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The history of the United Federation of Planets is the tale of an extraordinary interstellar alliance, slowly forged from the convergence of Human, Vulcan, Tellarite, and Andorian histories, and those of its other member species.

21st century

Official Human-Vulcan first contact in 2063 was a pivotal step toward the Federation

Rising from the ashes of World War III, the seeds of the Federation were brought forth in 2063, when Doctor Zefram Cochrane created Earth's first warp-capable ship, the Phoenix. Zefram Cochrane's historic flight attracted a passing Vulcan ship, the T'Plana-Hath. This event, known as First Contact, occurred on April 5, 2063, and not only led the Vulcans to assist Humanity to eradicate poverty, disease, and the causes thereof by the 2110s, but also brought the nations of Earth to unite the entire planet under a United Earth Government by 2150. In an alternate timeline created by the Borg traveling back in time, this event occurred slightly differently. Though in this timeline the Borg had traveled back in time to prevent its launch and assimilate Earth, thanks to the efforts of the USS Enterprise-E, Cochrane was able to make his historic flight. (Star Trek: First Contact; VOY: "Friendship One"; ENT: "Broken Bow", "Regeneration"; TNG: "Attached")

In several alternate timelines in which Earth history had been changed earlier than 2063, the Federation did not form as it actually occurred. This included a timeline in which Nazi Germany won World War II and another one in which Gabriel Bell did not intervene during the Bell Riots. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever"; DS9: "Past Tense, Part I")

According to Robert Hewitt Wolfe, the two-parter "Past Tense, Part I" and "Past Tense, Part II" (i.e. the Bell Riots) portrayed "a formative thing in the history of the Federation, because it was what made people feel really bad enough to try to make the Federation." (Time Travel Files: "Past Tense", DS9 Season 3 DVD Special Features) Indeed, in the disrupted timeline, the only subspace signals detected in Sector 001 were Romulan.

22nd century

Humanity enters the galactic stage

Zefram Cochrane, Henry Archer, and others at the inauguration of the Warp Five complex in 2119

Although Earth's initial warp development progressed slowly, due to the caution of their Vulcan "mentors", the Warp Five program proceeded steadily, with major milestones being the inauguration of the Warp Five Complex in 2119 and achieving warp 2.5 in 2143. Earth's first warp five ship, Enterprise NX-01, commanded by Captain Jonathan Archer, was launched in 2151, heralding a new era defined by encountering numerous new species, like the Andorians, and initiating those friendships which eventually led to the Federation. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "The Andorian Incident", "First Flight")

Turmoil on Vulcan

The Vulcan Reformation of 2154 represented another pivotal step towards an interstellar union, prompting a new willingness on Vulcan's part to engage in closer collaboration with neighboring species, including Humans and Andorians. When the United Earth Embassy on Vulcan fell victim to a terrorist attack, the Syrrannites, a group of Vulcans who believed their race had lost their interpretation of Surak's teachings, were initially blamed. As Archer learned, however, this was just an elaborate attempt by the Romulan-influenced Vulcan High Command to round up the Syrannites as well as to launch a preemptive strike on Andoria based on falsified intelligence. Archer and the new Syrannite leader, T'Pau, delivered an ancient artifact, the Kir'Shara, to the High Command, initiating a reformation of Vulcan policy and philosophy, not only allowing Humanity to finally stand on its own but creating a new, trustworthy and more supportive Vulcan government, paving the way for the planet's eventual participation in the founding of the Federation. (ENT: "The Forge", "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")

Babel Crisis

Captain Jonathan Archer unites the Andorians and Tellarites in order to form a joint fleet with the Vulcans and Humans in 2154

By late 2154, the Romulan Star Empire perceived the developing partnership between Vulcan, Earth, and its neighbors as a threat. The Romulans' attempts to destabilize the region led to the Babel Crisis. Two Romulan drone ships camouflaged themselves to impersonate various other vessels, spreading distrust and hostility among local powers around Earth and Vulcan. However, Archer made alliances with the Andorians, Tellarites, and Vulcans to find and destroy the drone ships, thereby altering the result of this Romulan mission to the exact opposite of what it was intended to achieve. (ENT: "Babel One", "United", "The Aenar")

The idea of a Coalition of Planets

In 2155, the first meetings to draft a charter for the Coalition of Planets took place, stating an integral precursor for the later foundation of the Federation

With the averted escalation of the Babel Crisis, Earth and many other worlds realized the value of their joint work and were convening a conference in 2155 to discuss the formation of a Coalition of Planets. Yet this was opposed by a xenophobic isolationist group called Terra Prime under John Frederick Paxton, attempting to destroy the Coalition and convince all races that they could never live together. However, Enterprise was able to foil their plan to destroy Starfleet Command and Paxton was detained. As all the races were about to abandon the idea of the Coalition, Archer was able to make a passionate speech to all members in which he forwarded the notion that, as explorers, they should explore the galaxy together. (ENT: "Demons", "Terra Prime")

Earth-Romulan War

Several governments represented at the conference became welded together in 2156, when the conflict with the Romulan Star Empire escalated into the Earth-Romulan War. A humiliating defeat of the Romulans by an alliance of Earth, Vulcan, Andorian, and Tellarite forces at the Battle of Cheron in 2160 effectively ended the war and led to the establishment of the Romulan Neutral Zone between the two power blocs. (TOS: "Balance of Terror"; TNG: "The Defector"; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", "These Are the Voyages...")

