The United Federation of Planets, commonly the Federation or UFP, is an interstellar political entity founded in the 22nd century. In the first two hundred years of its existence, the Federation grew to be the dominant galactic superpower in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants, thanks in no small part to the efforts of its Starfleet.
Unlike other galactic powers such as the Klingon Empire or the Romulan Star Empire, where one species subjugates others, the Federation is a democratic metagovernment, comprised of hundreds of planetary and interplanetary member governments, associate members, protectorates and colonies. These worlds and governments are represented by the Federation Council, which meets on Earth, led by the Federation President. (TOS: "Journey to Babel", Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
Founded in 2161 in the aftermath of the Earth-Romulan War, the Federation was an outgrowth of an alliance between several worlds, including Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar and Alpha Centauri, among others. (TNG: "The Outcast"; ENT: "Zero Hour", "United", "Demons", "Terra Prime", "These Are the Voyages...")
- Various dates have been given for the Federation's founding in 2161, including 8 May, 12 August and 11 October. Alternately, the predominant pre-canon assumption among fans was that the Federation was already in existence at the time of the Earth-Romulan war.
Despite its peaceful nature and intentions, the Federation faced many conflicts over the years. Encounters with the Klingons in the 22nd and early 23rd centuries eventually led to the First Federation-Klingon War, followed by a cold war. Those "seventy years of unremitting hostility" came to an end in 2293, when the Federation gave aid to the Klingons followed the destruction of Praxis, their key energy facility. The Khitomer Conference that followed began the long process toward not only peace, but an alliance between the UFP and the Klingon Empire. The Klingons temporarily withdrew from that alliance in the 2370s, igniting the Second Federation-Klingon War, but peace was soon re-established. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Judgement", et. al; TOS: "Errand of Mercy"; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Heart of Glory", "Yesterday's Enterprise"; DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Apocalypse Rising", "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")
Conflicts between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire ebbed and flowed in the years following the Earth-Romulan War. After the Romulan Neutral Zone was established, the Empire retreated into its borders for nearly 100 years, only venturing out again to test the Federation in the 2260s. From that time on, while no protracted wars broke out, tensions ran high between the two powers. After the fall of the Klingon Neutral Zone, those tensions escalated, and almost surely would have erupted into war were it not for the disastrous Tomed Incident of 2311. After Tomed, the Romulans and Federation signed the Treaty of Algeron, and the Romulans again retreated within their own borders, isolating themselves until the destruction of outposts along the Neutral Zone drew them out again in 2364. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "The Enterprise Incident", Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Pegasus")
Smaller conflicts dogged the Federation in the 2340s through the 2360s, including wars with the Cardassians and the Tzenkethi, and the Galen Border Conflicts with the Talarian Republic. The Tholian Assembly was also a threat to the Federation during that period. (TNG: "The Wounded", "Suddenly Human", "The Icarus Factor"; DS9: "The Adversary", "Homefront")
In the mid-2360s, Starfleet made first contact with the greatest single threat they had ever faced: the Borg Collective, a race of cybernetic beings bent on the assimilation of all life in the galaxy. The first Borg incursion was only turned back after a failed defense at the Battle of Wolf 359, and the near assimilation of Earth in 2366-67. Defeated but not destroyed, the Collective would return to plague the Federation again and again, most notably in 2373 and the Battle of Sector 001. (TNG: "Q Who", "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II", "Descent"; Star Trek: First Contact; VOY: "Scorpion", "Dark Frontier", "Endgame")
When the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole in 2369 opened up travel to the distant Gamma Quadrant, it was only a matter of time before the Federation encountered the Dominion. First contact between the two powers came in 2370, and hostilities increased for several years while the Dominion's shape-shifting Founders manipulated various governments, until war broke out in 2373. The Dominion War not only threatened the Federation, but the entire Alpha Quadrant, and drew numerous galactic powers, both friend and former foe, into the Federation Alliance. Though it lasted only two years, the Dominion War was the most costly conflict the Federation had ever endured. Countless lives were lost and several key worlds were occupied before the Dominion offensive was repelled in 2375. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "The Search, Part II", "The Die Is Cast", "Homefront", "Apocalypse Rising")
Though the price of peace was heavy, especially to the Dominion's former ally Cardassia, the aftermath of the Dominion War saw the opportunity for the Federation to do what it did best, make friends out of old enemies. In addition to the goodwill to be gained from the Cardassian relief effort, the Federation hoped that it could maintain and improve relations with the Romulan Star Empire, perhaps coming to the same sort of détente as with the Klingons eighty some years before. (Star Trek Nemesis)
More than an alliance of purely independent states, the Federation government is based upon the model of a federal republic, where its member planets and colonies remain semi-autonomous, controlling their local territory as they see fit in accordance with Federation principles as outlined in the Articles of Federation. The government is divided into three branches: the Federation Council acts as the the legislative branch, the Federation President, is the chief executive and head of state, and the Federation Supreme Court, serves as the supreme judiciary. The Federation Council has chambers in San Francisco, while offices of the Federation President are located in Paris. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume"; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
- The Pocket Books Star Trek novel Articles of the Federation depicts the Federation Council chambers as being in Paris, in the same building as the President's offices. While author Keith R.A. DeCandido admits he forgot the council met in San Francisco in The Voyage Home, it has been suggested that those are the Council's emergency chambers, while they normally meet in Paris.
