Star Wars: A Wayward Eye
The Galactic Republic was the ruling government of the galaxy that existed for more than 25 thousand years, until the establishment of the Galactic Empire in 19 BBY. Throughout its existence, the state was commonly known as the Republic. In the post-Republic era and beyond, it was remembered as the Old Republic; it was also rarely known as the First Galactic Republic. At times, the term Old Order was used to describe the Republic.
The Galactic Republic was a representative democracy, composed of various star systems, sectors and member worlds throughout most of the known galaxy. Its central government consisted of three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The first was the Galactic Senate, a body of elected or appointed representatives. Its main duties included mediating disputes ranging from planetary to galactic-scale issues; regulating trade routes between star systems; and in theory represented the interests of Republic citizens. The Office of the Supreme Chancellor was the Senate’s executive counterpart. The Supreme Chancellor was elected from the ranks of the Senate by its own members. As the leader of the Senate and the overall representative of the Republic, the Chancellor also held the titles Head of State and President. The judicial branch consisted of the Supreme Court and the lower Regional Courts. The Supreme Court was composed of twelve justices, one of whom held the leadership position of Chief Justice.
Throughout most of its history as the dominant galactic power, the Republic did not style itself as a strong centralized government, but rather as a union of sovereign planets for the purposes of collective security and economic prosperity. It is said that its complete history could “fill a thousand libraries.” In the last decades that preceded the rise of Emperor Palpatine’s New Order, the Republic was a benevolent—though ineffectual—government tied up in layers of bureaucracy, hampered by political and corporate corruption.
The Republic was born with the signing of the Galactic Constitution in 25,053 BBY, during the Unification Wars. During that time, the Humans and Duros, reverse-engineering the Force-based technologies of the Rakata, invented the hyperdrive, allowing Coruscant to become the capital of the Galactic Republic 53 years later and would remain that way for twenty-five thousand years. The Republic was created by the Core Founders. Unbeknownst to even the Jedi Masters, the GenoHaradan began to secretly protect the newly formed galactic government.
Shortly after the formation of the Republic, the Perlemian Trade Route was mapped, linking Coruscant to Ossus, and bringing the Jedi Knights into the Republic. Over the next millennia, the Corellian Run was mapped, linking Coruscant to Corellia and beyond. The wedge defined by the two trade routes became known as “the Slice.” Since the stretch of hyperspace galactic-west of Coruscant was anomaly-ridden and impassible for then current Republic technology , the government expanded eastward, instead. The Core Worlds’ portion of the Slice was known as the Arrowhead, and soon the Republic expanded into the Colonies.
Though history often recalls the Republic as peaceful; numerous galactic conflicts, such as the Hundred-Year Darkness, the Old Sith Wars, the Vultar Cataclysm, the Mandalorian Wars, the Jedi Civil War, the New Sith Wars, and the Clone Wars—occurred throughout its 25,034 year history.
At first, the government on Coruscant wished for slow expansion, despite its promotion of hyperspace exploration. However, against the government’s wishes, the membership of the Republic boomed for its first millennium of existence, mainly due to worlds wishing to join as protection against the Hutt Empire. In 25,000 BBY its capital had officially become a galactic hub.
For years, the Jedi Knights and the ancient armies and navies of the Republic defended against violence. Around 24,500 BBY, the First Great Schism occurred, after the Legions of Lettow were established by dissident Jedi who believed that true power was achieved not through passive meditation, as taught by their Jedi Masters, but through emotion. The tension between the Jedi and these dissident Fallen Jedi, led first by Xendor, and then after Xendor’s death, by Arden Lyn, grew until conflict erupted.
In 24,000 BBY, the Republic entered into the Tionese War against the Honorable Union of Desevro & Tion. The war traveled up and down the Perlemian, and the respective capitals of Coruscant and Desevro both suffered volleys of pressure bombs. The Republic eventually won the war by stirring up the Hutts against the Tionese. Within a century, most of the Tion Cluster swore allegiance to Coruscant, except for Desevro, which chose to remain independent.