Doug Jung once commented that he imagined the period "right before the Federation is created" was probably "a very turbulent time." [1]

Foundation and early development

Dignitary Jonathan Archer enters the founding ceremony of the Federation in San Francisco in 2161

In 2161, the year after the Earth-Romulan War was decided, the old war allies Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, and Tellar founded the United Federation of Planets by signing a treaty in San Francisco on Earth. The day of the official founding was later celebrated as Federation Day. Additionally, a new Federation Starfleet was officially established with a charter "to boldly go where no man has gone before." Starfleet Academy was established shortly after. (ENT: "Zero Hour", "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", "These Are the Voyages..."; TNG: "The First Duty", "The Outcast"; DS9: "Paradise Lost"; VOY: "Homestead")

While remaining somewhat ambiguous, the computer screen seen in "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II" might indicate that the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets was formulated/passed in 2161.
Ronald D. Moore commented that he felt that the Federation Starfleet Charter incorporates military, exploratory, and scientific missions. (AOL chat, 1997) Numerous non-canon sources hint that United Earth's Starfleet was merged with MACO, the Andorian Imperial Guard and the respective Vulcan and Tellarite entities to become the new Federation Starfleet.
In 2263 of the alternate reality, Krall speaks about "centuries of expansion" of the Federation, although, by that time, the Federation was barely over a century old. It's possible that he uses the term retroactively, referring to the Federation species's expansions to space since before merging into the Federation.

Over the coming decades, vessels like the Archon, Franklin, Horizon, Essex, and the unmanned Quadros-1 probe explored space and expanded the young Federation's sphere of influence. Moreover, the Daedalus-class was an important ship design within the fledgling Federation Starfleet until its retirement in 2196. The concept of starbases as logistical hubs for Starfleet's exploratory and defensive tasks also took hold very quickly, with Starbase 12 being in operation as of 2167. (TOS: "The Return of the Archons", "A Piece of the Action"; TNG: "Power Play"; DS9: "Emissary"; Star Trek Beyond)

Jonathan Archer was Federation President from 2184 to 2192

Jonathan Archer's role in these early years was an important one, too, as he became Federation Ambassador to Andoria in 2169 and served as Federation Councillor in 2175. He was eventually elected Federation President in 2184, stepping down eight years later in 2192 at age 80. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II")

In the late 22nd century, the New World Economy took shape on Earth. Material needs and money became obsolete and to improve oneself became the challenge and driving force for most Humans. However, the Federation and its citizens continued to use monetary equivalents like Federation credits and latinum, both internally and externally. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Price"; DS9: "In the Cards"; VOY: "Dark Frontier"; ST: "The Escape Artist"; Star Trek: First Contact)

23rd century

Constant expansion and setbacks

The Federation's strive for discovery remained unbroken as exemplified by months-long sleeper ship missions to deep-space destinations, which were being conducted as late as 2210. With such strife as well as steady scientific progress, like the invention of the duotronic computer in 2243 and the commissioning of new powerful exploration vessels of the Constitution-class, like the USS Enterprise in 2245, the Federation continued its constant expansion throughout the first half of the 23rd century. By 2267, the Federation was described as being "on a thousand planets and spreading out." (TOS: "Metamorphosis", "The Ultimate Computer"; TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident"; VOY: "11:59")

Governor Kodos of Tarsus IV, who achieved infamy by ordering the execution of 4,000 colonists in 2246, one of the worst crimes in Federation history

In contrast to that, one of the worst crimes in Federation history occurred in 2246, when half of the 8,000 colonists on Tarsus IV were put to death at the orders of Governor Kodos during a food crisis inflicted by an exotic fungus. Incidents such as Kodos' genocide were not isolated, as the vastness of space made it difficult for the Federation to control corruption within their ranks. The crew of the Enterprise uncovered experimentation and torture at the Tantalus Penal Colony and violations of the Prime Directive committed on Ekos and Omega IV. (TOS: "The Conscience of the King", "Dagger of the Mind", "Patterns of Force", "The Omega Glory")

The Federation's constant expansion also meant inevitable tensions with neighboring spacefaring races. Inadvertent trespasses into Gorn and Tholian territories in 2267 and 2268, respectively, led to initial hostilities, but their escalation could be prevented in both cases. (TOS: "Arena", "The Tholian Web")

Uneasy Federation-Romulan relations

After his defeat in 2266, the Commander of the Romulan flagship bestows his respect to the victor.

In 2266, the Romulan Star Empire emerged from seclusion to test the strength of its old enemy, the Federation. The Romulan Praetor ordered his finest flagship, a Bird-of-Prey that was equipped with a cloak as well as a powerful new plasma torpedo system and was under the leadership of an experienced commander, to violate the Romulan Neutral Zone and attack the Federation's observation outposts that lined the border in Sector Z-6. Finally, the marauding Romulan vessel was intercepted and defeated by the USS Enterprise before success could be reported, thereby marking the first confirmed visual observation of the Romulans' Vulcan-like appearance and proving the Federation's strength. (TOS: "Balance of Terror")

After the Federation had proven its strength, the Romulan Star Empire simply tried to outnumber strong vessels like the USS Enterprise in 2268

After this, the Romulans vigorously patrolled their side of the Neutral Zone and further encounters with trespassing Starfleet vessels were countered by the Star Empire by simply outnumbering their opponent. In 2268, despite this fact, the Enterprise managed to steal a cloaking device from a patrolling Romulan cruiser in order to assess the threat it posed to the Federation. (TOS: "The Deadly Years", "The Enterprise Incident")

Despite these hostile encounters, the Federation managed to maintain a certain level of diplomatic interaction with the Romulans. In 2267, the Federation, the Romulan Star Empire, and the Klingon Empire jointly established a colony on Nimbus III, declaring it the "planet of galactic peace". The project however, quickly became an embarrassing failure for all three governments, although regular meetings between representatives did take place there for at least the next twenty years. The following year, the Polaric Test Ban Treaty was signed, banning research into polaric ion energy. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; VOY: "Time and Again")

Although the signatories of the Polaric Test Ban Treaty have not been explicitly mentioned on screen, the context of the respective line in "Time and Again" as well as the immediately preceding diplomatic development on Nimbus III might suggest that the Romulan Star Empire and the Federation were among them.

