- "Galaxy upon galaxy. Vast, unexplored realms of space. It is a wild, untamed universe we live in. There is much danger here and therefore much need for armies, generals, and soldiers. But along with those who wage war there is also much need for those who explore new worlds and make possible the exchange of knowledge and goods…who bring civilization."
- ―Mungo Baobab
The galaxy was one of the billions of galaxies that existed in the universe. This galaxy was the setting of the histories of the Galactic Republic, the Galactic Civil War, the Yuuzhan Vong War, and was home to the Jedi and the Sith.
According to some sources, the galaxy was 120,000 light years across, or 37,000 parsecs (a parsec is 3.258 light years), and approximately 13 billion years old. A black hole existed at the center of the galaxy. The galaxy was orbited by seven satellite galaxies: Companion Aurek (also known as the Rishi Maze), Companion Besh (also known as Firefist), and Companions Cresh through Grek. However, most of the Companions were described as having ancient, metal-rich remnants of stars and not much life. There was also a hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy that prevented hyperspace routes outside the disk. The galaxy had nearly two hundred globular clusters.
While there was a hyperspace disturbance outside of the galaxy, hyperspace made it possible within the galaxy to have an enormous, and diverse, civilization. There were approximately 400 billion stars, and around 180 billion of these had planets that could support life. Ten percent of those planets developed life, while sentient life developed in 1/1,000 of those (about 20 million). Factoring in the output of heat and light needed for an advanced civilization to form, there were 7.1 billion truly habitable stars within the Galaxy, and about 3.2 billion habitable star systems. However, it was estimated that about one billion of those systems were actually populated. During the days of the Galactic Empire more than 69 million systems met the requirements for Imperial representation, and 1.75 million planets were considered full member worlds. The population, of the nearly 70 million systems that the Empire was responsible for, amounted to more than 100 quadrillion beings.
Before recorded history,[source?] the first known galaxy-spanning political entity was the Infinite Empire of the Rakata, which ended long before the forming of the official so-called "galactic civilization". Even before that, sentient beings, such as the Columi, headed into interstellar space and built artifacts. Two of the oldest known artifacts were the Pelgrin Oracle (ca. 2,000,000 BBY) and Centerpoint Station, which was allegedly created by the mysterious Celestials (ca. 1,000,000 BBY).
The galaxy, as an official political entity, began to exist millennia later, when Humans discovered hyperspace travel and met other sentient races. When several worlds and species came to know each other, they formed a loose affiliation that accepted common laws and currency, and the Galactic Republic became the "official" galactic government. The Hutts and a number of smaller Sith Empires rivaled the Republic, and the beginnings of the latter rivalry were religious—the understanding of the Force between light and dark. The Sith were defeated and reemerged several times, a cycle that continued beyond the Yuuzhan Vong War.
After a millennium of hiding in the wake of a major defeat, the Sith managed to restore their Empire under Darth Sidious, after dissolving the Republic and replacing it with the short lived Galactic Empire and eventually dissolved the Republic's trappings completely. The Empire lasted for two decades of tyranny, but after the Galactic Civil War, a New Republic was established from an alliance of free worlds. Despite this, the remnants of the Empire would continue to resist the new government for over a decade before finally signing a peace treaty.
Not long after that, an extra-galactic species known as the Yuuzhan Vong launched an invasion. The Yuuzhan Vong War devastated much of the galaxy, including Coruscant, though they were eventually defeated.
Some of the Yuuzhan Vong were incorporated in the galactic community, and in the course of a century and a half several governments proliferated, including the Galactic Alliance and the restoration of the Empire, although this time without Sith backing. A New Galactic Empire was formed by the New Sith Order which usurped the existing government. After the resulting war between the Galactic Alliance Remnant, Empire-in-exile and Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire had ended, the Galactic Alliance became the dominant government in the galaxy once again.
- "I've flown from one end of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff."
- ―Han Solo
The galaxy was divided into ten main regions. They are listed here in ascending order of distance from the core to the fringe. These regions were further divided into various sectors, systems, planets and possibly moons.