During the Great Manifest Period (20,000 BBY–17,000 BBY), the Republic expanded eastwards across the galaxy. Despite this, the Slice would remain the heart of navigable space. Eventually, the Republic expanded past the galactic-northern and
southern borders of the Slice, though most of the galaxy was still unknown, except for outposts such as Ord Mantell (12,000 BBY) and Malastare (8,000 BBY). The space west of Coruscant still remained unexplored since analogues to the Perlemian Trade Route and the Corellian Run in that direction still had not been discovered. Worse, progress was limited to dangerous one or two-light-year jumps into a stretch of hyperspatial anomalies. During this period, the Expansion Region was formed. However, this region suffered greatly as a result of the Alsakan attempting to snatch control of the Republic from Coruscant. This resulted in seventeen Alsakan Conflicts, spanning from 17,000 BBY to 3,000 BBY. However, most of the fighting took place between their holdings in the Expansion Region, rather than in the Core itself. Needless to say, Coruscant won every conflict it fought.
During this period, the First Arkanian Conflict also took place. The Arkanian geneticists also began a series of genetic experiments of other sentient species, most notably bundling away several six-armed Xexto from Troiken, and transforming them into a new species known as the Quermians.
In 15,500 BBY, after a disastrous first contact, Coruscant was assaulted by Star Dragons in the Duinuogwuin Contention. The conflict was peacefully resolved by Supreme Chancellor Fillorean and the Star Dragon philosopher Borz’Mat’oh, who together founded the University of Coruscant. At some time prior to 12,000 BBY, the Galactic Museum was established on Coruscant.
Around 12,000 BBY, Contispex I became Supreme Chancellor. He and his descendants belonged to the theocratic Pius Dea cult that would control the Republic for the next 1,000 years. These fanatic Supreme Chancellors sanctioned “crusades” against rival alien sects in the Rim. After 11,000 BBY the cult may have violently dissolved. The tensions from the fallout of the crusades would deepen the rifts between the Core Worlds and those of the Rim, which Emperor Palpatine would exploit during his reign millennia later.
Around 9,000 BBY, Blotus the Hutt became Supreme Chancellor and ruled the Galactic Republic for 275 years during the Rianitus Period. Unlike most other Hutts, Blotus was a distinguished and just ruler. At least by 7,308 BBY, the Galactic Standard Calendar was fixed.
In 7,003 BBY, the Second Great Schism occurred when a group of fallen Jedi discovered a Force technique that could alter lifeforms. This started the centuries-long Hundred-Year Darkness, which saw the creation of monstrous creatures, most notably the serpentine Leviathans, which drew life-energies into blister-traps on their backs. At the Battle of Corbos in 6,900 BBY, the Jedi crushed the rebellion and banished these fallen Jedi from known space. However, the fallen Jedi discovered Korriban, a desolate world inhabited by the relatively primitive but unusually Force-sensitive Sith people.
Using their training in the Force, the fallen Jedi amazed the Sith and elevated themselves to god-like status on nearby Ziost, becoming the rulers of the Sith people. As years passed, and interbreeding occurred between the fallen Jedi and the Sith, the term “Sith” came to mean not only the original inhabitants of Korriban and Ziost, but also their fallen Jedi masters.
In 5,000 BBY, the Jedi and the Sith Empire clashed in the Great Hyperspace War. Many worlds were forever scarred in that battle, but the Jedi were able to repulse the invaders. After that, the Republic granted the Jedi land over a Force nexus: a sacred mountain on Coruscant over which the Jedi Temple was constructed.
In 4,250 BBY, the Third Great Schism occurred, which involved fighting on Coruscant. The surviving Dark Jedi were forced to flee to the Vultar system, where they discovered ancient technology indicating that the system’s worlds were artificial constructs, probably the creations of the mysterious Celestials who had also built the Corellian system. These Dark Jedi took over these machines, including the Cosmic Turbine, but could not control them, and soon destroyed the whole system and everything in them during the Vultar Cataclysm. In 4,019 BBY, four Jedi Masters (two Warrior Masters and two Sage Masters) established the ziggurat of the Jedi Temple over the Force nexus on Coruscant, which would stand for over four thousand years.
The year 4,015 BBY saw the Great Droid Revolution on Coruscant, led by HK-01, who was eventually defeated by Arca Jeth and the Jedi. During the conflict, Arca Jeth discovered techniques for disabling machines through the use of the Force.
Following those conflicts were those of the Old Sith Wars of c.4,000 BBY which almost destroyed the Republic. During the Great Sith War (4,000 BBY–3,996 BBY), the Sith Lords Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma, along with their Krath and Mandalorian allies, waged war on the Republic, causing devastation until they were defeated by the combined Jedi and Republic forces. Afterward, the Great Hunt (3,995–3,993 BBY) and the Cleansing of the Nine Houses occurred.
