Minbari Federation History
LOCATION: 7th Planet
SYSTEM: 10 total - 9 solid, 1 Gas
AGE: 8.6 billion years
TEMPERATURE: 12 degrees Celsius
MASS: 1.1998 gravity
REVOLUTION: 547.87 DAYS
Of all the younger races, none are more powerful than the Minbari Federation. In truth, the Minbari are not usually considered to be a part of what is generalized as the Younger races, due to the fact that the Minbari hold the unique position of having risen to power after the First Ones and before the Younger races. Many have thus placed the Minbari in a class known as the "Middle Children", reserved for those races like the Minbari, Soul Hunters, and Stribe.
The Minbari home world, which is the seventh planet from their sun, is larger and colder than earth. Nearly one fourth of the entire planets northern hemisphere is covered by ice and much of the planets surface is composed of gigantic mineral deposits and crystal. While beautiful, the planet Minbar is a treacherously hostile world boasting very few life forms.
The only sentient race to arise from Minbar's primordial soup are the bone crested Minbari we know today. While modern humans have existed for some fifteen-thousand years, modern Minbari have existed for over forty-thousand years.
The ancient past of the Minbari is ripe with stories of war, conflict, barbarism and horrible atrocities. This ancient time, which the Minbari refer to as the First Triumvirate, would see the slow rise of Minbari culture out of barbarism, to become a deeply spiritual and contemplative people.
During the First Triumvirate, there was little to no form of organized government anywhere on Minbar. This is due primarily to the fact that Minbari of this time were nomadic. Their nomadic existence was a necessity in ancient times, as fertile land, prey, water and resources were scares on Minbar.
In this time, the clan system was the only true form of Minbari government and the foundation of all Minbari culture. Clans usually began with a single family, lead by a Chieftain male who lead the family. The Chieftain would usually take his sister and later his first born daughters as wives and, eventually, be over thrown by a male heir or the leader of another family. Eventually families would be conquered or come to make alliances with other families, giving rise to the clans. Most clans at this time consisted of anywhere between three or more families living and working together.
Through the clan system the First Triumvirate also saw the creation of the Caste system. As the Minbari people were generally nomadic, different factions of Minbari society would rule depending upon the circumstances. When food, shelter and game was plentiful, it was the job of the Worker Caste to lead the people. This was due to the fact it was the Worker Caste members who knew how to forage, farm and maintain the clans precious resources.
In times of conflict, or when food and water were scarce and the clan had to move to find the necessities of survival, it would fall upon the Warrior Caste to protect and lead the cast to their new home. In battle the Warriors would lead the whole of the clan, and be expected to give up his power upon their enemy's defeat.
The final Cast to rise from the clan system was the Religious Caste. While never truly attaining a position of leadership in the clans, the Religious Caste was usually the cornerstone of clan life. Those who were part of the Religious Caste were the most highly revered, consisting of poets, healers and philosophers. In times of internal dispute, it would often fall upon the Religious Caste to settle arguments and make peace between warring clans.
Second Triumvirate began when many clans came together in peace to create cities and unified cultures. Called from all over Minbar by the Religious Castes of every clan, it was decided that the clans would put aside their differences and work together for a common good. Thus began the Minbari's first golden age.
Fertile valley were worked by all the clans providing enough food for everyone. Science, art, culture, philosophy, and society on a whole prospered and the clans worked together like never before and anyone willing to work could feed his family. Unfortunately, this new existence also brought with it new problems. During the First Triumvirate leaders were chosen by the circumstances of the day. In this new age of enlightenment however, this was no longer the case.
Soon the problems of old began to resurface. This time however it was not the struggle of clan against clan that threatened to tear the new found peace apart, but the struggle between the three casts. As it had been the Religious Caste who had created this new found peace, they felt it was only right for them to rule. Thus, in this new age, the Religious Caste seized the reins of power from both the Worker and Warrior Castes for the first time.
There was no need for waging war in the search for new resources and thus the Warriors were not needed and had no way to seize power. The Workers, who had always ruled when food and water were abundant, found themselves relegated to subordination as the Religious Caste assumed control.
Tensions between the casts began to build and would eventually come to a head when large city states went to war. Warriors immediately gather their forces and before defending their respective city state, went before the ruling cast to assume their rightful place as leaders until the threat of invasion was over.
These conflicts provided the Warrior Caste with the excuse they had been looking for to seize power. In truth their claim to leadership was legitimate according to Minbari law. Despite this however, the Religious Caste of some of these nations refused to give up the reigns of power. Thus the warriors decreed that, if the Religious Caste did not abide by the laws, they would not fight the invaders poised to attack.
