The modern Klingon Empire was founded some 1500 years ago by Kahless the Unforgettable, the brilliant strategist who killed the tyrant Molor, whom he killed with the first bat'leth, the sword of honor, thereby unifying his people. His legendary stories of valor and courage still stirs emotions of pride in his descendants, now warriors of the Klingon Empire.
Kahless was a philosopher of sorts, and his work is still studied by Klingons centuries after his death. During his day, he came to realize his race was so consumed with victory that they resorted to treachery, to which he warned, "Watch your back. Friends may become enemies in less time than it takes to draw a dagger." But he did not heed his own advice, for he soon proved to be too popular -- too dangerous to a leader -- and was murdered by K'ashked, the Klingon Emperor, in 2125, leaving the Klingon High Council in command of the Empire.
The Klingon Empire has had a colorful and violent history, with many bloody conflicts such as the battle of Tong Vey, in which the ancient Emperor Sompek ordered the destruction of an entire city. By 2069, the empire was controlled by the Klingon High Council, which had grown so powerful that no emperor headed the empire from that year until the ascension of the second Kahless in 2369.
- 1 First Contact
- 2 Romulan Alliance
- 3 Early Talks & the Tribble Menace
- 4 The Praxis Incident
- 5 Narendra III
- 6 Assassination of Chancellor K'mpec
- 7 The Klingon Civil War
- 8 Fall of the House of Duras
- 9 Emperor Kahless II
- 10 The Klingon-Cardassian War
- 11 The Dominion War Begins
By 2215, Klingon technology allowed them to maintain a speed of warp 4 on their interstellar vessels. First contact between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets took place in 2218, a disastrous event that led to nearly a century of hostilities between the two powers. In 2267 negotiations between the Federation and the Empire were on the verge of breaking down. The Klingons had issued an ultimatum to the Federation to withdraw from disputed areas, claimed by both the UFP and the Klingon Empire or face war. The hostilities came to a head at the planet Organia, the only Class M world in the disputed region. Unknown to either side, the Organians incredibly advanced non-coporeal lifeforms who imposed the Organian Peace Treaty on both parties, thus effectively ending armed hostilities.
Around 2268, the Klingons entered into a brief alliance with the Romulan Star Empire, when an agreement between the two powers resulted in the sharing of military technology and spacecraft designs, providing the Romulans with Klingon battle cruisers. By the mid 2280's, Klingons were using ships described as birds-of-prey (traditionally a Romulan term) that were equipped with cloaking devices. Utilizing photon distortion fields to bend light around the vessel to render it visually undetectable, and a cloak of particle scattering fields, the effect creates a impenetrable camouflage so a vessel cannot be picked up by traditional EM sensor sweeps. This alliance was more of a friendship of convenience, and when both side got what they wanted, the alliance was dissolved in 2292. The terms on which the two sides parted remains unclear, but they would become bitter foes for the next 75 years.
Early Talks & the Tribble Menace
Bilateral talks between the Klingons and the Federation continued through 2289, taking place at the Korvat Colony. Even though the meetings did not result in any breakthroughs, some small progress was made when Federation negotiator Curzon Dax earned the respect of his Klingon colleagues. However, encounters with the Federation remained unpleasant at best, when the Klingon Empire launched a covert operation to poison emergency quadrotriticale supplies crucial to the Sherman Planet. The K-7 plant that was storing the hybrid wheat sent a distress call answered by the Enterprise. With the help of numerous tribbles, the Klingon sabotage was revealed and terminated. Klingon hatred for the furry and enormously prolific creatures was immediate after their first contact. The Klingons considered tribbles to be an ecological menace, a plague to be wiped out. In the latter part of the 23rd century, hundreds of Klingon warriors were sent to track them down throughout the galaxy. An armada obliterated the tribble homeworld, and before the 24th century, tribbles had been eradicated.
The Praxis Incident
In 2293, a catastrophic explosion on Praxis, one of the moons of Qo'noS, caused serious environmental damage to the Klingon Homeworld. In the economic disarray that followed, Chancellor Gorkon found that his Empire could no longer afford its massive military forces. He therefore launched a peace initiative, offering to end 70 years of hostilities with the Federation. Just prior to a major peace conference, Gorkon was assassinated by Federation and Klingon interests who sought to maintain the status quo.
