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LanguageJawaese [1]
Average Height1 meter [1]
Skin colorunknown
Hair colorunknown
DistinctionsAlways wearing cloaks, glowing eyes, rodent-like
Average lifespanUp to 80 standard years old [1]
Known MembersList of known Jawas

Native to the desert planet Tatooine, Jawas are intelligent, rodent-like scavengers, obsessed with collecting outmoded and abandoned hardware.

Biology and appearance

Jawas trading with droids

Jawas are easily identifiable by their traditional brown hooded robes, though it is not unheard of for them to wear other colors. About a meter tall, they wear rough-woven, homespun cloaks and hoods to shield them from the hostile rays of Tatooine's twin suns. Few have ever seen what hides underneath the garments Jawa's wear, with bright, glowing eyes shiningThe from beneath the dark confines of a Jawa's hood. Although Jawa culture may have been entirely different, once upon a time, they now mostly make their living scavenging discarded items of technology (such as droids), repairing them (to varying degrees of success), and then selling them to Tatooine's inhabitants. Traditional Jawas do not bathe (water, after all, is in scant supply, and requires energy to recycle) and mostly tend to be seen as pests or a "necessary evil" to those who do any dealings with them. One thing is certain; to other races the smell of a Jawa is unpleasant and more than slightly offensive. Through the study of corpses and skeletal remains, Baobab xenobiologists discovered that Jawas appeared to be gaunt, rodent-like creatures, with shrunken faces and yellow eyes.[2] Conflicting research suggests that Jawas and Sandpeople, two native species of Tatooine originally evolved from the same extinct species, the Kumumgah, as both have common genetic markers, while other research suggests Jawas originated from humans. Little is still known of their true physiology. Due to their timid private nature, and a lack of interest, their exact origins are unknown.[1] At all times Jawa faces remain obscured by a shroud of cloth to retain moisture, hide their identity and to dissipate their body heat. Polished orange gemstones are embedded within the fabric to protect the Jawas’ sensitive vision from the bright sunlight. The only physical parts that were exposed were their hands, which had tufts of fur on the palms.[1] For the Jawas, their odor contains incredible amounts of information such as other Jawa's identity, health, clan lineage, maturity, arousal, their mood state and even their last meal. Their odor is compounded by a mysterious solution Jawas dip their clothes in to retain moisture, and their view of bathing as being a waste of precious water, which attracts swarms of insects to gather in the recesses of their hoods. Jawas have evolved several important survival traits, such as exceptional night vision, and a strong immune system. A Jawa’s normal body temperature is 46º Celsius which results in a high metabolism and an efficient digestive system that draws all the needed nutrients from the Jawa staple diet of hubba gourd.[1]

Society and culture

A Jawa sandcrawler in the desert

Jawas were a communal, compulsive scavenger species who spent most of their life devoted to roaming and scavenging the deserts of Tatooine in search of any scrap metal, droid or mechanical part left behind from millennia of star travel and technological advancement, where the dry climate of Tatooine preserved almost all debris. Most non-Jawas regarded the Jawas as scavengers and thieves, a description that most Jawas actually found pleasing.

