The Trade Federation was a very powerful Republic commerce guild, trade cartel, megacorporation, and lobbying group that was founded in 350 BBY as an association of business and trade groups with its own commercial trade fleet.
The Federation grew to dominate entire star systems and all major trade routes, and possessed a formidable private military. Toward the end of the Republic, it would become increasingly dominated by the commerce-savvy Neimoidians.
The Federation played a major role in the Clone Wars for its allegiance to the Confederacy of Independent Systems. It was dissolved and imperialized upon the Galactic Empire's formation in 19 BBY but was not officially disbanded until the Imperial Senate was dissolved in 0 BBY.
In 350 BBY the Trade Federation was founded in the Colonies by many species, including the Neimoidians. The Trade Federation became a shipping corporation and cartel. It made deals with Baktoid Armor Workshop and the Xi Char in order to form its own private military to accomplish their Sith-influenced aims. It was originally controlled by a directorate, which was led by a commanding Viceroy.
The Neimoidians who ran the Trade Federation received their organizational skills from running mass hives and fungus farms on their homeworld of Neimoidia and the Neimoidian purse worlds like Cato Neimoidia, Deko Neimoidia, and Koru Neimoidia.
The Trade Federation maintained a sizable monopoly on interstellar trade and held considerable sway in the Galactic Republic. In 67 BBY they even gained a seat in the Senate on the same level as a member world as a functional constituency, represented by Lott Dod. The Trade Federation gained full voting privileges as part of a deal secretly negotiated by Hego Damask II of Damask Holdings, the alter ego of the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Plagueis, in which they accepted the expansion of Free Trade Zones in the Outer Rim Territories, even though this would cost some of their shipping monopoly and expose them to competition from start-up companies. Though the Trade Federation gained representation in the Galactic Senate in exchange, the leadership remained disgruntled at the loss of some of its monopoly.
In 65 BBY, the Trade Federation gained full rights to construct a new spaceport for Theed on Naboo, and to export the planet's newly-discovered plasma resource: as Hego Damask, Darth Plagueis explicitly involved the Trade Federation to reconcile them to the earlier Free Trade Zone Deal. Many on Naboo, however, especially isolationists like Senator Vidar Kim, pointed out that the Trade Federation would sell Naboo's plasma on for ten or even twenty times what it paid for it, and saw the deal as unjust and exploitative.
The Trade Federation held maps of hyperspace routes closely rather than sharing them, enabling them to cement their hold over trade routes. Only the Jedi and the Office of the Supreme Chancellor were able to maintain maps of similar quality. The Federation had many planetary protectorates throughout the galaxy, often using the ceremonial halls inside their core ships to sign protectorship agreements.
Neimoidians were very influential in the leadership of the Directorate, though the Federation only became a Neimoidian monopoly in 33 BBY, when six other members of the Trade Federation Directorate were murdered, leaving only Viceroy Nute Gunray. He proceeded to fill up the vacancies with his Neimoidian puppets (some of whom later comprised the Occupation Council that took control of Theed after the Naboo invasion).
When Alaris Prime was discovered, a droid army under the leadership of Nute Gunray settled on the forest moon to begin stripping its resources and establish a base in the strategically located system, struggling against the moon's native Gundarks. Unaware of the Trade Federation's presence, the Wookiees legally brought colonists to Alaris Prime under the leadership of Attichitcuk, his son Chewbacca, and their friend Shoran. With the help of a Jedi force, the Federation left the moon.
After procuring the necessary resources on a number of planets, including Alaris Prime, Esseles, and Eos Sidious approached Gunray and commanded him to use his cheap, and dangerous army on the prosperous, distant and naïve planet of Naboo, which would fall to the Federation's will without the unsuspecting Republic's immediate aid or sympathy.
The Trade Federation protested the taxation of the Free Trade Zone by the Galactic Senate. As a daring example to other planets, Nute Gunray started a blockade to stop trade on Naboo. He was manipulated by Darth Sidious, who ordered him to invade Naboo. Two of the Trade Federations member species—the Caarites and the Filordi—felt this blockade would destroy the Federation, so they split off to form the Metatheran Cartel and forced the Federation out of the Cularin system.
The Trade Federation's fleet was largely made up of converted Lucrehulk-class freighters. The Executive Board was unwilling to spend more credits (being the thrifty businessmen they were), and chose to convert their enormous commercial freight carriers into formidable, three-kilometer long warships, complete with shields, turbolasers, and military grade communications arrays. Also, the Trade Federation struck deals with numerous species, like the Colicoids and the Xi Char, to construct massive armies for the Federation.
