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Ro Laren in 2370
|Base of operations||Deep Space Nine|
|Official language(s)||Bajoran, Ancient Bajoran|
|Affiliation||United Federation of Planets, Bajoran Provisional Government|
In the Star Trek science-fiction franchise, the Bajorans are a humanoid extraterrestrial species native to the planet Bajor. They were first introduced in the 1991 episode "Ensign Ro" of Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequently were a pivotal element of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and also appeared in Star Trek: Voyager. The shows' writers initially depicted the Bajorans as an oppressed people who were often forced to live as refugees, whom they likened to a variety of ethnic groups. Rick Berman, who helped to originally conceive them, compared them to "the Palestinians, [...] the boat people from Haiti — unfortunately, the homeless and terrorism are problems [of every age]." Ronald D. Moore similarly commented, "depending on the episode, you could also call Bajor Israel, or Iran, or even America and the Cardassians could be Germans, or Russians or several other examples… [but] we don't really try to make Bajor a direct analogy to any specific contemporary country or people." Various Bajoran characters were included in several of the Star Trek series, including Ro Laren (played by Michelle Forbes) in The Next Generation as well as a number of others in Deep Space Nine, which was set on a space station near to Bajor, and which featured Bajoran characters such as Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) and Winn Adami (Louise Fletcher).
- 1 Storyline
- 2 Biology
- 3 Culture and traditions
- 4 Homeworld
- 5 Religion
- 6 Politics
- 7 Language
- 8 Federation membership
- 9 Notable Bajorans
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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According to the fictional storyline of the Star Trek universe, the Bajorans are an ancient species who developed advanced technology before the evolution of humanity on Earth. They eventually developed space-faring ships, which took them as far away as the planet of Cardassia. In 2328 the Cardassian Union, which had been taken over by a military dictatorship, invaded Bajor, occupying it for fifty years, during which time they forced many Bajorans into slave labor, using them in their various mining operations. This forced many Bajorans to flee and live in refugee camps away from Cardassian domination, while other Bajorans got involved in the resistance movement, organising terrorist attacks against Cardassian targets.
The Federation could not intervene in the situation, due to Prime Directive considerations; since Bajor had formally aligned itself with the Cardassians some time before, it was considered an internal matter between the Cardassian Union and a member/subject planet. This caused some resentment towards the Federation by the Bajoran people, especially when the Federation was initially invited to administer Deep Space Nine.
In 2369, the Cardassian civilian authorities ordered the military to withdraw from Bajor, after which the Bajoran provisional government invited the United Federation of Planets to set up base on the former Cardassian mining station of Terok Nor, renaming it Deep Space Nine, and requesting membership into the Federation.
In 2369, when Commander (later Captain) Benjamin Sisko was assigned command of DS9, one of his instructions was to prepare Bajor for full membership into the Federation (pilot episode: "Emissary"). This was a long-running theme during the rest of the series. In 2373, with the Dominion War on the horizon, Bajor asks to be admitted to the Federation under special circumstances. Sisko, acting as Emissary of the Prophets, warned that if Bajor were to join the Federation at that time, it would mean the destruction of that world. With this warning, Bajor decided not to accept membership at that time. At the start of the Dominion War, Bajor officially declared their neutrality ("Call to Arms"), although many Bajorans joined Starfleet and, as well, a new resistance to the occupation of Deep Space Nine is formed.
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Like many aliens on Star Trek, the Bajorans are human-like in appearance, but have a distinctive symmetrical facial feature: ridges on the nose between the eyes. Despite their human-like appearance, there are several biological differences between the two species. During pregnancy, Bajoran women suffer from uncontrollable sneezing fits in lieu of morning sickness. Bajoran women gestate for five months, as opposed to the nine months of human women, due to high vascularization between the fetus and the mother. As a result, any attempt to remove the fetus prematurely, especially during the later stages of pregnancy, would cause massive blood loss to the mother and severe distress to the baby.
During childbirth they must be extremely relaxed, and therefore feel little or no pain during the process.
Culture and traditions
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Bajoran tradition places the family name before the given name; thus, 'Kira Nerys' is properly addressed as 'Major Kira', not 'Major Nerys'. Bajorans will typically consider it an honor when they are addressed using the correct form of their family names (many offworlders don't respect proper Bajoran naming customs).
