Department of Lore: Galactic History 102 - Twilight of the Galactic Republic
Students, welcome to Galactic History 102. In the previous course, the material covered the era of the Old Republic and the knowledge we possess of that time period. This course picks up where the previous left off with the creation of its successor state, the Galactic Republic. During this course we will briefly discuss the Republic’s development beginning a millennia before the Battle of Yavin, as well as examine the major events that led to the Republic’s first and only known galactic war: the Clone Wars. Without further adieu, let us begin this next chapter of our historical analysis.
2. Formation of the Galactic Republic (1032 BBY - 1000 BBY)
Following the perceived defeat of the Sith in 1032 BBY, the Old Republic simultaneously collapsed from mounting internal pressures. Its member systems were left divided and scattered, and the Jedi were forced to continue hunting the remaining Sith while maintaining what peace they could. When the war was over and the Jedi believed they had eradicated the Sith entirely, various influential star systems banded together to form a new government referred to as the Galactic Republic. In what is likely considered a practical rather than a symbolic decision, the new capital of the Republic was once again located on the planet of Coruscant.
2.1 The Legacy of Darth Bane and the Rule of Two
Though the Sith Lord, Darth Bane, was killed around the time the Republic was formed, his legacy would influence the Sith for the next millennia. Bane is known for establishing the Rule of Two, the Sith philosophy that guaranteed only two Dark Lords of the Sith could exist at any time to prevent infighting. It was Bane’s hope that one day, the Sith would rule the galaxy, destroy the Jedi, learn the deepest secrets of the dark side, and dismantle the Republic - in any order possible. As you will see later in this lesson, one thousand years of manipulation and coercion by generations of Sith finally allowed this plan to bear fruit around 32 BBY.
2.2. The Long Peace (1000 BBY - 33 BBY)
In the aftermath of the Sith’s destruction, the new Galactic Republic was able to flourish. The momentum of Republic expansion began slowly, though mounting external pressures gradually forced the state to adapt. The Core Worlds that had founded the government were reluctant to add additional members for fear of eroding the political influence that current Senators held. However, interest from non-member worlds was too great; the promise of trade with the wealthy and powerful worlds of the Galactic Center was an enticing opportunity for thousands of star systems. The majority of new members admitted into the Republic were forced to align with other neighboring power factions to increase their collective influence in the Senate. The number of member worlds became so large that it negatively impacted the ability of the Republic to govern. Worlds on the fringes of Republic space would become increasingly vocal and critical of the government, hoping their pleas for assistance would be heard and acted upon.
As the size of the Republic increased, so too did its need for further resources and trade. Members of the Senate were willing to work through legitimate channels to increase the economic performance of the state, striking trade agreements with established worlds across the galaxy. However, numerous others were willing to quietly and increasingly authorize and manage aggressive policies of colonization and resource extraction, usually by circumventing the legislative process for immediate results and personal gain. Regardless of the methods used, massive corporations slowly burgeoned into major shareholders within the Republic, making lucrative profits by providing capital to fund Republic expansion, or exerting majority control over trade in different regions of the galaxy. The influence of the Corporate Sector became so great that by the time of the Naboo Crisis in 32 BBY, conglomerates such as the Trade Federation held a seat on the Galactic Senate.
During the long peace, the Jedi Order and the Judicial Forces were the primary organizations responsible for maintaining peace and order throughout the galaxy. The former acted as diplomats and investigators, acting as trusted advisors to mediate delicate disputes or hunting down criminals that threatened the Republic and its citizens. When the Jedi were not needed, or the Jedi were outnumbered, the Republic could call upon the personnel of the Judicial Department who acted as a deterrent force in the place of a standing army.
4. The Return of the Sith (Estimated 150 - 33 BBY)
After nearly nine hundred years in the shadows, it was Darth Plagueis “The Wise” and his prolific apprentice, Darth Sidious, who would realize the Sith’s ultimate design of dismantling the Republic and destroying the Jedi. Through careful political manipulation and deceit, Sidious was maneuvered into a position of power within the Galactic Senate. At the same time, the Sith manipulated Jedi Master Sifo-Diyas in order to kick-start the creation of a massive clone army for the Republic.