In addition, even in the long awaited and profitable enterprise of battle, the Trade Federation warcraft were still manufactured inexpensively. Unwilling to spend more money on droid brains, the Trade Federation Executive Board proceeded to control their massive armies from a single central control computer aboard a Lucrehulk-class Droid Control Ship.
Following the Invasion of Naboo, the Federation began diversifying its fleets, with new destroyers and cruisers using the modular core ships as control cores. In addition, Pammant Docks provided the Trade Federation with massive Providence-class carrier/destroyers, such as the Invisible Hand.
Around 24 BBY, Count Dooku began rallying various systems and corporations to form the Confederacy of Independent Systems on Raxus Prime including the Trade Federation which established the Separatist Council with Nute Gunray as its head.
In 22 BBY at the wake of the Clone Wars, Nute Gunray pledged the Trade Federation's resources to said cause in exchange for the death of Padmé Amidala, as revenge for the fiasco on Naboo. Unfortunately, a botched attempt on Amidala's life by Zam Wesell resulted in Obi-Wan Kenobi tracking a bounty hunter to Geonosis, where Gunray and the other various members of the CIS had gathered. Kenobi was captured, but this merely resulted in Anakin Skywalker and Amidala setting out to rescue Kenobi.
Eventually, these events spiraled into Mace Windu leading a Jedi attack on the arena where the prisoners were about to be executed, much to Gunray's dismay. Upon Yoda's arrival with a large clone army, it descended into a full scale battle, starting off the Clone Wars between the Confederacy and the Republic. The Trade Federation was unable to break off now, and soon Federation automata formed much of the CIS army.
With Nute Gunray's death in 19 BBY at the hands of former Jedi Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader, the Trade Federation fell. Acting Viceroy Sentepeth Findos who was on Cato Neimoidia resisted for a brief moment but was forced by Stormtroopers to sign a peace treaty with the Empire only a few days after the Clone Wars ended. This gave all of the Federation's resources to Palpatine's disposal to help him build the Galactic Empire. However, there was still some resistance. This had made the federation a puppet government of the Imperial Senate. Some of the insurgents were absorbed into the Rebel Alliance in 2 BBY. The rest continued to be a puppet government until they sank with the Imperial Senate in 0 BBY.
Nonetheless, Trade Federation holdouts remained after the Battle of Yavin. Fanatical loyalists, zealots, and avengers affiliated with the Trade Federation remained on the planet Naboo, where they were considered enemies of the Royal Naboo Security Forces and the Nal Raka Criminal Empire led by Borvo the Hutt. In fact, the Nal Raka Criminal Empire assumed control over the Old Trade Federation Route following the Invasion of Naboo.
- "The Trade Federation cannot function without its head. Neimoidians don't think for themselves. Without the Viceroy to command them, they will cease to be a threat."
- ―Padmé Amidala
The Trade Federation's military forces, by the time of the Naboo Invasion, were primarily composed of battle droids, largely owing to the Neimoidians' major influence in the organization. The most common mainstay of the Trade Federation's mechanized forces were the B-series battle droid, which had been modeled after decayed corpses of Neimoidians as a form of psychological terror. During the Naboo Crisis, the B-series had the B1 battle droid, with the only other variant being B1 battle droids riding Beetle droids as steeds. It won't be until the Clone Wars nearly a decade later that the B-series would include additional variations, including the sniper-wielding battle droid assassins, the Droid marines (which despite technically being B-series, had green markings akin to the OOM-series) that acted as the last line of defense against boarding, and the B2 super battle droid. The latter droid model was derived from the E4 baron droid, which had originally been designed as an assassin droid model until being repurposed for guard duty largely because of the Battle of Naboo.
The OOM-series battle droids had a similar design to the B-series battle droids, only they were more regulated to duties that rarely involved direct combat situations. There were at least three variants for them that dealt with a different function each. The OOM command battle droid, who directly led the various units within the Trade Federation's droid armies (and, later, the Confederacy of Independent Systems' droid armies), which were identified by yellow markings on the torso and the head; The OOM pilot battle droid, likewise, functioned as pilots for various war machines for the Trade Federation, from AATs to droid control ships, and had blue shoulders for its identifying characteristics; the OOM security battle droid, likewise, acted as guard units on either Trade Federation battleships or in conquered territory, and are identifiable via magenta markings on the torso.
