Mars was settled during the “gold rush” period of asteroid mining in the 2050s. The first settlements were run as company towns by mining corporations such as Harvest Ventures. Mining and processing facilities also existed on Phobos and Deimos at this time. Early habitats on Mars were formed by digging large ditches and then covering them over to form tunnels. The colony grew very rapidly, and it was soon discovered that the Tharsis region of Mars is riddled with lava tubes and natural caverns. These have been converted and connected to form a three-dimensional labyrinth of tunnel habitats.
The largest such settlement is Amundsen Base, now sometimes casually referred to as a Amundsen City, which is located near the equator east of Pavonis Mons. Both the shield volcanos of the Tharsis region and the yawning chasms of Valles Marineris and Noctis Labyrinthus are readily visible from spaceships approaching or departing from Amundsen.
The colony was heavily populated by furry recoms. During the Apocalypse War, the recoms on Mars overthrew their human masters and established a new government headed by the charismatic but ruthless Marshall Redwolf. The cult of personality surrounding Redwolf allowed him to become “Maximum Leader” and seize dictatorial power, which he used to suppress dissent and oppositiion.
After ruling for 30 years, Redwolf was ousted and Mars went through a series of weak governments. Eventually some form of stability was restored along with a democratic government (at least on paper). Currently Martian politics is dominated by large corporations, with Omicron Industries being the most influential. Of the major established colonies, Mars has the weakest reputation for rule-of-law and respecting civil liberties.
Martian society has low tolerance for mutants and hermaphrodites, and even hybrid species are sometimes frowned upon. However, belters are well tolerated due to Mars's long-standing connections with the asteroid mining industry.
These days, Mars is a fascist “technocracy” dominated by Omicron Industries (OI), though Designer Genes have made a grab for power in recent years. In the last five years, following a failed coup attempted by the now-deposed Martian Enforcers, Omicron has formed a new space navy. Under the control of the Martian Chancellor and the CEO of Omicron, Zirik Dagokai, civil defense responsibilities are shared by OI and the Amundsen Police Department. All street tunnels, public venues and private homes are subject to government surveillance, though monitoring may be spotty in a few unsavory locations like the Warren district of Amundsen City. Police checkpoints and random searches are part of a citizen's daily commute from Sagdeev Terminal to Amundsen City.Meanwhile in spite of these constraints, the average Martian reports a great deal of personal satisfaction – perhaps on account of the colony's ever-growing wealth. Technology and genetics remain dominant industries.