The history of the United Federation of Planets is the tale of an extraordinary interstellar union, slowly forged from the convergence of Human, Vulcan, Tellarite and Andorian histories, and those of its other member species.
21st and 22nd century
Rising from the ashes of World War III, the first seeds of the Federation were brought forth in 2063, when Doctor Zefram Cochrane created Earth's first warp-capable ship, the Phoenix. However, cybernetic creatures from the future, the Borg, came 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, attracting a passing Vulcan ship, the T'Plana-Hath. This event, known as First Contact, occurred on April 5, 2063 and would not only lead the Vulcans to assist humanity to eradicate poverty, disease and the causes thereof by the 2110s but would also lead the nations of Earth to unite the entire planet under a United Earth Government by 2150. (Star Trek: First Contact; VOY: "Friendship One"; ENT: "Broken Bow"; TNG: "Attached")
Although Earth's initial warp development progressed slowly, due to the cautioning of their Vulcan 'mentors', the first Warp five ship, the 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 would eventually lead to the Federation.
The Vulcan Reformation of 2154 represented another pivotal step towards an interstellar union, prompting a new willingness on Vulcan's part to engage in a 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 the 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 at the founding of the Federation. (ENT: "The Forge", "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")
By late 2154, the Romulan Star Empire had become aware of the threat that a closer partnership between Vulcan, Earth and its neighbors posed. The Star Empire's attempts to destabilize the region led to the Babel Crisis, during which a secret mission by the Romulans involved the use of two Romulan drone-ships that were able to camouflage themselves as various other vessels. With these ships, the Star Empire tried to spread distrust and hostility among local powers around Earth and Vulcan. However, Archer had 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")
With the averted escalation of the Babel Crisis, Earth and many other worlds realized the value of their joint work and were growing close to founding a Coalition of Planets in 2155. 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")
The new Coalition of Planets 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...")
Foundation and early development
In 2161, one year after the Earth-Romulan War was decided, the old war allies Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar founded the United Federation of Planets (treaties signed and ratified) in San Francisco on Earth. 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")
Over the coming decades, the young Federation and its Starfleet, namely vessels like the USS Archon, USS Horizon, USS Essex and the unmanned Quadros-1 probe explored space and expanded its sphere of influence. (TOS: "The Return of the Archons", "A Piece of the Action"; TNG: "Power Play"; DS9: "Emissary")
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 in the Federation. Material needs and money became obsolete and to improve oneself became the challenge and driving force for most humans. However, the Federation continued to deal with other cultures which had money-based economies, often via a transaction of Federation credits. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Price", "Time's Arrow, Part II", DS9: "In the Cards", VOY: "Dark Frontier", Star Trek: First Contact)
Constant expansion and minor setbacks
With 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. 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. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer", "The Conscience of the King"; TAS: "The Counter-Clock Incident")
The Federation's constant expansion also meant inevitable conflict with neighboring spacefaring races. In 2255, the Treaty of Armens between the Federation and the Sheliak Corporate was able to settle such a dispute by ceding several Class H planets to the Sheliak. Other encounters with species like the Gorn and the Tholians in 2267 and 2268, respectively, could not be resolved as peacefully, however. (TOS: "Arena", "The Tholian Web"; TNG: "The Ensigns of Command")
Uneasy Federation-Romulan relations
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. 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 USS Enterprise managed to steal a cloaking device from a patrolling Romulan cruiser in order to asses the threat it posed to the Federation. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "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 20 years. The following year, the Polaric Test Ban Treaty was signed between the Federation and the Star Empire, banning research into polaric ion energy. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; VOY: "Time and Again")
Federation-Klingon Cold War and the way to peace
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 very tense cold war developed in 2223. Disputes over ownership of various star systems arose and numerous skirmishes were fought, namely over hot spots like Caleb IV, Donatu V, and the Archanis sector, with both sides refraining from committing to open warfare, however. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles"; DS9: "Apocalypse Rising", "Once More Unto the Breach")
In 2267, ongoing negotiations between the two sides were in danger of breaking down, and 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", and more; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)
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 to prevent this fundamental shift of power, albeit without success. (DS9: "Blood Oath"; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Thwarted attacks on Earth
Aside from these conflicts, the Federation faced more serious menaces during the second half of the 23rd century as Earth, its capital world, was nearly devastated on two occasions. The first occurred in 2272, 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)
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, and led to the withdrawal of the Romulan government from interstellar affairs for the next 53 years. (TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Pegasus"; ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")
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, finally leading to the Treaty of Alliance between the two powers, later on. (TNG: "Reunion", "Yesterday's Enterprise")
Starting in the late 2340s, the Federation began to encounter renewed resistance to its expansion, as it came into conflict with several neighboring powers.
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, creating a Demilitarized Zone between the two powers. (TNG: "The Wounded", "Ensign Ro", "Journey's End")
In the late 2350s, the Galen border conflicts were 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")
In 2364, the Federation faced a serious menace, when alien neural parasites 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 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 focus more effort in defensive technology, which became apparent in new ship classes like the Template:ShipClass, Template:ShipClass and Template:ShipClass, which were clearly 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")
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. (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.
