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Vulcan history

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Vulcan, 2286

The planet Vulcan

The history of the Vulcans has been a long journey from the ancient civil wars that nearly destroyed Vulcan, to their embracing of logic through the teachings of Surak.


According to Vulcan mythology, all creation arose from a "Garden of Eden"-like place known as Sha Ka Ree. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

Evidence was discovered in 2369 that suggests many of the galaxy's humanoid races were descended from a single humanoid race, the originators of the form, who had seeded many worlds with a DNA code to guide evolution to a humanoid form. Related species, such as the offshoot Romulans, displayed evidence of these DNA sequences which may imply the Vulcans were descended from them as well. (TNG: "The Chase")

Another possibility came to light in 2268 with the discovery of Sargon and his people. When Sargon explained that his people colonized many worlds in the galaxy half a million years ago, Spock theorized that Vulcan might have been such a colony world. According to Spock, "That would tend to explain certain elements of Vulcan prehistory." (TOS: "Return to Tomorrow")

If this is in fact true, the extraordinary mental powers of Sargon's people may be the origins of Vulcan telepathy, as well as other aspects of Vulcan mysticism and mythology. However, in ENT: "The Forge" (set before the discovery of Sargon's people in "Return to Tomorrow"), T'Pol clearly states that her people evolved on Vulcan.

Ancient history

P'Jem monastery

The Vulcan monastery of P'Jem was founded in the 9th century BC

As far as its memory goes, the Vulcan civilization has never been conquered, and although it goes back farther than that of Humans, there are still many gaps in Vulcan prehistory. The Obelisks of ancient Vulcan were lost for many years but were an important archaeological discovery when they were finally excavated. (TOS: "The Immunity Syndrome", "Return to Tomorrow"; VOY: "One Small Step")

The year given while Spock is in the past on Vulcan in TAS: "Yesteryear" is "8877," while the year in Human standard is 2237. Therefore, it's possible some important event happened on Vulcan in 6640 BC, at which point their year system "started." However, this conjecture is predicated on the unlikely assumption that the Vulcan year is exactly the same length as an Earth year.

Around 2,700 BC, Vulcans were barbaric, war-like and "nearly killing themselves off with their own passions". According to Spock, "Vulcan, like Earth, had its aggressive, colonizing period; savage, even by Earth standards." (TOS: "Balance of Terror", "All Our Yesterdays")

Although, some Vulcans began to mentally train themselves to suppress their emotions by the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, they continued following a pagan religion with rompish celebrations and many deities, including gods of war, death and peace. Although many religious holidays of this time like Rumarie ceased to be observed over the following centuries, some rituals were preserved, e.g., the Vulcan wedding ceremony, which remained unchanged from the "time of the beginning." (ENT: "Home"; TOS: "Amok Time"; TNG: "Gambit, Part II"; VOY: "Meld", "Random Thoughts")

By the 9th century BC, Vulcans were capable of space travel and Master Haadok and others had founded the P'Jem monastery on another planet. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident")

Time of Awakening


The detonation of an atomic bomb near Mount Seleya in the Time of Awakening

For main article, see Time of Awakening.

By the 4th century, Vulcan was tearing itself apart. Their rampant emotions, combined with a hostile warrior culture, led to many wars using terrible weapons like atomic bombs and the Stone of Gol. But out of this emerged a philosopher named Surak, who proposed leading a life governed by logic rather than emotion. His teachings quickly spread and were recorded in the Kir'Shara, finally showing Vulcan a path towards peace.

Although his katra was saved, Surak himself later died of radiation sickness on Mount Seleya, which eventually became one of the most revered sites on Vulcan. (TOS: "The Savage Curtain", TNG: "Gambit, Part II", ENT: "The Forge", "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")

However, one group still opposed allowing logic to govern their lives. "Those who marched beneath the Raptor's wings," as Surak called them, fought a final war with the rest of Vulcan and were eventually forced to leave the planet, becoming the ancestors of the Debrune and the Romulans. (TOS: "Balance of Terror", TNG: "Gambit, Part II", ENT: "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")

Return to space

By the 19th century, Vulcan had rebuilt its civilization and returned to interstellar travel. (ENT: "The Forge")

20th and 21st centuries

According to Quark, the Vulcan invention of warp drive occurred some time after 1947. (DS9: "Little Green Men") By 1957, Vulcans had several warp-capable starship classes in use, such as the Template:ShipType starship and the survey ship. (ENT: "Carbon Creek") After the invention of warp drive, it took Vulcans a hundred years to design an engine capable of breaking the warp 2 barrier. (ENT: "First Flight")

The Vulcan invention of warp drive after 1947 is based on a line by Quark in DS9: "Little Green Men". See Little Green Men - Trivia for more information.