The alternate reality diverged in 2233 following the incursion of the Narada from 2387 of the prime reality. The USS Kelvin's encounter with this formidable ship prematurely exposed the Romulans' appearance to the Federation, whose officers became aware of their history with the Vulcans and trained to become fluent in all three of their dialects by 2258. The Narada resurfaced that year with red matter seized from the Jellyfish which was used to destroy Vulcan, but the crew were stopped from destroying the rest of the Federation. As Christopher Pike was informed the Narada was not affiliated with the Empire, the attacks did not raise tensions between the Federation and the contemporary Romulans. (Star Trek)

Federation-Klingon wars and the way to peace

See also: Federation-Klingon Cold War, Federation-Klingon War (2256-57) and Federation-Klingon War (2267)

A time crystal being studied on Doctari Alpha in 2236 as part of Section 31's clandestine research into time travel

The most notable conflict in the 23rd century, however, was with the Klingon Empire, as the Federation was quickly expanding, and its territory began to approach the Empire's borders. Although tensions had existed between the Klingons and the Federation since the latter's founding, a tense cold war developed in 2223. While communication between both sides since the mid-22nd century was so rare that barely any Federation citizens have ever seen a Klingon, territorial disputes arose, e.g., over the Archanis sector. By the 2230s, an arms race took place that included Klingon research into time travel to which Section 31, a clandestine intelligence agency dating back to the original chartering of Starfleet, responded with its own time travel project. However, the project got halted after a critical component was thought lost due to a Klingon raid on a Section 31 research group on Doctari Alpha in 2236. This raid, as well as the inconclusive Battle of Donatu V in 2245, remained violent exceptions, however, as both sides refrained from committing to open warfare for the time being. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles"; DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "The Red Angel"; DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")

Following Vulcan's destruction in the year 2258 of the alternate reality, Alexander Marcus began seeking ways to better defend the Federation, particularly against the Klingon Empire with which he believed war was inevitable. After finding the SS Botany Bay, he forcibly recruited Khan Noonien Singh, but Khan turned on him a year later and fled to Qo'noS. The crew of the USS Enterprise came to apprehend him, but their confrontation with the Klingons there did nothing to improve Federation-Klingon relations. (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Michael Burnham is honored by the Starfleet admiralty in Paris in 2257

In 2256, a brief but fierce open war was provoked by the actions of T'Kuvma, a Klingon noble who sought to reunite the disparate Klingon Houses by portraying the Federation as a mortal, encroaching enemy. T'Kuvma was martyred at the opening battle, the escalation of which was also made possible by the aggressive posture of Starfleet Commander Michael Burnham. The war concluded in 2257, when Starfleet desperately resorted to a direct assault on Qo'noS after it had lost tens of thousands of lifes, one third of its ships, and 20% of Federation territory, including Starbase 1, were under Klingon control. Without official orders, the commander of the assault planted a hydro bomb on the Klingon homeworld, whose detonator Burnham handed to L'Rell, an early follower of T'Kuvma, who used it to seize power over the Empire, end the war, and continue her former mentor's work of uniting the disparate Great Houses. Commander Burnham was subsequently exonerated for her failings at the beginning of the war and honored for her actions during its course. (DIS: "Context Is for Kings", "The War Without, The War Within", "Will You Take My Hand?")

A Klingon attack on the Federation outpost on Caleb IV including Kor commanding a D5-cruiser is mentioned in DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach". As it was indirectly implied by Kor to have taken place when cloaking technology was a novelty in the Klingon fleet, it might have been part of the Klingon-Federation War of 2256/2257.

In the months after the war that had cost one third of its ships, the number of active vessels maintained by the Federation Starfleet was about 7,000. Starfleet's Section 31 also intervened in Klingon politics to stabilize L'Rell's chancellorship, thereby preventing renewed Klingon hostilities. (DIS: "Point of Light", "Perpetual Infinity")

The USS Enterprise is facing off against several Klingon D7-class battle cruisers at Organia in 2267

In 2267, ongoing negotiations between the two sides were in danger of breaking down, and renewed open warfare was becoming an unwelcome likelihood. After the Federation refused the demands of the Empire to withdraw from all disputed regions along their mutual border, the Klingons launched an immediate offensive, seizing several planets including the strategically important Organia. Not willing to accept the bloodshed, the powerful incorporeal inhabitants of Organia brought about an abrupt end to the war by rendering the weapons of both sides nonfunctional and with the chairman of the Organian Council of Elders appearing to both the Federation Council and the Klingon High Council announcing the unilateral imposition of the Treaty of Organia. Establishing ground rules for further interaction between the two powers, the treaty helped to regulate disputes like that over Sherman's Planet some months after its signing. Besides, the aforementioned founding of the Nimbus III colony by the Federation, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire took place in the same year. In addition to the failure of Nimbus III, however, a number of skirmishes and proxy wars continued to occur between the Federation and the Klingons over the next decade, including encounters at Capella IV, Neural, the Tellun system, and Beta XII-A. In 2285, further distrust arose when the Empire lost a ship which, by itself, became responsible for the destruction of two Starfleet vessels during its attempt to acquire a new Federation technology called the Genesis Device. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy", "The Trouble with Tribbles", "Friday's Child", "A Private Little War", "Elaan of Troyius", "Day of the Dove"; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

In 2293, the Khitomer Conference initiated a new era of peace between the Klingon Empire and the Federation

With further meetings remaining without substantial results, like that at Korvat colony in 2289, the tense relationship with the Klingons stagnated. The situation abruptly changed in 2293, after the disastrous explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis caused severe economic problems for the Klingon Empire. The Klingons quickly approached the Federation, seeking a full peace treaty, leading to the Khitomer Conference and the Khitomer Accords in the very same year. In the face of this fundamental shift of power, the Romulans attempted diplomatic subterfuge through Ambassador Nanclus' role in the Khitomer conspiracy, albeit without success. (DS9: "Blood Oath"; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) It would become a defining Romulan motive of the coming decades to re-shift the balance of power by perturbing the peace brought by the Khitomer Accords. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Reunion", "The Mind's Eye")

