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There is the Official Traveller Universe, which comprises thousands of years of future history that is the result of a game that's almost 30 years old.

Then there is Your Traveller Universe. Which is frankly whatever you choose to run with and up to you.
Welcome and greetings, Sunset.

There is nearly thirty years of background material for Traveller; most of it is in the official Traveller universe (which is probably outlined in the T20 books).

I'll assume you're new to Traveller.

The single most worked-on chunk of space in Traveller is called The Spinward Marches. It consists of around 500 star systems, claimed mainly by the huge Imperium, but also consisting of a number of smaller pocket empires plus the edge of another huge empire.

The focus of Traveller is on an interstellar empire named, appropriately, the Imperium. Actually, it's the Third Imperium.

A number of websites can probably explain all of this (and more) in painful detail. One source is on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traveller_(role-playing_game)).
Yes, Sunsetmoon

There is a standard Traveller universe. However, the game allows any GM to create his own custom-universe and customized setting. So you don't have to follow the standard universe, if you don't want to.

The standard universe is based on the future of mankind about three thousand years from now. It is based on the Third Imperium, a large human-dominated star empire. The Third Imperium is surrounded by many other hostile empires (mostly alien races).
The OTU is one of the largest and best developed 2-dimensional space settings in print.

Key words: 2-dimensional.

The setting also has had several waves of redevelopment. (Early CT, also called Prototraveller; Late CT, aka Milieu 1100; MT, aka Milieu 1116; Milieu 1125 for Hard Times ; TNE, aka Milieu 1200; T20, which is the mid ten-hundreds.)

The GURPS Traveller line is the most recent (and fairly controversial) since it provides a level of detail unprecedented in any other versions; further, it's not of necessity the OTU; The GTU was from the outset divergent from the main line.
Welcome, sunsetmoon! :D

I don't think there's too much published in T20 that gives a background of the OTU. The data is spread around through 4 versions (and 1 partially alternate setting in GURPS) (oh, and 1 alternate setting in 2300AD). Any of us here could probably give you a good set of references if you share what kind of thing you're looking for: trade/merchant fleets, moderately stable large government, somewhat unstable large government, semi-post-apocalyptic, growing empire, etc.