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"[...] what you control can't hurt you."
– Female Changeling, 2371 ("The Search, Part II")

The history of the Dominion shows how the need for self-protection drove the Founders to become masters of a suppressive empire.

Dominion History

See also: Founder - History

The Great Link

The Beginning

The history of the Dominion begins with the history of the Founders as recorded in the memory of the Great Link. In the past, Changelings roamed the stars and explored the galaxy. However, while they came in peace, the Changelings were "beaten, hunted, and killed" by "solids" who feared their metamorphic abilities. According to Dominion legend, on one planet, a group of Vorta – a species of small, timid, ape-like forest dwellers living in hollowed-out trees – hid a Changeling from an angry mob, and in return the Changeling promised that one day they would be transformed into powerful beings and placed at the head of a vast interstellar empire. (DS9: "The Search, Part II", "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")

Eris, a Vorta field commander from "The Jem'Hadar" suggested that the Vorta homeworld is Kurill Prime. Her story that the Jem'Hadar had recently conquered her people was false.

The Founders' homeworld

Retreat to Omarion Nebula

Following their retreat to a rogue planet inside the Omarion Nebula, the Changelings sought to ensure that they would never again be at the mercy of the solids by imposing "order upon a chaotic universe" around them. Over time, they sent out 100 infant Changelings, including Odo and Laas, in order to continue gathering information and explore. It was genetically coded into these infants for them to return around the 27th century and share what they have learned. (DS9: "The Search, Part II", "Chimera")

Domination of the Gamma Quadrant

With their earlier experiences convincing them that they had to "guide" the solids, the Changelings became the "Founders" of the Dominion, which, according to Weyoun 4, "has endured for two thousand years", i.e., since the 4th century. (DS9: "To the Death") Around the same time, the Jem'Hadar, a species genetically engineered by the Founders specifically for warfare, became the Dominion's first line of defense. They were created with a god-like reverence of all Changelings as well as an innate addiction to the narcotic ketracel-white, thereby ensuring absolute dependence and obedience. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath", "What You Leave Behind") The Founders also kept their promise to the Vorta, who became the Dominion's commanders, diplomats, civil servants, and scientists. Similar to the Jem'Hadar, their devotion was ensured by genetically implanting an identification of Changelings as gods. (e.g., DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")

In "The Dogs of War", Weyoun 8 euphorically claims that "the Dominion hasn't surrendered in battle since it was founded ten thousand years ago." This seems to contradict Weyoun 4 in "To the Death", who states "The Dominion has endured for two thousand years [...]." That number seems to align with the Female Changeling, who commented that the Jem'Hadar had been the Dominion's first line of defense for two thousand years in "What You Leave Behind".

22nd Century

The ruins of the Teplan homeworld

In the mid-22nd century, the Dominion encountered a space-faring race in the Teplan system. The Teplans believed nothing was beyond their ability, including resisting the Dominion. In response, the Jem'Hadar came and left their homeworld crushed, as an example to others. More than anything, the Dominion wanted the Teplans to bear the mark of their defiance, so they unleashed a biological weapon, establishing the disease known as the blight. (DS9: "The Quickening")

24th Century

Around 2340, the Dominion annexed Yadera Prime, homeworld of the Yaderans. According to Rurigan, this caused profound changes to the Yaderan way of life. (DS9: "Shadowplay")

Ira Steven Behr explained that deliberately including a reference to the Dominion "served the purpose of explaining what had happened to Rurigan's people" in "Shadowplay". Behr went on to say, "[Rurigan actor] Ken Tobey is so likable and straightforward that you know if the Dominion killed his people and they don't like Ken Tobey, the Dominion's got to be a bad thing." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 124))

By 2370, the Jem'Hadar invaded and conquered a race known as the T-Rogorans. This allowed the escape of the Skrreea, a race of farmers who had been conquered and enslaved by the T-Rogorans in the 16th century. (DS9: "Sanctuary")

Contact with the Alpha Quadrant

See also: Dominion cold war

Eris, a Vorta operative.

Ferengi Contact with the Dosi

The first official contact between an Alpha Quadrant power and a Dominion member came about in early 2370, when Grand Nagus Zek dispatched two Ferengi representatives to the Dosi homeworld to purchase large quantities of tulaberry wine. Deliberately exaggerating the demanded quantity, this was but a ploy by Zek to get into contact with the Dominion and, thus, secure commercial opportunities in the Gamma Quadrant. The Dosi eventually offered to put them in touch with the Karemma, a more important member of the Dominion, and trading relations including the purchase of tulaberry wine were soon established. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "The Search, Part I")

In "Rules of Acquisition", Quark states "He [Zek] never wanted to do business with the Dosi. He just wanted to use them to get to a more important member of the Dominion." Although we cannot be certain, this might indicate that the Dosi are a member of the Dominion themselves, albeit a less important one.

