Bajoran history is one of the most far reaching in the galaxy, stretching back hundreds of thousands of years. The Prophets influenced much of Bajor's history after their Orbs were found by the Bajorans, who began to worship them as gods.
Bajoran civilization first began to flourish more than half a million years ago. The ancient Bajorans were renowned for their accomplishments in science, mathematics, philosophy, and the arts long before Humans learned to speak or make tools. Around 20,000 years ago magnificent cities such as B'hala were built on Bajor and the Gratitude Festival was introduced, a tradition which would be continued to the present day. Approximately 10,000 years later, the first of the Tears of the Prophets were discovered above Bajor. These orb-like artifacts ushered in a new era of spiritual connection with the Bajoran gods, the Prophets. Around the same time, Bajoran archeaologists began their search for the famed, and by then lost, city of B'hala. However, the city should not be rediscovered until the 24th century. Bajoran religious development also included "prophecies" issued by spiritual writers such as Trakor, who lived approximately 500 BC. (TNG: "Ensign Ro"; DS9: "Emissary", "Fascination", "Prophecy", "Rapture")
By the 16th century, the Bajoran First Republic was established and Bajorans had developed sublight space travel employing solar-sail spacecraft. By using tachyon eddies, some Bajoran explorers even reached the Cardassian system several light years away as it is evidenced by ancient crash sites uncovered on Cardassia by the 24th century. Unknowingly, Bajoran space travelers also made the first observations of the Celestial Temple, a stable wormhole and the home of the Prophets, in their home star system. In the Bajoran year 9174 (around 2172), Akorem Laan, regarded as one of the planet's greatest poets at the time, departed Bajor in a lightship. His vessel was damaged in an ion storm, and drifted into the Denorios Belt, where he opened and entered the yet unknown wormhole and would stay with the Prophets until 2372. Also during the 22nd century, Kai Taluno unknowingly reported a sighting of the wormhole, when his ship was "almost swallowed by the heavens" near the Denorios Belt. (DS9: "Emissary", "Explorers", "Accession")
Despite its high state of development, the Bajoran civilization continued to separate itself into nation-like factions as it is evidenced by the Paqu-Navot Treaty of 2279, which defined the border between two of them. Until the Occupation by Cardassia, Bajoran society also followed a strict system of castes known as D'jarras. It created a clearly stratified social hierarchy by pre-determining each Bajoran's occupation based on his or her family. (DS9: "The Storyteller", "Accession")
- Main Article: Occupation of Bajor
In 2319, Bajor's neighbor, the imperialistic Cardassian Union, established a military presence on the planet as it considered the Bajoran homeworld to be underdeveloped but rich in natural resources. In 2328, this Occupation of Bajor (or simply called the Occupation) also led to the formal annexation of Bajor by the Cardassians, who claimed to "help and develop" their neighbor. During the Occupation, the Cardassians perpetrated a coordinated scheme of strip-mining, forced labor, and genocide across the planet and installed the Bajoran Occupational Government, essentially a puppet of the Cardassian Central Command intended to make the occupation look legitimate. In order to keep the Bajorans in line, Central Command also installed a prefect to oversee the planet. The last person to hold this post was the now-infamous Gul Dukat. He euphemistically considered the Bajorans his "children", but in fact oversaw the occupation with an iron fist from his residence on Terok Nor, an orbital ore processing station built by Bajoran slave labor between 2346 and 2351. (DS9: "Emissary", "Babel", "Things Past", "Waltz", "Duet", and more)
The Occupation gave rise to the fierce Bajoran Resistance, which used guerrilla and terror tactics to eventually force the Cardassians to withdraw. Many Bajorans also fled the occupation and settled on planets all over the known galaxy, but almost everywhere they remained separated from other peoples, living under the poorest circumstances in refugee camps like those on Valo II. (TNG: "Ensign Ro", DS9: "Emissary" et al.)
