History of the Galaxy
Notes on Dating
One of the most significant consequences of the First Galactic Civil War was the loss of a universally observed standard calendar. As worlds seceded, occupied, or simply cut off from the rest of the galaxy, regional and planetary calendars became increasingly common, further exacerbating communication and logistical difficulties throughout the galaxy.
During the reign of Spytek, the Empire attempted to unify the various systems in use throughout Imperial and allied territories. The resulting 'Combine Galactic Time' or CGT, the combination of the most widely observed calendars, soon became the standard calendar in use throughout the galaxy, although some regions of space (particularly the Hapan Cluster) are known to maintain their own calendars in addition to, or in lieu of, Combine Galactic Time.
Combine Galactic Time relies on a calendar and day duration almost identical to Coruscant local, with 365.25 days in each year (rounded to 366 days every four years) and 24 hours in a single day. In practice, the three Fete Days of the former 368-day calendar are no longer observed as days separate from the remainder of the calendar, but are celebrated as the first day of the appropriate month.
The period after Combine Galactic Time became standard is often referred to as 'the Combine'. Similarly, the galaxy prior to Combine Galactic Time may be referred to as 'pre-Combine' or 'BCGT' (Before Combine Galactic Time).
Dating events during the last few decades of pre-Combine history is not always possible with exact accuracy, due to the difficulties mentioned above and the reduction in the number of days in each year.
The Scattering of the Sith
For a thousand years, the Galactic Republic had endured the ravages of the New Sith Wars; the great campaign between the Republic and the New Sith Empire. The result of the final Battle of Ruusan is known to all: Sith Lord Kaan unleashed a force-powered thought bomb, destroying the Sith remnant forces and Lord Hoth's Army of Light alike.
Victorious, the Republic under Tarsus Valorum initiated the Ruusan Reformation, restructuring the Republic so that the galaxy may again know peace after a millenia of war.
However, while the war had been won, the Sith had not been exterminated.
A handful of Sith – those that had survived the thought bomb, and those that had been offworld when the cataclysm occurred – survived and gathered together. Being few in number, they knew that they would be quickly exterminated were they to reveal the fact of their existence to the Republic and continue the war.
Rather than cause the total destruction of the Sith, they agreed to scatter across the galaxy and observe the Rule of Many; the Many being the Sith Orders that they would create. Each surviving Sith Lord would take apprentices and form an order. Each apprentice would take apprentices and form their own orders, and their apprentices' apprentices also. The Sith would grow so secretly that not even they themselves would know their true names or number. Even if found and destroyed, it would require only one such order to endure for the Sith to survive.
The First Galactic Civil War
State of the Republic
971 years after the Ruusan Reformation, 25 years pre-Combine, the Republic was a shell of its former grandeur. For several decades, instabilities and disputes arose between member worlds with increasing frequency. Piracy, corporate abuse, terrorism and threats of secession were rife. Combined with a corrupt and self-serving Senate and a stagnant bureaucracy, the Republic simply failed to function.
In that year, tired with the Republic's lack of support, a loose coalition of Outer Rim planetary governments and corporate interests calling itself the Confederacy of Independent Systems, backed by the monolithic Trade Federation unilaterally declared its secession from the Republic, proceeding to train and arm a vast army of organic beings and droids.
Shocked at this outright declaration of rebellion against the Republic, though no doubt also shocked at the loss of commercial interest that the Confederacy represented, large segments of the Senate were thrown into action. However, the Republic's bureaucracy hindered them yet again and the Supreme Chancellor Endis Valorum took no action. Inspired by the success of the Confederacy or disillusioned by the inability of the Republic to act, more worlds left to join the Confederacy or, more often, form their own spheres of interest.
Desperate to restore Republic control over the seceding worlds, in 24 BCGT Supreme Chancellor Valorum ordered the formation of a Grand Army of the Republic to defend and restore order. At first it was hoped that clones would form the backbone of the Army, however the gestation and training period for clones, even with Spaarti cloning technology, combined with massive losses of both troops and infrastructure, meant that clones were ultimately only utilized for elite formations or special projects.
