During the Clone Wars, Lothal's planetary government petitioned the Galactic Senate of the Galactic Republic for aid after droughts and plagues destroyed many livestock and crops. The Senate, viewing that the war effort was more important, rejected Lothal's pleas.
After the Empire supplanted the Republic, Lothal petitioned once more for aid. The Empire was interested in Lothal as it seemed to be a great location for an outpost, and so a survey team was dispatched and, at first, discovered nothing of value except vast crops. As the survey team further investigated however, they discovered extensive starship-building materials beneath the surface. Within a week of the discovery, mining facilities and droid factories were dispatched, along with an Imperial garrison, and the planetary government sought to maintain sovereignty.