The United Federation of Planets (abbreviated as UFP and commonly referred to as the Federation) is an interstellar federal republic, composed of planetary governments that agreed to exist semi-autonomously under a single central government based on the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality, and to share their knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation and space exploration.
One of the most powerful interstellar states in known space, it encompassed 8,000 light years and over 150 member worlds. Unlike its imperial rivals, who derived power from a single species subjugating other races, the Federation's various member worlds joined willingly and were equals in the Federation's democratic society. The Federation Starfleet incorporates as the peace-keeping and humanitarian armada of the Federation, in addition to maintaining exploratory, scientific, and diplomatic functions.
The Federation was founded in San Francisco, Earth in 2161. The seeds of the Federation were planted during a temporary alliance in 2154, in the search for a Romulan drone ship. It was this that first brought together the four species that would found the Federation: Humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites. After the crisis, these four species remained together, founding the precursor to the Federation, called the Coalition of Planets, a year later. Other species soon joined: the Denobulans, the Rigelians, the Coridanites, and several others. Over the next several years, the ties between the members of the Coalition strengthened and became more structured, until, finally, in 2161, the Coalition became the Federation.
Although the Federation's intentions were peaceful, around it were other, more belligerent powers such as the Klingon and Romulan Empires. As it expanded through the admittance of more and more worlds, it came into conflict with these powers. In the 23rd century, its main adversary was the Klingon Empire, with war briefly erupting between the two in 2267, before being halted by the Organians. However, tensions eased considerably towards the end of the century, with the Khitomer Conference of 2293 being a substantial turning point. This conference saw the signing of the Khitomer Accords, which effectively ended hostile relations.
At the start of the 24th century, the Federation began an unprecedented period of peaceful exploration of the galaxy, free of major conflicts, as its main adversary of the previous century, the Klingon Empire, was now at peace with it. However, relations with the Romulans remained hostile, albeit at a low, 'cold war' level. There was also a series of local conflicts in the late 2340s, as the Federation came into contact with other militant races such as the Cardassians, the Talarians, the Tholians and the Tzenkethi.
Then, however, the period of peaceful exploration came to an abrupt end. In 2365, the Federation encountered its single worst threat in the cybernetic pseudo-race known as the Borg. One of the most powerful and destructive forces in the entire galaxy, the Borg twice invaded the Federation within less than a decade. They were unlike anything the Federation had ever encountered, and were only foiled by chance and resourcefulness. The Federation was thus schooled in the fact that, in the vast, unexplored reaches of the galaxy beyond what they knew, there were threats that they could not even imagine.
Then, in 2370, contact was made with the Dominion, the predominant ruling power over much of the Gamma Quadrant. After numerous skirmishes, misfortunes suffered by the Cardassian Union allowed for their eventual incorporation into the Dominion, and the subsequent Dominion invasion of the Alpha Quadrant. The Dominion/Cardassian forces were also joined by the reclusive but immensely powerful race known as the Breen. The ensuing war was the greatest crisis to be faced by the Federation, with the Federation forming an alliance with the Klingons and Romulans to defeat the Dominion. Although the Alliance eventually emerged victorious, many of the Federation's important member worlds, such as Betazed, Coridan, and Benzar, had been temporarily occupied before the Dominion's offensive could be turned back. Thousands of Federation Starfleet vessels and millions of lives were lost, in what turned out be, as of the late 24th century, the bloodiest conflict in Federation history. The most devastating and demoralizing offensive occurred in 2375, when the Breen hit the Federation at its heart, with a surprise attack on Starfleet Headquarters on Earth.
However, the war and its aftermath allowed the Federation to establish new relations with many of its former adversaries, the Romulans in particular. In 2379, cooperation took place between the crew of a Federation Starfleet vessel, the USS Enterprise-E, and Romulan forces to defeat the Romulan Praetor Shinzon, whose actions would have destroyed both Earth and the Romulan Star Empire. It was hoped that this would mark the beginning of an end to hostility between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, marking the beginnings of détente with a traditional enemy of the Federation.
Size and location
The Federation is located in the Alpha Quadrant of the Milky Way Galaxy. By the early 2370s, the Federation's territory was spread across 8,000 light years, with a membership of over 150 worlds and over 1,000 semi-autonomous colonies. Its major neighboring sovereignties are the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassian Union, and the Ferengi Alliance. Other neighboring sovereignties are the Tzenkethi, the Tholian Assembly, the Breen Confederacy and the Xindi.
See the original version at Memory Alpha