The Republic Falls
As the war progressed, and with the territory nominally loyal to the Republic dwindling daily, the Republic was placed under martial law and more authority moved from the Supreme Chancellor and the bureaucracy to the military. By 22 BCGT, the Republic had largely become an alliance of military commanders observing the niceties of the Republic rather than a true democratic state.
Seeing the devestation being wrought across the galaxy, the Jedi began investigating the possibility of Sith connivance in the current war. In particular, Master Bodo Baas began investigating the power structure of the Republic itself to discover whether the war had a Sith origin, or whether the Sith may be taking advantage of the galactic climate. His search would prove futile; the Republic had simply become too heavy for its foundations to support and was collapsing from within. If there was a Sith presence, it was on each Sith's own terms in accordance with the Rule of Many, not as part of a great plan.
By -10 BCGT, the Republic had been pushed back to the Expansion Regions, and the military had had enough. In an extraordinary session of the Senate, Grand Admiral Hiram Drayson, commander of the prestigious and strategically vital Core Fleet, set aside the (effectively powerless) Supreme Chancellor Valorum, dissolved the Senate and declared the formation of a Galactic Empire out of what was left of the Republic, with himself as its Emperor. What opposition he may have faced was quickly eliminated by his Jedi bodyguard known only as 'Agent 21'.
With Drayson's reign came new demands on the galaxy. Conscription was not unheard of on Imperial worlds. Massive recolonisation and reconstruction works were started. The Empire observed institutional pro-Humanism: a not entirely surprising outcome given the human-dominated Core that formed the bulk of the Empire faced non-human-dominated threats from the Rim. The Jedi Order, much reduced by over a decade of conflict, was not prosecuted directly, but the Jedi no longer held their position as esteemed peacekeepers of the galaxy.
Consolidating the Empire
Drayson's move did not go unopposed. Other prominent commanders quickly became independent warlords and rival claimants to the new throne, in addition to the existing threat of the separatist governments. While Drayson had enough support and military force to consolidate the core worlds under his authority, it would be a matter of diplomacy and combat that would decide the remaining territories.
It was more by chance than by skill that Drayson became the dominant warlord of the new Imperial territories, and many years before he had a true claim to the title of Galactic Emperor. While competent, the Emperor was not a tactical or strategic mastermind, but managed to attract many officers under his banner. The disaffected rallied around a leader with purpose, the weak attached themselves to a leader with power, the talented felt they could control a weaker man. In any case, Drayson was master of his Empire, such as it was.
Despite these personal failings, Drayson's reign also saw a number of successes. The Imperial Military was successfully restored to the glory it had enjoyed at the height of the civil war, and numerous new technologies were developed including the massive Super Star Destroyer. As Grand Admiral of the Imperial Navy in addition to Emperor, Drayson enjoyed the successes of the commanders under him and ensured his relative popularity with Imperial loyalists.
Birth of the Rebellion
Not all were happy with the new regime. Individuals and groups throughout and beyond the Empire reacted to the fall of the Republic with hostility, and low-level insurgency was rife. By 3 BCGT, this insurgency was loosely united under the banner of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, or Rebel Alliance, under the nominal command of Supreme Commander Jacen Lord. Forming the Alliance was a combination of former Republic officials, ideologues supporting democracy, worlds and forces that had originally seceeded from the Republic but remained sympathetic to its goals, and opportunists joining for adventure and profit.
However, while united in a common goal, the separate interests forming the Alliance were by no means friendly to their own. In 2 BCGT, Lord was supplanted by Maverick. The latter's command was little more successful than his predecessors, with corruption and conflict occasionally leading to armed violence not uncommon. No less than eleven attempts were made to overthrow Maverick, who was required to carry the favour of a range of charismatic commanders in order to remain in power. Despite these issues, the Alliance was at this time the second most influential force in the galaxy behind the Empire.