Destruction of New Bajor & USS Odyssey

The destruction of the USS Odyssey

The first official contact between the Dominion and the United Federation of Planets came at the end of that year when Jem'Hadar forces destroyed a number of ships and colonies beyond the Bajoran wormhole and took Cmdr. Benjamin Sisko as well as Quark hostage. The Jem'Hadar claimed that the offensive, which included the destruction of the colony on New Bajor and the USS Odyssey, was in response to incursions into their territory, but actually served as a cover to plant Eris, a Vorta spy, into the Federation. The attempt was unsuccessful, however, and Eris escaped back to the Dominion. The Dominion cold war had begun. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")

Searching for the Founders

A "more important" member of the Dominion, the Karemma were sought out by Starfleet to facilitate contact with the Founders

Months later, the Federation dispatched the USS Defiant, including a representative of the Romulan Star Empire, to establish contact with the Founders of the Dominion by visiting Karemma. The Karemma admitted that their only contact with the Founders was through their representatives, the Vorta, but they directed the Defiant to an unmanned subspace relay at Callinon VII, where they had been instructed to send all inquiries. There, the Dominion captured the ship and ascertained the resistance of the major powers in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants to a Dominion invasion through an elaborate simulation involving the captive crew-members of the Defiant. Based on the reactions to these simulations, which showed that Starfleet would destroy the wormhole if necessary, the Dominion adopted a more subtle approach. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "The Search, Part II")

Alpha Quadrant Infiltration

Changelings infiltrated various powers, including the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Star Empire, posing as high-ranking officials. These agents maneuvered these powers into several destructive conflicts to erode their strength (See: Battle of the Omarion Nebula, Klingon-Cardassian War, Federation-Klingon War (2372-73)) Between 2371 and 2373, only a few of these infiltrators were ever exposed: one posed as Ambassador Krajensky, one posed as General Martok, and another one posed as Doctor Julian Bashir. None of the four changelings on Earth could be apprehended despite sweeping security precautions. (DS9: "The Adversary", "Paradise Lost", "Apocalypse Rising", "In Purgatory's Shadow")

The Dominion War

Main article: Dominion War

Ikat'ika, a Jem'Hadar soldier.

In 2373, the Dominion vastly solidified its foothold in the Alpha Quadrant by incorporating the Cardassian Union, in a pact negotiated by Gul Dukat. In the following months the Dominion sent massive numbers of ships and troops through the wormhole into Cardassian space, after the changeling posing as Bashir sabotaged the Federation's attempt to collapse the wormhole. In addition, the Dominion massacred the Maquis and signed nonaggression pacts with the Miradorn, the Tholian Assembly, and even opened talks with Bajor and eventually the Romulan Star Empire.

Although Dominion officials claimed their convoys were meant to help rebuild Cardassian infrastructure, Starfleet Command was unconvinced and, with the Dominion rapidly making political in-roads, ordered Captain Sisko to block the Alpha Quadrant entrance to the wormhole. Open war finally broke out when Starfleet mined the entrance of the wormhole to prevent any further Dominion reinforcements from coming through. (See: Dominion War) (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "Blaze of Glory", "Call to Arms")

The first part of the war, in early 2374, was a disaster for the allied Federation and Klingon forces, which were forced into retreat on nearly all fronts. The war turned in the allies' favor when a massive fleet of 2,800 Jem'Hadar warships, which would have ensured a Dominion victory, disappeared inside the wormhole.

This unexpected event allowed the recapture of the strategic starbase Deep Space 9 by the allies. The Dominion's situation was further worsened when the Romulans abrogated their treaty and joined the war against them later that year. (DS9: "A Time to Stand", "Sacrifice of Angels", "In the Pale Moonlight")

Meanwhile, the Founders and their Great Link found that they had been infected with a morphogenic virus, which threatened to destroy the very foundation of the Dominion. Despite the resources at their disposal, the Founders could not discover a cure.

The Female Changeling, trapped in the Alpha Quadrant, forged an alliance with the Breen Confederacy in late 2375 to win the war before her death. However, the terms of their treaty of alliance were extremely unfavorable to the Cardassians, which finally led to a rebellion. The subsequent betrayal of the Dominion fleet by the Cardassians at the Battle of Cardassia, which came as a result of Dominion reprisals against Lakarian City, would seal defeat for the Dominion in the war. (DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", "Strange Bedfellows", "What You Leave Behind")

The Treaty of Bajor is signed

Surrounded by allied forces on Cardassia Prime, the dying Female Changeling defiantly ordered her forces to fight to the death, believing that to show weakness would lead to the solids invading the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant. Her intention was to make an example of the Cardassian homeworld, ordering her troops to begin exterminating the entire population as their fleet attempted to inflict as much damage as possible to the Federation and their allies. It was only when Odo linked with her (and cured her of the virus) that she eventually agreed to surrender, order the Dominion forces to stand down, and submit to trial as a war criminal. She, along with other representatives of the Dominion-Breen alliance, subsequently signs the Treaty of Bajor on Deep Space 9, thereby officially concluding the Dominion War.

Odo subsequently returned to the Great Link to cure the rest of his people, while the Female Changeling remained in the Alpha Quadrant to assume responsibility for the war. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")


Background information

In various interviews in Star Trek: The Magazine (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 61;(citation needededit)) and elsewhere, the producers have confirmed that the Dominion had been well aware of the Federation for some time prior to their "official" first contact, and that the Founders had been laying long-term plans to deal with the perceived Federation threat. As Robert Hewitt Wolfe explains, "The Dominion knew the Federation was out there long before the wormhole was opened, and they had plans to deal with the Federation when the Federation was projected to enter their space in two hundred years, and they were building slowly towards that, that's why they sent out Odo in the first place. But then the wormhole opens up and suddenly the Federation is in their backyard today and it just throws everything into question for both the Federation and the Dominion." (The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond, DS9 Season 3 DVD, Special Features)

See also