During the series, emphasis was placed on the Bajorans' spiritual life, centering around the Orbs—objects of an alien origin believed to have been sent by the Prophets (Bajor's gods), each of which possess a unique ability (such as the 'Orb of Time', which allows those viewing it to revisit past events). Nine orbs were discovered by the Bajorans over the centuries (and a tenth is discovered during the events of the TV series), however all but one were seized by the Cardassians during the Occupation.
The Bajoran people were originally divided into castes, called d'jarras, that dictated a person's place in Bajoran society; members of a lower-ranking d'jarra were expected to defer to those of a higher caste. When the Occupation began, the d'jarra system was abolished as the resistance movement encouraged all Bajorans to unite, regardless of caste. When the former Bajoran spiritual leader, Akorem Laan, attempted to reintroduce the caste system, it was rejected because it would have made Bajor ineligible for Federation membership (caste based discrimination is forbidden under Federation law).
Bajorans wear large, chained earrings and ear cuffs called d'ja pagh on their right ears, as symbols of their religious faith. Before the war against Cardassian occupation, the earring also symbolized one's d'jarra. Even after the Occupation, there were still different styles of earrings passed down through families, but they had lost their original significance. When Akorem Laan encountered Major Kira he recognized from the style of her earring that she is a member of the artisan d'jarra, even though she was a member of the military, and she explained that the different styles of earring no longer signified anything.
|Planet type||Class M planet|
|Notable locations||Alpha Quadrant|
|Notable people||Independent, Cardassian vassal, Cardassian Union, independent, Federation Autonomous State|
Bajor (// or //) is the homeworld of the Bajorans. Bajor is a Class M planet that has five moons. A day on Bajor has 26 hours. Bajor's atmosphere has a greenish tint; as a result, oceans viewed from space will appear more green than blue.
Bajor, the seventh planet in the system, orbits the star Bajor-B'hava'el in the Bajoran sector. Other inhabited planets in the Bajoran star system include Andros (Bajor VIII), a Class K planet (similar to Mars) and the fifth moon of Bajor, Jeraddo.
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The Bajoran religion, also called The Way of the Prophets, is a major unifying force on the planet. This religion, unlike so many others in the galaxy, is unique in that the deities associated with the religion are actually tangible beings known to exist within the scientific world, rather than existing merely as folklore and legend. Many of the "supernatural" seeming elements within the Bajoran religion are based in fact, often backed with scientific theories, and thus can be considered natural rather than supernatural.
The Prophets, or "Wormhole Aliens" (as they are referred to by most non-Bajorans) exist within the wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants, the Alpha end being located within the Bajoran system. This wormhole, and home of the Prophets, is referred to as the Celestial Temple by the Bajoran people. The Prophets exist as timeless beings, with their first (known) encounter with corporeal beings (specifically, Benjamin Sisko) resulting in a long and confusing conversation as to how linear time works. Their motives remain unclear; on several occasions they proclaim their disinterest in the physical world, though they actively participate in the physical world on behalf of Bajor and its people.
The Prophets are also believed to be the providers of sacred objects called Orbs or "Tears of the Prophets". These Orbs exist as crystalline, hour-glass shaped, glowing objects apparently floating within their containers. Though the Orbs defy scientific analysis, they stimulate what are known as "Orb Experiences", visions and images which have a measurable effect on the nervous system of humanoids. It is debatable, however, whether the Orb Experiences are, in fact, actual experiences, or merely dreams or hallucinations. Orbs known to exist include the Orbs of Wisdom, Prophecy, Change, Time, and the Emissary. The Orb of Time has an effect on physical matter, as shown by its interactions with the Starship Defiant in the episode "Trials and Tribble-ations"(DS9). Additionally, the Orb of the Emissary seems directly tied to Benjamin Sisko, who is seen as the Prophets' Emissary to Bajor.
Another aspect of the religion is that of the Pah (roughly translated as 'immortal soul'). If a person has followed the will of the Prophets, his Pah is 'clean' and he will be permitted to enter the Celestial Temple and dwell with the Prophets. Bajoran spiritual leaders such as Kais and Vedeks can feel the Pah of another by pinching the lobe of one's ear, though many find this scrutiny to be slightly unsettling. One's Pah can also be stolen by the Pah Wraiths, who are evil beings claiming to be the 'true gods of Bajor'.
