Lakat, Cardassia Prime
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Before Cardassia became a military dictorship, it was home to fine art and beautiful architecture. Once this civilization fell into decay, millions of Cardassians were starving and chaos ruled. This led the way for the military to take over the government.
Cardassians were involved in three great wars. The first with the Federation, which ended in a peace treaty that was uneasy to say the least. A second war broke out when the Klingon Empire, convinced that the Dominion had taken over Cardassia, attacked. A civilian government came to power, and the Klingons believed that this was not possible, unless changlings had replaced the Cardassian Military. This war devastated Cardassia, with a great loss of life and territory.
The third war was the Dominion War. In order to drive out the Klingons and regain its status in the Alpha Quadrant, Gul Dukat signed a treaty making Cardassia a part of the Dominion. Cardassian forces along with the forces of the Dominion attacked the Federation. This war was a disaster for Cardassia. After being subjugated by the Dominion, the Cardassian Military joined the Federation against the Dominion, in retaliation, the Dominion destroyed Cardassian cities and attempted to wipe out the Cardassians.
See also: Cardassian timeline
The Cardassians evolved from reptilian ancestors, and they prefer a darker, hotter, and more humid environment than humans.
Externally, Cardassians are easily recognizable by their two thick vertical neck ridges that recede back to the crown of the head and an inverted tear-shaped ridge in the center of the forehead (this feature is blue in Cardassian females). The ridge is thickest immediately above the eyes, protecting them and creating an especially deep-set appearance. All Cardassians have four secondary spinal cords. Cardassians have straight hair that varies in color from dark brown to jet black. Males typically slick their hair back, while the women have more varying hairstyles.
Society and culture
Cardassians don't avoid or try to slow the aging process, instead welcoming old age and the power and wisdom it denotes. The education system implemented on Cardassia dictates that intellectual pursuits begin at the young age of 3 or 4. Every Cardassian is raised with an appreciation of fine arts and culture, though the government may not have always been so like-minded in its policies. Educational attainment is regarded as a major source of social status and the source of creativity in Cardassian society. The Cardassians are known for their photographic memories, while some even have the ability to resist a Vulcan mind meld.
Family is considered a Cardassian's greatest asset, with three or more generations in one home. However, orphans are outcasts and are forgotten.
Men, as well as women, may serve in the military, though it may be that only men are drafted. Women, on the other hand, are the majority in the sciences.
Cardassians give their first molar to the Cardassian Bureau of Identification at age ten.
Cardassian society has the most rigid and, to the Federation, incomprehensible, of all legal systems. All suspects are guilty before even appearing in court, their sentence already spelled out - almost always death. No prisoner ever escapes the death penalty, and only very tempting incentives can change the sentence to a lifetime in a labor camp. The criminal is given a Conservator, equivalent to a public defender, only the Conservator is not supposed to win, but to prepare the criminal for a moving confession of guilt on the floor of the court. The accused is also permitted an advocate, the nestor, to advise them during the trial. The Chief Archon, or judge, of the court plays to a televised audience, her duty not to judge the prisoner's innocence or guilt, but rather to give an emphatic display of the futility of crime in Cardassia and reinforce the public's trust in the justice system.
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