The Republic itself was formed in 25,053 BBY when the first “Galactic Constitution” was signed on Coruscant, after the Corellian Hyperdrive connected many worlds in the Galactic Core. Whether this means that Coruscant was the original homeworld of humans or simply the most powerful world at the time is still up for debate, and there has been little said about the event other than that it occurred. The Republic was made up of several hundred thousand worlds.
The Republic, led by a Supreme Chancellor, had a supposedly democratic government that was able to sustain itself for over twenty-five thousand years. It is said that its complete history would “fill a thousand libraries”.
In its latest years, it was a benevolent – though ineffectual – government tied up in layers of bureaucracy.
|The Human Core around which the Republic was formed|
The Republic was born with the signing of the Galactic Constitution c. 25,000 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 and would remain that way for twenty-five thousand years. The Republic was created by the Core Founders.
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 current Republic technology to traverse, 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 a peaceful Republic, 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 history.
|Early symbol of the republic|
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.
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 a war with 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.
|The early Republic around 22,000 BBY.|
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 Conflict. 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 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 Ziost, 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 Korriban, 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.
|Coruscant assaulted during the Great Hyperspace War.|
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.
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.
Old Sith Wars
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, being devastated by the Sith fleet.
In 3,900 BBY, Queen Elsinore 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.
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.
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 interest defining the legislative agenda. The Senate, in the later years of the Republic, was so ineffectual that large corporations could essentially do what they wanted.
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.
Each member state (system governments) returned a representative (a senator) to a central legislative body (the Senate). Senators were the ambassadors of their home worlds, and member worlds were able to maintain their government and society in accordance with local beliefs, customs, and traditions. There was a wide variety of different local governments along the political spectrum: from monarchies to republics to hive-like communes. In some systems, the senator was elected to that post; in others, the world government appointed the senator. Naboo’s monarch appointed their senators, while the Alderaan Council of Elders elected their senator out of their own ranks (usually the heir to the Royal House of Organa, as the heir was also the leader of the council).
The Senate was headquartered in an enormous building containing many floating platforms, each of which contained several senators. Each platform in the Senate represented a “sector” of the galaxy, with one senator from each planet in that sector. Some platforms represented individual worlds, others the powerful corporations and guilds such as the Trade Federation. Along with the senators, the leaders of the individual member planets also had the power to vote in the Senate and introduce legislation. The Senate followed such parliamentary rules as a Vote of No Confidence, such as that introduced by Queen Amidala of Naboo which forced Chancellor Finis Valorum out of office in 32 BBY.
Senators received one vote in all matters—procedural and substantive. The Chancellor was elected from within the Senate. The assembly was in turn divided into individual committees, each specializing in specific fields of government administration, and which were responsible for creating legislation to be reviewed by the full assembly.
Although legislation passed by the Senate was binding to all member worlds, most of the everyday legislation followed by citizens of the Republic was created at the planetary, sector, or regional level. Therefore, the main functions of the Senate were to mediate disputes between members, provide for the common defense, and regulate intersystem trade.
The members of the Senate would then elect a Supreme Chancellor from amongst their ranks who would serve as the Republic’s head of government (and, by default, head of state) and chief diplomat.
The office was largely powerless in the last years of the Republic, especially after the Ruusan Reformation, and the Chancellor served mainly as an officiator of parliamentary procedure and the first among equals in the Senate. However, it had the authority to call an Extraordinary Session of the Senate, and could invoke “Chancellor’s prerogative” in circumventing minor aspects of the Senate’s parliamentary procedure. He also was the head of the Senatorial Council.
It was still a very prestigious position, however, and the Chancellor had a grand office in both the Senate Rotunda’s Chancellery and in the dome-like Senate Office Building in Galactic City. The Chancellor was properly addressed as “Your Excellency.” The symbol of the office of the Chancellor, as well as the Galactic Senate as a whole, was a fanned spear. This sigil was also emblazoned prominently on the Chancellor’s podium in the center of the Senate Rotunda’s Main Chamber. When in the Main Chamber, the Chancellor usually wore a Veda cloth robe. The Chancellor was elected from among the senators who made up the Galactic Senate and served a term of office that lasted for four standard years. A Chancellor could legally serve only two consecutive four-year terms before he or she had to step down due to term limits.
|The Senate building, behind the Avenue of the Core Founders.|
The Supreme Court was the highest court of law in the Old Republic, and composed the judicial branch of the Republic’s government. The Supreme Court was headquartered in the Galactic Courts of Justice Building on Coruscant.