By the early 20th century, Vulcan had made contact with the Tellarites. Vulcans considered Tellarites argumentative, but "generally reliable" and they were known to pass on Vulcan distress calls to the Vulcan High Command. (ENT: "Carbon Creek", "Dead Stop")

Contact with the Andorians also came during the early 20th century. According to the Vulcans, their first contact "seemed promising," "despite their heightened emotions." However, it was soon discovered that "they were duplicitous," wishing to only honor "agreements that didn't conflict with their interests." Soon, a border dispute – dating back to the 1950s and lasting two hundred years – began between the two powers, due to their neighboring home systems and the Vulcans' suspicion towards the territorial and militaristic nature of the Andorians. The Andorians felt that the only thing that kept Vulcan from invading Andoria was "the threat of massive retaliation." (ENT: "Proving Ground")

Sputnik I

The launch of Sputnik in 1957, the first artificial Earth satellite, attracted the attention of the Vulcans

By the mid-20th century, Vulcans were observing Earth and the Human civilization that inhabited it, but never made contact because they were deemed too primitive. (ENT: "Carbon Creek", Star Trek: First Contact) The Vulcans were startled, however, by the launch of the first Human-made artificial satellite into orbit – "Sputnik," in 1957. Surprised that Humans were advancing towards spaceflight so quickly, Vulcan survey ships began making routine flybys through the Sol system, to keep an eye on how Humans were developing. These Vulcan watchers limited their observations to remote studies from high orbit. (ENT: "Carbon Creek") This also meant not intervening during Earth's World War III (even though the Vulcans were aware it was happening), because they felt it was a local problem they shouldn't get entangled in. (ENT: "Terra Prime")

In the 2050s, the Vulcans made first contact with the newly warp-capable Arkonians. Their relationship quickly soured, and a century later, Arkonians still harbored deep anger if even a single Vulcan was aboard an approaching starship. (ENT: "Dawn")

In 2063, the Vulcans were the first to make formal contact with the Human race, when a routine scouting mission noticed Zeframe Cochrane's first Human warp-speed flight. The survey ship followed Cochrane's vessel back to his base in Bozeman, Montana, to meet the man who had achieved Earth's first faster-than-light travel, and subsequently established formal diplomatic relations with Earth. An alliance that lasted for centuries was formed between the two worlds, though the Vulcans initially refused to share advanced warp technology with the Humans. (Star Trek: First Contact) During those years, Vulcans were sometimes seen with distrust, anger or even violence by Humans. (ENT: "Horizon", "Cogenitor") Almost a century after first contact, Earth was able to launch its first warp 5 starship, the Enterprise NX-01. (ENT: "Broken Bow")

In the mid-21st century, the Andorians terraformed a class D planetoid which they named Weytahn, lying at a strategic position on the frontier between the Andorian and the Vulcan systems. Though the Andorians refused to allow the Vulcan High Command to inspect the colony in order to search for possible threats in the form of military installations, the Vulcans forcibly evacuated the planetoid. In 2097, a treaty was signed, in which the Vulcans officially claimed Weytahn, which they named Paan Mokar, and a surveillance satellite was placed in orbit of the planetoid, in order to enforce the accord. (ENT: "Cease Fire")

22nd century

P'Jem surveillance

The surveillance facility beneath P'Jem was used by the Vulcans to secretly spy on their Andorian neighbours

Shortly before or in 2104, a Vulcan science vessel surveyed Berengaria VII, reporting its dragon-like reptiles to be over two hundred meters in length and breathing fire. (ENT: "Bound")

By the mid-22nd century, Vulcan was a regional power in the Alpha Quadrant. The Vulcan High Command did have rocky relationships with several species and were still often engaged in conflicts with the neighboring Andorians, occasionally teetering on the brink of war. Often, NX-01 was needed to help resolve disputes. Nevertheless, among the tensest relationships remained those with the Arkonians, who even developed a substantial hatred towards Vulcans. (ENT: "Dawn")

A deleted scene from "Dawn" even suggests that capital punishment was to be expected by Arkonian captains allowing Vulcans on their ships.