Having no choice, the Religious Caste yield authority to the Warriors. Upon the defeat of the invaders however, the Warrior Caste refused to return control to the Religious Caste, citing the fact that threats existed everywhere. Often civil war ensued as the Religious and Worker Castes challenged the Warriors, the Religious Castes refusing to abdicate their authority and the Worker Castes taking advantage of the chaos to laying claim to power. Thus began the cast rivalry that would dominate Minbar culture until the coming of Valen. After a decades long war, many cities and nations were left in ruins, the fertile valleys destroyed by warfare. Some clans went back to their nomadic existence while others tried to rebuild but with a clants and casts divided.
Conflicts between the three casts would continue to persist for thousands of years. Cities would rise and fall, empires would be created and forgotten and through it all Minbari culture would advance.
What would come to be considered the Third Triumvirate began over three thousand years ago. By this time, while humans were still in the Bronze age, Minbari culture had reached a technological point where space travel was now becoming possible. While wars still broke out between rival nations and tensions between the casts had become a part of everyday life, colonization of the Minbari home solar system began.
Over the course of some four hundred years, the Minbari would slowly colonize different moons and planets in their home solar system. The Minbari's advancement into space moved much more slowly than humanity's. From the time that the Minbari launched their first rocket, to the time when they would finally succeed in bridging the barrier between worlds with the discovery of hyperspace, more than fifteen hundred years would pass. Upon the Minbari's entrance into the Galactic scene, the enigmatic Vorlons would immediately take an interest in the Minbari. Making first contact, the Vorlons helped to push the advancement of Minbari technology. The Minbari, not fully understanding the Vorlons reasons, were reluctant to push for advancement so quickly. Traditionally, the Minbari had always taken a slow methodical approach to all their endeavours Soon however, the Minbari would understand the Vorlons reasons for urging the Minbari forward.
Little more than four-hundred years after making first contact with the Vorlons, the Minbari would become embroiled in a war that would almost destroy them... first contact with the Shadows. The Vorlons had prepared the Minbari well however. The Minbari had moved beyond Fusion power and were now using matter/antimatter reactors and ships using gravimetric technology rather than Ion propulsion alone.
At the beginning of the Shadow War, the Minbari were at a technological state approximate to modern day Centauri. With the Vorlons as their guides, the Minbari made alliances with many races like the Tak'cha. Some races, so fearful and paranoid of the Shadows being on the move again, would destroy themselves, like the beings of Ikarra VII.
Despite all their technological advances, the Minbari still found themselves ill prepared to face the onslaught of the Shadows. Fleets, bases, entire worlds fell beneath the wheel of the Shadows advance. Eventually the Shadows would destroy the Minbari's primary deep space military base and, without a installation to push an advance the allied forces seemed doom to fall.
Race after race fell, entire worlds were destroyed and the Minbari, one of the few surviving races in the war, found their fleets turned away at every outpost. Just when all seemed lost, an event would occur that would forever chance Minbari destiny. From nowhere a replacement for the Minbari's lost base would appear, and with it the introduction of the greatest Minbari ever born - Valen.
Valen was a Minbari, not born of Minbari. No trace of his lineage or clan existed and he held no allegiance to any of the Casts. Under Valen's teachings, the Minbari rose from the ashes and, with their new base, struck back at the Shadows. New alliances were formed and the Minbari again began to advance on the Shadows.
The enigmatic Vorlons once again took up arms against the Shadows, lending their might to the Minbari forces. Soon however, squabbling among the casts ensued. Valen shunned the casts and created the Anla-shok, what humanity would come to call the Rangers. Then, after years of war, the allied forces succeeded in driving off the Shadows. This victory came with a heavy price however, as many of those races who participated in the war were destroyed. Of all the races that fought in the great war against the Shadows, the Minbari were one of the very few who survived intact. Almost all the other space faring races of this time were destroyed in the war retreated back to their home worlds or were bombed back into the stone age.
The Minbari soon found that they were now the undisputed power in the quadrant. Still the old wounds of the past remained open and once again wars between the casts ensued. Then, as he had during the Shadow War, Valen stepped forward and reshaped Minbari culture. "With great power comes even greater responsibility." Valen said before a meeting of all the clans and casts. "If we can not master ourselves, we do not deserve to posses this great power. We must strive to be more than what we are, and lead not by force of arms, but by example."
And thus Valen took three from the Warrior Caste, three of the Worker Caste and three from the Religious Caste and formed the Gray Council. The Nine and the One then set to the task of reshaping Minbari culture, creating the Minbari people known today.
Valen later took a bride who fell from somewhere beyond space and time and they both fled into seclusion amongst the sea of stars. Valen's fate was never known but his teachings would live on and endure for a thousand years. Minbari society strived to live up to the example Valen had set before them and would enjoy a millennium of peace and prosperity.