Inexplicable threats

Aside from these conflicts, the Federation faced more serious menaces during the second half of the 23rd century from genuinely alien threats. The Enterprise discovered sites of mass destruction and death caused by the probe Nomad, a gigantic space amoeba, and a weapon of destruction dubbed the planet killer, and put a stop to them. The Enterprise also faced off against the internal threat of the M-5 multitronic unit, which had turned on its creators. (TOS: "The Changeling", "The Immunity Syndrome", "The Doomsday Machine", "The Ultimate Computer")

Admiral Cartwright and the Federation President face the effects on Earth by an alien probe of unknown origin in 2286

Earth, the capital world, was nearly devastated on two occasions. The first occurred in the 2270s, when a massive machine lifeform called V'ger threatened to destroy all biological life on Earth, which it saw as a planetary infestation. Fortunately, the attack was narrowly averted by the USS Enterprise, which was able to reprogram V'ger. In 2286, an alien probe of unknown origin wreaked ecological havoc while trying to contact an extinct species of Humpback whale by transmitting massive amounts of energy into Earth's oceans. Again, the crew of the late Enterprise was able to rescue a pair of these whales from the past, which then, after being released to the Pacific Ocean of the year 2286, replied to the probe. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

24th century

Federation-Klingon détente, minor conflicts, and parasite infiltration

In 2311, a terrible confrontation between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, costing thousands of lives, occurred. This so-called Tomed Incident led to the signing of the Treaty of Algeron, which redefined the Romulan Neutral Zone and additionally banned Federation research into developing a cloaking device as well as use of any such device. It also was the last official contact between the Federation and the Romulans for the next fifty-three years. Still, the Federation maintained a number of outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone and, in one instance, dispatched two starships to an outpost which had detected seven Romulan battle cruisers nearby. (TNG: "Angel One", "The Neutral Zone", "The Pegasus"; ENT: "These Are the Voyages..."

The actions of the USS Enterprise-C at the Battle of Narendra III in 2344 proved pivotal in cementing the alliance with the Klingon Empire

During the first half of the 24th century, the peace brought by the Khitomer Accords became somewhat rocky again and, by the 2340s, another war seemed to be on the horizon. However, the courageous sacrifice by the crew of the USS Enterprise-C, who gave their lives in defense of a Klingon outpost under attack by the Romulans at the Battle of Narendra III in 2344, changed the setting. Being regarded as an honorable act, the incident enormously improved the Federation's image with the Klingon Empire. Although relations between the Klingon Empire and the Federation were still described as "not too cordial" around 2349, the Treaty of Alliance was signed by 2353, establishing a firm alliance between both powers. (TNG: "Reunion", "Yesterday's Enterprise"; VOY: "Faces")

In the 2340s, 2350s, and 2360s, the Federation had to face several threats by various opposing parties.

The Federation-Cardassian War was one of the earliest and most severe of these conflicts. The war raged in a series of conflicts of various sizes, as the two powers struggled to protect their individual interests, with a major incident being the Setlik III massacre in 2347. The conflict was finally settled with the Jankata Accord and the Federation-Cardassian Treaty of 2370, creating a Demilitarized Zone between the two powers. This treaty, however, also changed the Cardassian border, placing some previous Federation worlds under Cardassian jurisdiction. Although the Cardassians agreed to allow Federation colonists to remain on some of these planets such as Dorvan V, resistance soon formed among the settlers. They quickly organized themselves into the militant Maquis, which continuously conducted terror attacks against both the Cardassian Union and the Federation almost until the outbreak of the Dominion War. (TNG: "The Wounded", "Ensign Ro", "Journey's End"; DS9: "The Maquis, Part I", "The Maquis, Part II")

Another incident occurred in 2353, when the Federation was in a conflict with the Tholians, who attacked a starbase resulting in the death of the entire base crew except for one one survivor. (TNG: "The Icarus Factor")

In the late 2350s, the Galen border conflict was another series of skirmishes between the Federation and the Talarian government, fought over a three-year period. Although technologically inferior to the Federation, the Talarians compensated by a willingness to fight to the death and the employment of unconventional guerrilla tactics. The conflict took place over several border planets, including Castal I and Galen IV, which was overrun and destroyed by Talarian forces in 2357. Eventually, a peace agreement was signed between the two powers, which included the return of all prisoners of war. (TNG: "Suddenly Human")

During the early 2360s, the Federation was embroiled in a war with the Tzenkethi. (DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost")

Starfleet Command under the influence of neural parasites in 2364

In 2364, the Federation faced a serious menace, when alien parasitic beings tried to infiltrate Starfleet Command. After the parasites managed to acquire high-ranking Starfleet admirals as hosts, they started to pave the way for an invasion of the Federation by subtly ordering the replacement of the command staffs of numerous outposts and colonies. The new staffs consisted of persons who had been in recent physical contact with Starfleet Command and thus were likely also infected. Admirals Gregory Quinn and Norah Satie proved instrumental in uncovering the alien plot and, with help from the crew of the USS Enterprise-D, a cure against the parasitic infestation was found. However, although the parasite's mother was successfully destroyed, it managed to transmit a homing message before its death. (TNG: "Coming of Age", "Conspiracy", "The Drumhead")

The Borg threat

The Battle of Wolf 359 in 2367, one of the bloodiest conflicts in Federation history