These would be followed by the Mandalorian Wars (3,966—3,960 BBY). They were fought between Mandalorian forces hoping to expand their colonies beyond the Outer Rim Territories and the Galactic Republic, which feared further incursions. The Mandalorian Wars were a prelude to the more devastating Jedi Civil War (3,959 BBY–3,956 BBY). The Jedi Civil War, also known to some as the War of the Star Forge, was fought between the Republic and the Sith Empire under Darth Revan and Darth Malak. It was possibly the most destructive conflict of that entire era, with many worlds, including Taris, Dantooine, and Telos IV, being devastated by the Sith fleet.
From 3,970 BBY – 3,670 BBY, the Kanz Disorders took place in the Kanz sector. During that time, the Provisional Governor Myrial of Argazda seceded from the Republic and established a military regime throughout the Kanz Sector. During the conflict that followed, her military forces invaded planets that resisted her reign throughout the Kanz Sector, including Lorrd. She often enslaved their inhabitants, most notably the Lorrdians of Lorrd.
The enslaved Lorrdians were forbidden by their masters from communicating with each other. As a result, they were forced to develop a system of subtle gestures, facial expressions, and body postures to talk to each other. This nonverbal form of communication would still be in use over four millennia later. After three centuries and the loss of over five billion lives, including those of some 500 million Lorrdians, the Kanz Disorders finally ended when Jedi/Republic efforts toppled the regime in 3,670 BBY.
In 3,900 BBY, Queen Elsinoré den Tasia of the Core World of Grizmallt sponsored an expansion fleet of three vessels—Beneficent Tasia, Constant, and Mother Vima. This fleet was led by the Republic explorer Kwilaan, and would discover the planet Naboo. In 3,700 BBY, the pioneer woman and Brentaal IV native Freia Kallea discovered the Hydian Way, which spanned the entire north-south width of the galaxy. This allowed the Republic to expand past the Slice into the worlds of the Mid and Outer Rims, and also led to the discovery of more hyperspace routes, including the Corellian Trade Spine, thus starting the Second Expansion Wave.
In 3,681 BBY, the Sith Empire returned to wage war against the Republic in the Great Galactic War. The War greatly weakened the Republic, culminating in the Sacking of Coruscant and the Treaty of Coruscant. As a result of the War and its subsequent treaty, which left the Republic in an unfavorable position, many star systems began withdrawing from the Republic. The Republic was plagued with an insurmountable supply crisis and chaos on the streets of Coruscant – the Senate was left paralyzed. The Treaty of Coruscant also forced the Republic to abandon many long-time allies, including the Bothans. Confused by the chaos, the insolvent Senate blamed the War and its current problems on the Jedi, sparking a feud with the Order that saw their departure from Coruscant and relocation to Tython. After the Great War, the Cold War began.
In 3,000 BBY, the Seventeenth Alsakan Conflict ended with the final defeat of Alsakan, and the introduction of the Invincible-class Dreadnaught into the Republic fleet.
New Sith Wars
In 2,000 BBY, the Republic once more faced the menace of the Sith, who had formed a Sith Empire that was far larger than any of its three predecessors. This time, the Jedi took the forefront of the war. The conflict fluctuated until the Battle of Mizra in 1,466 BBY, which saw one of the largest Sith victories in the entire war. The losses for the Republic were so catastrophic that a dark age began, with widespread social unrest and economic collapse.
The Republic itself shrunk to a mere rump state surrounding the Core Worlds, Inner Colonies, and few other worlds outside it, with the Sith Empire encompassing virtually the rest of the entire galaxy. The Jedi took over absolute authority, ruling the remainder of the Republic directly. The Senate was bypassed, with sole governing power residing in the Jedi, while the Republic’s armed forces were absorbed into the Jedi Army of Light.
After nearly five hundred years of continued war, the Army of Light had beat back the Sith to the planet Ruusan. They were finally defeated in 1,000 BBY at the Seventh Battle of Ruusan, although almost all the forces of the Army of Light that were on Ruusan also perished. The lone Sith survivor, Darth Bane, subsequenty initiated the Rule of Two, meaning that at any given time there would only be one Sith Master, and an apprentice. They continued this method over the next millennium, in secrecy, waiting patiently for the right moment to bring down the Jedi.
