The Galactic Empire was the galactic government established by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine to replace the Galactic Republic in 19 BBY and bring Sith rule to the galaxy.
The Republic, which had lasted for at least 25,034 years, ended following a period of intense political turmoil and the subsequent devastation of the Clone Wars. After the death of Count Dooku above Coruscant, the death of General Grievous on Utapau and finally the massacre of the leaders of the Confederacy of Independent Systems on Mustafar, Chancellor Palpatine (by then ruling with near-absolute power), began a purge of the Jedi Order, and then proclaimed himself Emperor of the galaxy and reorganized the Galactic Republic into "the first Galactic Empire" on the galactic capital, Coruscant. After the death of Palpatine, many different warlords rose to power for short reigns.
Palpatine's New Order Edit
- "The war is over. The Separatists have been defeated, and the Jedi rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning."
- ―Emperor Palpatine
For the duration of the war, Chancellor Palpatine remained a popular leader, remaining in office at the will of the Senate for far longer than his term technically allowed. Throughout this period, Sidious continued to consolidate and centralize his own power, paving the way for his eventual ascension to Emperor.
As the war drew toward its end, the Jedi Order learned of Palpatine's true identity as Lord of the Sith, Darth Sidious. Following an attempt to arrest him, a brief but vicious fight ensued in which several Jedi were killed at Sidious’ hands, and Sidious himself visibly injured in the struggle. The intercession of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, who was a personal friend of Chancellor Palpatine, and already disillusioned with both the Order and the war, ensured Sidious' victory. The prodigal Jedi was turned to the dark side of the Force, while Sidious had a pretext upon which to turn the Republic against the Jedi.
Sidious immediately seized the opportunity to order the clone army to enact Order 66: to exterminate the Jedi commanding forces across the galaxy. With this command programmed into the clones since their beginnings on Kamino, the Republic soldiers immediately turned on their Jedi commanders, and exterminated the vast majority of the Jedi Order in an instant. However certain Jedi such as Depa Billaba and Luminara Unduli initially survived the purge, while Jedi Master Uvell gave antiques dealer Antron Bach numerous Jedi scrolls, lightsabers and other objects of historical significance to hide from the Galactic Empire in an abandoned Geonosian colony on a remote moon. Shortly afterward, Sidious dispatched his new apprentice, now christened Darth Vader, to wipe out the Separatist leadership on Mustafar.
Now able to demonstrate threats to the Republic from both within and without, a visibly injured and scarred Sidious addressed the Galactic Senate to announce the reforms which had been his endgame since the beginning. To the thunderous applause of the Senators, Sidious—now known publicly as Emperor Palpatine—announced that in order to ensure safety and security, the Republic would be reorganized into the Galactic Empire.
Galactic Civil War Edit
Alliance to Restore the Republic Edit
About five years later, Imperial forces commanded by Darth Vader captured one of the leaders of the Alliance, Imperial Senator and Princess of Alderaan, Leia Organa; who, unknown to Vader, was in reality his own daughter. While nearly all of the old institutions of the Republic had been swept away in the intervening decades, this provided Sidious the opportunity to finally wipe away the last vestiges of the old democracy, and dissolve the Imperial Senate permanently. With this, governance of the various systems of the Empire came to be directly under the purview of the Regional Governors and the Imperial military.
Organa's presence—and her refusal to give up the location of the Alliance's base—precipitated Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's decision to test-fire the newly-completed Death Star's primary weapon on her homeworld, Alderaan. In an instant, the Imperial military's superweapon utterly destroyed the populous, influential world. In so doing, Tarkin hoped not only to force Organa to submit, but also to strike fear into any others who sought to rebel against Imperial rule.
Soon after the destruction of Alderaan, dubbed "the Disaster" by Alderaanian refugees, vigils for the dead were held on Coruscant's Level 3204, with many on the level having formerly lived on Alderaan. However, as soon as the circumstances behind the event became clear, the once peaceful vigils turned into violent riots, with many calling for justice and revolution against the Empire. Imperial stormtroopers and Coruscant Underworld Police were soon called in to restore the peace, and began arresting and eventually relocating those who would question Imperial rule.
Eventually, Organa was rescued from the Death Star by an unlikely alliance of Han Solo, a smuggler, Jedi survivor Obi-Wan Kenobi, who later sacrificed himself in his duel with Darth Vader, and her unknowing twin brother, Luke Skywalker. The group escaped the Imperial fortress and fled to the Alliance base on Yavin 4—hotly pursued by the Death Star.
At Yavin 4, the Empire and the Rebels engaged in a major battle, with the fate of the rebellion hanging in the balance. Despite destroying a great many of the Alliance's starfighters, the battle ultimately ended up a major defeat for the Imperial forces, when young Skywalker successfully fired the shot which destroyed the Imperial battle station. The Death Star was destroyed, with all hands lost.