The worst threat to the Federation came, however, when it made first contact with the Borg in 2365. It was on that occasion that it was discovered that the Borg were responsible for the mysterious destruction of several Federation and Romulan outposts on the edge of the Neutral Zone a year earlier. The Borg were an advanced race of hybrid cybernetic and biological beings who possessed a level of military technology far beyond that of anything known to the Federation. One year later, at the Battle of Wolf 359, the Federation's confidence came crashing down when a single Borg cube effortlessly sliced through an armada of forty starships. Although the Borg invasion was ultimately defeated, the effect on Federation morale was incalculable. After Wolf 359, Starfleet started to put more effort into defensive technology, which became apparent in new ship classes like the Sovereign-class, Defiant-class, and Prometheus-class, which were more combat-focused than the traditional research vessels that Starfleet employed. The availability of these new ships ultimately proved to be pivotal in the Dominion War. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "Q Who", "The Best of Both Worlds"; DS9: "The Search, Part I"; VOY: "Message in a Bottle")

In contrast to the Battle of Wolf 359, the Federation emerged victorious in the Battle of Sector 001 in 2373

Another skirmish with the Borg took place in 2373, when another Borg cube attacked Earth. After Deep Space 5 reported the destruction of the Federation colony on Ivor Prime by the Borg, the first battle took place in the Typhon sector. Since the Federation fleet, under the command of Admiral Hayes, was not able to stop the Borg, the final battle was fought in Sector 001, in Earth's orbit, where the cube was eventually destroyed. Shortly before its destruction, however, the cube launched a sphere with a queen aboard, which subsequently traveled to the year 2063 in order to prevent first contact and assimilate Earth. The USS Enterprise-E was able to follow the sphere, kill the queen, and assured that history transpired as it should. (ENT: "Regeneration", Star Trek: First Contact)

Destabilization of the Alpha Quadrant

See also: Dominion cold war

In 2370, between the two attacks of the Borg, the Federation came in contact with the Dominion, a hegemonic major power from the Gamma Quadrant led by the Founders and first encountered through the Bajoran wormhole. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "The Search, Part I", "The Search, Part II")

Ultimately, the Dominion planned to bring its version of "order" to the, in their view, "chaotic" Alpha Quadrant, starting a cold war covering a three year period of Dominion-orchestrated successes at destabilizing the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

Federation President Jaresh-Inyo in 2372

A primary tool of manipulation for the Dominion was the replacement of key persons by Founder-Changelings. In that manner, the neutralization of the Romulan Tal Shiar and the Cardassian Obsidian Order was accomplished by luring their fleets into a trap at the Battle of the Omarion Nebula in 2371. Secretly hoping for their success at destroying the Founders' homeworld, Starfleet chose not to interfere with the Romulan-Cardassian attack plans. (DS9: "The Die is Cast") Also in 2371, a Founder, who had replaced Federation Ambassador Krajensky, almost managed to instigate a new conflict between the Federation and the Tzenkethi. (DS9: "The Adversary". In 2372, a Changeling bombed the Antwerp Conference between the Federation and the Romulans on Earth, giving rise to massive paranoia within the Federation government as well as Starfleet Headquarters. Since Federation President Jaresh-Inyo initially blocked any extended security measures to preserve the "Paradise Earth", Starfleet Admiral Leyton tried to take advantage of the situation by staging a coup d'état. However, after it was learned that merely four Changelings were currently operating on Earth, the coup failed, showing to the Federation the urgent need to resolve its inner conflicts so it could stand its ground against the Dominion. (DS9: "Homefront", "Paradise Lost")

During DS9 Season 3, a considered but eventually unused version of the fourth season two-parter "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" dealt with the ramifications of a Federation civil war almost being ignited. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 298)) Changelings were suspected on Vulcan, which seceded from the Federation as it became increasingly more concerned about Founder infiltration. The Federation's unease regarding this issue and measures it employed in an attempt to deal with the problem remained in the final version of "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost", which replaced the two-parter featuring Vulcan's secession. The fact another political situation, involving the Federation's relationship with the Klingon Empire, had recently been explored in the fourth season premiere "The Way of the Warrior" instead led the Federation breakup to become the coup orchestrated by Starfleet Admiral Leyton, as the writers hoped to avoid featuring interstellar politics too often. Ronald D. Moore commented, "It was a cool idea: a military takeover of a democratic government and how it would work [....] I thought it was an important show that demonstrated that the best of governments have to be watched." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 112) By creating the coup, the DS9 writing staff wanted to portray the Federation as having Human weaknesses, much as it had been established on TOS. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 43)
The depiction of the Federation in "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost" was likened, by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, to several other examples, such as the United States government. Wolfe remarked, "If the United States became a fascist state to fight fascism, would that be worth it? I would say no and most Americans would say no, and that's a special thing about the United States and a special thing about the Federation. We really wanted to explore the idea of whether or not you would destroy the village in order to save it. We know that the Star Trek answer is no." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 113) Wolfe additionally observed, "[Becoming reactionary] is something that all democracies have to be eternally on guard against. What's the greatest danger to democracy? What happened to the Roman Republic? Things got bad and Caesar decided he would save the Republic by ending it. And that's not the only time that has happened in history. That's where we were coming from [with the Federation]." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 43)

Besides these manipulations, the Dominion was able to trigger a war between the Klingons and the Cardassians in early 2372 (see Klingon-Cardassian War). Being the first major strain on its alliance with the Klingon Empire, the Federation condemned this war, which led Klingon Chancellor Gowron to withdraw from the Khitomer Accords. In early 2373, the Dominion managed to deteriorate Klingon-Federation relations further into open war, ultimately breaking out about their old dispute over the Archanis sector, with battles fought on Archanis IV and Ganalda IV amongst others. (see: Federation-Klingon War (2372-73)). When it was discovered that Klingon warmonger General Martok had actually been replaced by a Founder too, the Federation-Klingon war was ended and a cease fire signed. However, relations remained strained, with the Klingons at least once breaking the ceasefire and invading Ajilon Prime. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Broken Link", "Apocalypse Rising", "Nor the Battle to the Strong")

Facing the imminent threat of a Dominion attack, Klingon Chancellor Gowron re-signs the Khitomer Accords in 2373

With the Dominion gaining a physical foothold in the Alpha Quadrant through the joining of the Cardassian Union, several months later in mid-2373, the Khitomer Accords were put back into effect, since war seemed inevitable and only a Federation-Klingon alliance could hope to stand against the forces of the Dominion. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

The Dominion War

See also: Dominion War

Outbreak of the War and retreat of the Federation

After settling the hostilities with the Klingon Empire and facing considerable losses from the recent Borg attack, the Federation had depleted its means of preventing an all-out conflict with the Dominion. The ensuing Dominion War was the bloodiest conflict that the Federation had ever been drawn into, up until then, and caused major changes on the political stage of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.