The peace conference was then moved to Camp Khitomer, a planet near the border of Romulan space. Gorkon's successor, his daughter Azetbur, took over the role of Chancellor and continued her father's work and opened the conference which lead to the landmark Khitomer Accords. The Khitomer Conference of 2293 would later be seen as the single most important peace treaty in Federation history, ending the period of open hostility between the two major powers of the Alpha Quadrant and beginning an era of cooperation and joint ventures. However, it was only after Spock forced the truth out of his traitorous protege Valeris, that the Enterprise and the Excelsior (under command of Capt. Sulu) prevented another assassination attempt -- this time on the Federation President -- from succeeding. After exposing the villains within each party, the talks continued and an era of peace resulted.
Peace didn't come about overnight, but through the years a better understanding of the Federation and what they stood for changed the perspectives of many Klingons. The courageous efforts of the Enterprise-C, under the command Captain Rachel Garrett, in defending the Narendra III Klingon outpost in 2344 from Romulan forces solidified the pact further. To the Klingons, a Federation starship defending Klingons from destruction was proof that they were truly an honorable ally.
In later years, the Klingons remained on friendly terms with the Federation. In 2364, Lieutenant Worf, son of Mogh, made history by becoming the first Klingon Starfleet officer. His first post was aboard the Galaxy-Class starship Enterprise-D, as a lieutenant in security, when it was launched out of space dock.
Assassination of Chancellor K'mpec
The High Council was a hotbed of political intrigue that nearly plunged the Empire into civil war in 2367, when Chancellor K'mpec died of poison. Such a death and the dishonor of the murder had been foreseen by K'mpec, who knew very well it could plunge the Empire into civil war. To counter such a disastrous possibility, K'mpec took the precaution of having appointed an Arbiter of Succession. However, he broke convention by choosing Federation Captain Jean-Luc Picard as mediator in choosing the next head of the Klingon Empire. It came down to two candidates, Duras, partly responsible for the discommendation of Worf, and Gowron, a rising political figure. A web of intrigue and betrayal resulted in the death of Duras, son of Ja'rod. Worf actually wielded the knife that killed Duras and was reprimanded for his conduct afterwards. He had avenged the death of Emissary K'Ehleyr, who confronted Duras with his family secret of responsibility for the Khitomer betrayal before she was killed. With no other challenger, Gowron emerged as Council leader, leaving the Duras line extremely unsatisfied.
The Klingon Civil War
Forces loyal to the powerful House of Duras unsuccessfully attempted to block Gowron, plunging the Empire into a brief, but bitter civil war in early 2368. The Duras family tried to reinstate their power in the Klingon Empire by pulling their connections and attempted to put Toral, the son of Duras, into Council leader. Certain High Council members who were allies of the House of Duras, opted to side with them, and a deep rift in the Empire was formed. In the following civil war, the Duras family secretly utilized Romulan forces to aid their cause, promising a split with the Federation when they succeeded in deposing Gowron. Gowron issued a formal statement for assistance from the Federation, but dutifully observing the Prime Directive of non-interference, Starfleet declined to involve themselves in the war.
A conflict that could have ended in disaster for the Empire was averted when it was discovered that the Duras had colluded with Romulans, who had quietly supplied them with weapons and other resources. The Romulans wished the Duras to take control of the High Council, for that would truly see an end to the Federation/Klingon alliance, a combined superpower the Romulans have long wished to disassemble. But the coup failed as the supply source was ultimately cut off by a blockade of more than 20 Starfleet vessels utilizing a tachyon detection grid to scan for cloaked Romulan ships attempting to cross the border, for the Federation had duly recognised the Romulan/Duras connection.
Fall of the House of Duras
When word got out, support for the House of Duras fell and Gowron was placed firmly into power. The war quieted with the escape of the Duras sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, and the Romulans returned home, foiled once again by the Enterprise-D's interference. Young Toral was spared from death by Worf, whose father Mogh was at last cleared of wrong-doing. Honor was restored to the House of Mogh.
Space marauders without hope of returning to Qo'noS anytime soon, Lursa and B'Etor made other attempts to gain power. Their exploits brought them to the Deep Space Nine where they sold bilitrium explosives to a Bajoran Kohn-ma terrorist who planned to use it to blow up the wormhole and drive away the Federation. The last time the Duras sisters were reportedly seen was when they associated with Dr. Soran, ferrying him to the Nexus while he provided them with trilithium weapons capable of mass destruction. The Enterprise-D interfered and destroyed the Bird-of-Prey, presumably killing the sisters in the process.