Vulcan had a better relationship with allies such as the Mazar, Coridan, and the United Earth government. When the Mazarites considered their government entrenched in corruption, they asked the Vulcans for help. The Vulcans then assigned V'Lar as their Ambassador to Mazar, who collected evidence against the corrupt officials. (ENT: "Fallen Hero") Certain Coridanite factions considered the government on their world corrupt, and only kept in place by Vulcan influence. (ENT: "Shadows of P'Jem") And though many Humans believed the Vulcans were holding them back from their true potential as explorers, Vulcan considered Earth one if its most important allies "for over a hundred years." (ENT: "Awakening")

As for their old Andorian adversaries, however, the Vulcan High Command maintained a highly sophisticated surveillance station beneath the monastery of P'Jem, close to Andoria in order to guarantee the safe "observation" of their "aggressive" neighbor. Using the disguise of an ancient Vulcan monastery, the facility was able to spy on the Andorian population while staying unnoticed. In 2151, Shran, a commander in the Andorian Imperial Guard, unveiled the secret of P'Jem with the help of the crew of the Earth starship Enterprise NX-01, thereby starting Human-Andorian relations and dealing a crippling blow to Vulcan prestige. After the Andorians destroyed the monastery later that year, however, the High Command began blaming Starfleet and Subcommander T'Pol, who was serving aboard Enterprise, for the loss of P'Jem, which later resulted not only in T'Pol's mother being expelled from the Vulcan Science Academy but also in an impairment of the Human-Vulcan relations. (ENT: "The Andorian Incident", "Shadows of P'Jem", "Home")

Another hot spot in the cold war between Vulcan and Andoria was Coridan, a class M planet rich in dilithium ore. In the 2150s, Coridan suffered from a civil war, in which rebels, backed by the Andorian Imperial Guard, tried to overthrow the chancellor and her corrupt government, who was in turn supported by the Vulcan High Command, since Vulcan tried to maintain its trade partnership with Coridan, a lucrative source for dilithium. (ENT: "Shadows of P'Jem")

Vulcan and Andorian ship over Weytahn

In 2152, Enterprise was able to mediate between the Andorians and Vulcans in their dispute over Weytahn

In 2152, a new open conflict arose on Weytahn, which was reclaimed by the Andorian Empire after being deserted for nearly sixty years. With the conflict about to escalate, Shran, who was leading the Andorian invasion forces on the planetoid, requested Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise as a trustworthy mediator in order to negotiate a cease fire, which was finally accomplished and both sides resumed their negotiations. (ENT: "Cease Fire")

Vulcan reformation

Subsequent to the crises of P'Jem and Paan Mokar, the High Command gained more control over civilian affairs. Under the leadership of Administrator V'Las, the High Command persecuted the Syrrannite sect, which claimed that Vulcan no longer followed the true teachings of Surak. Over the centuries following the death of Surak, his teachings had been subject to numerous interpretations and possible revisions. As a result, much of the original intent had been lost. In 2154, V'Las falsely claimed to have proof that the Andorians were developing a superweapon based on Xindi technology, and planned to invade Andoria in order to preempt this threat. For this purpose, the High Command secretly massed an attack fleet in the Regulan system, which was located inside Vulcan territory, near their border with the Andorians but outside of Andorian listening posts' range.

As these plans were developing, agents loyal to V'Las bombed Earth's embassy and framed the Syrrannite T'Pau for the act. Jonathan Archer, investigating the Syrrannites, was briefly joined with the katra of Surak, and re-discovered the Kir'Shara, an artifact containing the original writings of Surak.

Vlas stunned

Administrator V'Las attempts to destroy the Kir'Shara (2154)

Ambassador Soval and Commander Tucker warned the Andorians of the planned invasion, were Ambassador Soval was terribly tourtured when the Andorians didn't believe them, and the Vulcan attack fleet lost the element of surprise (see Battle of Andoria). As the battle got underway, Archer and T'Pau brought the Kir'Shara into the High Command's headquarters, justifying the Syrranites' position and enabling Minister Kuvak to challenge V'Las' increasingly illogical behavior.

