The Galactic Republic, commonly referred to as the Republic and later known as the Old Republic, was the democratic union of sovereign star systems that governed the galaxy for a thousand years prior to the rise of the Galactic Empire. Centered on the Core World of Coruscant, the Galactic Senate—a body of legislators who represented the numerous planets throughout the galaxy—governed the Republic under the leadership of the democratically elected Supreme Chancellor. Throughout its history, the Republic was protected by the ancient Jedi Order, an organization of Force-sensitives who served as the guardians of peace and justice, enabling the Republic to be free of full-scale conflict for most of its existence. However, thirty-two years before the Battle of Yavin, the Republic suffered its first major crisis in a millennium during the invasion of Naboo by the Trade Federation, which ultimately led to the Clone Wars a decade later.
During this galaxy-wide conflict, the Republic underwent a massive military buildup beginning with the mobilization of the Grand Army of the Republic—an army of clone troopers, bred for war and led by the Jedi. As the war carried on, the Senate's authority was gradually eroded by the increasing power of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine. Unbeknownst to all but a select few, Palpatine was in reality the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious, and had engineered the crisis to overthrow both the Republic and the Jedi, effectively doing so nineteen years before the Battle of Yavin. After the Jedi learned of his true nature, Palpatine enacted Order 66, a secret protocol that forced the clones to betray and execute their Jedi officers, effectively wiping away the Jedi Order in an instant. With the fall of the Jedi and the restoration of Sith dominance, Palpatine brought an end to the thousand-year Republic by proclaiming the formation of the First Galactic Empire. The newly-anointed Emperor Palpatine preserved the Senate for a further two decades, but ultimately disbanded the last remnant of the Old Republic upon the completion of the Death Star.
Within four years of the Senate's dissolution, the Empire suffered the loss of two battle stations and the death of Emperor Palpatine. The Alliance to Restore the Republic subsequently reformed itself as the New Republic and ultimately claimed victory in the Galactic Civil War approximately one year after the Emperor's demise.
Rise of democracyEdit
- "There hasn't been a full-scale war since the formation of the Republic."
- ―Sio Bibble
Before the rise of the Galactic Republic, its predecessor, the Old Republic, gradually declined and ultimately fell as a result of its conflict with the Sith. The Sith—a malevolent order of dark side Force users, founded by rogue Jedi during the Hundred-Year Darkness—were able to establish their rule over the galaxy for a period of time. After the fall of the ancient Sith, a number of star systems united to form the democratic union known as the Galactic Republic. Under the protection of the Jedi Order, the Republic existed in a state of relative peace and stability that lasted for a millennium until the advent of the Clone Wars in 22 BBY.
The Four Sages of Dwartii were notable in influencing some of its earliest laws. As its governing body, the newly reorganized government established the Galactic Senate, the members of which were elected to represent their systems. The Republic's capital was installed on the planet of Coruscant, which had already existed for several thousands of years.
The Republic's head of state, the Supreme Chancellor, was elected by and from the senators, in which the first in a long line of Chancellors was a scion of the House Valorum. Protecting the new democracy was the elite Senate Guard, who could be seen patrolling the Senate District and came to be seen as symbols of strength and unity, especially considering the fact that the military had been disbanded. In time, the Jedi Order, a noble order of protectors who could tap into the power of the Force, came to serve the Republic as guardians of peace and justice. With the lack of a standing army, the Republic came to rely on its peacekeeping Judicial Forces, led by the Judicial Department as the de facto law-enforcement branch of the government. The Judicial Forces, members of which were simply known as Judicials, trained at the Judicial Academy and came to serve in both ground and space forces, often led by Jedi Commanders to maintain peace throughout the galaxy.
Expansion and stagnationEdit
- "It's been my experience that senators are only focused on pleasing those who fund their campaigns—and they are more than willing to forget the niceties of democracy to get those funds."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
For centuries, the Republic expanded not through force, but by quietly exerting a strong magnetic pull towards neighboring systems. The promise of trade with Core World markets held many systems in sway, inexorably luring non-member worlds into tighter cooperation with the state body. Despite this, the Republic remained slow to invite new systems into its fold, as the addition of new territories diminished the political power of existing senators. New member states invariably aligned themselves with local galactic power blocs, while most senators who gave the invitations represented systems in the Core. As a result, the Galactic Center represented the beating heart of the Republic that habitually drew wealth and power from the hinterlands, with most senators dismaying at the extension of services and protection to outlying worlds. Consequently, many useful star systems were left waiting—some for centuries—for the body politic to admit their world as a member of the Congress, even though it came at the cost of the body's overall power.
