The Eriadu Conference, also called the Eriadu trade summit, was a diplomatic meeting that took place on the planet Eriadu in 33 BBY, in an attempt to solve the long-running power struggle between the Galactic Republic and the Trade Federation. The Conference turned to disaster when a radical group known as the Nebula Front not only attempted to assassinate Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum of the Republic, but managed to kill the entire directorate of the Federation. The disastrous events at the Conference ushered in the taxation of the Free Trade Zones, which in turn led to the Naboo Crisis.
In its last centuries of existence, the galaxy-spanning government known as the Galactic Republic was engaged in a power struggle with the Trade Federation, a powerful interstellar conglomerate. The point of contention was that the Federation laid down its own law within and around the so-called Free Trade Zones of the Mid and Outer Rim territories, affording special privileges to its corporate partners while forcing independent traders to follow onerous obligations and pay heavy tolls. In effect, the zones once demarcated by the Republic as tax-free had become free only for the affiliates of the Federation.
In the year 33 BBY, the conflict between the Republic and the Federation finally came to a head, and it was decided to hold a trade summit on the planet Eriadu. By all accounts, the Eriadu Conference resulted in complete disaster due to the intervention of the Nebula Front, a radical political group opposed to vast corporate conglomerates. Not only did the Front attempt to assassinate Finis Valorum, Supreme Chancellor of the Republic, but it actually succeeded in murdering the directors of the Trade Federation, among which were several Kuati executives.
The incident at Eriadu had serious repercussions. The death of the Trade Federation's directorate created a power vacuum that was promptly filled by a group of ambitious Neimoidians. With the backing of a mysterious figure known as Darth Sidious, Lott Dod and Nute Gunray, stepped in respectively as representative of the Federation in the Galactic Senate and Viceroy of the Trade Federation, while placing like-minded cronies in other prominent positions.
Meanwhile, the assassination attempt on Chancellor Valorum gave him a short popularity boost, allowing him to push through a taxation proposal. Prop 31-814D was passed, levying taxes on the formerly Free Trade Zones in the hopes that it would break the Federation’s monopoly while also funding the Republic’s precarious budget.
Valorum attempted to investigate the summit but was blocked by the planet's Governor, Wilhuff Tarkin, who purposefully prevented the Chancellor from investigating in order to weaken Valorum's position. Tarkin's stonewalling helped to foment and hasten the Trade Federation's Invasion of Naboo, in which Darth Sidious—who, in his public persona of Senator Sheev Palpatine, was an ally of Governor Tarkin—secretly engineered the conflict to topple Valorum and become Supreme Chancellor.
Acting on the advice of Sidious, Viceroy Gunray retaliated with the blockade of the peaceful planet Naboo, which itself was in the middle of a dispute with the Federation over the export of its plasma. Ultimately, the debacle at Eriadu ushered in what came to be known as the Naboo Crisis.
Behind the scenes
The Eriadu Conference was first mentioned in the new Star Wars canon in the 2014 novel Tarkin, by James Luceno. The event first appeared in the 2001 Star Wars Legends novel Cloak of Deception, also written by Luceno.
- Star Wars: Complete Vehicles (First identified as Eriadu Conference)
- Rise of the Separatists (First identified as Eriadu trade summit)
- Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition
- "A Certain Point of View"—Star Wars Insider 200 (First identified as incident on Eriadu)
Notes and references
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – "The Lost One"
- Queen's Peril
- "A Certain Point of View"—Star Wars Insider 200 states that the Eriadu trade summit took place 33 years prior to the events of Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, corresponds to 33 BBY according to Star Wars: Galactic Atlas.
- Rise of the Separatists
- "A Certain Point of View"—Star Wars Insider 200
- Star Wars Complete Vehicles, New Edition
- Cloak of Deception