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Advertisement Galactic empiresotherwise known as aGalactic Empire are a common trope used in science fiction and science fantasy, particularly in space opera. Many authors have either used a galaxy-spanning empire as background, or written about the growth or decline of such an empire. The capital of a galactic empire is frequently a core world or home world. Some of these empires are based on the Roman Empire; the Galactic Empire of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series (which inspired empires of later writers and film-makers) being an example, as is the Terran Empire of Poul Anderson's Dominic FlandryTemplate:Fact.

The events in Frank Herbert's "Dune" universe, where hitherto disregarded desert-dwellers create a powerful new religion and burst out to topple an old empire and build a new one, are clearly modeled on the rise of Islam (all the more obvious since the language of the Fremen is clearly descended from Arabic).

The best known to the general public today is probably the empire from Star Wars, which was formed in turn from the Galactic Republic. This empire displays elements of Napoleon I's rise to power as well as the Roman Empire and the Third Reich. In Lego Star Wars, suprisingly, Garindan (Long-Snoot) is called "Imperial Spy".

Most of these galaxy-spanning domains depend on some form of transportation capable of quickly or instantly crossing vast cosmic distances (usually measured in light-years), many times faster than could photons at light speed. These invariably require some type of propulsion or displacement technology forbidden by Einstein's Theory of Relativity, or that otherwise relies on theories that circumvent or supersede relativity. (See: warp drive; hyperspace; Alcubierre drive.)

The term "galactic empire" has, no doubt because of association with the Empire from Star Wars, gained an unfavorable reputation. However, the Galactic Empires from Foundation and the CoDominium universe are relatively benign organizations.

In many cases, the term "galactic empire" is misleading as it suggests a galaxywide empire. This is likely due to the once common tendency for fiction to either confuse galaxy and star system or to simply underestimate the size of the galaxy. While some of the noted fictional empires tend to encompass a large portion of the galaxy, many other empires may be classified as interplanetary or interstellar empires since they encompass only a local group of star systems.

In science fiction[]

  • Imperial Stars by E. E. Smith - The first example of an imperial genre of science fiction.
  • Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon - The battle between the Mad [Galactic] Empires (each attempting to take over the whole Milky Way galaxy), the telepathic intervention of the symbiotics from the Greater Magellanic Cloud to disrupt the military organization of the galactic empires, and the succeeding Galactic Society of Worlds which finally united the whole galaxy.
  • Doctor Who: The Long Game - The Fourth Great and Bountiful Human Empire. Many other "Earth Empires" have also been featured.
  • Dune universe - The Padishah Empire and the Old Empire.
  • CoDominium - First and Second Empires of Man
  • Foundation series - Galactic Empire
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Author Douglas Adams refers to a "former Galactic Empire" as having ruled the Milky Way Galaxy years before the setting of his novels. In the television adaptation, another name for this empire, the "Imperatala Galacticon" is seen briefly on screen.
  • Star Wars - Galactic Empire, Rakatan Infinite Empire, Sith Empire
  • Warhammer 40,000 - Imperium of Man
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes - Galactic Empire
  • Star Trek - Klingon Empire, Romulan Empire, Dominion, Borg Collective, Kelvan Empire, Tkon empire, and Terran Empire, an alternate form of the United Federation of Planets glimpsed in the Mirror Universe.
  • Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series - The Terran Empire (unconnected with the previous one, and far more benign).
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover series - The Terran Empire (still a third one), which mainly maintains trading stations on numerous planets rather than seeking to rule them directly (roughly comparable to the Portuguese empire in the Far East).
  • Still another Terran Empire, appearing in Asimov's Lucky Starr series, is limited to the Solar System.
  • Mid-Galactic Empire in Edmond Hamilton's Star Kings series[1].
  • The Empire of Man, in Jerry Pournelle's future history, is centered on the planet Sparta after Earth was mostly destroyed in a nuclear holocaust.
  • A different Empire of Man is a collaboration between David Weber and John Ringo.
  • David Weber's Honorverse - Solarian League, the largest of the political units of the human diaspora, can be considered such an Empire; from the late novels in the series it also becomes apparent that the League is at the beginning of its breakup. Also, it is entirely possible that the Star Kingdom of Manticore is now in the process of becoming the nucleus of a new Empire.
  • Farscape - The Peacekeepers, an imperialistic empire of a "superior" species, holding almost exclusive control of the Charted Space territories. The empire is entirely populated with Sebacean.
  • Stargate SG-1 - The Goa'uld had a loose control over the Milky Way galaxy, and politically it was unstable, but more or less the Goa'uld Empire was still a galactic empire. The Asgard also held galactic dominance over their own galaxy before they committed mass self suicide in "Unending". The Ori held galactic dominance in their own galaxy.
  • Stargate Atlantis - The Wraith have their own galactic empire. It was formed during the destruction of the empire the Alterans (Ancients) established in the Pegasus galaxy.
  • the Prothean Empire, in Mass Effect; a benevolent, at least from the point of the younger races, Galactic empire. They are responsible for many of the technologies of the younger species. The Citadel Council assumed its mantle approximately 48,000 years after its demise.
  • Divine Order
  • Dark Axis from Superior Defender Gundam Force
  • Nightmare Enterprises from Kirby: Right Back at Ya!
  • Psychlo Government from Battlefield Earth
  • Dalek Empire
  • Shi'ar empire
  • Kree empire
  • Skrull empire
  • Machine Empire
  • United Alliance of Evil
  • Troobian Empire
  • Time Lord Empire
  • Yuuzhan Vong Empire
  • Covenant (Halo)
  • The Robotech Mercantile Empire also known as the Tirolian Empire or simply the Empire of the Robotech Masters.
  • The Protoculture Stellar Republic from The Super Dimension Fortress Macross Japanese anime TV series. In this series the Protoculture are an alien humanoid race who achieved the unification of a Stellar Republic that controlled much of the Milky Way Galaxy 500,000 years ago.[1]
  • The Terran Federation from the BBC science fiction series Blake's 7.
  • An empire in control of the entire Universe is mentioned in Blackadder's Christmas Carol, in one form being ruled over by Grand Admiral Blackadder of the Dark Segment.
  • Sontaran Empire

In religion[]

  • The Galactic Confederacy in the Church of Scientology.
  • The Aetherius Society's "Interplanetary Parliament".
  • The "Elohim" in Raëlism.

In computer games[]

  • Imperium Galactica Series By Digital Reality.
  • Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain by THQ.
  • Space Empires Series by Malfador Machinations.
  • EVE Online MMORPG by CCP Games.
  • Spore By Maxis

In collectible card games[]

  • Galactic Empires by Companion Games.
  • Star of the Guardians by Mag Force 7.

In music[]

  • Galactic Empires Concert Band piece by David R. Gillingham

See also[]


ca:Imperi Galàctic es:Imperio Galáctico it:Impero galattico la:Imperium Galacticum ja:銀河帝国 pt:Império galático