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A pre-warp civilization was any society or culture that had not yet become a warp-capable civilization; that is, one that has not discovered and utilized faster-than-light spaceflight like the warp drive. Pre-warp cultures could range in technology level from extremely primitive, such as a pre-industrial society; to that of Earth in the mid-21st century, where spacecraft utilized sublight technology. (Star Trek Into Darkness; Star Trek: First Contact; TOS: "The Omega Glory"; TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers")

The Federation sometimes used an industrial scale and a technological rating to assess pre-warp civilizations. For example, the natives of Sigma Draconis III had, as of 2268, an industrial scale rating of B – equivalent to Earth in 1485 – and a technological rating of 3. (TOS: "Spock's Brain") Another scale was Richter's scale of cultures, which might assign a rating of class D- to an agrarian culture. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy")

The Federation's Prime Directive interdicted any disturbance of such civilizations, including any form of contact, until a culture had independently proven its warp-capability. Otherwise, any involvement in the development of pre-warp societies could result in the contamination of their culture, thereby altering their natural evolution. Usually pre-warp civilizations were limited to their homeworld; however, their technical abilities could be sophisticated enough to expand throughout their star system or even beyond. (ENT: "Dear Doctor"; TOS: "Patterns of Force"; Star Trek: Insurrection)

The Federation did allow limited covert research to be conducted on pre-warp civilizations, usually by means of a duck blind. (TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers"; Star Trek: Insurrection) Observation teams could also be placed among a civilization as a prelude to first contact. (TNG: "First Contact")

In the 32nd century, the Emerald Chain crime syndicate was notorious for contacting pre-warp civilizations in distress, such as the Kwejian, and offering "assistance" in the form of predatory deals. Such civilizations usually collapsed as a result. (DIS: "The Sanctuary", "There Is A Tide...")