Religious practices are unclear. The Bajoran religion involves regular services which are intended to teach the "Will of the Prophets". Meditation and prayer (either in groups or privately) are commonly used, but not strictly observed. There are some orthodox groups within the religion that take a rather dim view of science (more specifically a scientific interpretation of the wormhole) and the beliefs of other species, but this is a small minority, with relatively little support among the people. In the Next Generation episode 'The Next Phase', Ro Laren mentions that some traditional Bajoran funeral rites can go on for over three hours.
Prior to the events of Deep Space Nine, Bajoran society was socially stratified; by religious edict, a person's place in society was determined by their caste (or d'jara). When the Cardassian Empire occupied Bajor, the d'jara system was abandoned so that all Bajoran citizens could become soldiers and fight in the Resistance. When Akorem Laan attempted to reinstate the d'jara system in 2372, it put Bajor's application for Federation membership in jeopardy, as caste-based discrimination was specifically forbidden by the Federation Charter.
In similarity to Christianity, the non-canon Deep Space Nine Relaunch novels reveal the existence of a form of 'excommunication' from the Bajoran faith: when Kira Nerys interferes in a growing civil war, despite being ordered not to do so by the Vedek Assembly, she is declared 'Attainted' and can no longer attend Bajoran services, set foot in a temple, or study from an Orb or the Bajoran sacred texts.
The hierarchy of the Bajoran faith has never been explained in great detail, though a certain amount is known:
Titles in the Bajoran religion include a "Prylar" (roughly equivalent to a Christian monk), "Ranjen" (a rank falling between Prylars and the next rank, and responsible for a variety of tasks), "Mylar" (priest or minister, mentioned in "Ties of Blood and Water"), "Vedek" (cardinal, bishop) and "Kai" (equivalent to the pope in Roman Catholic theology or Patriarch in the Eastern Orthodox theology). All of these ranks are open both to men and women, and clerics are free to marry and have children.
Vedeks, the second highest level, also make up the Vedek Assembly, the committee which is responsible for the spiritual issues of the Bajoran people. A new Kai is elected by the Vedek Assembly (loosely analogous to how the College of Cardinals elects a new pope), from among those in the Assembly.
The Kai is the spiritual leader. She or he has a great deal of influence on the Bajoran government despite having no official power in that way. After Kai Opaka departed in 2369, the election of a new Kai from the members of the Vedek Assembly led to the election of Kai Winn, who remained Kai until her demise in 2375.
The central figure in the Bajoran faith is known as the 'Emissary', a being believed to be sent by the Prophets to aid Bajor. Benjamin Sisko, a human Starfleet officer, filled this role when he made first contact with the beings believed by the Bajorans to be the Prophets, and the enigmatic beings spoke to him on several other occasions, either to deliver a message or fulfill a task. Although his role was never entirely clear (and Sisko himself was visibly uncomfortable with it for the first few years), the Bajorans respected and admired Sisko as their Emissary, and he carried Bajor through several hardships. In this respect, the Emissary nominally holds even more religious and secular power than the Kai or the First Minister. For example, even the politically ambitious Kai Winn sought religious guidance from the Emissary, and Akorem Laan was able to single-handedly reinstate the observance of the obsolete D'Jarra caste system in 2372 when he briefly claimed the title of Emissary.
Pah Wraiths (also spelled Pagh Wraiths, Bajoran for Soul Wraiths) are the enemies of the Bajoran Prophets. Bajoran religious texts state that the Pah-wraiths once resided in the Celestial Temple (the Bajoran Wormhole) alongside the Prophets and, like them, are similar non-corporeal beings. However, they were expelled from the Celestial Temple and banished to the Fire Caves on Bajor. According to ancient Bajoran texts, the Pah Wraiths were "false Prophets". Whereas the Prophets are analogous to angels or even gods, the Pah Wraiths are analogous to demons.
Like the Prophets, they are able to induce visions in corporeal beings, appearing as familiar figures as the Prophets do in such visions. The Pah Wraiths long for revenge against the Prophets who cast them out of the Celestial Temple (the Wormhole), even going so far as to possess the bodies of corporeal beings to further their goals. Keiko O'Brien, wife of Deep Space Nine's Chief of Operations Miles O'Brien, was briefly possessed by a Pah Wraith in a near successful attempt to destroy the Prophets (episode: "The Assignment").
Similarly to Christianity's Satan, Kosst Amojan ("The Evil One") was a Prophet who was forced out of the Celestial Temple after a failed attempt to seize control, with the other Pah Wraiths, which are similar to fallen angels in Christianity. In several other incidents, the Pah Wraiths attempted to leave their physical prison (the "Caves of Fire") and return to take control of the Celestial Temple, but none of these attempts succeeded. There continues to be a minority group on Bajor who worship the Pah Wraiths as the True Prophets, but they are generally shunned as outcasts and heretics.