Following the battle, the Ruusan Reformation was enacted by Chancellor Tarsus Valorum. It returned power to the Senate, placed the Jedi under the authority of the Republic government, and disbanded the vast majority of its remaining military.
At long last, with war after war, peace and prosperity came to the Republic. Yet with it came a dangerous complacency. Vast armies and navies were downscaled, and the Republic came to rely on the Jedi more and more for the maintenance of civility. Despite a few isolated flash points—like the Stark Hyperspace War and the Battle of Naboo—full-scale military conflict remained a distant memory.
Nonetheless, remote planets theoretically under jurisdiction of the Republic hardly could find the technology that was commonly available near the Core. Feeling little interest for those planets, the Republic did not even chart them properly or classify all of their flora and fauna.
The decline of the Republic
As the Republic grew more and more powerful, many of the bureaucrats and Senators that ran the government grew increasingly corrupt or complacent. The bureaucracy that had grown and festered over millennia choked any attempt at effective government. Furthermore, patron politics and personal agendas also hampered effective governing, and due to the increasing collusion of decadent governmental agents and politicians with favored groups, corporations like the Trade Federation and Techno Union grew in power and even formed their own militaries. It is likely, given the eventual result of this decline, that it was nurtured and accelerated (and perhaps even started) by the Sith during the centuries they spent in hiding after the Battle of Ruusan.
During this time (32 BBY) the Senator of Naboo was Palpatine. His home world was under siege by the Trade Federation. Despite the full-scale invasion of the planet, the call to condemn the invasion was tied up in bureaucratic procedure. When Queen Amidala—the elected leader of the sovereign system of Naboo—spoke before the Senate, calling for action, she also called for a Vote of No Confidence in the leadership of the Republic, under the persuasion of Palpatine, and Chancellor Finis Valorum was voted out of office. This led to the increasingly-popular Palpatine’s election as the Supreme Chancellor of the Republic.
Traditionally, the Chancellor could only serve two four-year terms, but Palpatine stayed in office much longer, due to the prolonged Separatist Crisis.
The crisis occurred when several of the Republic’s star systems and commercial organizations, fed up with the corruption and obliviousness to their issues and concerns in the Republic, united in order to separate from the Republic. This unified front became known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Tensions between the Republic and the Separatists eventually escalated into all-out war after a Jedi strike team came to Geonosis, which started the First Battle of Geonosis—and the Clone Wars. The Senate granted Palpatine emergency powers to deal with the Separatist Confederacy in a motion introduced by the Naboo representative Jar Jar Binks. Palpatine’s first move, widely supported at the time, was to create a vast army of clone warriors to serve as the Republic’s fighting force against the Confederacy. The Republic had not previously needed an army, since until then any small conflicts within the Republic could be solved by recourse to the peacekeeping Jedi, or to local navies and militias. However, the fact that the Confederacy had access to an enormous army of droid soldiers required the Republic to construct a more formal federal military in order to effectively fight.
However at least one enemy of the Republic managed to turn away from the CIS and ally itself with the galactic government, it was Jabba Desilijic Tiure’s criminal empire, for rescuing their leader’s son, secretly held captive by the Separatists, thus the Republic had some advantage over the CIS during the war. Along with their allegiance with the Hutts, the Republic was allowed use of the Hutts’ hyperspace lanes.
In the ensuing years, the Senate increasingly gave more power to Palpatine, who became the war’s political Commander-in-Chief. Such actions were justified in the name of security, and eventually Palpatine did not need the approval of the Senate for many of his actions. Since the Chancellor held the loyalties of a vast majority of supporters in the Senate, this was considered a perfectly reasonable way to increase the wartime government’s efficiency. The citizens of the Galaxy, who had long since lost faith in the corrupt and inefficient Republic itself, came to see Palpatine personally as their protector from the droid armies and their terrible commander, General Grievous.
The end of democracy
Tension between Chancellor Palpatine and the Jedi Order grew as the Council became increasingly wary of the Chancellor’s lust for greater power. As the Chancellor continued to increase his authority through a variety of emergency powers, the Council became ever more suspicious of Palpatine’s intentions and ultimately disapproved of the Republic’s gradual slide into autocracy, especially at the expense of the Senate—the only governmental body that the Order was legally obligated to serve.