As time went by the Republic stood firm, becoming increasingly powerful. As a result, the galaxy remained free of any full-scale war for centuries. However, many of the bureaucrats and Senators that ran the government continued to work for their own profit rather than the common good. Greed, corruption and internal strife slowly began destroying the government from within. The Core, revitalized from the destructive conflicts of the past and ravenous for new resources to exploit embarked on an aggressive colonization policy, exploring, mapping, and settling untouched planets within the Outer Systems; striking deals with or simply overrunning the indigenous populations that stood in their path. Adventurous pioneers found themselves granted permission by Coruscant to settle new territories and establish trading colonies to feed the Core with the goods and raw materials for its continual self-enrichment. Many new systems, finding themselves lacking the funds to mine, process, and ship their products to market were forced to secure high-interest loans from the InterGalactic Banking Clan, whereupon many; unable to repay their debts, found themselves as mere client worlds to the Muun bankers. As time progressed, the laborious task of astrogating by hyperwave beacons—which required numerous reversions to realspace—became simplified with the founding of new hyperlanes such as the Hydian Way. Many systems, eager to benefit from the opportunities offered by charting hyperlanes through their system, sought to influence the Republic Senate to put themselves on the galactic map.
Culturally, Coruscanti fashion, art, drama and literature saw receptive audiences across the galaxy. Seeking to impress visitors from the Core, many worlds sought to build lavish mansions that imitated the architectural style of the Inner Core. Despite this, many Coruscanti looked with disdain on what was in reality nothing more than a gaudy impersonation. To them, these lifeforms on the galaxy's fringes appeared barbaric, with most worlds still lacking weather control or struggling with geological disturbances and food shortages. Additionally, many outlying worlds, lacking the protection of a federal military found themselves continually harassed by numerous pirates and criminal organizations, further ingraining the long-held view that those from the galaxy's outlying settlements lacked cultural refinement and basic civility.
For centuries, a deep-rooted hatred and distrust would grow between the galaxy's outer fringes and the cosmopolitan Core, with those in the hinterlands gradually coming to believe themselves the victims of social and economic injustices. As a result of the perceived inability of the Judicial Forces in protecting outlying territories, who were often withheld in intervening after many far-flung worlds refused to provide the Core Worlds with profitable deals, the Outer Rim world of Eriadu—one of the most politically, culturally and economically developed worlds—formed the Outland Regions Security Force for the protection of the Seswenna sector. Comprising an amalgam of ships, it was funded primarily by off-world loans and supplied with laser and ion cannons acquired from arms merchants who had for centuries been ignoring a Republic ban on the sale of weaponry to member worlds. While the Outland Regions Security Force at first lacked success, it soon came to be renowned for its efficiency at dealing with raiders, especially after Wilhuff Tarkin was accepted into Outland's anti-piracy task force, in which he was known for outsmarting and outmaneuvering his opponents.
Yet despite Outland's best efforts, the Outer Rim Territories continued to fall victim to increasing corporate interests from the Core, with the monolithic Trade Federation expanding its reach a year before the Invasion of Naboo in both the Outer Rim and the Galactic Senate by utilizing loopholes in existing free-trade legislation. Shortly before the Invasion of Naboo, a trade summit was held on the Outer Rim planet of Eriadu in which then Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum was turned away by Wilhuff Tarkin, who was hoping to reduce the influence of the Chancellor who was already rumored to lose the next election in order to support then Senator Palpatine, who had earlier helped Tarkin gain entrance into the Judicial Academy and supported his ascension as leader of his homeworld.
Invasion of NabooEdit
- "It is clear to me now that the Republic no longer functions. I pray you will bring sanity and compassion back to the Senate."
- ―Queen Amidala, to Senator Palpatine
Despite the best efforts of the well-meaning Finis Valorum, the Trade Federation promptly invaded Naboo over disputes about plasma exports, in which a Judicial force carried Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to the Saak'ak, a Trade Federation Lucrehulk-class LH-3210 cargo freighter to discuss a peaceful resolution to the conflict. However, upon learning that Jedi had intervened, Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious swiftly ordered their execution, an order which Viceroy Nute Gunray fearfully carried out, only to have the attempt end in failure, resulting in the escape of the Jedi. On the planet below, the Jedi managed to rescue then Queen Padmé Amidala seeking to bring her back to Coruscant; however, a damaged T-14 hyperdrive generator resulted in them making an unplanned landing on the desert planet of Tatooine. While stranded in the city of Mos Espa, Qui-Gon Jinn discovered then slave Anakin Skywalker, who he believed was the Chosen One destined to bring balance to the Force. Though it was not long before one of Sidious's agents, Darth Maul, attempted to eliminate the Jedi on the desert world, only to have the Jedi escape once more in the nick of time, with the now freed boy Anakin. Upon their arrival at Coruscant, Padmé was coerced by Senator Palpatine, who was taking advantage of his homeworld's delicate situation to have Valorum removed from office through a vote of no confidence. The vote passed, increasing the chances that Palpatine would become the next Supreme Chancellor.