The Court consisted of twelve justices (each addressed as “Your Honor”); one of them was the Chief Justice who headed both the Court and the judicial branch. The Supreme Chancellor apparently could influence appointments to the Court in some way (at least during Palpatine’s tenure), most likely through nominations.
In addition to serving as a “court of last resort” and as a determiner of constitutional legality, the Supreme Court also tried cases involving the highest politicians and most noteworthy people in the Republic. However, at least some cases (including the trial of senators for treason) were handled by the Senate.
Relationship with the Jedi Order
The Jedi Order served as the guardians of peace and justice in the Galactic Republic. The Jedi, who answered to the Senate, became traveling representatives of the Senate, responsible not only for protecting the Republic and its citizens, but also to serve as representatives of the Republic, and as mediators for individual disputes. They were in a sense, peace keepers. Even though part of the Republic, the Jedi Order doesn’t answer directly to the senate acting sometimes against it’s will for the good of the Republic. As shown before, the Jedi has aid the Republic in many wars that could have marked the downfall of the Republic. Without the Jedi Order at its side, the Republic (generally, Old Republic, New Republic etc.) would have fallen ages ago.
The Galactic Republic’s influence on the galactic economy was linked to its regulatory powers, production of Republic dataries, and authorization of relevant bodies.
At heart of the galactic economy was planetary trade. Intraplanetary trade could support a local economy, but, in many cases, the high levels of government spending required for an advanced society could only be funded only by interplanetary exports. While some planets maintained their own shipping fleets, most relied on large freight firms, such as Xizor Transport Systems, or independent freight haulers to carry their goods along major hyperlanes.
The Corporate Sector was first formed in 490 BBY to free the Republic lawmakers and the Corporate moneymakers from their differences. In the last millennia of the Galactic Republic, commercial interests began to form guilds to increase their influence on relevant legislation and achieve greater efficiency. While most of these guilds, like the Trade Federation, Techno Union, and the Commerce Guild, collapsed after the Clone Wars, a number of surviving members flocked to the Corporate Sector Authority.
Thousands of currencies were used across the galaxy. The Galactic Republic’s dataries were perhaps the most widespread form of currency. Because of the Republic’s exceptional membership, dataries were accepted on all but the most remote planets. From its inception, the credit was backed by the immense wealth of the planet Muunilinst and the InterGalactic Banking Clan. During the Clone Wars, the IGBC backed the currencies of both sides.
All working beings were required to pay income taxes, which were collected by the Republic Tax Collection Agency. In the later years of the Galactic Republic, a transit tax of 15% was levied to raise revenue for the government.
Society and culture
The Galactic Republic had a very diverse culture. Member worlds were able to maintain their own culture in accordance with local beliefs, customs, and traditions. There was a wide variety of different cultures within the Republic: from religious communities like the Jedi to hive-like communes.
The Republic had a liberal policy towards arts also. The dominant aesthetic style of Galactic Republic-era was opulence and ornamentation.
Although Humanocentrism was technically outlawed by the Rights of Sentience clause of the Galactic Constitution, it still very much existed throughout the life of the Galactic Republic. Human-led companies such as Czerka enslaved entire nonhuman races, while planets such as Taris reserved the best sections of the world for Humans, while forcing non-humans into ghettos. The majority of slaves in the galaxy were non-humans. At the time the Clone Wars broke out, there were still lawsuits pending about pro-Human bias in the Republic government.
The Republic’s earliest days were not peaceful ones, since, as the Republic expanded across the galaxy, it encountered many warlike species. The Republic realized the need for an army and navy to keep the peace. The Republic’s military forces would serve throughout many conflicts, including the Great Hyperspace War, the various conflicts of the Old Sith Wars, and the New Sith Wars.
After the Battle of Ruusan, the Republic decommissioned much of its military, retaining a small force only for security purposes. This force would later become known as the Judicial Department. This was to display the Republic’s peaceful ideals, as the Republic used Jedi Knights as “keepers of the peace.”
The Galactic Republic was composed of a significant portion of the known galaxy, stretching from the Core Worlds to Wild Space, though it was widely believed that the government held little power in the outlying regions, and preferred to focus its attentions on the Core Worlds. The exact number of planets in the Republic fluctuated, but in 21 BBY it was a little less than 1.3 million planets.
The capital of the Galactic Republic was Coruscant, a planet considered to be the cultural and economical center of the galaxy, despite being located outside of the Deep Core. To signify its importance in galactic affairs, Coruscant was given coordinates 0-0-0 in the standard galactic coordinate system.
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