The fortification of the Cardassian Union, combined with the securing of non-aggression treaties with notable powers such as the Miradorn, Tholians, Bajorans, and, most importantly, with the Romulans, made Dominion intentions clear. The Federation was forced to act, but could not present the aggressive stance of something so bold as a preemptive strike. Instead, the decision was made to mine the Bajoran wormhole, to prevent further Dominion reinforcements from arriving. (DS9: "Rapture", "Call to Arms")

Deep Space 9 is attacked and occupied by the Dominion in late 2373

The maneuver was sure to provoke the Dominion into attack and this end was achieved. Despite a seemingly successful negotiation between Weyoun and Captain Sisko (which, if put into action, would have limited Dominion vessels from the Gamma Quadrant to medical and economic supplies, to help the Cardassian Union rebuild), the Dominion prepared to attack Deep Space 9. Although the Dominion forces arrived too late to prevent the minefield from being successfully deployed and activated, thus preventing reinforcements from arriving in the Alpha Quadrant, the Dominion continued its assault on Deep Space 9, eventually forcing all Federation forces aboard to evacuate in late 2373, and took over the station immediately after its abandonment by the Federation.

Countering the attack on Deep Space 9, the Federation-Klingon alliance dispatched a successful task force to attack the Dominion shipyards at Torros III, setting back Dominion ship production for months. (DS9: "Call to Arms", "Behind the Lines")

During the first few months of 2374, the Dominion was leading an extremely successful campaign against the allies, forcing them to retreat on nearly every front. In an attempt to stop the Dominion's advance into their territory, the Federation dispatched its Seventh Fleet to the Tyra system; a force composed of 112 vessels of which a mere fourteen ships were able to make it back to their lines - a disastrous defeat for the Federation. (DS9: "A Time to Stand").

Counter-offensive, stalemate, and the Ba'ku-incident

The Federation forces leave Starbase 375 to retake Deep Space 9 in 2374

By the second quarter of that year, it was revealed to the Federation that the Dominion was close to deactivating the minefield blocking the wormhole, and Captain Sisko told Starfleet that the station's recapture had to be seen as the top priority of the war. Admiral Cobum objected to the plan, fearing that too many ships would be diverted away from Earth, allowing the Dominion to attack it, but Sisko was able to convince him otherwise. With only three days before the minefield could be deactivated, however, the Federation was forced to launch what ships they had been able to gather to attack Deep Space 9 and start Operation Return. A Federation fleet of over six hundred vessels, eventually aided by Klingon forces, enabled the USS Defiant to break through the Dominion's lines, consisting of 1,254 ships, and reach Deep Space 9, where Captain Sisko was able to convince the Prophets to entirely wipe out the Dominion reinforcements while they were traveling through the wormhole. With no reinforcements on their way, and the fleet battle in favor of the Federation-Klingon forces, the Dominion was forced to withdraw from the station. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")

A schematic showing the Dominion's capture of Betazed, which represented a major blow to Federation morale

Despite their successful retaking of Deep Space 9, the Dominion was able to occupy Betazed during the Battle of Betazed in late 2374, although the Federation's Tenth Fleet had been assigned to defend the planet but was caught out of position on a training exercise. With the capture of this system, the Dominion was in a position to invade Vulcan, Andor, Tellar, and Alpha Centauri. Furthermore, the Federation was suffering a manpower shortage after sustaining massive casualties up to this point, and many of their shipyards were still being rebuilt. The Dominion's shipyards, on the other hand, were producing at 100% capacity and legions of Jem'Hadar were being bred at an incredible rate. In order to turn the tide by bringing the Romulan Star Empire into the war, Captain Sisko undertook a successful ploy and the Romulans joined the Federation Alliance. (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight")

With Romulan reinforcement, the Federation Alliance somewhat regained the initiative, quickly recapturing important Federation worlds like Benzar, and in late 2374 for the first time managed to take Dominion territory in the victorious First Battle of Chin'toka. (DS9: "The Reckoning", "Tears of the Prophets" The first half of 2375 was spent with neither side offering a firm push forward into the other. One very important event that changed the shape of the war was occurring behind the front lines: a debilitating disease was attacking the Founders. It was later claimed that Section 31 had a hand in the infection. The Founders' abilities as leaders were being compromised just as their military was taking severe punishment from the emboldened alliance. (DS9: "Image in the Sand", "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")

The ill-advised cooperation with the Son'a in 2375 represented an ethic re-orientation of the Federation Council

Nevertheless, the war and the attacks of the Borg had already caused enormous losses. Seeking new strength and momentum, the Federation Council's policy changed and the admission of new members was accelerated, like with the Evora, whose homeworld was declared a protectorate the year after they achieved warp drive. First and foremost, however, the Council's ethic decisions became more questionable, even compromising the principles upon which the Federation had been founded. This posture led to the decision to allow the secret relocation of some six hundred Ba'ku in order to harness the life-prolonging metaphasic radiation of their planet's ring system. This, however, could only be accomplished by using technology from the dubious Son'a who were also collaborating with the Dominion. Eventually and thanks to the actions of the USS Enterprise-E and her crew, the relocation could be delayed and the Federation Council finally halted the plan to start a top-level investigation. (Star Trek: Insurrection; DS9: "Penumbra")