In 2369, after 50 years of occupation and over 10 million Bajoran casualties, the Cardassians finally withdrew, no longer willing to stand against the relentless terrorism of the Bajoran Resistance. Although many Bajoran cities and vast areas of the planet were in shambles or poisoned, respectively, a Bajoran Provisional Government was quickly established after the withdrawal of the Cardassian forces. Despite its lack of confidence among the people of Bajor, this government acted very resolutely by issuing the Ilvian Proclamation, according to which all members of the former Occupational Government were considered collaborators and thereby sentenced to exile. (DS9: "Shakaar", "Duet", "The Collaborator") The Provisional Government also requested the assistance of the United Federation of Planets as a protector power and to assist in the rebuilding of Bajor. Both governments established joint control of Terok Nor, a former Cardassian space station orbiting Bajor, which they renamed Deep Space 9. Kai Opaka, Bajor's religious leader, also revealed the station's new Human Commander, Benjamin Sisko, to be the long-awaited Emissary of the Prophets. Ushering in a new era of trade but also strategic importance and danger for the Bajor system, Sisko fullfilled one of the prophecies as Emissary shortly after by (re-)discovering the "Celestial Temple", a nearby wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, to whose mouth Deep Space 9 was subsequently moved. (DS9: "Emissary", TNG: "Birthright, Part I" et al.)
However, the alliance with the Federation remained uneasy at first, as many Bajorans, including former resistance groups such as the Kohn-Ma, thought that the interests of the two powers should be kept separate, a sentiment which would be exploited by the Bajoran anti-alien Alliance for Global Unity in early 2370. This Alliance, also known as the "Circle", was secretly supported by high ranking officials like Minister Jaro Essa and Vedek Winn Adami and denounced the Federation presence aboard Deep Space 9 as another form of occupation. The Circle even attempted a full-scale coup d'etat in what was later discovered to be an elaborate Cardassian attempt to reclaim Bajor by ousting the Federation. (DS9: "Past Prologue", "In the Hands of the Prophets", "The Homecoming", "The Circle", "The Siege")
After this incident, the Bajoran political situation stabilized despite some internal power struggles due to Winn Adami's ongoing strife for more power. After Kai Opaka went missing in the Gamma Quadrant in mid-2369, Winn became the new Kai in 2370 by blacken and ousting her favored rival candidate Vedek Bareil Antos. Exploiting Bareil's loyalty to the Kai, Winn also tried to take credit of taking first steps towards normalizing the relationship with the Cardassian Union when she falsely claimed to have negotiated the Bajoran-Cardassian Treaty of 2371 by her own. Kai Winn's attempt to become First Minister of the Provisional Government in addition to her position as religious leader of Bajor was unsuccessful, however. Instead, the popular former Resistance fighter Shakaar Edon ascended to that post in late 2371, thereby preventing Winn Adami from uniting these two most important positions in her person. (DS9: "Battle Lines", "The Collaborator", "Life Support", "Shakaar")
Despite Kai Winn's doubts, the Bajoran government eventually applied for Federation membership in 2373. However the application was retracted at the last moment due to visions of the Emissary of the Prophets, depicting disastrous consequences for Bajor if it joins the Federation too early. Nevertheless, the two governments maintained a cordial relationship. Prior to the beginning of the Dominion War, the Emissary's previous intervention allowed Bajor to sign a nonaggression pact with the Dominion, choosing to remain neutral. This saved Bajor from coming under the rule of another foreign power when the Dominion captured Deep Space 9 in late 2373. Bajor finally joined the fight against the Dominion in 2374 after the Federation Alliance recaptured the space station during Operation Return. Despite a brief incident in early 2375, where the Bajoran government denied their Romulan allies to construct a military hospital on Derna, one of Bajor's moons, the Bajorans continued their participation in the war until late 2375, when the Treaty of Bajor finally ended the conflict. Following the war, Bajor resumed its attempt to become a member of the United Federation of Planets. (DS9: "Rapture", "Call to Arms", "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels", "What You Leave Behind")
In the video game Star Trek Online Bajor's renewed application to join the Federation was accepted in 2384. In 2392 a Bajoran candidate was considered an outside choice in the Federation presidential race. Bajor attained full membership in 2393.