- "I am Rakata—it is the name of my people. Eons ago, our Infinite Empire ruled this world and so many others."
- ―The Imprisoned One
The Infinite Empire, also known as the Rakatan Empire, was a large pre-Republic empire and the first galactic power. The empire was founded and ruled by the Rakata, a scientifically advanced species that used their knowledge to conquer and enslave other species throughout the known galaxy, from Humans to Sand People.
The Infinite Empire was one of the predecessor governments to the Galactic Republic.
- "The Rakata are a pestilence upon the galaxy that, to our shame, we, the Kwa, unleashed."
Many years before 36,453 BBY, the Kwa—a Force-sensitive reptilian species from the planet Dathomir—arrived on Lehon, the homeworld of the Rakata species, via their Infinity Gate technology that allowed the Kwa to travel instantaneously across the galaxy. As they had done on many worlds before, the Kwa became the Rakata's benefactors, teaching them about the Force and giving them advanced technology. However, the Kwa were horrified to realize that Rakata were a cannibalistic race that ignored the Kwa teachings of balance, drawing only on the dark side of the Force. Pairing their aggression and desire for conquest with the Kwa technology, the Rakata expanded out from Lehon and began to conquer other worlds in the Unknown Regions.
The Infinite Empire, as the Rakata called themselves, targeted worlds that were rich with the Force, which they conquered and then enslaved the populations of. The Rakata developed technology that allowed them to induce fear and hatred in Force-sensitive beings, and they used the Force-sensitive slaves among the populations they conquered to fuel their warships and technology by placing them in machines that converted the slaves' dark side emotions into energy. Desiring the Kwa's Infinity Gate technology, they turned on their benefactors when the Kwa refused—and in the resultant battle on Lehon, many Kwa died holding off the Rakatan warriors so that they could destroy the gate on Lehon.
However, the Rakata were not to be stopped. Building an enormous space station known as the Star Forge over the star Abo in the Lehon system—a factory powered by the dark side that produced warships and technology for the Empire—the Rakata spread out over the Unknown Regions and into the western galaxy by 35,000 BBY. The forest world of Kashyyyk was one world captured by the Empire, and the Rakata installed a terraforming computer on the planet to manipulate Kashyyyk's wroshyr trees. However, the computer lost contact with the Rakata in 33,598 BBY, and over two hundred years later it malfunctioned, causing a hyper-acceleration in the growth of the wroshyrs.
Era of conquest
- "Long ago the Rakata ruled all the known galaxy; all species bowed down to us."
- ―Keeper Orsaa
By 30,000 BBY, the Infinite Empire had reached its zenith, linking over five hundred Force-rich worlds all across the galaxy. When the Rakata encountered Dathomir, the homeworld of the Kwa, they brutally subjugated the world in revenge for the Kwa's destruction of their Infinity Gates across the galaxy, and as a result the Kwa eventually devolved into the simpleminded Kwi lizards. Intrigued by the enormous rancors native to Dathomir, the Infinite Empire transported a number of them back to Lehon as curiosities, and they also succeeded in driving the Gree—another spacefaring species at the time—all the way back to their home cluster. The Infinite Empire introduced a rancor to the planet Gamorr, where it became a mythological creature in the culture of the native Gamorreans.
The Infinite Empire turned the planet Belsavis into a prison world, using stasis technology to entomb monsters, warlords, and other powerful entities. The first prisoner of Belsavis—and the reason the prison was constructed—was the World Razer, a mysterious being whose hunger supposedly consumed a thousand worlds. According to inscriptions in the Tomb, which was the Galactic Republic's term for the primary Rakatan prison complex, it took the entire Infinite Empire to subdue the World Razer.
Around 27,700 BBY, the Rakata discovered the planet Korriban and the Sith species. The Rakata showed the Sith king Adas the technology of holocrons, but Adas soon realized the Empire's intentions of conquest and led his people in driving the Rakata off of Korriban. The Rakata conquered a number of worlds in the region that was later known as the Core Worlds, including the planet Coruscant, which was home to the Human species. Despite their enslavement by the Rakata, however, the Humans experimented with sleeper ships around 27,500 BBY, seeding a number of planets in the Core Worlds and the Tion Cluster—many of which were also conquered by the Rakata.
During the Infinite Empire's reign, the Esh-kha species began to overrun a number of Rakatan slave worlds, leading the Empire to attack the Esh-kha. One Esh-kha named Hallow Voice appealed to the Rakata to spare his species, but the Rakata strung out negotiations until they had contained the Esh-kha and then captured Hallow Voice. The Esh-kha were all imprisoned on Belsavis, locked in stasis vaults. The Rakatan warlord Soa, also known as the Infernal One, was one of the rulers of the Infinite Empire, though he was ultimately imprisoned on Belsavis in what became known as the Eternity Vault.