Eventually, not wanting to abuse their great power, the Minbari went into seclusion, awaiting the fulfilment of prophecy. Valen had warned that the ancient enemy, the Shadows, would return to bring chaos to the universe in a thousand years. Slowly the Minbari prepared for the day when they would once again have to rise to protect all life. Some races, like the Streib for example, at one time or another did attempt to strike at the Minbari. Every race who attempted to violate Minbari space were driven back to their home worlds, the Minbari making clear that no attack on their people would be tolerated. As Valen promised, there would be a thousand years of peace. All this changed however on the earth date January 12, 2246.
During a chance encounter, a fleet of Minbari ships in rout to Z'Ha'Dum came upon an earth exploratory mission into Minbari space. Hearing of the Earth Alliances great victory over the Dilgar in the preservation life, the Minbari approached the Earth fleet with their gun ports open an act of great respect in Minbari society.
The Earth fleet, believing that they were about to be attacked, opened fire on the advancing Minbari fleet. Before retreating into Hyperspace the attacking Earth warships would damage two Minbari cruisers and leave Dukhat, leader of the Minbari Gray council, dead.
Outraged over the senseless death of their leader, the whole of Minbari society went mad and, for the first time in centuries, the Minbari flexed their galactic muscles. It was a holly war and the Minbari would not stop until every last human was dead.
Earth attempted to open up negotiations with the Minbari, but all of their communications were rebuffed. Hoping that they could prove to the Minbari they were a power not to be trifled with, Earth launched a strike against a Minbari mid-range military base. Earth’s intentions were to strike with a fleet of forty starships and destroy the Minbari base, thus proving to the Minbari that they were powerful and force the Minbari to the bargaining table.
This was to be the first major battle of the war. The Earth fleet entered the Minbari star system of ShLekkTha and slowly entered weapon range of a waiting Minbari fleet. The Minbari fleet consisted only of twelve War-Cruisers, to the Earth Alliances forty starships, which consisted of Heavy Cruisers and Dreadnoughts. Despite being well within range of the Minbari's weapons, the Minbari ShLekkTha fleet allowed the Earth vessels to close into range and fire the first shot.
The battle lasted only twelve seconds. In this twelve seconds the Minbari destroyed every one of the attacking Earth vessels, allowing only one fighter to survive, so it could return home to tell her people of their impending doom.
The Minbari swept through Earth held territory, destroying everything and everyone in their path. Nothing in heaven or earth could stop the advancing Minbari forces. Still the humans held back the Minbari for nearly three years making them fight for every meter space. Inevitably however, the Minbari would make their way to earth and threaten to wipe out all humanity.
Humanity gathered what little forces they could to defend themselves from the attacking Minbari fleet. In what would come to be known as the Battle of the Line, a fleet of eighthundred Minbari War-Cruisers emerged from Hyperspace and destroyed the twenty-thousand earth ships, consisting mostly of shuttles and Starfuries.
On the verge of total victory, the Minbari took Earth Alliance pilot Jeffrey David Sinclair prisoner. This was the Minbari's first real look at a human and, while interrogating him, the Minbari learned that the human not only possessed the soul of a Minbari, but the soul of Valen himself.
Realizing the horrible mistake they had made, the Minbari surrendered their fleet to the Earth Alliance, moments before opening fire on the planet. The decision to surrender was not explained to anyone outside the Gray council. The Minbari people were outraged and many of the Warrior Caste committed suicide rather than surrender. It would be decades before people learned the truth of why the Minbari had surrendered at the Battle of the Line.
Following the conclusion of the war, the Minbari found they could not simply return to their isolationist ways. By not interacting with the other races, a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided, nearly lead to the genocide of an entire race. This was an eye opening experience to the Minbari who, for the first time since the age of Valen, took part in galactic affairs.
When the Earth Alliance began construction of the fifth Babylon station, the Minbari offered both technological and financial assistance in the project. Babylon 5 would become a hub of Minbari activity and be instrumental in the second war against the Shadows, as prophesied by Valen a thousand years before.
Still, the tragedy of the Earth/Minbari war had long lasting repercussions that would eventually lead to a civil war on the Minbari home world. Delenn, leader of the clan Mir, would eventually be appointed leader of the Minbari. Under her leadership, the Minbari Gray council, which was disbanded just prior to the outbreak of the Shadow War, would be reformed.
To curb the Warrior and Religious Castes from having undue influence, only two from the Warrior Caste and Religious Caste were chosen to sit on the new Gray council, the other five members chosen from the Workers cast.
Now, after a thousand years, the Minbari have attained that which Valen had wished of them so long ago, the Minbari lead by example and inspire others to be more than they believe themselves to be, as founding members of the new Interstellar Alliance.