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 calculated successes at destabilizing the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.
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") 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")
Besides these manipulations, the Dominion was able to trigger a war between the Klingons and the Cardassians (see Klingon-Cardassian War) in early 2372. Being the first major strain on its alliance with the Klingon Empire, the Federation condemned this war and was nearly drawn into a conflict with the Tzenkethi later that year by a Founder who replaced Ambassador Krajensky. In early 2373, the Dominion managed to deteriorate Klingon-Federation relations to a concurrent conflict about their old dispute over the Archanis sector, with battles fought on Ajilon Prime and Ganalda IV amongst others and leading to the Klingon's withdrawal from the Khitomer Accords (see: Federation-Klingon War (2372-73)). However, when it was discovered that Klingon warmonger General Martok had actually been replaced by a Founder too, the Federation-Klingon conflict was swiftly resolved. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Broken Link", "Apocalypse Rising", "Nor the Battle to the Strong")
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 the Federation-Klingon alliance stood 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 Borg attack, the Federation 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")
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 14 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
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 Benjamin Sisko told Starfleet that the station's recapture had to be seen as the top priority of the war. Admiral Coburn 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 600 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")
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 alliance had forced something of a stalemate, quickly recapturing important Federation worlds like Benzar. 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 would later be 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")
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 500 Ba'ku, in order to harness the life-prolonging metaphasic radiation of their planet's ring system by using technology from the dubious Son'a. However, thanks to the actions of the USS Enterprise-E and her crew, the relocation could initially be delayed and the Federation Council finally halted the plan to start a top-level investigation. (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Raid on San Francisco, turning of the tide and victory
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 would have his fleet operate in small battle groups, remaining cloaked until they would engage 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")
Although the Cardassian Rebellion was crushed soon afterwards, the Domion made the decision to withdraw from Klingon, Federation, and Romulan territory and fortify essential Cardassian territories with a new defense perimeter behind which the DOminion 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 led by Admiral William Ross, now-Chancellor Martok and, presumably, 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 civilians were dead, and the entire Cardassian Union was in danger of total collapse. The Alpha Quadrant had lost a major power and the effects on galactic politics would continue 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
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 largely-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
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)
However, in 2387, any new developments between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire were profoundly disrupted when Romulus, the Romulan homeworld, was destroyed by a supernova despite Ambassador Spock's attempt to prevent this catastrophe. (Star Trek)
26th to 31st century
By the 26th century, races such as the Klingons, Ithenites, and Xindi had joined the Federation. In the 2550s, the Federation won the Battle of Procyon V against the Sphere Builders and proved instrumental in halting their invasion of the Milky Way Galaxy. (ENT: "Azati Prime")
Time travel and the Temporal Cold War
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 time-travel pods and 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 would 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 USS 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 Federation-temporal agent from the 31st century posing as crewman Daniels on the Enterprise would assist 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 900 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")
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 200 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.)
Summary of key dates
- 2063: Zefram Cochrane conducts humanity's first warp flight, leading to the first official contact between Humans and Vulcans.
- 2150: Earth's last holdouts agree to join United Earth after war, crime, poverty and the causes thereof have been eliminated earlier this century.
- 2151: United Earth makes first contact with Klingons and Andorians.
- 2155: The Coalition of Planets is formed, including Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar amongst others.
- 2156-2160: In the Earth-Romulan War, Earth, Vulcan, Andoria and Tellar defeat the Romulan Star Empire leading to the creation of a Neutral Zone between the two power blocs.
- 2161: The United Federation of Planets is founded in San Francisco by the allies of the Earth-Romulan War.
- 2184-2192: Jonathan Archer serves as Federation President.
- 2223: Relations between the Federation and the Klingon Empire degenerate starting a tense cold war.
- 2245: The inconclusive Battle of Donatu V is fought between the Klingon Empire and the Federation.
- 2246: Due to a shortage in food supply, Governor Kodos of Tarsus IV orders the execution of 4,000 colonists, committing one of the worst crimes in Federation history.
- 2255: The Treaty of Armens is signed between the Sheliak Corporate and the Federation.
- 2267: The Federation and the Klingon Empire sign the Treaty of Organia establishing ground rules for further interaction and the resolution of territorial disputes. The same year, the Federation, the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire jointly establish a colony on Nimbus III, offcially declaring it 'the planet of galactic peace'.
- 2268: The Polaric Test Ban Treaty is signed by the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, banning research into polaric ion energy.
- 2272: An attack on Earth by a massive machine lifeform called V'Ger is closely averted.
- 2286: Another devastation of Earth is averted, when a reply to a probe of unknown origin can be given, whose attempts to contact Humpback whales severely affect Earth's atmosphere.
- 2289: The Federation and the Klingon Empire hold a diplomatic meeting at Korvat colony, however without producing any substantial results.