Raid on San Francisco, turning of the tide and victory

Starfleet Headquarters in ruins following the Breen attack on Earth in 2375

Some months later, the tide of the Dominion War turned against the Federation Alliance again, as the Breen Confederacy entered the war on the Dominion's side. The Breen even staged an attack on Earth, dealing a heavy blow to Federation morale. Starfleet and Romulan vessels were annihilated by the Breen's energy dampening weapons, forcing the Klingons – whose ships could be modified to be immune to the weapon - to hold the front lines on their own, until a countermeasure could be found. To compensate, Martok had his fleet operate in small battle groups, remaining cloaked until they engaged the enemy, in an attempt to keep them off balance. (DS9: "'Til Death Do Us Part", "The Changing Face of Evil", "When It Rains...")

With the emergence of a Cardassian Rebellion movement, the Federation Alliance was able to capture a Jem'Hadar attack ship fitted with one of the Breen's energy dampening weapons, so a counter measure was able to be produced for both Federation and Romulan ships, thus returning the tactical advantage into the Allies' favor. (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind", "The Dogs of War")

The Treaty of Bajor is signed, officially ending the Dominion War in 2375

Although the Cardassian Rebellion was crushed soon afterwards, the Dominion made the decision to withdraw from Klingon, Federation, and Romulan territory and fortify essential Cardassian territories with a new defense perimeter behind which it could rearm and prepare for a new assault on the Alpha Quadrant. The Allied commanders determined that the best hope for success was an immediate invasion, before the Dominion was allowed to strengthen itself any further. A three-pronged attack into Cardassia was organized and authorized by Admiral William Ross, now-Chancellor Martok and Romulan General Velal. After the Alliance captured Cardassia Prime in the Battle of Cardassia, the war was officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Bajor and all Dominion forces returned to the Gamma Quadrant, with the exception of the head Founder who was to stand trial for war crimes. Eight hundred million Cardassian civilians were dead; the entire Cardassian Union had totally collapsed. The Alpha Quadrant had lost a major power and the effects on galactic politics continued to be seen for many years to come. (DS9: "The Dogs of War", "What You Leave Behind")

The Pathfinder Project and the return of the USS Voyager

After seven years in the Delta Quadrant, Voyager returns home in 2378

During the late 2370s, the Federation was able to achieve a moral success as well as a breakthrough in extreme long-range communication, after the USS Voyager had gone missing in the Badlands in 2371. After it was discovered that the ship had actually been transported to the Delta Quadrant, the Starfleet Communications Research Center launched the so-called Pathfinder Project, which was able to establish two way communication with Voyager in 2376. With its return to Earth in 2378, Voyager not only brought with it a tremendous amount of information on the previously unexplored Delta Quadrant, including an immense amount of tactical data on the Borg, but also destroyed one of only six Borg transwarp hubs, defining a strategic blow to their infrastructure. (VOY: "Message in a Bottle", "Pathfinder", "Life Line", "Inside Man", "Endgame")

Reman coup d'état and changing relations with Romulus

Praetor Shinzon, whose attempt to wipe out Earth's population with thalaron radiation was thwarted by the USS Enterprise-E in 2379

In 2379, one year after Voyager's return home, the Federation was confronted with a tempting peace offer by the Romulan Star Empire, which, however, turned out to be one of the gravest threats Earth had to face during this century. After an apparent Reman uprising in the Star Empire and the assassination of the Romulan Senate, the new Praetor, Shinzon, was making an appeal for peace with the Federation. After Starfleet sent their flagship, the USS Enterprise-E under Captain Jean-Luc Picard, to Romulus, Shinzon's actual plan to install the Romulan Empire as the major power in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants by kidnapping Picard and eradicating all life on Earth by the use of a thalaron radiation weapon became clear. Fortunately, with the help of a few disillusioned Romulan ships, the Enterprise was able to destroy Shinzon's flagship, thwarting his plans and saving Earth from a devastating attack.

After the death of Shinzon, the initial approaches between the Federation and the Star Empire were continued and a new task force led by the USS Titan was dispatched to the Romulan Neutral Zone in order to begin talks with the Romulans. (Star Trek Nemesis)

The devastating attack on Mars in 2385

In the 2380s, the Federation was asked for help in evacuating Romulus due to an impending supernova. Now-Admiral Picard lobbied on the Romulans' behalf and the Federation began constructing a rescue armada of ten-thousand warp-capable ferries. However, the move was very controversial, and fourteen species within the Federation threatened to pull out if the Romulans were not cut loose. After rogue synths attacked Mars in 2385, which cost over 90,000 lives and destroyed the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards along with the rescue armada, the Federation not only banned all synthetic life but also withdrew its offer of assistance to the Romulans. Whilst unknown at the time, the attack had actually been orchestrated by the Tal Shiar cabal Zhat Vash, who wanted to push the Federation towards anti-synth legislation. (PIC: "Remembrance", "Maps and Legends", "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2")

In 2387, despite a desperate last-minute attempt by Ambassador Spock to stop the supernova with red matter, the supernova destroyed Romulus. The Romulan miner Nero subsequently blamed the Federation for the disaster and the death of his family. He and Spock subsequently went missing when their ships disappeared in the singularity created by the red matter. (Star Trek)

Ban of artificial lifeforms

Because it could not be determined how or why the synths went rogue that led to the attack on Mars, the Federation Council placed a ban on the creation of synthetic lifeforms.

Since then, there were multiple cases against artificial lifeforms. The incident of the USS Ibn Majid happened in 2389. Beautiful Flower and Jana were killed.