Despite the Empire and the Alliance, much of the galaxy remained under the control of other forces. Under Princess Gabriella Storm, the semi-legitimate trading organisation Black Sun quickly became the preeminent authority over large sections of the galaxy. Access to large quantities of desperately needed resources on the galactic black market allowed Black Sun to command the loyalty of many worlds, while the prowess of Black Sun's elite military subjugated any worlds unwilling to accept the organisation's occasionally illicit dealings.
The Bounty Hunter Alliance was the last of the major powers in the galaxy. In regions where lawlessness abound, power often came at the business end of a blaster. Its history blurred by the nature of its business, it is believed the Wookiee battlemaster Davpa Bolom was the first recorded leader of the Bounty Hunter Alliance. Throughout the galaxy, when people and worlds had nowhere else to turn, the Alliance would be there ready to bring justice for a price. The prosperity of the Alliance would wane in later years, as planetary and regional governments rose and order restored.
Smaller fiefdoms dominated other areas of the galaxy, spanning from several sectors to a mere handful of worlds. These protogovernments could rise and fall in the span of a single year, often relying on economic or military dominance or control of certain trade routes or resources to maintain their authority. Of these, some of the more prominent were Maharettan, Klysteron and Kanchin. The Hapes Consortium also endured as it ever had, though it had been weakened by the Hapan Civil War some decades previously and had become more reliant on diplomacy and trade with the rest of the galaxy, though it largely maintained its traditional isolationist stance.
The Second Galactic Civil War
The Fall of Drayson
Drayson's reign can largely be described as one of internecine warfare against warlords and insurgents, but by 4 BCGT, his authority had been effectively consolidated and the Empire had hegemony over the galaxy up to the coremost reaches of the Expansion Region. But the conflict was not over.
There is no exact point to determine when the Second Galactic Civil War started. Indeed, it is unclear whether the First Galactic Civil War ever ended, or whether there are in fact two separate conflicts or one single conflict spanning decades. However, the events of the later part of 2 BCGT are useful as a starting point indicating that war on a massive scale was returning to the galaxy.
Drayson's fleet had begun a routine deployment to fend off another unidentified attack on Imperial territory. Commanding one of the sections of the fleet was Captain Vodo Bonias. Having won the battle, Drayson's ship was fired upon by forces loyal to Bonias. Suffering critical damage, Drayson's forces were driven off for parts unknown, while Bonias' forces acclaimed him Admiral and he returned to Coruscant triumphant.
Bonias would not return to the position he might have expected. With the flight of Drayson, the throne nominally fell to his Naval Chief of Staff, Admiral Suntzu. Attempting to mollify Bonias and consolidate his rule, Suntzu approved Bonias' rank of Admiral and additionally appointed him Moff of the Boeus Sector. At the same time, he initiated projects favouring the Imperial Navy, drawing the ire of General Balseraph, Commander of the Imperial Army. This soon spread into almost direct conflict between Balseraph's Army and the Navy under Suntzu and Bonias.
Heavily beset with troubles, and his popularity with the public rapidly decreasing, Suntzu gave up the throne after a mere month and retired into obscurity. By the last days of 2 BCGT, Vodo Bonias had his throne.
The Prince of Coruscant
Shortly after Bonias' ascent, Drayson revealed that he had survived the attempted coup against him. With Bonias refusing to surrender the throne, Drayson declared the formation of the Order of Darkness, an ostensibly purer iteration of the Empire, while revealing a great secret: he was a disciple of one of the many Sith Orders that had been established since the Battle of Ruusan nearly a thousand years ago.
Shortly thereafter, Admiral Dyvel Price consorted with Evax, one of her officers, to defect to the Order of Darkness. This was successful, and the Imperial Navy was deprived of a significant portion of its force. Near simultaneously, many senior military officers were purged and General Balseraph, his exile certain, fled the Empire with part of the Imperial Army, giving the Order the military resources it required to present a real challenge to the Emperor on Coruscant.