Pre-warp civilizations

Species/Culture Homeworld Technology level Notes Source
892-IV natives 892-IV 2267: Post-industrial, equivalent to Earth's mid-20th century TOS: "Bread and Circuses"
Akaali Akaali homeworld 2151: Pre-industrial ENT: "Civilization"
Allos' species Allos' homeworld 2374: Interplanetary, capable of synthesizing Omega molecules in enormous quantities This civilization was experiencing crucial resource shortages as of 2374. VOY: "The Omega Directive"
Alpha Carinae II natives Alpha Carinae II TOS: "The Ultimate Computer"
Amerind inhabitants Amerind 2268: Pre-industrial, agrarian Amerind's inhabitants were Humans; specifically American Indians transplanted from Earth by the Preservers. TOS: "The Paradise Syndrome"
Angel I natives Angel I 2364: Post-industrial In contact with aliens despite being pre-warp. TNG: "Angel One"
Ba'ku Ba'ku 2375: Pre-industrial The Ba'ku were warp-capable as of 2375, and were, in fact, refugees from their original homeworld, but their culture rejected technology and willingly confined themselves to their planet. Star Trek: Insurrection
Barkonians Barkon IV 2370: Pre-industrial TNG: "Thine Own Self"
Betans Beta III 2267: Industrial The Betans were originally more technologically advanced prior to Landru's rise to power. Though freed from Landru's control in 2267, they had begun serving the entity again before or during 2380. TOS: "The Return of the Archons"; LD: "No Small Parts"
Boraalans Boraal II (original)
Vacca VI (adopted)
2370: Pre-industrial The Boraalan homeworld was sterilized by an atmospheric dissipation in 2370; the USS Enterprise-D transplanted the survivors to a new planet without their knowledge. TNG: "Homeward"
Brekkians Brekka 2364: Interplanetary In contact with aliens despite being pre-warp. TNG: "Symbiosis"
Capellans Capella IV 2267: Pre-industrial In contact with aliens despite being pre-warp. TOS: "Friday's Child"
Delta Theta III aborigines Delta Theta III 2270: Pre-industrial TAS: "Bem"
Dremans Benev Selec (Drema IV) 2365: Post-industrial TNG: "Pen Pals"
Edo Rubicun III 2364: Post-industrial In contact with aliens despite being pre-warp. TNG: "Justice"
Ekosians Ekos 2268: Interplanetary TOS: "Patterns of Force"
Eminians Eminiar VII 2267: Post-industrial, possibly interplanetary TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon"
Fabrini Fabrini homeworld 2268: Pre-industrial The Fabrini homeworld was destroyed by the Fabrina supernova millennia ago; their surviving civilization was confined to Yonada as of 2268. TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky"
Fantome's species The Void N/A As of 2378, the species subsisted off of resources stolen from starships, and had no known organized civilization. VOY: "The Void"
Gem's species Gem's planet TOS: "The Empath"
Genome colony Moab IV 2368: Post-industrial Genome was an isolated Human colony. TNG: "The Masterpiece Society"
Gosis' species Gosis' species homeworld 2152: Post-industrial, equivalent to Earth's mid-20th century ENT: "The Communicator"
Hanonians Hanon IV 2373: Pre-industrial, stone age VOY: "Basics, Part II"
Iotians Sigma Iotia II 2268: Post-industrial, equivalent to Earth's early 20th century TOS: "A Piece of the Action"
Kataan natives Kataan 14th century: Post-industrial, atomic age Their sun went nova in the 14th century, causing the species to become extinct. TNG: "The Inner Light"
Kelemane's species Kelemane's planet 2376: N/A Due to the rapid passage of time on the planet (caused by to its tachyon core), this civilization advanced from pre-industrial to interplanetary in mere weeks (from an outside perspective) in 2376. VOY: "Blink of an Eye"
Kelis' species Kelis' homeworld 2376: Industrial, bronze age VOY: "Muse"
Kelpiens Kaminar 2257: Pre-industrial The Kelpiens shared their planet with the warp-capable Ba'ul. They became warp-capable in 2258. ST: "The Brightest Star"; DIS: "The Sound of Thunder"
Kolarans Kolarus III 2379: Industrial, equivalent to Earth's mid-20th century Star Trek Nemesis
Kwejian Kwejian 3189: Industrial The Kwejian were "uplifted" by the Emerald Chain following the Burn, with the Chain providing access to spaceflight while helping them deal with sea locusts. DIS: "The Sanctuary"
Ligonians Ligon II 2374: Post-industrial In contact with aliens despite being pre-warp. TNG: "Code of Honor"
Loque'eque Loque'eque homeworld Post-industrial, capable of engineering Mutagenic viruses The Loque'eque went extinct centuries prior to 2153. ENT: "Extinction"
Makull's species Makull's homeworld 2371: Post-industrial, atomic age VOY: "Time and Again"
Malcorians Malcor III 2367: Post-industrial, possibly interplanetary While technically warp-capable as of 2367, Chairman Avel Durken chose to suppress the technology in order to better prepare his people for first contact. TNG: "First Contact"
Menk Valakis 2151: Pre-industrial The Menk shared their homeworld with the technologically-superior Valakians. ENT: "Dear Doctor"
Mintakans Mintaka III 2365: Pre-industrial, bronze age TNG: "Who Watches The Watchers"
Miri natives Miri 2266: Pre-industrial Miri was identical to Earth, but with a divergent history. A life prolongation project in the mid-20th century produced a virus that killed all adults ("Grups"), leaving long-lived children ("Onlies") as the only survivors. TOS: "Miri"
Neural natives Neural 2268: Pre-industrial Neural was "uplifted" by the Klingon Empire, who gave them flintlock firearms in 2267. TOS: "A Private Little War"
Nibirans Nibiru 2259: Pre-industrial Star Trek Into Darkness
Ocampa Ocampa 2371: Post-industrial The Ocampa were dependent on the Caretaker for resources as of 2371. VOY: "Caretaker"
Omega IV natives Omega IV 2268: Industrial, iron age Technological civilization was wiped out by biological warfare, regressing them to the iron age. TOS: "The Omega Glory"
Otrin's species Otrin's homeworld 2378: Pre-industrial The species' post-industrial civilization was decimated by an antimatter disaster prior to 2378. VOY: "Friendship One"
Ornarans Ornara 2364: Interplanetary In contact with aliens despite being pre-warp. TNG: "Symbiosis"
Sarpeidon natives Sarpeidon 2269: Post-industrial Their homeworld was destroyed by the Beta Niobe supernova in 2269; the species fled into the planet's past via time portals. TOS: "All Our Yesterdays"
Sigma Draconis III natives Sigma Draconis III 2268: Pre-industrial, equivalent to Earth in 1485 TOS: "Spock's Brain"
Sigma Draconis IV natives Sigma Draconis IV 2268: Post-industrial, equivalent to Earth in 2030
Takarians Takarian homeworld 2373: Pre-industrial, bronze age VOY: "False Profits"
Taurus II anthropoids Taurus II 2267: Pre-industrial, stone age TOS: "The Galileo Seven"
Terralysium inhabitants Terralysium 2257: Pre-industrial Humans transplanted from Richmond, Indiana in 2053. DIS: "New Eden"
Vaalians Gamma Trianguli VI 2267: Pre-industrial, stone age TOS: "The Apple"
Valakians Valakis 2151: Interplanetary The Valakians shared their homeworld with the technologically-inferior Menk. Though pre-warp, they were familiar with aliens. ENT: "Dear Doctor"
Vendikans Vendikar 2267: Post-industrial, possibly interplanetary Vendikar was formerly an Eminian colony. TOS: "A Taste of Armageddon"
Ventu Ledos 2378: Pre-industrial, stone age An isolated society of Ledosians. VOY: "Natural Law"
Veridian IV natives Veridian IV 2371: Pre-industrial Star Trek Generations
Vori Vori homeworld 2374: Post-industrial, equivalent to Earth's 20th century VOY: "Nemesis"
Zeons Zeon 2268: Interplanetary TOS: "Patterns of Force"

Pre-warp vessels

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