At the very heart of the galaxy, the Deep Core (also known as the Core Systems) was a region that spanned seven thousand light years, and contained roughly 30 billion stars. Due to the gravitational pull of the vast number of stars, as well as a massive black hole at the center, local space-time was severely warped, making hyperspace travel difficult at best. The region was thought to be almost inaccessible until Emperor Palpatine found several safe hyperlanes into the region. The area remained an Imperial stronghold almost twenty years after the Battle of Endor.
An ancient region bordering the outlying areas of the Deep Core, the Core Worlds were some of the most prestigious, well-developed, well-known, and heavily populated planets in the galaxy. The Galactic Republic and subsequently all galaxywide governments were born in the Core Worlds and spread out over the galaxy. During both the time of the Republic and Empire, Coruscant, a major core world, was the Galactic Capital. The Humans were supposed to have originated from this region.
The Colonies was the name given to a region of the galaxy between the Core Worlds and the Inner Rim. It was among the first areas outside the Core to be colonized, and the worlds here were typically heavily populated, industrialized, and cultured.
During its reign, the Galactic Empire was very forceful in controlling the Colonies, and as a result, the New Republic gained support quickly there.
The Inner Rim was a region of the galaxy between the Colonies and the Expansion Region. It was originally just called "The Rim", as it was expected to be the farthest extent of the known galaxy for centuries, but the Expanded Rim (later renamed the Expansion Region) was opened within a hundred years of the Inner Rim.
During the reign of Palpatine, the Galactic Empire ruthlessly controlled the Inner Rim. Rather than rebel, many residents chose to flee to the Outer Rim Territories. After the Battle of Endor, the Empire, despite its unpopularity, held the Inner Rim far longer than expected; many later resented the New Republic's sluggishness in liberating the region. Many worlds, despite joining the New Republic, were openly afraid that the government was not strong enough to maintain power. Their concerns were born following the return of Palpatine, when the Empire reclaimed most of the Inner Rim.
The Expansion Region was an experiment in corporate-controlled worlds, with powerful corporations exploiting and profiting heavily from the planets for their raw materials, metals and ores. Inhabitants were oppressed while the corporations stripped entire stellar systems of all their resources. Eventually civil unrest spread from system to system. The Galactic Republic eventually took control of the system due to mounting pressure from its denizens by limiting or evicting corporate interests. Expansion Region worlds continued to be producers of raw materials and ores. However, most natural resources were exhausted by the Imperial Period.
With fewer natural resources (and therefore a smaller population) than many neighboring regions, the Mid Rim was a territory where residents worked hard for everything they had. Several planets had built up impressive economies, and pirate raiders often hid in the relatively unexplored spaces far from major trade routes.
The Outer Rim Territories was the last widely settled expanse before Wild Space and the Unknown Regions. It was the birth place of the Dark Lord Revan, and was also where the Mandalorians began their crusades in the hope of provoking the Galactic Republic into war. Meetra Surik was also known to have grown up on Dantooine, which was one of the Outer Rim worlds. It was strewn with obscure worlds, and rugged, primitive frontier planets. Due to its distance from the Core, the region was home to many supporters of the Rebel Alliance. The Empire's Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin was assigned the difficult task of bringing the entire Outer Rim in line.
The Tingel Arm was an exterior spiral arm of the galaxy. It contained the Corporate Sector Authority, a political entity which was partially independent of the Galactic Republic and the Galactic Empire. Under the Galactic Empire, the sector expanded from a few hundred to thirty thousand systems.
Wild Space was the frontier of galactic society, separating the known parts of the galaxy from the Unknown Regions. One of Palpatine's last acts was to open up much of the region to more extensive exploration. Wild Space differed from the Unknown Regions in that some of Wild Space has been explored, though not extensively; the Unknown Regions remained mysterious.