Jawas travel in enormous, treaded fortress-homes called Sandcrawlers, scouring the endless wastes in search of salvage. Each crawler holds a Jawa community of about three hundred members. These migrant mechanics are basically high-tech junk dealers who gather things people throw away and sell them to others. They have even been known to take equipment off a moisture farmer's hands—especially if it's not guarded or securely locked in place. After a few weeks of rewiring and alterations, these wheeler-dealers may even attempt to sell the equipment back to the original owner—at a substantial profit, of course. (Most races would consider this treachery and stealing; Jawas consider it good business.) Tatooine's farmers and hermits spread around the planet are prime targets for the Jawa's technological recycling sales. [3] The scavengers also have a lot to deal in Mos Eisley known as Jawa Traders. Traders specializes in vehicle-and starship-repair droids, making it the perfect marketplace for a spaceport full of pilots and smugglers. Jawas are inherently paranoid and fear everything, but apparently have but two natural enemies: Sandpeople and Krayt Dragons. Sandpeople are reluctant to attack anything as large as a sandcrawler, but constantly seek opportunities to raid Jawa scavenging parties that wander too far from the mobile fortresses. Krayt Dragons have no such qualms and have been known to attack the giant land vehicles on various occasions. Though timid, if pushed too far, Jawas will use their weapons: blasters of their own design, pieced together from parts of a wide variety of mechanical sources. Reports also exist of entire moisture farms being flattened by sandcrawlers. Whether these rare incidents are accidental occurrences or some form of retribution is unknown, but most Jawas would rather scurry away than fight. In the few cities that rise out of the Tatooine wastes, Jawas can be found excitedly fawning over the vast concentration of vehicles and Droids found there. Often their fear gives way to their obsessive tendencies in the presence of so much high-technology and the creatures must be forcibly and repeatedly frightened away. Many visitors complain of emerging from a cantina to find dozens of Jawas scurrying over their newly polished landspeeders, pawing and drooling disgustingly. Despite appearances however, Jawas are accomplished repairmen with an innate knack for analyzing machinery. They may not understand robotic theory or repulsorlift engines, but they can get a malfunctioning Droid to work or an unresponsive landspeeder to operate—at least long enough to sell it to a desperate moisture farmer. Jawas take no interest in local or far-ranging politics (and probably wouldn't be allowed to if they did) and have shown no inclination toward either the Galactic Alliance or the Empire in the Second Galactic Civil War. Their only interests lie in making deals and acquiring more of their precious technology. The Jawa’s unofficial motto was not to look for uses in a salvaged item, but rather to imagine someone else who might find a use for it. [4] And this was evidenced in their endless search for wares with which to trade with almost any being Jawas encountered. They had a kind of instinctive feel for machinery and electronics, notorious for knowing how to get a piece of equipment functioning just well enough to sell.

Social Organization

A Jawa looking from his hideout

Jawas lived in separate clan families or tribes, each with distinct, separate territories for living and scavenging. Each Sandcrawler was lead by a Clan-Chief, who was male. However the overall operation of the Jawa clan was overseen by a female Shaman. A female Jawa became a shaman by either possessing some kind of Force ability with which to perform magic, overcoming an illness accompanied by a hallucinatory vision. The shamans were believed to possess the ability to foretell the future, and performed spells, hexes and blessings to protect the clan and ensure the well-being of all clan members. [2] While this has not been scientifically proven, recent discovered studies of the Jawas performed before the days of the Galactic Republic assert that these shamans exhibited something akin to Force abilities. Further ground to this studies brings the knowledge of several known Jawas’ known to be force sensitive and trained by both Jedi and Sith. Each shaman takes on a student during her tenure, training this apprentice to take her place when she dies. This title gave them a great deal of respect throughout the clan, which was strange in the largely patriarchal Jawa society, and this allowed the shaman to assume a position where they were to be consulted upon, and asked often for their wisdom. Through their influence, the clan shaman controls most tribal decisions relating to defenses, travel, and day-to-day life. For better protection, Jawas are known to defend their shaman even in face of certain defeat. Anthropologists referred to several incidents where witnesses have seen Jawas defending the shaman’s home against forces of Tuskan Raiders with the ferocity of being twice their size. They did not retreat or surrender, though nearly three quarters of the Jawas lost their lives in the process. With the important position within the society, the shaman did not travel in the sandcrawler and instead remained within the safety of the clan's fortress. Other than shamans, females were shown little respect in Jawa society and are sometimes even only property. [2]