With the help of Anakin Skywalker, the Council discovered that Palpatine was actually the elusive Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, and thus they conspired to arrest the Republic’s own head of state. The Jedi coup d’état ended in failure, however, when Palpatine killed all four of the Jedi Masters, including Mace Windu, that tried to take him into custody. He then responded by declaring all Jedi as enemies of the Republic and won the Senate’s support after portraying them as assassins bent on taking over the Republic. Through Order 66, the Chancellor realized the Sith’s long-awaited dream of the Jedi Order’s destruction. Without warning, the clone troopers of the Grand Army betrayed and murdered most of their Jedi officers.
As the Clone Wars ended with the onset of the Great Jedi Purge in 19 BBY, Palpatine addressed the Senate and declared the rise of a New Order, beginning with the Republic’s immediate transformation into the first Galactic Empire. Palpatine, who had been grotesquely disfigured during the attempt on his life, proclaimed himself emperor of the galaxy, thus transforming the office of the Supreme Chancellor into what it had already become—an absolute dictatorship. Deluded by Palpatine’s charm and skill, in conjunction with the effects of his dark side powers of persuasion, the majority of the Senate cheered him on loudly in approval. Soon afterward, industries were nationalized and the Republic was replaced by the totalitarian Empire, ruled by a megalomaniac autocrat.
After more than 25,000 years, the Galactic Republic had ceased to exist. Only a shrunken, powerless Imperial Senate remained as the last symbol of the old galactic government. Prior to its dissolution two decades after the rise of the Empire, the Senate was nothing more than an ineffective advisory board that Palpatine tolerated until his reign was consolidated enough for him to rule without the stagnant bureaucracy. With the last remnant of the Old Republic destroyed by the very man whom they supported, the Senate’s responsibilities were redirected to the Moffs and regional governors, all of whom were empowered to rule over their respective territories in the name of Emperor Palpatine.
Barely a year into the reign of Emperor Palpatine, the Empire’s precursor state became known as the “Old” Republic, mainly to emphasize the various excuses behind the Republic’s fall and the creation of Empire. Though the Emperor focused much of his reign towards the gradual elimination of all remaining symbols that reminded the Imperial populace of their democratic past and heritage, the long history and cherished principles of the Old Republic were secretly held dear by a growing number of Imperial citizens that became disillusioned with the Empire due to the oppressive measures that Palpatine enacted to further strengthen his hold over the galaxy.
By 2 BBY, the Emperor’s tyranny motivated several dissidents within the Imperial Senate to create the Alliance to Restore the Republic, thus initiating the Galactic Civil War. Six years later, the deaths of both Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader at the climactic Battle of Endor enabled the struggling Alliance to rebound from certain defeat while the Empire descended into chaos and disorder.
The Galactic Republic was finally reestablished in the form of the New Republic after the Alliance, aided by the resurgence of the Jedi Order, decisively won the civil war and reduced the Empire to a faded remnant of its former glory. The memory of the Old Republic, along with many of its ideals, were further carried on after the New Republic reorganized itself into the Galactic Alliance. Until the outbreak of the Sith–Imperial War, the Alliance and the Empire coexisted peacefully—sometimes with great difficulty—for over a century.
Government and politics
The Republic began as a mutual protection and economic alliance among a number of planets in the galactic core. The Republic’s greatest failing was its lack of formal organization. Much of its operation was based on non-binding constitutional conventions, which were more often ignored and undermined by corrupt and power-hungry politicians than heeded. Coalition governments were common, with special interests defining the legislative agenda. The Senate, in the later years of the Republic, was so ineffectual that many politically connected corporations and informal blocs of ideologically likeminded planets could essentially do what they wanted; corrupt governmental bodies even made it possible for certain entities, such as the Trade Federation, to construct de facto sovereign and immense military forces.
However, the waning years of the Republic were a time of corruption and great social injustice. The Senate became divided between those who genuinely wished to uphold the values and ideals of the Republic, and those who wished to further their own goals. After a series of weak and ineffectual Chancellors and a crisis involving the invasion of the planet Naboo by the Trade Federation over a tariff passed in the Senate, the time had come for strong leadership to end the corruption.
Within the government, much of the bureaucracy was handled by the General Ministry. Within this body were the Ministries of State, Intelligence, Commerce, Defense, Education, Finance, License and Permits, Public Information, Science, Security and Intelligence, Internal Security, and Science and Education.