FANDOM


"I'm guessing they're pre-warp."
– Chakotay, 2378 ("Natural Law")

Pre-warp civilization was a term used by the Federation to define any society that had not yet discovered and utilized faster-than-light space travel 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. (Star Trek Into Darkness; Star Trek: First Contact; TOS: "The Omega Glory")

The Prime Directive of the Federation 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. (ENT: "Dear Doctor"; 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) Observers could also be placed amongst a civilization as a prelude to first contact. (TNG: "First Contact")

Pre-warp civilizations

Community content is available under CC-BY-NC unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+