginning in some nations as early as 24 December 2005. The beginning of the Great Collapse in the United States, European Union, Russia, China, India, Australia, and Japan is associated with the the worldwide terrorist nuclear attacks on 29 December 2005, known as Nuclear Thursday. The destruction of the major cities caused a complete breakdown (or utter annihilation) of the governments and economies of the targeted nations. International trade worldwide almost immediately ceased, and the economies of every nation collapsed soon thereafter, beginning the Second Great Depression. As starvation spread around the globe, riots erupted in most surviving cities, and small wars (civil and international) broke out in various areas of the world. The second wave of nuclear attacks on 6 January 2006, known as Nuclear Friday, marked the end of any semblance of surviving order or national structure from before the Great Collapse.
The Great Collapse ended at different times in different areas of the world. The majority of pre-Collapse countries have been replaced by a multitude of smaller local or regional states. Liberal democracy was weakened, if not completely replaced in some regions, and on the defensive, as dictatorships, monarchies, and military juntas arose, and many areas exist in a state of anarchy.
Australia's loss of of its capitol and three largest cities in the nuclear attacks, coupled with the subsequent riots and food shortages caused a total estimated population drop of 80%. The state and territorial governments also collapsed, being replaced my many smaller competing territorial entities. Recently two major regional governments have arisen as rival powers, one centered around Perth and one centered around Adelaide.
Harshly impacted by the collapse of international trade, especially with the United States, the Nuclear attacks on three of its cities, and effects from the nuclear attacks on the United States, but strikingly low direct population drop, Canada suffered the highest infrastructure drop per capita in the world. Hit with a particularly cold winter, and the loss of electricity and fuel in many areas of the country, little rioting occurred, save in Quebec and Ontario, and most provincial governments managed to remain somewhat intact.
With 42 confirmed cities (not counting Russia) hit in the nuclear attacks, and with the subsequent fallout and radioactive contamination of water tables, Europe was the most devasted continent in the Great Collapse. The population drop of Europe is an estimated 710 million people or 97.5% of its pre-Collapse population. Europe also currently has the highest percentage of uninhabitable land in the world.