The other most prevalent droid model within the Trade Federation were Droidekas, also known as Destroyer droids or wheel droids (the latter due to their form of rapid transportation involving turning into a wheel and speeding towards the opponent), which had been supplied to them at a special rate by the Colicoids in exchange for rare treats. The models were notorious for not only their prowess in battle, but also the fact that their shield generators were powerful enough to withstand even lightsabers, leaving even the Jedi wary of them. There were two variants of the Droideka model. The first, the P-series destroyer droid, was under the service of a Central Droid Computer. The second, the more advanced W-series droideka, operated in complete autonomy.
Other Trade Federation droid models included the Trade Federation probe (which later saw extensive use under General Grievous during the Clone Wars), and the turret droids, which included a tripod variation and a specialized variant known as the T4 turret droid.
The Trade Federation's armed forces were originally composed of organics, with the Trade Defense Force being the primary military arm. It was formed as a deterrent against pirates and other neer-do-wells. However, like its parent organization, it would grow corrupt and ruthless, exploiting sectors. They also ended up generally replaced by the mechanized forces due to growing Neimoidian influence as a result of the disastrous trade summit. The TDF's officers primarily wore black uniforms, and also commanded several of their ships. The TDF was largely disbanded after the Naboo Crisis was resolved when most of their members were arrested for their role in the invasion, and was eventually disbanded for good with the Declaration of a New Order.
Like with its main armed forces, the various Starfighters utilized by the Trade Federation were unmanned. Their most well known Starfighter was the Variable Geometry Self-Propelled Battle Droid, Mark I, later known as the Vulture-class Battle Droid during the Clone Wars, which had three modes: A ground mode, which allowed them to act as walkers, a flight mode, where their wings were closed, and an attack mode where their wings open to reveal cannons inside for Starfighter combat. Although originally non-sentient, by the time of the late Clone Wars, they gained enough sentience to make commands in Neimoidian before doing any maneuvers. There were two other variants used during the Battle of Naboo, the Advanced Droid Starfighter and a light version, which were composed of two wings (one at the bottom) and an airspeeder-like design, respectively. The Trade Federation droid bomber had a similar design to the Vulture-class, particularly in the "cockpit" (composed of two slit-like "eye" sensors), although it could not transform and was slow and little maneuverability.
Besides the Vulture-class, other Starfighters included the Scarab-class droid starfighters and the E-STAP Starbomber series. The E-STAP series, as indicated by the name, acted as bombers, which had at least three models. A standard model, a more heavily armored version, and a shielded version.
The artillery for the Trade Federation included the AML (an anti-air vehicle), the HAML (an improved version of the AML), the Bio cannon (a Droideka-like droid functionally similar to the SPHA-T), and the Heavy Artillery Gun, alongside its cousins the HAG-M and the HHAG-M (an improved version of the former).
In addition, the main battle tanks for the Trade Federation were the Armored Assault Tank, as well as its more heavily armored cousin, the Heavy Armored Assault Tank. A smaller version used primarily for hit and run tactics was known as the Armored Scout Tank.
One-droid repulsorlifts known as Single Trooper Aerial Platforms were used to scout the area as well as if needs be take out stragglers. A more heavily armed version existed known as the Heavy Single Trooper Aerial Platform. The MVR-3 speeder bike served a similar purpose to the STAPs alongside the Speeder platforms.
The Trade Federation also had access to Energy Pummels, siege engines that allowed for breaching into bases. They came in two variants, one having one pummel, and another having two. Due to their being very slow and vulnerable despite being heavily armored, they were often supplied heavy escorts during the time of the Battle of Naboo to compensate.
Aside from the more direct offensive measures, the ground forces also had transport vehicles for delivering their troops. The Multi-Troop Transport carried as many as 122 B-series battle droids and/or 20 droidekas. By the time they were refitted during the Clone Wars, they could also carry 12 B2 Battle Droids. A multi-purpose version known as the Multi-Utility Transport was also used during the Clone Wars, which was capable of carrying large amounts of cargo, although at the cost of its speed, and was an offshoot of the Trade Federation Troop Transport. The Platoon Attack Craft was a smaller scale version of the MTT, with the main difference being that it lacked armaments, being purely a troop carrier.
OX9 labor droid were frequently used as support regarding developing various bases.
Although technically spacecraft, the Neimoidian trader was used to deliver Nova Crystals between Trade Federation bases in occupied territory.
