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Klingon Empire

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Klingon Empire
Klingon Empire logo.png

Emblem of the Klingon Empire

Emblem of the Klingon Empire
Founded: 9th century
Location: Alpha Quadrant
Capital: First City, Qo'noS
Head of State: Emperor of the Klingon Empire
Head of Government: Chancellor of the High Council of the Klingon Empire
Legislature: High Council of the Klingon Empire
Major Species: Klingons
Military: Klingon Defense Force
Intelligence Service: Klingon Imperial Intelligence
Language: Klingonese
Currency: Klingon darsek
"may' vISuvqang HochDaqDaq, wo'vaD!"
("I will fight any battle, anywhere... for the Empire!")
- Martok, 2375

The Klingon Empire (also referred to as the Imperial Klingon Empire or Klingon Imperial Empire) was the official state of the Klingon people, founded in the 9th century by Kahless the Unforgettable, who first united the Klingon homeworld of Qo'noS. The heart of this empire was located in the Alpha Quadrant. Since then the Klingon Empire expanded its sphere of influence by conquering numerous systems and incorporating them in the Empire. By the late 23rd century, the Klingon Empire had expanded into the Beta Quadrant.


Officially, the Klingon Empire was a feudal monarchy, with power residing in the Emperor, who was traditionally a descendant of Kahless. In reality, however, power lay with the Klingon High Council. The position of emperor was abandoned (but not officially abolished) in the mid-21st century, but was revived in 2369 when a group of clerics created a clone of Kahless, who was accepted as the new Emperor, albeit only as a religious figurehead. (TNG: "Rightful Heir")

The Chancellor, the true leader of the Empire, was head of the High Council, which consisted of twenty-four members representing various Great Houses (tuqmey, essentially, the nobility). The Chancellor was protected at all times by the Yan-Isleth (Brotherhood of the Sword). (DS9: "Apocalypse Rising")

Women were not normally permitted to hold seats on the High Council. Despite that, Gowron once offered Ambassador K'Ehleyr a seat on the Council in exchange for her support of his bid to be Chancellor. (TNG: "Redemption", "Reunion") Also, Azetbur, the daughter of Chancellor Gorkon, was permitted to succeed him as Chancellor in 2293. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

It is possible that this was permitted because she was made the head of her house, due to the unusual circumstances of her father's death. The Star Trek VI novelization indicates that Gorkon suspected that something might happen to him on the voyage and had arranged with his allies on the High Council for them to back Azetbur as Chancellor if he were to be killed. The novel Serpents Among the Ruins establishes Azetbur's assassination by a Klingon named Ditagh, who hoped that after her death the more powerful General Kaarg would rise to power. Kaarg would indeed rise to power and it would be him that would forbid women ever on the High Council again.

Various factions almost constantly challenged the leadership of the Empire, and so over time the Klingons developed a strict and rigorous Rite of Succession to determine their leader. According to tradition, one was permitted to challenge the leader on the grounds of cowardice or dishonorable conduct and fight in single combat. Should the challenger slay the incumbent, he assumed the role of the new leader. (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind")

Because of the Klingon propensity for violence, shrewd Klingon chancellors redirected hostilities outward, where they would otherwise cause a civil war. In the 2150s, the Klingon chancellor instructed Duras to recapture Jonathan Archer after the latter escaped imprisonment on Rura Penthe. In this way, the chancellor focused the blame for certain internal problems on an external cause. (ENT: "The Expanse") Likewise, Gowron focused his soldiers' energies on invading first the Cardassian Union and later the Federation in order to avoid internal conflicts at home. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Apocalypse Rising")

Aside from challenges to the primary leadership of the Empire, there was also frequent feuding between the various Great Houses. Most often, the challenge was made on the floor of the High Council and resolved on the battlefield. However, on occasion, some "dishonorable" House leaders chose to make more insidious attacks by undermining the standing of their enemies. D'Ghor underhandedly attacked the House of Kozak in this way in the early 2370s. (DS9: "The House of Quark")


The main currency unit of the Empire was the darsek. (TNG: "Firstborn"; ENT: "Bounty")

The destruction of the Empire's key energy-production facility on the moon of Praxis was a catastrophic event from which recovery was impossible due to the strain of the Empire's enormous military budget on the resources of their economy. This event was critical in establishing peaceful overtures between the Empire and the Federation. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)


See: Klingon Defense Force


See: Klingon


See also: Great Houses


Klingon space

Subject species



The unrealized series Star Trek: Phase II would have established a Klingon Empire which would have been based more on Imperial Japan (much like the Romulans were based off of the Roman Empire), rather than the canon Klingon Empire described here. See Kitumba.

In the TNG episode "Samaritan Snare", Wesley Crusher asked Captain Picard if an event happened "...before the Klingons joined the Federation?" This statement has never been explained in canon and later episodes clearly show a Klingon Empire that didn't join the Federation.

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