Finding no sympathy in the Senate, Padmé Amidala returned to her world of Naboo and forged an alliance with Boss Nass of one of the Gungan underwater cities of Otoh Gunga, located underneath Lake Paonga. With the help of the Gungan Grand Army and freed members of the Royal Naboo Security Forces, along with a starfighter attack on the Saak'ak in orbit, the Trade Federation and its blockade were defeated, thanks largely to Anakin, who helped fire the shot that ultimately destroyed the control ship. However, the victory was not without its costs, with Qui-Gon's death at the hands of Darth Maul, and the Jedi's loss of knowledge of who was actually behind the attack. Nonetheless, with Naboo now freed from occupation, a grand parade was held in honor of their recent victory, while Palpatine himself arrived to announce his ascension to the position of Supreme Chancellor, also informing Anakin that he would watch his progress "with much interest."
- "I will not let this Republic that has stood for a thousand years be split in two. My negotiations will not fail."
"If they do, you must realize that there aren't enough Jedi to protect the Republic. We're keepers of the peace, not soldiers."
- ―Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Jedi Master Mace Windu
Following the Naboo Crisis, the Trade Federation monopoly on the Outer Rim was broken, all while Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum's political standing suffered from the crisis along with other scandals. In his wake, Sheev Palpatine was appointed to the position of Supreme Chancellor, eventually creating an image of himself as a mild-mannered servant of the common good, despite his true intentions. However, growing tensions between the Core and Outer Rim worlds gradually increased to the point where many believed that a war was imminent. Foreseeing this conflict years before the Invasion of Naboo, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas advocated for the creation of a new Republic army, only to be rejected by the Jedi Council, who believed his ideas too extreme. Undeterred, Sifo-Dyas contacted the Kaminoans, known for their clone hatcheries, and secretly commissioned them to create a clone army, pretending to be at the behest of the Galactic Senate. Unbeknownst to Sifo-Dyas, Darth Sidious had earlier contacted Prime Minister Lama Su, and convinced him to implant a control chip into the clones during the third stage of their development to turn against the Jedi at a mere command.
The dashing swordsman and political idealist Jedi Master Count Dooku, taking an eight-year leave of absence from the Jedi Order and now secretly the apprentice of Darth Sidious and dubbed Darth Tyranus, paid the Pyke Syndicate to eliminate Sifo-Dyas over the planet of Oba Diah. With Sifo-Dyas originally heading to the planet in order to negotiate a dispute that could result in a full-scale gang war on Coruscant, Sifo-Dyas was suddenly re-assigned to Felucia when his shuttle was abruptly shot down over the planet. Bringing his body to Felucia where it was cremated by tribal inhabitants, Dooku managed to trick the Jedi Council into believing Sifo-Dyas had been killed by the Felucians, all while erasing the existence of Kamino from the Jedi Archives.
In the ten years after the Invasion of Naboo, the whereabouts of Count Dooku were scarcely known, with many believing he merely wished to form an offshoot of the Jedi Order. In reality, Dooku was busy manipulating galactic events to foment political turmoil on a variety of worlds including Kashyyyk, Sullust and Onderon. Seeking to create a southern Separatist sphere of influence by bringing Yag'Dhul and Sluis Van to his side, Dooku needed to persuade the now prosperous world of Eriadu to join the Separatists. However, Wilhuff Tarkin was pressured to declare his loyalties especially after Dooku commandeered a HoloNet station in the Raxus system and denounced the Galactic Republic, effectively setting the stage for the Separatist Crisis. Tarkin ultimately sided with the Galactic Republic in his stern belief that an inefficient yet unified galaxy was better than a fractured one.
With war now imminent, the Galactic Senate hastily passed the Military Creation Act, especially after Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi discovered the secret clone army on Kamino after tracing the origins of a previously unknown dart used in an assassination attempt against Senator Padmé Amidala, who opposed the military buildup. When Kenobi was captured by the Separatist Droid Army on Geonosis, the Senate gave Supreme Chancellor Palpatine emergency powers to raise the newly formed Grand Army of the Republic and Republic Navy to rescue Kenobi along with a team of two hundred Jedi led by Mace Windu. The ensuing battle would see the rescue of Kenobi along with the prodigal Jedi Anakin Skywalker and his secret love interest, Senator Amidala, who would later be used by Sidious in an attempt to ensure Anakin's eventual turn to the dark side of the Force.