While the loss of both Tarkin and the Death Star itself were significant, Imperial resolve toward putting down the rebellion only increased. For the next three years, Imperial forces under the direct command of Darth Vader relentlessly pursued the Alliance. While the hunt was personal for Vader, having learned that the young rebel Skywalker was actually his son, the Imperial military nevertheless scoured the galaxy with Imperial probe droids.
Eventually, the Empire's search came to fruition when one of its probe droids located the Alliance's new base on the ice planet Hoth. The massive Imperial fleet, led by the command ship Executor, arrived in the system and deployed ground forces in a major assault on the Alliance forces. Overwhelmed, the rebels were forced to flee, and the Empire claimed a decisive victory.
The Imperial pursuit of the rebels, however, did not stop at Hoth. The Imperial fleet continued to chase down the fleeing rebels, pursuing Leia Organa and now-General Han Solo into the Hoth asteroid belt. Though Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon, did manage to elude Imperial pursuit, Vader engaged the services of bounty hunters to track down the fleeing Alliance leadership. One of these bounty hunters was successful in tracking Organa and Solo back to Cloud City on Bespin, enabling Imperial forces to capture them and lay a trap for Luke Skywalker. The trap was eventually sprung, and Skywalker learned of his true relation to Vader, but the Imperial forces found themselves betrayed and, at least initially, overwhelmed by Cloud City's local authorities. The rebel leaders escaped Imperial custody again, but not without cost. Skywalker was maimed in a duel with Vader, while Solo was frozen in carbonite and handed over to the bounty hunter. Battered and bruised, the Alliance was once again in flight from pursuing Imperial forces.
Battle of Endor Edit
- "Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design."
- ―Darth Sidious
Sometime after the destruction of the Death Star at Yavin, work began on the construction of a new, larger version of the original battle station. This time, however, the Emperor decided to proactively approach the rebel problem. Rather than guard the station's secrets, as with the first Death Star, Sidious opted to leak just enough information to bait the Alliance into striking at the station before it was completed—including the fact that he would be overseeing the final stages of the station's construction personally.
Unknown to the rebels, Imperial engineers had already ensured that the new Death Star's main weapon was operational, and the Imperial military command had discreetly moved a large number of warships to a staging point on the far side of the Endor moon, where the Death Star was orbiting. Simultaneously, a legion of Imperial troops was deployed on the surface to stop any attempt at sabotaging the station's ground-based shield generator.
Imperial intelligence reports indicated that Sidious' trap was indeed well underway when it was discovered that the rebel fleet was massing at Sullust, as a staging ground for their strike at Endor. Per the Emperor's design and command, Imperial military authorities were ordered to ignore the buildup so that the rebels would commit their entire force to a doomed attack. When the Alliance fleet arrived en masse, the Emperor's trap was sprung. The rebel ground forces had taken the bait and been captured, so the Death Star's shield remained active, while the Imperial fleet moved into position to trap the rebels. With the Alliance fleet trapped between the bulk of the Imperial fleet and a shielded, fully-operational Death Star, victory for the Empire seemed assured.
Down on the surface of Endor, the tables were turned on the Imperial forces when they were unexpectedly attacked by the planet's indigenous Ewok population, giving the Alliance ground forces a free hand to destroy the Death Star's shield generator. With the shield down, Alliance starfighters were able to launch an assault on the Imperial station's reactor core.
Meanwhile, aboard the station, a blow of an entirely different kind was struck against the Empire. A captive Luke Skywalker, now a Jedi in his own right, was successful in convincing Darth Vader to turn on his master. Vader—once again Anakin Skywalker—seized the Imperial head of state and hurled him down a shaft to his death. Soon after, the rebel starfighters were successful in attacking the Death Star's reactor core. The station was destroyed; like its predecessor, lost with all hands. With the loss of both the Emperor and his right-hand man, Vader, the destruction of the Death Star itself, and significant losses inflicted on the Imperial fleet, the Imperial remnants were forced to withdraw. The Empire had suffered a decisive defeat.
After Palpatine Edit
Immediately following the Imperial defeat at the Battle of Endor, Grand Vizier Sate Pestage seized control of the Empire. However, he lacked the charisma, Force powers, and terrifying presence that both Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader used to keep the Empire together. Admiral Blitzer Harrsk was the first Imperial to declare himself a warlord and set up his own mini-Empire, but he would not be the last. Others included Admiral Treuten Teradoc, Admiral Zsinj, and General Sander Delvardus, to name a few.
Then one day in 7 ABY, a force-sensitive individual named Subati Marok reunites the fractured Imperial factions, even if only for a short period of time. In 9ABY Subati Marok disappeared and with him went a large portion of the Imperial infrastructure and many more worlds would declare their independence as more admirals and generals declared themselves independent warlords.
In 19 ABY, a force sensitive human from the unknown regions of space would find himself on Byss and he would claim the Imperial Throne for himself.