In the episode "The Reckoning", the Emissary (Benjamin Sisko) released a Pah Wraith and a Prophet from an ancient artifact. These beings fought on the Gates to the Celestial Temple (the space station Deep Space Nine). In the fight, a Prophet possessed the (willing) body of Kira Nerys while the Pah Wraith possessed the (unwilling) body of Jake Sisko.
In "Tears of the Prophets", Gul Dukat unleashed a Pah Wraith from an ancient relic which possessed his body. While possessed, Dukat proceeded to kill Jadzia Dax and use the Orb of Contemplation on Deep Space Nine to enable the Pah Wraith to re-enter the wormhole and seal the entrance. However, when Sisko found the Orb of the Emissary some months later (in "Shadows and Symbols"), the wormhole reopened and the Pah Wraith was again cast out.
Despite this, the cult of the Pah Wraiths became more popular on Bajor as an alternative religion to that of the Prophets, after many Bajorans felt that the Prophets had abandoned them due to the closure of the wormhole. For a time, Dukat even formed his own Pah Wraith cult on the abandoned space station Empok Nor, with himself as leader.
In the series finale, "What You Leave Behind", Dukat and Winn Adami attempt to free the Pah Wraiths from their prison by deciphering an ancient text written in the Book of the Kosst Amojan which acts as a key. Winn, who had briefly abandoned her faith in the Prophets after she had a vision from the Pah Wraiths, ultimately undergoes a change of heart, but she is killed by Dukat as she tries to stop him. Eventually, Sisko and the Prophets defeat Dukat and the Pah Wraiths, and re-imprison them in the fire caves forever by destroying the ancient book that freed them, therefore never allowing them to threaten the galaxy again.
The provisional government was set up after the occupation of Bajor by Cardassia ended in 2369. It consisted of a council of elected officials headed by the First Minister and was responsible for administration of the planet and to a certain extent Deep Space 9. A three-part episode, 'Homecoming', 'The Circle', and 'The Siege', featured a story arc about the Provisional Government and its inability to resolve an explosive political revolution. In the immediate aftermath of the Cardassian withdrawal, many characters felt that the provisional government would collapse within a matter of weeks, leading to civil war (which the Cardassians might use as an excuse to return to "restore order"). Sisko managed to convince Kai Opaka to declare the support of the Bajoran religious hierarchy for the new government, which prevented it from outright collapsing. In the early seasons of the TV series the provisional government is shaky and precarious, but over time by the later seasons of the TV series it grew more stable, particularly after the election of First Minister Shakaar.
The Bajoran Militia was the military arm of the Bajoran Provisional Government, originally made up of many former resistance fighters from the Occupation of Bajor.
The structure was comparable to that of an Earth army, with similar ranks. Bajoran officers were organized by divisional specialty, wearing different uniform colors for each (similar to Starfleet). Flag officers wear a more elaborate version of the normal duty uniform
Officers of the Militia were usually graduates of the Bajoran Military Academy, although many commissions were awarded on the basis of demonstrated skills and merit of the soldiers who were part of the resistance against the occupation.
The militia jointly operated Deep Space 9 with Starfleet. From 2369 to 2375 the station was commanded by a Starfleet command level officer and the executive officer was a Militia member. When the station's commander, Captain Sisko, disappeared in late 2375, his executive, Colonel Kira, took command.
It was said in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Rapture" that if Bajor joins the United Federation of Planets, most of the Bajoran Militia would be absorbed into Starfleet. In the non-canonical relaunch novel Unity, this happened in 2376.
The Kai is the spiritual leader of the Bajoran people.
This individual could be either male or female, could be married, and could even have children. The Kai is chosen in an election held by the entire Bajoran people, though typically candidates come from the Vedek assembly of high-ranking clerics. He or she also seems to hold a fair amount of political influence on Bajor; the government is headed by a First Minister although Bajorans typically will listen to whatever the Kai says.
When Starfleet forces initially arrived at Deep Space Nine, the Kai was a woman named Opaka Sulan. She introduced Commander Sisko to an Orb or Tear of the Prophets, and was the first to refer to him openly as 'the Emissary'. Opaka was officially declared 'missing' during an escorted trip through the Bajoran wormhole, when she discovered two feuding Gamma Quadrant races and elected to remain with them in hopes of negotiating a peaceful resolution to their conflict. In time, two leading candidates emerged to succeed her. One was Vedek Winn Adami - a member of a small conservative order on Bajor who harbored anti-Federation feelings.