The Clone WarsEdit
- "I have to admit that without the clones it would not have been a victory."
"Victory? Victory, you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the Clone War has.""
- ―Yoda to Obi-Wan Kenobi
Battle of GeonosisEdit
With the first major battle in the Clone Wars being the deadly Battle of Geonosis, the encounter would rage on as the plans for an Ultimate Weapon from Poggle the Lesser were transferred to Dooku, as well as a brief but vicious fight erupting between Dooku and Master Yoda. Simultaneously, the various members of the newly founded Confederacy of Independent Systems would evacuate the planet as Republic clone troopers gradually forced the Separatist Droid Army back. With the battle ending in a victory for the Republic, Count Dooku traveled to an industrial sector on Coruscant to inform his master that the war has begun as planned, all while the Jedi Council pondered Dooku's warning that the Dark Lord of the Sith controlled the Senate. Nevertheless, with the Battle of Geonosis a clear victory for the Republic, the upcoming war to destroy the Separatist Alliance and its allies would drag the galaxy into further conflict over the next three years.
Escalation of warEdit
With the Battle of Geonosis, the deadly three-year conflict that would engulf the galaxy into chaos officially began, forcing more and more worlds to choose sides between the Galactic Republic and its clone army or the ever-expanding Confederacy of Independent Systems and its Separatist Droid Army. With the war well under way, numerous diplomatic envoys engaged in several attempts to sway local worlds to join the Galactic Republic, with Jedi Master Yoda seeking to win the support of the Toydarian King Katuunko, while Sith apprentice Asajj Ventress sought to disrupt the meeting, and instead sought to win the support of the king to join the Confederacy. The Republic also sent military aid and support to factions in need, such as Cham Syndulla's Twi'lek Resistance on Ryloth, or to the Dugs of Malastare, whose lucrative fuel reserves would be a great boon to the Republic Navy. Numerous worlds such as Mandalore also attempted to maintain their neutrality, although they often were forced to seek aid from third parties in times of need.
Throughout the Clone Wars, numerous attempts would be made against Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's life, including an assassination attempt on Naboo masterminded by Count Dooku as well as the hostage taking of members of the Galactic Senate by notorious bounty hunter Cad Bane. However, political intrigue would fuel not only the conflict, but also advances in weaponry and the development of equipment to enhance existing armed forces. Attempts at biological weapons were launched by Separatist scientist Nuvo Vindi, who attempted to re-create the ancient Blue Shadow Virus capable of killing millions across the galaxy, while the Republic developed the experimental electro-proton bomb which could send out an electric pulse upon detonation capable of deactivating an entire droid army.
The Republic also attempted to create an impenetrable armor by unlocking the biological secrets of the Zillo Beast, an ancient creature from the Mid Rim, only to have the attempt end in failure, sending the beast on a rampage across Coruscant. After its death at the hands of a Jedi task force, the beast was secretly cloned by orders from the Supreme Chancellor himself. In the meantime, the Republic developed a stealth ship capable of cloaking itself, as well as upgrading its standard Phase I clone trooper armor to the more sophisticated Phase II clone trooper armor prior to the Battle of Mon Cala.
Fall of the RepublicEdit
- "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."
- ―Padmé Amidala, lamenting the death of the Republic
While many heroic actions were taken by the Jedi and those who served under them, inspiring the public with stories of bravery, war weariness would only continue to grow as the years went by, with many coming to believe that the Jedi had abandoned their role as peacekeepers, staging massive protests outside of the Jedi Temple as a result. Utilized as military commanders, the Jedi led the Republic war effort but sustained many casualties in the process, resulting in the loss of their influence on the galaxy. Political actions were especially damaging to the Jedi Order, with officers like Wilhuff Tarkin calling for the Jedi's removal from the military as he believed that the Jedi Code prevented them from attaining the decisive victory in the Clone Wars. Jedi Padawan Barriss Offee also believed the Jedi were losing touch with their commitment to maintain the peace, and staged a bombing in the Jedi Temple as protest, all while framing Ahsoka Tano of committing the act before being captured herself. The war would also serve as a means for Sheev Palpatine to amass more emergency powers, cementing his position as Supreme Chancellor far longer than it technically allowed, all while continuing to centralize political and military authority within the Office of the Chancellor, which included putting the InterGalactic Banking Clan under the Chancellor's oversight. The Separatist Shadowfeed operation, an attempt by Count Dooku to spread information on Republic defeats, making it appear as though a Separatist victory was inevitable, fueled public anxiety and consequently accelerated the militarization of the Republic over the course of the war.