Agencies and departmentsEdit
- Bureau of Agricultural Affairs
- Federation Bureau of First Contact
- Bureau of Industrialization
- Bureau of Planetary Treaties
- Department for the Relocation of Displaced Beings
Military and securityEdit
- Archaeological Council
- Astronomical Committee
- Department of Cartography
- Department of Temporal Investigations
- Science Council
- Science Bureau
- United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA)
- Terraform Command
- Section 31 (unsanctioned and disavowed)
From an economic perspective, the Federation functions as a utopian technocracy where all its citizens are provided for thanks to the inexpensive, large-scale production and dissemination of nearly all food, clothing, shelter and consumer goods. By the late-23rd century (and probably earlier), the UFP no longer used money in the traditional sense, but made use of the Federation credit as a basic unit of exchange when needed. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles", et. al)
- The exact nature of the Federation credit is not known, although it is likely some form of energy allotment. Alternatively, there may be several different types of credits, such as "transporter credits".
Advances in technology and a drastic shift in public attitudes towards wealth made traditional currencies obsolete in the 22nd century, ushering in the New World Economy. The introduction and advancement of replicators during the 24th century also drastically changed the orientation of the economy, as matter-energy conversion reduced the cost of most small- to medium-scale objects to practically nothing while increasing the efficiency of large-scale construction. (citation needed)
According to 24th century humanists such as Jean-Luc Picard, the driving force behind Federation, and especially human society was no longer the acquisition of wealth, but rather "to better one's self," advance knowledge and the benefit of all. Ironically, the Federation greatly encouraged entrepreneurship, an archaic and seemingly-anachronistic holdover from capitalist economies. The traditional benefits of such endeavors, namely profit and personal gain, were instead replaced by personal enjoyment and self-betterment and expression, often manifesting in new services to fill the needs and desires of society at large. (Star Trek: First Contact), DS9: "In the Cards")
In general, Federation members and colony worlds are abundant in natural resources, although their relative and intrinsic worth altered as replicator technology reduced the need for many refined and semi-refined materials. Among non-Federation members, like the Ferengi Alliance, other non-replicatable materials such as latinum and dilithium are often used as currency. The Federation also uses these materials for the purposes of interstellar trade with non-aligned parties.
Some Federation member worlds possess rare or exclusive resources, and may be called upon to provide consignments of those substances in times of emergency. In some rare cases, the Federation would trade with non-members to procure necessary commodities. (TOS: "The Cloud Minders"; TNG: "Code of Honor")
In the Federation, everyone must work. If one cannot find employment, one must join Starfleet or undertake assigned social tasks such as gardening in public parks or helping ill people in hospitals.
Corporation employees are involved with the decisions of their corporation. All Federation corporations have a council comprised of employees to ensure this happens.
Membership and sphere of influenceEdit
In the 2260s, there were at least 30 full members of the UFP, and the Federation was spread out over more than 1,000 worlds. A hundred years later, the Federation had more than 150 members and over a thousand colonies, occupying over 8,000 light years of space. (TOS: "Metamorphosis", "Journey to Babel"; Star Trek: First Contact)