Though Sidious eventually killed his master and took an apprentice of his own - Darth Maul - to aid them in their work, it was Plagueis and Sidious who were the true masterminds of the Sith’s ultimate revenge.
5. The Invasion of Naboo and the Separatist Crisis (32 BBY - 19 BBY)
The opening act for the grand finale of Palpatine’s rise started as the cries of many of the Outer and Mid Rim planets were reaching thunderous levels. For years, the Sith had sewn chaos throughout the Republic, and the outlying systems most keenly felt the effects of this disorder. The earliest and most notable victim of this chaos was the planet of Naboo, who suffered from grievous blockade and invasion by the Trade Federation. The diplomatic crisis on Naboo was the crutch that Palpatine used as leverage in his election to the office of Supreme Chancellor.
Eventually, the cries and fear of these worlds turned into action - spurred on by an apprentice of Sidious’, Count Dooku - as many of these systems came together to create the Confederacy of Independent Systems. The Separatist Crisis, as the time of trouble became known, was almost completely the work of the Sith, and led only to the furthering of Palpatine’s power. At the height of the crisis, Sidious was able to capitalize on the fears of the Senate by masterminding a vote that gave him emergency war powers - suspending elections, and giving the Supreme Chancellor complete control of the Republic’s military. Using this power, Palpatine called into service the clone army he created, naming it the Grand Army of the Republic. He set them off to attack the CIS armies of his apprentice, Dooku, in what became known as the Clone Wars. As Sidious told his apprentice, “Everything is going as planned,” and it truly was.
The Clone Wars saw Palpatine increasingly consolidate power in the office of the Supreme Chancellor - an office he was legally allowed, now, to hold as long as necessary - as the two Sith worked each side against the other to achieve their goals. Sidious was able to consolidate the entirety of the Banking Clan under the authority of the office of the Supreme Chancellor, increasing his own authority once again. Palpatine also reduced the authority of the Jedi Order, piece by piece removing them from power and taking it for himself. The final death knell of the Jedi Order - and, really, of the Republic as it had been known - was the razing of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant by Sidious’ new apprentice, Darth Vader, and the enactment of Order 66. Each clone trooper that had come out of the cloning vats on Kamino had been biologically imprinted with a series of contingency plans they could fall back on if ordered by their commanders or, in some cases, solely by the Supreme Chancellor. Order 66 fell into the latter category and, when issued, branded all members of the Jedi Order traitors subject to immediate execution. The Jedi, many of whom were embedded with the clone troopers were gunned down on world after world by their own troops. This Jedi purge would see the complete and utter destruction of the Jedi Order and death of almost every Jedi across the galaxy.
Shortly after his destruction of the Jedi Temple, Sidious ordered Vader to Mustafar, the home of the leaders of the CIS. As an emissary of Sidious, he was allowed through their defenses but, as his master watched on an open HoloNet transmission, he struck the entire CIS leadership Council down to a man. However, soon after Darth Vader's triumphant slaughter of the CIS leadership, Padme Amidala and Obi-Wan Kenobi arrived on Mustafar in an attempt to sway the fallen Jedi back to the light. Former master and apprentice fought savagely, though ultimately Obi-Wan would prove to be the victor. However, Sidious managed to arrive soon after the Jedi Master's departure, saving the life of his apprentice, and ensuring that he had a trusted and powerful lieutenant by his side for the days to come. Just like that, the Clone Wars were over. Now, it was time for the Republic to be ended and the thousand-year-long plan of Darth Bane to be finally achieved.
After a millennia of manipulation in secret, Darth Sidious finally realized the long-awaited dream of Darth Bane and the Sith. The Galactic Republic was dissolved and formed into the Galactic Empire, the Jedi were all but destroyed, and the Sith had sole control of most of the known galaxy.
In this course, we covered the formation of the Galactic Republic, its slow and steady fall from grace, the machinations of the reformed Sith, and the eventual dissolution of the Republic. In the following course, our studies will focus on the Galactic Empire and its still fresh legacy throughout the galaxy.
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