Although rarely used during the Invasion of Naboo, Aquatic units existed during the time of the Naboo Crisis. The Ocean Troop Transports were used to deliver troops to underwater combat zones (although, ironically, the OTTs themselves functioned poorly in such environments due to tending to sink) and had an armed version described as battleships, while the Trade Federation Patrol Boats were used to guard various prison camps. In addition, their maritime fleets also were composed of various frigates (S-FRGs, S-HFRGs and S-LFRGs), destroyers (S-DSTs and S-DSTs), cruisers (S-CRSs and S-HCRSs), and anti-air destroyers (S-AADs and S-HAADs).
During the Clone Wars, their aquatic units have increased somewhat, with their usage of open-air single-droid submarines called Mini-subs, aquatic variants of the AATs called the Ostracoda-class gunboat, underwater carriers known as the Separatist Sub-Carriers (which had some design similarities to the Vulture-class Starfighter droid), ambush submarines, and the Manta droid subfighters.
Although comparatively rare, the Trade Federation had some aerial units, including the Long Range Air Attack Mechanisms and the Mechanized Assault Flyers.
The Trade Federation's primary battleship (and, at the time of the Naboo Crisis, their only vessel) was the Lucrehulk-class battleship, which had been modified from the Lucrehulk-class LH-3210 cargo freighter. Two variants existed: A standard battleship, and a specialized version called the Lurehulk-class Droid Control Ship that, as implied by the name, served as the central control ship for the Droid Armies.
The Core ships were created as a direct response to the end of the Naboo Crisis when the Trade Federation was forced to dismantle their ships. Specifically, it was created as a form of deception, to make the cores of the Lucrehulk-class battleships detachable so that they would only appear to have been dismantled.
Aside from the Lucrehulk-class, the only other capital ships the Trade Federation had access to during the Clone Wars were the Providence-class carrier/destroyer as well as an unidentified cruiser model used during the Second Battle of Lok.
Centuries prior to the Naboo Crisis, the Trade Federation had access to the LH-3010 capital freighter, but was eventually decommissioned. Another vessel predating the Naboo Crisis, the Trade Federation cargo haulers, had a similar design, although they were specifically stated to be much smaller than the LH-3010.
By the time of the Naboo Crisis, the Trade Federation utilized quad-wing landing ships known as the C-9979 landing craft, with each wing containing a set number of troops and vehicles (eg, 7 Platoon Attack Craft per wing, 24 AATs and 3 MTTs per fore wing, and 33 AATs per aft wing, plus three MTTs in the staging area and two MTTs in the landing pedestal). These vessels were derived in design from the commercial barges in the Federation's merchant fleet. The Trade Federation transport had a similar design to the C-9979. Although they formed the basis of the Lucrehulk-class battleships, the Lucrehulk-class LH-3210 cargo freighters themselves also saw use in the blockade and later invasion of Naboo. The Trade Federation Dropship had a similar use to the C-9979s, although in their case, they dropped necessary troops to the battlefield directly instead of landing, with its complement including either two AMTs and six B1 battle droids, or six AATs. In addition, the Neimoidian transport was used to ferry over organic troops, as unlike most other vessels in the Trade Federation, it was one of the few vessels to specifically transport organic troops instead of droids. The Sheathipede-class transport shuttles were used to deliver Trade Federation VIPs to an occupied world. The Trade Federation also had access to escort cruisers.
The Trade Federation Freighter and Trade Federation Superfreighter acted as cargo delivery vessels, with the latter being an improved version of the former and even having the former dock with it. Trade Federation gunships were also utilized. The Trade Federation shuttle utilized by then-Senator Nute Gunray had some similarities in design to the later Clone Wars-era Captor-class heavy munitions cruisers, although they delivered VIPs as well as Hunter-Killer droids.
The Trade Federation was also rumored to use Droch-class boarding ships during the Clone Wars.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Trade Federation are the main antagonist in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace and become a core faction of a larger movement in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones the Clone Wars and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Their creation, and to some extent their motives and characterization, had been part of George Lucas's response to the Republican Revolution in 1994 (which had occurred eight days into Lucas' draft-writing the screenplay for The Phantom Menace), in particular then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's Contract with America.
The Trade Federation's creation date was speculation of Michael Potts. He chose the date of 350 BBY in his timeline, based on available information, and was pleasantly surprised when his fellow Star Wars Fanboy Association member Ann Margaret Lewis used Time Tales as a reference point when writing The Essential Guide to Alien Species, and therefore established this date within continuity.
- LEGO Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
- LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game
- LEGO Star Wars: Darth Maul's Mission
- LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- "Junkheap Hero"—Star Wars Tales 6
- LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
Notes and referencesEdit