Jawa culture centers on family. They take immense pride in their clans and ancestry, and their language includes forty-three different terms to describe relationship, lineage and bloodline. Clans keep track of these relationships very closely, recording family lines with extreme detail. Few Jawas leave the clan lifestyle, and when they do, they can be found in disreputable Tatooine cities such as Mos Eisley and Mos Espa, some have been even seen beyond the Outer Rim traveling in the galaxy. Members of the clans travel together in large vehicles known as sandcrawlers – nuclear-fusion powered ore-hauling vehicles. The origins of these vehicles is not really clear, but most likely are abandoned by contractors during the reign of the Old Republic and forgotten. Jawas have modified these sandcrawlers to the point that their original purpose is virtually undetectable. Now, the sand-crawlers have become an integral part of Jawa culture, as entire clans live within the machines, which have been converted over into mobile living quarters, workshops, and storage for supplies and interesting things they find in the desert -- often courtesy of crashed spaceships, or ancient refuse. Each crawler carries up to 300 Jawas and acts as a fully equipped repair shop, allowing them to perform skilled reconstructions as they make their journey across the desert wastes. While a portion of the Jawas are constantly on the move, searching for salvage, the remainder stay behind in clan fortresses built from large chunks of wrecked spacecrafts or in underground caves. In these fortresses, advanced salvage procedures are performed which exceed the capacity of the sandcrawlers, often making them a very likely target for attacks by Sand People in order to pillage their scavenged treasures and precious water. This is one o fmany harsh desert realities that contribute greatly to Jawas’ cautious, almost paranoid, nature, and as such they have made their defense into their best offense, through the stabaility of the fortress they build. Jawas are not intense fighters, and because of their size, they’ll often run away when confronted. When cornered, however, Jawas have proven themselves to be very resourceful and capable users of weapons that they scavange from the desert sands.


An example of written Jawaese

Jawas understand the common language of the Empire, but prefer their natural tongue, called Jawaese, a jabbering of low, guttural croaks and hisses intelligible to most inhabitants of Tatooine - at least to those who must deal with them. It is common for Jawas to learn other languages, but as is a common conceit among many species, even if they understand Basic, they prefer to speak in their own tongue, assuming that the listener understands Jawa, or there is an interpreter present. Jawas also speak a strange, variable dialect of their language that is incomprehensible to non-Jawas; this greatly aids their ability to bargain with outsiders. Moisture farmers often learn the hard way that it is safer to deal with one Jawa than to negotiate with a Jawa committee. Jawaese is mainly composed of meaningless syllables, supported by pheromone produced scents, which barely allowed it to be understood, making it very difficult without a translator. [5] Meaning of the Jawas’ language is tied to these pheromonal emanations, which communicate their emotions and needs making it incomprehensible and cannot be learned by humans and other species. Jawa communication was based in these scents to such a high degree that the scent a Jawa gave out could tell others about that Jawa's mood. Jawas, as already mentioned, could understand Basic, still they have intense difficulty speaking it or any language other than their own. Xenobiologists found out that the vocal cords of the Jawa species has not fully developed, presumably to the high humidity on Tatooine having an effect on their evolution. This further confirms the limited vocal enunciation of the Tusken species. Their limited vocal cords leave them with difficulties pronounce Basic language or many other extended languages, but they could, however, learn to understand most existing languages. Because the Jawas were known for bargaining with other species, they created a simplified form of their own language, the Jawa Trade Language, to speak with Humans and many other species. The Jawa Trade Language did not require the use of pheromones in order to communicate.

Clans and their gatherings

Jawa Swap Meet in the Dune Sea

Once a year, just before the storm season on Tatooine, all the Jawa clans would gather in the great basin of the Dune Sea for the annual swap meet. This so called "Swap Meet" has also been held yearly by the Jawas wandering the galaxy and is called Uli-ah Gafsa Memorial Swap Meet. Numerous sandcrawlers converged and the Jawas met to exchange their salvage. Other inter-clan business was also attended to such as the comparing of navigational data of the ever-changing desert, sharing stories, trade items and the arrangement of marriages to ensure cultural and genetic diversity.[1] Adhering to their scavenger instincts, it was quite common for different family clans to trade their sons and daughters for marriage through an intense barter or trade agreement. [6] A common Jawa term for this was the trading of 'marriage merchandise'. These tradings of family members is considered a good business deal. [1] Jawas did not carry weapons due to their passive nature. However they did rely on ion blasters that shot beams of energy to disable droids, and restraining bolts for keeping them under control. Most Jawas also carried around various tools for repairing droids. They were also adept at creating custom droids and weapons, cobbled together from spare parts of junk they found during thir harvests. [1]

Known Jawa tribes on Tatooine and around the Galaxy
Clans residing on Tatooine B'ay tribe Jawajawa tribe Meeknu clan
Iziz’s tribe Meerko clan Nebit’s clan
Nkik clan Weekkata clan Kkak clan
other clans around the Galaxy von Schlavendorf clan Gasfa clan Patchateeka clan
Moratom clan D'nec clan Nuuk clan


See Also