- 2293: On the Khitomer Conference between the Klingons and the Federation the Khitomer Accords are signed to establish a lasting peace between the two powers.
- 2311: After the devastating Tomed Incident with the Romulans, the Federation signs the Treaty of Algeron promising no research into or use of any cloaking devices.
- 2344: Answering a Klingon distress call, the Federation vessel USS Enterprise-C is destroyed by Romulans at the Battle of Narendra III. Being regarded as an honorable act, the incident cements the Federation-Klingon friendship leading to the Treaty of Alliance.
- Late 2340s: Several border disputes escalate into a war between the Federation and the Cardassian Union.
- 2353: The Federation is embroiled in a conflict with the Tholians.
- Late 2350s: Lasting over a three-year period, the Galen border conflicts with the Talarians state another conflict the Federation is facing.
- Early 2360s: The Federation fights a war with the Tzenkethi.
- 2364: A subtle attempt by neural parasites to take full control of Starfleet and to prepare for an all-out invasion of the Federation is discovered and thwarted.
- 2365: The Federation vessel USS Enterprise-D makes first contact with the Borg.
- 2367: A Borg cube attacking the Federation and annihilating 39 starships at the Battle of Wolf 359 is destroyed in Earth orbit.
- 2369: The Bajoran Wormhole is discovered, stating a secure link between the Alpha- and Gamma Quadrants.
- 2370: The Federation-Cardassian Treaty is signed, finally settling all remaining border issues between the two powers.
- 2370/2371: In the Gamma Quadrant, the Federation becomes aware of the existence of the Founders and the Dominion, which destroys the Federation vessel USS Odyssey and several other ships and colonies.
- 2372: A Founder-Changeling bombs the Antwerp Conference between the Federation and the Romulans on Earth giving rise to massive paranoia. Starfleet Admiral Leyton tries to start a coup d'état against Federation President Jaresh-Inyo, but fails after it was learned that merely four Changelings are operating on Earth at that time. Later that year, the Federation's and Klingon's old dispute over the Archanis sector escalates, leading to the Klingon's withdrawal from the Khitomer Accords.
- 2373: It is discovered that Klingon war monger General Martok had actually been replaced by a Founder and the Cardassian Union joins the Dominion, swiftly resolving the Klingon's conflict with the Federation and reinstating the Khitomer Accords. In the midst of these events another Borg cube attacks the Federation, but is destroyed near Earth at the Battle of Sector 001. Later that year, the Dominion attacks and captures the Federation station Deep Space 9, beginning the Dominion War against the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
- 2374: Although the Federation/Klingon Alliance recaptures Deep Space 9, the Dominion manages to conquer Betazed, putting it in a position to invade Vulcan, Andor, Tellar and Alpha Centauri. The tide turns after the Romulan Star Empire joins the forces against the Dominion and quickly recaptures Federation worlds like Benzar.
- 2375: The Dominion gains the upper hand in the war again with its alliance with the Breen Confederacy, which even manages to launch a successful attack on Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco on Earth. In the face of its losses, the Federation Council decides to accelerate the admission of new members and even dismisses the Federation's most profound principles during the Ba'ku incident. With the help of the Cardassian Rebellion, the Federation Alliance manages to repel the Dominion forces, however, and finally captures Cardassia Prime later that year, ending the Dominion war with the Treaty of Bajor.
- 2376: The Pathfinder Project of the Starfleet Communications Research Center is able to establish two way communication with the USS Voyager, a Federation starship stranded in the Delta Quadrant since 2371.
- 2378: After seven years in the Delta Quadrant, the USS Voyager returns to Earth using one of only six Borg transwarp hubs. The hub is subsequently destroyed, severely crippling the Collective's infrastructure.
- 2379: After a Reman coup d'état, the Romulan Star Empire makes a false peace offer to the Federation. In fact, the new Romulan Praetor Shinzon plans to eradicate all life on Earth by using a thalaron device but can by stopped by the USS Enterprise-E. After this incident, the new Romulan government wishes to start negotiations with the Federation, which subsequently sends a new task force to the Neutral Zone.
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, the exact same scene was observed in ENT: "Zero Hour", wherein it was explicitly identified as the signing of the Federation Charter.
The Picard family album from Star Trek Generations lists 11 October 2161 as the day the Federation was founded. In fandom, however, it has been generally accepted that the day on which the Federation was founded, in 2161, was May 8th. There is no evidence from any episodes or films to support this, however. It should be noted, though, that May 8th is the same day that Paramount Pictures was founded, back in 1914.
It remains unclear whether the Human colony in the Alpha Centauri system was also among the founding members. An obscure reference from Captain Picard's photo album from Star Trek Generations suggests so. However, it was not seen clearly on-screen and other things shown in that album appear apocryphal (like Picard's award from Starfleet for the Battle of Maxia – a term which was unknown to Picard prior to TNG: "The Battle", and an action for which he would be subjected to a court martial).