It was eventually lifted when it was discovered that the Zhat Vash was behind the attack on Mars. (PIC: "Remembrance", "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2")

25th century and beyond

In 2401, a reformed Borg Collective led by a partially assimilated Agnes Jurati, requested provisional membership in the Federation in order to monitor a mysterious transwarp conduit whose creators were believed by the Borg to constitute a threat. (PIC: "Farewell")

By the 26th century, races such as the Klingons, Ithenites, and Xindi had joined the Federation. In an alternate version of the 2550s, the Federation won the Battle of Procyon V against the Sphere-Builders and proved instrumental in reversing their invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy. (ENT: "Azati Prime")

However, since Enterprise was successful in destroying the sphere network, it is likely that the events of the 2550s involving the Sphere-Builders never occurred.

Time travel and the Temporal Cold War

Timeships like the USS Relativity from the 29th century serve as an operations-platform from which the Federation preserves the integrity of the timeline

By the 26th century, time travel technology became an established factor in the Federation, enabling it to explore historical events, in part by the use of timeships. A Temporal Integrity Commission was soon formed as well as Temporal Accords, dedicated to prevent any temporal incursions, intentional or unintentional, from occurring or the timeline from collapsing and ensuring that the exploration of time could be performed without interferences. However, from various sides, there rose massive opposition to these restrictions to time travel and the Federation was soon drawn into a Temporal Cold War that spread across history, involving numerous factions, some of whom even tried to alter history in order to prevent the Federation from forming. (ENT: "Cold Front", "Detained", "Future Tense"; TNG: "A Matter of Time"; VOY: "Future's End, Part II", "Relativity")

In the 29th century, Starfleet Captain Braxton located the starship Voyager in the Delta Quadrant of the year 2373, claiming that, in his century, it had been unwillingly responsible for the destruction of the Federation's entire capital system around Sol by a temporal explosion. Trying to restore the timeline, Braxton tried to destroy Voyager, which was able to disrupt Braxton's ship, however, pulling both ships into different decades of the 20th century. There, temporal contamination by the advanced technology of Braxton's ship turned out to be the very reason for the temporal explosion in the first place. Fortunately, Voyager's crew was able to prevent this contamination, so an alternate version of Braxton who never experienced these events was able to return Voyager to the Delta Quadrant of the 24th century, ending this temporal incursion. (VOY: "Future's End", "Future's End, Part II")

In order to intentionally thwart the foundation of the Federation, the historical events surrounding Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise posed a tempting target. A temporal agent from the 31st century posing as crewman Daniels on the Enterprise assisted Captain Archer and his crew numerous times in order to take their roles in history and maintain the timeline. In 2152, however, Daniels inadvertently averted the Federation from ever coming into being by taking Archer some nine hundred years into the future. Thanks to his crew and a Suliban's misunderstanding, he returned to his own time period, resetting the timeline. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Cold Front", "Shockwave")

Another instance that nearly prevented the Federation from being founded was when a weapon created by the Xindi attacked Earth, killing seven million people. A race of transdimensional aliens, called Sphere-Builders, were defeated by the Federation in the 26th century so they deceived the Xindi into thinking Earth would attack them in the future, convincing them that they should preemptively attack Earth and annihilate Humanity, thereby eradicating the future Federation. With more help from Daniels, Archer and his crew were ultimately able to destroy the weapon as well as the sphere network, ending the Sphere-Builders influence in normal space. (ENT: "The Expanse", "Azati Prime", "Zero Hour")

31st century-temporal agent Daniels played a pivotal role in guarding the historic events around Jonathan Archer leading to the founding of the Federation

Enterprise and its crew were not yet finished with the Cold War, however, as they were subsequently brought to an alternate 1944, where a dangerous time traveling faction known as the Na'kuhl from the 29th century were assisting Nazi Germany in conquering America, thereby altering history and again preventing the formation of the Federation some two hundred years later. Enterprise destroyed the temporal conduit of the Na'kuhl which, in turn, prevented the crew's return to their century. As a result, many temporal incursions were erased; the Temporal Cold War was coming to an end and the timeline ultimately reset itself, paving the way for the historical events leading to the birth of the Federation. (ENT: "Storm Front", et al.)

While Daniels claimed to be "more or less" Human and appeared to have an interest in preserving the Federation, he was never explicitly said to be an agent of it.
The V'draysh, who were in conflict with a Human colony about a millennium after Discovery's abandonment by its crew, might have some relation with the Federation, as according to "Calypso" writer Michael Chabon, their name was a syncope of "Federation". [2]

32nd Century

By the 32nd century the United Federation of Planets had mostly dissolved after The Burn sometime during the 31st century. The Federation and Starfleet had relocated their headquarters to a space station with a distortion field to mask their location. By 3189, there were only 38 members worlds in the Federation down from 350 at their peak (DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 1", "Die Trying")

Following the hijacking of the USS Discovery, the Federation was able to start rebuilding itself when Trill rejoined. Other worlds such as Ni'Var began to consider returning to the Federation.(DIS: "That Hope Is You, Part 2")



Background information

Based on Deanna Troi's line in ENT: "These Are the Voyages..." "this alliance will give birth to the Federation", the signing ceremony shown could well be the signing of the Coalition of Planets' charter or for some other precursory alliance to the actual Federation. While that is a legitimate interpretation, the line itself is ambiguous and could easily refer to the present state of the Federation as its own nation rather than an alliance. Further, exactly the same scene was observed in ENT: "Zero Hour", wherein it was explicitly identified as the signing of the Federation Charter.

The clipping It's Federation Day!, from the Picard family album created for Star Trek Generations, gives additional details about the founding of the Federation, including the names of the signatories, the exact date (October 11) and that the Human-settled Alpha Centauri system was the fifth founding member. However, that particular item did not appear on-screen.

Various other non-canon sources have given the exact date of the founding as May 8 (Last Full Measure), June 30 (Star Trek: Star Charts), and August 12 (Star Trek Online).

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