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The Trade Federation is a fictional organization in the Star Wars universe. It appears in the franchise's three prequel movies and the Expanded Universe and comprises many species. In the Star Wars franchise, the Trade Federation was able to maintain a sizable monopoly on interstellar trade and held considerable sway in the government of the Star Wars universe, known as the Galactic Republic.
The Trade Federation are the main antagonist in the film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, due to being manipulated by the evil Order of the Sith Lords. The Federation becomes part of a larger consortium in the films Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, known as the Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS), which is also manipulated by the Sith. The Federation is destroyed, among other corporations of the CIS, when its representatives are assassinated by Darth Vader; this act ends the Clone Wars and paves the way for Palpatine's transformation of the Galactic Republic into Galactic Empire.
The Federation's succeeding representative briefly resists the dissolution of his organization while affiliated with the remnant of the CIS called the Separatist holdouts. However, after being forced to sign a surrender treaty by Clone troopers (who became Stormtroopers), the Federation becomes a puppet government of the Galactic Empire. Pockets across the universe still resist in what is known as the Trade Federation resistance, eventually joining the cause of the Rebel Alliance. The main body of the Federation continues to be a puppet to the Empire until it and the Imperial Senate are dissolved prior to the Battle of Yavin, depicted in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Several months later, the Empire defeats and disbands what is left of the Trade Federation resistance, ending the organization's three and a half centuries of galactic influence.
Stark Hyperspace War
Ten years before the events of Episode I, a space pirate named Iaco Stark proclaimed that there was a shortage of the healing substance called bacta when there in fact was none, and began selling the product at an inflated price, cutting in on the Trade Federation's profits (which were almost as ridiculous). In response, the Trade Federation asked for aid from the Republic. Senator Ranulph Tarkin of Seswenna Sector (the uncle of Grand Moff Tarkin) recruited the entire military of planet Eriadu to help fight the threat. In response, the Jedi Order sent a few of its members to aid in the fight as generals. The Battle of Troiken began the conflict, followed by the five battles of planet Qotile. The first four battles were believed to be draws, but the Fifth Battle of Qotile was a victory for the Republic. The Stark Commercial Combine was dissolved after that battle and Iaco Stark escaped into the underbelly of the Outer Rim.
First Battle of Alaris Prime
Shortly before the Battle Of Naboo the Trade Federation tried to colonize Alaris Prime which was one of Kashyyyk's moons. They had many battles with the native Wookiees and one battle with Gundarks. In the end every one of their bases on Alaris Prime was destroyed by the native Wookiees with the help of Qui-Gon Jinn.
Battle of Naboo
Shortly before the time period of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Nute Gunray ascended to the position of viceroy of the Trade Federation with Rune Haako as his chief lieutenant. In The Phantom Menace, Gunray was manipulated into blockading and subsequently invading the planet Naboo by the shadowy Darth Sidious, who assured him the Senate would take no action against him. Nute sent an invasion force down to Naboo. The invasion force's leader, a battle droid known as OOM-9, and the Battle Droid army took over many cities like Harte Secur and, eventually, the capital city of Theed. Gunray tried to force Queen Amidala of Naboo to sign a treaty which would legalize the invasion, but she escaped and, after allying herself with the native Gungans, Amidala captured Gunray himself and ended the invasion, which would become known as the Battle of Naboo. Gunray and Haako were put on trial for their crimes, but, due to the corruption of the Republic at the time, they were not punished and Gunray retained his position as viceroy.
Ten years later, in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, seeking revenge on Queen Amidala, Nute Gunray and Gilramos Libkath, a Trade Federation contract-scribe, agreed to ally the droid armies of the Trade Federation with Count Dooku's Confederacy of Independent Systems, under the condition that Amidala be killed and brought to Gunray. Amidala's attempted assassination by the hired killer Jango Fett did not succeed and Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, following his trail, discovered the Federation's plot on Geonosis. Nute Gunray and Gilramos Libkath, now his right-hand-man, were outraged. Meanwhile, Kenobi was able to alert the Republic and, soon, the Clone Wars began when the new Clone troopers engaged the Federation's droids on Geonosis. The Trade Federation's failed assassin, Jango Fett, was killed by Mace Windu at the Battle of Geonosis; Libkath and Gunray fled the planet. It is said Libkath was later murdered by Jango Fett's son, Boba, at which point the Trade Federation's settlement officer, Rune Haako, from the Battle of Naboo retook his post as Gunray's second-in-command.
The Trade Federation and its main leaders survived until the very end of the Clone Wars even after the Confederacy of Independent Systems and its Separatists, to which they belonged, had suffered numerous defeats throughout the wars. However, in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader murdered the Federation's rulers, Gunray and Haako, along with all the other members of the Separatist Council (like Shu Mai and Wat Tambor) in cold blood under orders from Sidious, who also ordered the remaining droid armies to stand down. After the Clone Wars, what little remained of the Trade Federation's assets were forcibly seized by Emperor Palpatine to help build the Galactic Empire. Trade organizations including the Trade Federation were disbanded and outlawed by the time of the Battle of Yavin due to the Dissolution of the Imperial Senate shortly prior.
The Trade Federation appears throughout the Star Wars films, novels, comics, and videogames.
The Trade Federation's key role in the films was as Sith Lord Darth Sidious's puppet, facilitating his ascension to Galactic Emperor by the end of Episode III. By inciting hostilities, Sidious used the military strength of the Trade Federation to distract the Jedi and to fabricate political leverage for his Palpatine guise. The true reason for the Battle of Naboo was to allow Palpatine, as Naboo's senator, to become Supreme Chancellor. Years later, the Separatist movement led by the Trade Federation was also a result of Sidious's manipulation, leading to the Clone Wars. Also Sidious's design, the Clone Wars justified the creation of a military force on the scale necessary to later exterminate the Jedi and form a Galactic Empire. This chain of events would have been impossible without the contributions of the Trade Federation. Once Sidious ascended to the position of Emperor, he no longer had any use for the Federation, and ordered his apprentice Darth Vader to wipe out the last of all its leaders, ending the Clone Wars. Vader was unaware of his master's underlying manipulation, viewing himself then as the hero who ended the war.
In video games
The Trade Federation is a playable faction in the video game Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds.
- Trade Federation on Wookieepedia: a Star Wars wiki
- Trade Federation in the Official StarWars.com Encyclopedia