- "By definition, the Infinite Empire cannot "fall"."
- ―A Rakata monument
The Force-based technology of the Rakata had profound consequences which led to the total collapse of the Infinite Empire. The Star Forge began feeding off its Rakatan masters' aggressive tendencies and created dark side energies that further corrupted its creators. After generations of galactic supremacy and control, the Infinite Empire began to fracture. Huge slave revolts erupted throughout the borders of the Empire along with various factions vying for control. This led to a civil war throughout Rakatan controlled space. Already weakened by warfare, the Rakata were suddenly struck by a deadly plague in 25,200 BBY (possibly created by one of the slave species) that spread rapidly through their ranks due to their self-crafted genetic uniformity. The virulent disease nearly exterminated the Rakata and brought the Infinite Empire to its knees, but the worst was yet to come.
A mutation in the disease caused the Rakata to lose their connection and power in the Force. As the Force adepts were culled from the overall population, the Rakata lost their ability to manipulate their own advanced technology. The Rakatans were forced to adapt to using inferior technology. With their slave masters thus weakened, the populace of many enslaved worlds rebelled. The Infinite Empire began to collapse as member worlds such as Korriban began to expel their Rakatan masters. The all-but-destroyed Rakata could do nothing but abandon their conquests and retreat to the safety of their homeworld.
Various factions on the Rakatan homeworld vied for dominance over what was left of the Empire and so began a devastating civil war that destroyed all the cities and transformed the surface of the planet into chains of islands. The war almost led to the extinction of the Rakatan species and drove most of the surviving Rakata underground where they devolved into primitive tribal groups. Only a faction known as The Elders, who were descended from the priest caste of the Infinite Empire, recalled the true history and subsequent fall of their people. In the following centuries, the defunct Infinite Empire was erased from the records of its former labor forces. It was lost from the pages of galactic history until its rediscovery during the Jedi Civil War, a few thousand years after the Rakatas' alleged extinction.
The Empire produced technological innovations such as terraforming machinery, semi-sentient Star Maps and computers, and the transmogrifying Star Forge (built in 30,000 BBY). Among its many crimes were those of aggressive war, slavery on a massive scale, and the casual obliteration of member worlds such as Tatooine.
As they needed a large number of Force-sensitive beings for fueling their starships and pursue their conquest of the galaxy, the Rakata became well-known practitioners of slavery which was not only built on it but also dependent on it. They also used a lot of their slaves as a labor force to build their greatest achievements, as for the Star Forge, a massive shipyard that used the energy from stars to fuel itself. Some of the races they used included Niktos, Duros, Hutts, Humans, Selkath and many more. Eventually, slavery toppled their Empire when their subjects banded together in massive revolts.
The slaves were stripped of their identities and a letter of the aurebesh alphabet was assigned to each of them, and then tattooed in various places of their bodies in case they were dismembered. Slaves who displeased the Rakata were often eaten by their ruthless masters.
In addition, when a slave particularly strong in the Force was discovered by a Rakatan Predor, the latter could train him as a Force Hound. They would become powerful Dark Side users, trained for the purpose of discovering planets highly attuned to the Force and their inhabitants for their masters.
Due to the limitations of the Rakatan hyperdrive technology, the Infinite Empire consisted of only 500 worlds, despite its name. However, they were scattered far and wide over the entire length of the Known Galaxy. All the below-mentioned planets have either a large and lush ecosystem (such as Kashyyyk or Honoghr) or a connection to the Force (like Korriban, Dantooine, or Dathomir), since the Rakatan hyperdrive was only able to home in on planets with these features.
Known member worlds
Behind the scenes
In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic it is made explicit by the guardian droid of Dantooine the main language of humans, Galactic Basic, wasn't spoken, and neither did Humans number among the slave species. However, Humans are still found in other points to be Rakatan slaves. Also, in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the Clan Ordo flag symbol on Dxun curiously resembles that of the Infinite Empire and the Star Forge.
Notes and references
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force War 1
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm 1
- Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan 4
- The New Essential Chronology
- The Essential Atlas
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Galactic History 05: Rise of the Infinite Empire"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "History of Belsavis Prison"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "The World Razer"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Codex: "Hallow Voice"
- Star Wars: The Old Republic—Operation: "Eternity Vault"
- Republic 68
- Star Wars (2013) 20
- Dawn of the Jedi: The Prisoner of Bogan 1
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force War 1