In short order, the attack on Andoria was canceled, V'Las deposed, and the High Command disbanded. Kuvak and T'Pau formed a new transitional government, which promised to pursue peaceful policies and end its restrictions on Earth's technological development and expansion. T'Pau said it would take years to translate all of the writing, but the discovery of the Kir'Shara transformed Vulcan society, initiating a widespread return to the true teachings of Surak. (ENT: "The Forge", "Awakening", "Kir'Shara")

By 2154, capital punishment was still existing on Vulcan for a small number of offenses, including treason. (ENT: "Kir'Shara")

The Coalition of Planets and the Federation

See also: Federation history

By November 2154, when Earth Starfleet agreed to assist Andorian and Tellarite diplomats to resolve a long-standing trade dispute between them, the Romulan Star Empire had become aware of the threat posed by a closer partnership between Vulcan, Earth, and their neighbors. The Star Empire's attempts to destabilize the region led to the Babel Crisis, during which a secret mission by the Romulans involved the use of two Romulan drone-ships. The Romulan ships were able to camouflage themselves as various other vessels and managed to spread distrust and hostility among local powers around Vulcan. The Romulans nearly succeeded with their plans but Captain Archer of the Enterprise was able to settle the dispute and allied the Vulcans, Andorians, Humans, and Tellarites to find and destroy the drone-ships, thereby altering the result of this Romulan mission to the exact opposite of what it was intended to achieve. (ENT: "Babel One", "United", "The Aenar")


Talks at United Earth Starfleet Headquarters to form a Coalition of Planets in 2155

With the averted escalation of the Babel Crisis, Vulcan, Earth and other worlds realized the value of their joint work and were growing close to founding a Coalition of Planets in 2155. (ENT: "Demons", "Terra Prime") The new coalition became welded together in 2156, when the conflict with the Romulan Star Empire escalated into the Earth-Romulan War. A humiliating defeat of the Romulans by an alliance of Vulcan, Earth, Andorian and Tellarite forces at the Battle of Cheron in 2160 effectively ended the war and led to the establishment of the Romulan Neutral Zone between the two power blocs. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II"; TOS: "Balance of Terror")

Federation founding ceremony, 2161

The founding ceremony of the Federation in San Francisco in 2161

In 2161, one year after the Earth-Romulan War was decided, the old war allies, with the consent of the Vulcan Council, founded the United Federation of Planets in San Francisco, on Earth. (ENT: "Zero Hour", "These Are the Voyages..."; TNG: "The Outcast")

A newspaper article (It's Federation Day!) in the Picard family album created for Star Trek Generations suggests that a Representative T'Jan was the Vulcan at the forming of the Federation, though the clipping was not seen on screen and is not considered canon.
The novel Last Full Measure suggests that the Vulcan signers of the Federation Charter were Soval, T'Pau and Solkar.

23rd century

Babel reception

Ambassador Sarek defending Coridan's planned entry into the Federation in 2268

By the 23rd century, Vulcans were active members of the Federation. Personifying this was Ambassador Sarek, whose quick and logical responses during debates (such as with Tellarite Ambassador Gav) brought him recognition. He was even asked to come out of retirement to represent Vulcan at the Babel Conference in 2268. Over the following decades, he served as a personal adviser to the Federation President and was involved in the Khitomer Accords. (TOS: "Journey to Babel"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Sarek")

The non-canon Starfleet Operations Manual goes so far as to suggest that the Vulcans were so well trusted by other Federation members that some less-diplomatic species, such as the Zaldans, elected Vulcan Federation Councillors to represent their interests rather than a member of their own species.

In the alternate reality created by Nero's temporal incursion, the planet Vulcan was destroyed in 2258, rendering the Vulcan race an "endangered species." (Star Trek)

On a less than positive light, the Klingon ambassador called Vulcans the "intellectual puppets of the Federation," while arguing before the Federation Council in 2286. Seven years later, the daughter of the Klingon Chancellor, Azetbur, underlined this posture by calling the Federation a "Homo Sapiens-only club." (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

24th century


Admiral Savar was part of Starfleet Command in 2364

By the 24th century, Vulcan remained one of the principal Federation members, and was deeply involved in all levels of that society. By 2369, the Vulcans had a saying, known to the Federation: "We're here to serve." (DS9: "Captive Pursuit") A good example of this attitude is the Treaty of Alliance, which finally established a firm friendship between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, and whose drafting and negotiation during the first half of the century is mainly attributed to Sarek of Vulcan and his son, Spock. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise", "Sarek"; DS9: "The Way of the Warrior"; VOY: "Alliances") Vulcans were also highly integrated in the command structure of Starfleet, namely with high-ranking officers like Rear Admirals Savar and Sitak. (TNG: "Conspiracy"; DS9: "Favor the Bold") Some Starfleet vessels also had entirely, or almost entirely, Vulcan crews – e.g., the USS Hera, the USS Intrepid and the USS T'Kumbra. (TNG: "Interface"; DS9: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite")