Emperor Kahless II
Though their nation is called Empire, it had not been ruled by an Emperor for more than three centuries. This situation changed in 2369, when Kahless the Unforgettable returned to Qo'noS, as he declared he would before his death. After some research it was revealed he was a clone of the original Kahless, brought back by clerics of Boreth. Gowron knew his people hungered for the spiritual leadership of Kahless, and conceived an idea that would give Kahless the position to use his influence while keeping the real political power to himself and the High Council. This clone was regarded as the rightful heir to the throne, and, with the support of Chancellor Gowron, was installed in the honourary position of the ceremonial Emperor of the Klingon people.
The Klingon-Cardassian War
In early 2372, concern over reported Founder infiltration into the Quadrant's political arena mounted, and certain Klingons were greatly disturbed by the overthrow of the Cardassian Central Command, something they interpreted as the work of the Founders. Voices shouting for war and glory pressured Gowron into action. He gave orders to invade Cardassia on the premise of rooting out the Founders Klingons believed had replaced the Cardassian Detapa Council. Fearing that the Cardassian government had been taken over by the Dominion, Gowron's forces, commanded by a changeling agent impersonating General Martok, invaded Cardassia Prime, intending to execute the Detapa Council and install an imperial overseer to rule. Although this Changeling Theory was later disproved by Starfleet, the Klingon Empire continued the attacks. The UFP, having signed a peace treaty with the Cardassians only some years ago, had no choice than to intervene against the Klingons.
Captain Sisko and Lt. Commander Worf got wind of the Klingons' intentions and warned against such a rash and unprovoked attack, one which could mean the dissolving of the long-standing Khitomer Accords with the Federation. Gowron disregarded the warning and proceeded with plans. General Martok led an armada in the attack on Cardassia, nearly wiping out the its infrastructure in the process. Despite Gowron's firm resolve to go to war with Cardassia, there were several Klingons within the Empire who did not support the invasion, not the least of whom was Emperor Kahless and Worf's brother Kurn, now a member of the High Council.
The Klingons did a great deal of damage after they penetrated Cardassian defense lines. The civilian council members were saved from certain death only by the unified efforts of Gul Dukat and Captain Sisko, who placed them in the relative safety of DS9. When demands to release the council members were not met, the Klingon fleet bombarded Deep Space Nine with heavy fire, resolved to force them out or destroy the station. Sisko had the foresight to reinforce the defensive and offensive capabilities of the station a year ago, and the station withstood everything the Klingon fleet could launch at it.
The attack on DS9 ended when Sisko made Gowron see that this turn of events was manipulated by the Founders, who turned allies into foes to weaken them for the Dominion invasion. By then, Klingons had already occupied several Cardassian worlds, and even as they engaged in peace talks with the Federation, they were engineering an eventual conflict by killing Bajoran and Cardassian nationals meeting for peace talks and by setting up Worf to make an unprovoked attack on a Klingon transport. At the end of 2371, talks between the Federation and Klingon Empire ended with mutual dissatisfaction. The Klingons were insulted by the incessant demands to retreat from Cardassian territory, and soon after the Khitomer Accords were officially annulled by Gowron, expelling all Federation citizens from the empire and recalling all Klingon ambassadors.
Soon after, a high ranking member of the Klingon military, General Martok, was discovered to be a changeling, and Dominion spy. The infiltrator was instantly killed on discovery, and without his damaging influence disrupting Alpha Quadrant affairs, stability between the Federation and Klingon Empire was ensured once more. One possibility is that the Martok influence may indeed have had something to do with the earlier concerns that the Cardassian government had been taken over by the Dominion, with him campaigning for war. One primary tactic the Dominion used was to turn the Alpha Quadrant powers against each other, fuelling internal rumour, distrust and suspicion.
Widespread scuffles and skirmishes ensued with Federation forces for a short while thereafter, but after an incident at Ajilon Prime a cease fire was established, and the alliance reformed.