The other was Vedek Bareil Antos, who counseled then-Vedek Winn and convinced her to adopt a more conciliatory attitude toward the Federation and Commander Sisko. Bareil was considered the most likely candidate to succeed Kai Opaka, but political maneuvering by Kai Winn forced him to resign his candidacy.
Kai Winn later tried to consolidate her hold on power after the death of the Bajoran First Minister, reneging on an agreement that the previous government had made with several destitute Bajoran farmers and risking civil war in the process. Major Kira of DS9 convinced her old friend and resistance cell leader Shakaar Edon to run for election in opposition to Kai Winn to block her from obtaining total control of the Bajoran government. Kai Winn withdrew when Kira threatened to expose Winn's duplicity, and Shakaar was elected to the post of First Minister.
Later, at the beginning of the Dominion War, Captain Sisko convinced Kai Winn, as well as the Council of Ministers, to sign a non-aggression treaty with the Dominion; Sisko wanted to ensure that Bajor was kept out of the fighting, so that everything they had accomplished in the past five years wouldn't be destroyed by the war.
With the end of the Dominion War in sight, Kai Winn was tempted to join with Dukat — who had been surgically altered to appear as a Bajoran — in worship with the Pah Wraiths. When she discovered who the man really was, she was devastated by having fallen for the deception. When she sought Colonel Kira's advice, Kira advised Winn that she could be redeemed if she stepped down from the post, but Winn refused.
Kai Winn turned away from the prophets, and became a tool of the Pah Wraiths. In the final moments of her life, Kai Winn turned back to the Prophets and tried to throw the Book of the Kosst-Amojan into the pit of fire. She was then consumed and killed by the Pah Wraiths, leaving the post of Kai again vacant at the end of the Deep Space Nine television series. In the non-canon MMORPG Star Trek Online, set 30 years after the events of Deep Space Nine, it's implied that Kira Nerys eventually became Kai.
The First Minister of Bajor is a role analogous to Prime Minister, a separate office from the religious leader, the Kai. The First Minister is the Bajoran head of government and also serves as the head of the Chamber of Ministers, the Bajoran legislature. (A separate organization, the Vedek Assembly, serves as an advisory body to the Kai.)
- Office-holders since 2370
The Bajoran written language consists of square symbols. They are fluid and are composed of thick lines. There are a large number of different symbols that can be used in any of eight rotations (normal, horizontal flipped, vertical flipped, 2 ways of diagonally flipping, 90 degree rotation, 180 degree rotation, and 270 degree rotation). This gives approximately 200 symbols in the written language. As with other forms of alien writing in Star Trek, no translation for these symbols exists. Bajoran can be written both in vertical top to bottom columns arranged right to left or in horizontal left to right lines arranged top to bottom. The most common dialect of Bajoran is Modern Bajoran, but there are also older, and often religiously used, dialects.
In the Deep Space Nine premiere episode "Emissary", Captain Picard informs Benjamin Sisko that one of his tasks as commander of DS9 is to develop a continuing evaluation of Bajor for potential membership in the United Federation of Planets. In the non-canon Deep Space Nine relaunch novels, Bajor finally joins the Federation, with most of the Bajoran Militia being absorbed into Starfleet, and Kira Nerys receives the Starfleet rank of Captain.
Also in the novels, the formal name for the Bajoran government is given as the Third Republic of Bajor.
- Kai Opaka Sulan
- Kai Winn Adami
- Vedek Bareil Antos
- First Minister Shakaar Edon
- Colonel Kira Nerys
- Lieutenant Ro Laren
- Li Nalas
- Dr. Mora Pol
- Ensign Sito Jaxa
- Tora Ziyal
- Akorem Laan, 22nd century poet
- Tahna Los
- Nemecek, Larry (1995). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion. Pocket Books. Page 178.
- Moore, Ronald D. AOL chats. http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Memory_Alpha:AOL_chats/Ronald_D._Moore/ron012.txt
- "Ensign Ro". Star Trek: The Next Generation. Season Five.
- "Explorers". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season Three.
- "Emissary". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Season One. Episode One.
- Major Kira, upon seeing Earth for the first time, remarked about how the seas did not look green enough for her.