After nearly three years of constant warfare, the war reached it's climax during the Battle of Coruscant, where both factions engaged in a massive naval and ground battle over the Republic's capital world. The confrontation ultimately saw the Republic dealing a severe blow to the Confederacy with the loss of a portion of its fleet as well as its head of state, Count Dooku, at the hands of Anakin Skywalker. Shortly afterwards, General Grievous would also meet his end at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Battle of Utapau. Yet even as the Republic pressed on with the Outer Rim Sieges, determined to bring an end to the civil war, the Jedi High Council had grown increasingly wary of Chancellor Palpatine. Over the course of the Clone Wars, the Chancellor's wartime authority reached unprecedented levels at the expense of the Senate, some of whom also grew concerned for the future of the Republic. As such, members of the Council and the Senate began to consider their options for the preservation of democracy. Whereas the Delegation of 2,000 sought to petition the Chancellor to relinquish his emergency powers, the Council contemplated the possibility of removing him by force and taking over the Senate in order to secure a peaceful transition of power.
Ultimately, their suspicion of the Chancellor was vindicated when Skywalker uncovered the truth: Sheev Palpatine and Darth Sidious, the Sith mastermind behind the Clone Wars, were one and the same. Acting swiftly on this revelation, the Council attempted to arrest the Sith Lord before his plan could come to fruition, consequently leading to a lightsaber duel in which Sidious struck down Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin, and Kit Fisto before Windu disarmed him. Given the Chancellor's control over the Senate and the courts, Windu deemed Sidious too dangerous to live. However, Skywalker argued that execution was contrary to the Jedi way, although his personal attachment to Amidala also influenced him at this critical point as he believed that Sidious could save her life. In a moment of desperation, Skywalker disarmed Windu which allowed Sidious to kill the Jedi Order's champion with a torrent of Force lightning. Having chosen the path of the dark side, the fallen Jedi Knight became Darth Vader and subsequently led the attack on the Jedi Temple while Sidious issued Order 66 to the Grand Army, causing the clone troopers to execute their Jedi leaders across the galaxy.
Following the initial purge of the Jedi Order, Darth Sidious declared himself Galactic Emperor and thereby cementing the transformation of the Galactic Republic into the newly-formed Galactic Empire. In addition to the extermination of the Jedi, Darth Vader executed the Separatist Council and deactivated their droid army, resulting in the end of the Clone Wars and the dawn of the Age of the Empire.
- "This is Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. I regret to report that both our Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen, with the dark shadow of the Empire rising to take their place. This message is a warning and a reminder for any surviving Jedi: trust in the Force. Do not return to the Temple. That time has passed, and our future is uncertain. Avoid Coruscant. Avoid detection. Be secret... but be strong. We will each be challenged: our trust, our faith, our friendships. But we must persevere and, in time, I believe a new hope will emerge. May the Force be with you always."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi's warning in the recall signal
In the decades after the dissolution of the Galactic Republic, numerous individuals would still cling to the memory of the now Old Republic and its fabled Jedi warriors, while many individuals who knew the Jedi in person would refuse to believe the Emperor's account of a "Jedi Rebellion." Nevertheless, a majority of galactic citizens would eventually come to believe and actively support this view, believing the Republic to have grown weak and corrupt, necessitating Palpatine's rise to power. In order to destroy the memory of the previous government, any visible reminder of the Old Republic was quickly removed, with many organizational changes altering the names of various locales and institutions, while architecture was molded to a more severe and dark aesthetic. With the renowned Galactic Senate being renamed the Imperial Senate and the Senate Plaza renamed Imperial Plaza and a giant statue of the Emperor erected in it, one could almost forget the Republic even existed.
However, the memory of the Republic as a force of freedom and justice could never be fully destroyed as long as those who still believed in it lived, thus spurring numerous resistance movements throughout the Empire's reign such as the Free Ryloth movement and Berch Teller's rebel cell. These displays of resistance would eventually coalesce into the Alliance to Restore the Republic shortly before the Battle of Yavin, resulting in the successful destruction of the first Death Star by a survivor of the Jedi Purge, while subsequent battles including the destruction of the second Death Star and death of the Emperor and his apprentice, Darth Vader, would lead to the formation of the New Republic as an ode to the Republic of old.
- William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales Episodes I-III (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Exit from Endor"
- LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales – "Crisis on Coruscant"
- Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes
Notes and referencesEdit
- Galactic Republic on Wikipedia