The Dominion War Begins
But the damage was done. Neither the Federation, Klingon Empire, Cardassia Union, nor the Romulans could summon a fleet to defend from the imminent Jem'Hadar invasion through the wormhole. Having taken everything in consideration, the Federation decided to use modified graviton emitters to seal the wormhole without damaging the Prophet inside. However, sabotage from another Changeling in disguise (this time as Doctor Bashir) prevented them from closing the wormhole, and the Jem'Hadar fleet poured through to the Alpha Quadrant.
However, this was nowhere as stunning as the announcement Gul Dukat that the Cardassian Union had joined the Dominion. Dukat was made the new head of the Union, and the Dominion soon removed all Klingon presence from their territory as well as summarily slaughtered all Maquis terrorists. Having tasted victory upon victory in so short a time, Dukat soon revealed his plans to reclaim Terok Nor for Cardassia.
The Klingon fleet, battered by Dominion ferocity, withdrew to the Bajoran system, where Captain Sisko persuaded the Empire to consider a resigning of the Khitomer Accords, arguing that the Dominion would be easier to fend off through a joint effort. So whereas suspicion of Dominion involvement initiated the string of events and severed Federation-Klingon ties, the confirmation of Dominion involvement in Cardassia would restore the peace accords and end the conflict.
Re-Signing of the Khitomer Accords
The re-signing of the Khitomer Accords marked the beginning of close strategic cooperation on the part of the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Klingon fleets joined Federation vessels in protecting the Bajoran system from a possible Dominion invasion, and a Romulan fleet joined the defense line as they waited for the Jem'Hadar ships approaching fast ahead on their sensors -- only there was no Dominion fleet. A Changeling posing as Dr. Bashir tried to make the Bajoran sun go nova, but Major Kira and Lt. Dax uncovered the plot and destroyed the runabout Yantzee, which was ferrying the Changeling and his explosives, before he could succeed.
Later, when Worf and Garak were thrown into Internment Camp 371, the place where enemies of the Dominion were confined, they discovered the real General Martok and Doctor Bashir as well as Enabran Tain, who survived the disastrous joing Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar attack on the Founder homeworld a year earlier. After their safe return to the Alpha Quadrant, Martok was made commander of the Klingon forces stationed around DS9 as part of the new Khitomer Accords.
In the following months, more Dominion convoys were sent through the wormhole into Cardassian space. It was soon apparent that the Dominion was planning to take over the whole Quadrant when they had everything in place. Captain Sisko convinced Starfleet that the wormhole entrance must be mined to prevent more Jem'Hadar from entering the Alpha Quadrant. With the help of Klingon ships as cover, the self-replicating cloaked mines were successfully placed and activated just seconds before the Federation personnel were forced to abandon DS9.
The next three months inflicted terrible losses for the Federation. Whole fleets were destroyed and the war proved to be a very bloody affair for both sides. When news came through that the Dominion had almost dismantled the minefield and was ready to send through massive reinforcements, Captain Sisko knew they could wait no longer. He convinced the Federation to launch a risky strike, sending three fleets from Starbase 375 to Terok Nor in a gamble that could reclaim the station if successful.
The Prophets Step In
Meanwhile, an armada of 2,800 Dominion ships queued up to enter the wormhole into the Alpha Quadrant. The Defiant broke through the Cardassian/Dominion line, but was obviously no match against the Jem'Hadar fleet. Right before the Defiant came into weapons range of the Jem'Hadar, the alien entities within the wormhole spoke to their Emissary "the Sisko" again, but with more urgency than before. Sisko made clear to them what the devastating result would be if such an enormous fleet were to reach the Alpha Quadrant. Not wishing their Emissary to die, and aware of the outcome should the Jem'Hadar ships reach the Alpha Quadrant, the Prophets decided to act, and made all 2,800 ships vanish without a trace.
Gul Dukat, who was with Weyoun and the Founder female in Terok Nor Ops, was already celebrating his glorious victory. When the reinforcements vanished without a trace from the sensors, and the Defiant alone emerged from the wormhole, he could not comprehend what had happened. Everything was lost, and more Federation ships were on their way. The Dominion had no choice but fall back to Cardassian space.
Romulans Enter the Dominion War
The Romulans, who had signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion prior to this, was pulled into the war when they were "convinced" the Cardassians murdered Romulan Senator Vreenak. Thus, the Klingons found themselves fighting alongside the Federation and Romulans against a common enemy.
