|Emblem of the Klingon Empire|
|Capital:||First City, Qo'noS|
|Head of State:||Emperor of the Klingon Empire|
|Head of Government:||Chancellor of the High Council of the Klingon Empire|
|Legislature:||High Council of the Klingon Empire|
|Military:||Klingon Defense Force|
|Intelligence Service:||Klingon Imperial Intelligence|
- "may' vISuvqang HochDaqDaq, wo'vaD!"
- ("I will fight any battle, anywhere... for the Empire!")
The Klingon Empire (also referred to as the Imperial Klingon Empire or Klingon Imperial Empire) was the official state of the Klingon people. It was founded in the 9th century by Kahless the Unforgettable, who first united the Klingon homeworld of Qo'noS. Since then the Klingon Empire expanded its sphere of influence by conquering numerous systems and incorporating them, making the Empire a major power in its region of the galaxy as of the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th centuries.
Officially, the Klingon Empire was a feudal monarchy, with power residing in the Emperor, who was traditionally a descendant of Kahless. In reality, however, power lay with the Klingon High Council. The position of emperor was abandoned (but not officially abolished) in the mid-21st century, but was revived in 2369 when a group of clerics created a clone of Kahless, who was accepted as the new Emperor, albeit only as a religious figurehead. (TNG: "Rightful Heir")
The Chancellor, the true leader of the Empire, was head of the High Council, which consisted of twenty-four members representing various Great Houses (tuqmey, essentially, the nobility). The Chancellor was protected at all times by the Yan-Isleth (Brotherhood of the Sword). (DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")
Women were not normally permitted to hold seats on the High Council. Despite that, Gowron once offered Ambassador K'Ehleyr a seat on the Council in exchange for her support of his bid to be Chancellor. (TNG: "Redemption", "Reunion") Also, Azetbur, the daughter of Chancellor Gorkon, was permitted to succeed him as Chancellor in 2293. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Various factions almost constantly challenged the leadership of the Empire, and so over time the Klingons developed a strict and rigorous Rite of Succession to determine their leader. According to tradition, one was permitted to challenge the leader on the grounds of cowardice or dishonorable conduct and fight in single combat. Should the challenger slay the incumbent, he assumed the role of the new leader. (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")
Because of the Klingon propensity for violence, shrewd Klingon chancellors redirected hostilities outward, where they would otherwise cause a civil war. In the 2150s, the Klingon chancellor instructed Duras to recapture Jonathan Archer after the latter escaped imprisonment on Rura Penthe. In this way, the chancellor focused the blame for certain internal problems on an external cause. (ENT: "The Expanse") Likewise, Gowron focused his soldiers' energies on invading first the Cardassian Union and later the Federation in order to avoid internal conflicts at home. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Apocalypse Rising")
Aside from challenges to the primary leadership of the Empire, there was also frequent feuding between the various Great Houses. Most often, the challenge was made on the floor of the High Council and resolved on the battlefield. However, on occasion, some "dishonorable" House leaders chose to make more insidious attacks by undermining the standing of their enemies. D'Ghor underhandedly attacked the House of Kozak in this way in the early 2370s. (DS9: "The House of Quark")
The destruction of the Empire's key energy-production facility on the moon of Praxis was a catastrophic event from which recovery was impossible due to the strain of the Empire's enormous military budget on the resources of their economy. This event was critical in establishing peaceful overtures between the Empire and the Federation. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
See also: Great Houses
- See: Klingon history
The unrealized series Star Trek: Phase II would have established a Klingon Empire which would have been based more on Imperial Japan (much like the Romulans were based off of the Roman Empire), rather than the canon Klingon Empire described here. See Kitumba.
In the TNG episode "Samaritan Snare", Wesley Crusher asked Captain Picard if an event happened "...before the Klingons joined the Federation?" This statement has never been explained in canon and later episodes clearly show a Klingon Empire that didn't join the Federation.
- Klingon Empire at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Klingon Empire at Wikipedia
- Klingon Imperial Diplomatic Corps – an extensive site with detailed information about Klingon history and culture
- Imperial Klingon Academy – Klingon Academy 'ampaS tlhIngan - helping to promote Klingon education, culture and family lines
-  - Mostly information on Klingon fandom and costuming