The term "Unknown Regions" most commonly referred to the large, unexplored region—which some interpreted to have been outside the plane of the galactic disk—between Bakura and the Imperial Remnant, which was largely dominated by the Chiss Ascendancy. The Unknown Regions comprised only a few billion stars, out of a galactic total of 400 billion. There was a lack of reliable hyperspace routes through the region. The "Unknown Regions" designation included uncharted areas in dense nebulae, globular clusters, and the galactic halo. The Galactic Empire launched many expeditions to discover and conquer Unknown Region sectors. Past the region's outer edge, including the seven dwarf satellite galaxies, was the hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy.
Various established "ways" like hyperlanes passed through the sectors. These routes were explored and established by spacers known as hyperspace explorers such as like Aitro Koornacht and Jori and Gav Daragon. Astromech droids had the responsibility of guiding spaceships through these routes.
These routes were the largest and were capable of allowing spacers to traverse the galaxy in much shorter times.
Additional routes of interest
Government and politics
Various governments ruled within the galaxy over the millennia, the earliest known galaxy-spanning government being the Infinite Empire. Other significant political powers within the galaxy included:
- Bothan Space
- The Centrality
- Chiss Ascendancy
- Confederacy of Independent Systems
- Corporate Sector Authority
- Cronese Mandate
- Darth Krayt's Galactic Empire
- Empire of the Hand
- Expansion Region
- Fel Empire
- Galactic Empire
- Galactic Federation of Free Alliances
- Galactic Republic
- Hapes Cluster
- Hutt Space
- Imperial Remnant
- Juvex sector
- Mandalorian Space
- Rakatan Empire
- Senex sector
- Sith Empire
- Sith Empire (Jedi Civil War)
- Sith Empire (Post–Great Hyperspace War)
- Ssi-ruuvi Imperium
- Tion Cluster
- Tion Hegemony
- Vagaari Empire
- Yuuzhan Vong empire
Races and species
Life developed in 10%[source?] of the habitable planets, while sentient life developed in 1/1,000[source?] of those (about 20 million sentient species[source?]). It was estimated that they together totaled 100 quadrillion beings.[source?]
In classical history, the dominant species were Humans. Originating from the Core Worlds, Humans were the basis of the major governments. Sentients other than Humans such as Twi'leks, Hutts and Mon Calamari were simply known as "aliens". Aliens were also distinguished as humanoid or not.
Although not considered a race for obvious reasons, droids formed a significant part, helping and coexisting with the population. On Naboo, higher level droids were considered equal as fellow sentients.
Extra-galactic aliens, or species coming from another galaxy, were believed to have visited, by unknown means, the galaxy in an unknown point in the past for unknown reasons, and made contact with the galactic species.[source?]
Extra-galactic travel was difficult due to a hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy that prevented hyperspace routes very far outside the disk. However, by the time of the Clone Wars, contact had been established with the two small galaxies orbiting the galaxy: the Rishi Maze, also known as Companion Aurek, and Firefist, also known as Companion Besh. The InterGalactic Banking Clan had influence as far as these locations.
The Extragalactic Society was an organization devoted to the search for life outside the galaxy. According to Republic HoloNet News Special Inaugural Edition 16:5:24, during the last days of the Republic the Brodo Asogi leader Senator Grebleips sent an expedition to another galaxy, but all information about the outcome of this endeavor remained unknown.
The best known extra-galactic aliens were the Abominor, Silentium, Chazrach, and the Yuuzhan Vong, who almost managed to destroy the galactic civilization while it was just recovering from the Galactic Civil War.
The lingua franca of the galaxy was the Human language that evolved in the Galactic Basic Standard. Its origins must have been the vernacular speech of Humans and was partially derived from several ancient Human languages, like Olys Corellisi. Humans being the dominant species of the galaxy, Basic was adopted by many non-human species as well.
The second most common language was Huttese, expanded through the criminal and financial activity of the Hutts, and it as well was adopted by other species that were in close cooperation with them through the ages, like the Rodians.
It was possible for droids to have fluency in millions of forms of communication, and based on them, could also understand and improvise in even more. Protocol droids were essential in interspecies relations as translators and interpreters.