Among the first joint campaigns of the Klingon/Federation/Romulan forces was the taking of the Chin'Toka System. Targeted for its thin defenses, the fleet led by Sisko encountered resistance only in the orbital weapons platform deployed there. After destroying the main power source, the aystem came under Federation control. Dukat, who escaped from a Federation prison escort ship when it crashed in a remote planet, returned to Deep Space Nine to destroy the Orb of Prophesy and in the process unwittingly killed Jadzia Dax, who was praying in the Bajoran Temple at that time. The wormhole inverted and collapsed, sending the Bajorans into panic about the disappearance of their Celestial Temple. Three months later, Captain Sisko restored the wormhole by rediscovering the Orb of the Emissary on Bajor.
Death of a Hero
Kor, the D'Har master and legendary hero of the Klingon Empire, felt the time had come for his final, glorious death to usher him into Sto-Vo-Kor, where his beloved friends, Kang and Koloth, had already gone. In 2375, he asked for Worf's help in securing a position on General Martok's ship where he could go into battle and hopefully die a fitting death for a warrior of the Empire. Martok, though resentful of the man who had refused him entry into the Klingon Guard, allowed Kor to remain Third Mate when Worf appointed him the position on the Ch'Tang, Martok's flagship. During the attack run on Trelka Five, Kor succeeded in the end by sacrificing his life in slowing down the wing of Jem'Hadar fighters on the tail of the Ch'Tang, and he entered Sto-Vo-Kor in a blaze of glory.
Ascent of Chancellor Martok
In 2375, the Klingons fought alongside the Federation and suffered the most damaging losses when the Breen used their energy dissipater weapon against power-hungry attack vessels the Federation, Klingon, and Romulans at the second battle of Chin'toka, and the System once again fell under Dominion control. Shortly after the attack, Chancellor Gowron came aboard DS9 to induct Martok into the Order of Kahless, the highest honor possible for any Klingon. But afterwards, Martok was relieved of his post as commander of the Klingon fleet, and Gowron repeatedly asked him to waste men and ships in suicide missions. Martok was too proud and too loyal to disobey the commands of Gowron, but eventually Worf came to see that Gowron had his own political motives for the waste of resources. He challenged Gowron's tactical decisions, and in the ensuing duel killed the man he helped install into Chancellorship. Worf refused the mantle of the Chancellor, instead throwing it over Martok, who reluctantly accepted his new role as Chancellor as well as regained his old role of Fleet Commander.
With a countermeasure against the Breen weapon developed by the Federation, the Dominion pulled back into a tight perimeter around Cardassia Prime, where they hoped they could rebuild while the Federation and the other enemies would cease pursuit and be content to return home. Chancellor Martok voted to strike the Dominion down once and for all, before they have time to rebuild, an opinion Sisko shared. The Romulans eventually went along with the Federation and Klingon Empire, and a full-out attack began.
Back on Cardassia, Damar, whose formal military resistance movement had been crushed by Weyoun, ignited a civilian rebellion that succeeded in taking out power on Cardassia Prime for the duration of the Federation/Klingon/Romulan attack on Dominion forces. With communication cut, Weyoun and the Female Founder could not contact their fleet, and the Founder was so incensed she ordered Lakarean City, 2 million in population, destroyed. She also ordered every house levelled in Cardassia if necessary until Damar and his rebels were found. The Jem'Hadar were about to kill the trio when the Cardassian soldiers that had come along with the Jem'Hadar killed the Dominion soldiers and pledged their loyalty to Damar.
The Tide Turns
Sisko, Martok, and Ross lead the attack, and they clearly were losing ground when the Cardassian ships suddenly turned to fire on the Dominion. Soon, it was the Dominion whose line was faltering rapidly under the firepower of all the hostile ships. It was only then that long-range communications returned to Weyoun and Founder. Knowledge that the entire Cardassian fleet had turned against the Dominion angered the Founder into declaring that all Cardassians untrustworthy. She immediately ordered the extermination of the entire population on Cardassia Prime and sent Jem'Hadar ships to level every inch of Cardassia Prime. The Breen general volunteered to fight in the front lines, leaving Weyoun and the Founder almost entirely alone on the planet surface.
The Founder, alone in the command center and a dead Weyoun lying at her feet while under Kira and Garak held her prisoner, would not call off her Jem'Hadar, content to let every last Dominion soldier die fighting. Odo convinced her to surrender and stand trial as a war criminal when he healed her disease and imprinted on her his experience of solids.