Behind the scenes
No serious attempt has been made to give the galaxy an official astronomical name. It is generally referred to by the out-of-universe descriptive phrase "the Star Wars galaxy". According to The Essential Atlas, the Nagai of Firefist refer to the main galaxy as Skyriver, which it is the closest any official material has come to giving the galaxy an in-universe name. We don't know, however, whether or how members of the galactic community refer to their own home galaxy (the way we call ours the "Milky Way").
Relation to Earth
The opening words of each Star Wars film place that galaxy in the same plane of existence as ours, as they declare it to be a finite distance—"far, far away"—from us, but nothing more of its location has been revealed. Humans exist in both galaxies, and Galactic Basic is essentially the same as modern-day English, including (but not limited to) its British, American, New Zealander, Caribbean, and Indian variants. Additionally, many cultural traditions (from the handshake to marriage) are similar or identical in both galaxies, but these similarities remain unexplained.
The Empire Strikes Back debate
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back, characters aboard the Rebel fleet see a celestial object from some distance away. Some fans have said that it rotates too fast to be a galaxy and at that distance a galaxy would not emit as much light as is portrayed in the film.
Some sources[source?] have said that the fleet spent some time hiding outside the galactic disk, probably intending to refer to this scene. According to the 1996 Tales of the Bounty Hunters story Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM, the object in the film is the galaxy, and the Rebel fleet had journeyed to a point in space far removed from the galactic plane. This point was not outside of the galactic plane, per se, but rather above the galactic plane.
Since the release of Tales of the Bounty Hunters, the object has been inconsistently identified. The Complete Star Wars Trilogy Scrapbook, first released in 1997, identifies the object as a spinning star formation. In 2002, the Episode II DVD-ROM Exclusive Content stated that the bright object may be the cluster known as the Rishi Maze. In 2003, Leland Chee confirmed on the StarWars.com Message Boards that the object was indeed the Star Wars galaxy. The film's director, Irvin Kershner, refers to the object as simply "a galaxy" on the Audio Commentary of the 2004 DVD release.
History of published maps
Several publications have contained "maps" of the galaxy, although they are at best two-dimensional projections of a three-dimensional galaxy. Some roleplaying game sourcebooks contain detail maps of regions and sectors.
The chapter selection of Star Wars: TIE Fighter (1995) was the first appearance of what can be considered a galaxy map, consisting of a generic galactic shape on which the supposed location of the current mission is highlighted; the highlights, however, don't correspond to canonical coordinates of said locations (e.g. selecting the Greater Javin campaign wrongly highlights the Galactic Core). The 1998 video game Star Wars: Rebellion would provide an interface of a galaxy map divided in up to 20 sectors and 200 systems; however, these positions are provided only as a game mechanic and have been contradicted by later official sources.
The earliest galaxy-wide maps would accompany the novels in the New Jedi Order series, where the location of some systems was indicated. Notable color maps have been published in some issues of The Official Star Wars Fact File (1, 56, 139); a poster was provided in Star Wars Insider 65 (2003) and The New Essential Chronology (2005) also had a spread with a galaxy map and its most notable systems.
The recently released The Essential Atlas contains numerous maps of different sections of the galaxy as well as a complete galactic map.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Essential Atlas, ix-x.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 The Essential Atlas, 34.
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ Tales of the Bounty Hunters, 301.
- ↑ The Last One Standing
- ↑ Star Wars Atlas Endnotes
- ↑ Of Possible Futures: The Tale of Zuckuss and 4-LOM
- ↑ Leland Chee on the Star Wars.com Message Boards
- ↑ List of Rebellion sectors and planets and their correctness by Modi
- Star Wars Atlas
- Galaxy navigator and maps—Currently non-working, points to a domain parking page
- Main galaxy map from above site—As above, see Eric Przybylski entry on Wookieepedia
- Dark Horse Star Wars Galaxy Map
- Galaxy Map Discussion—Official thread at StarWars.com
- Map of the galaxy far, far away....—Downloadable, text searchable pdf file based on Modi's work and nav-computer.com
- The galaxy on CWA Wiki