D'deridex class destroys Vulcan transports

A Romulan warbird destroys a Vulcan transport carrying Romulan soldiers and claiming to be a "peace envoy"

In 2368, an attempt at a Vulcan-Romulan reformation/reunification almost resulted in an invasion of Vulcan. It began when Ambassador Spock went to Romulus because the new Proconsul Neral convinced Spock he was ready to open formal relations with Vulcan. However, this form of "cowboy diplomacy" was in no way authorized by the Federation Council or Starfleet. It soon turned out to be a Romulan attempt to gain a foothold within the Federation by using the underground Romulan-Vulcan reunification movement as a cover. The incidence culminated in Romulan forces entering Federation space aboard Vulcan transport vessels and moving towards Vulcan under a guise of peace. However, their cover was exposed and the Romulans destroyed their own forces, while they were heading back to Romulan space. (TNG: "Unification I", "Unification II") Despite this setback, Spock stayed on Romulus, continuing to work for a rapprochement between Vulcans and Romulans over the following two decades. (TNG: "Face of the Enemy"; Star Trek)

T'Vran Captain

The captain of the T'Vran which was exploring the Gamma Quadrant in 2369

After the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole in 2369, Vulcans were at the forefront of exploration in the Gamma Quadrant. Upon encountering the Wadi, a Vulcan ship was the first to make formal contact with a civilization from that region of the galaxy. (DS9: "Move Along Home") Vulcan science ships later encountered the Rakhari and found the remains of the Hur'q civilization. (DS9: "Vortex", "The Sword of Kahless")

Unfortunately, the Bajoran wormhole did not only bring scientific possibilities for the Federation and especially Vulcan, but also the Dominion threat. In late 2373, the Dominion War broke out and, during its early months, the Fifth Fleet had to fight Dominion forces near Vulcan. (DS9: "Favor the Bold") When Betazed fell in 2374 it meant a direct threat to Vulcan, a danger which became even more grave as the Dominion began building up its forces on the newly conquered world later that year. (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight", "The Reckoning") However, the danger to Vulcan never materialized as the Dominion War ended in late 2375 with the Federation Alliance emerging victorious. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")

In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 557), Ronald D. Moore mentions that the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writers toyed with making Vulcan the planet that was conquered by the Dominion in "In the Pale Moonlight". However, they decided to go with Betazed, as Vulcan carried "too much weight."
Red matter, 2387

Vulcan scientists preparing to stop the supernova

In 2387, Ambassador Spock's efforts to facilitate an eventual Romulan-Vulcan reunification came to an abrupt end, when Romulus was destroyed by a nearby supernova. Although Spock could not prevent the destruction of Romulus, he attempted to prevent the supernova from spreading further by creating a red matter singularity which, however, also pulled him and the pursuing Romulan mining ship Narada into an alternate reality. (Star Trek)

Summary of key dates

  • 2,700 BC: Vulcan civilization of this time is described as barbaric, war-like, aggressive and savage.
  • 3rd millennium BC: Vulcans begin to mentally train themselves to suppress their emotions.
  • 9th century BC: Master Haadok and others found the P'Jem monastery on another planet.
  • 4th century: Time of Awakening - As Vulcan is consumed by atomic wars, Surak proposes to embrace logic as a way to peace. Although his katra is saved, he later dies of radiation sickness on Mount Seleya. "Those who march beneath the Raptor's wings," leave the planet, becoming the ancestors of the Debrune and the Romulans.
  • 14th century: The religious holiday of Rumarie ceases to be observed on Vulcan.
  • 19th century: By this time Vulcan had rebuilt its civilization and returned to interstellar travel.
  • Early 20th century: First contact occurs between Vulcans and Andorians. Relations between both species should remain rough over the following two centuries.
  • 1957: Vulcans make unofficial first contact with Humans when a Vulcan survey ship, which had been investigating the launch of Sputnik I, crash-lands on Earth.
  • 2050s: Vulcans make first contact with the newly warp-capable Arkonians. Their relationship quickly sours to a point where Arkonians would bear deep hatred towards Vulcans. During this time, the Vulcans are also aware of the Third World War on Earth, but choose not to interfere.
  • 2063: Official first contact between Vulcans and Humans takes place after the T'Plana-Hath observes Humanity's first warp flight and then lands in Bozeman, Montana to meet its pilot.
  • 2097: After the Vulcan High Command forces its evacuation, a treaty is signed in which the Vulcans officially claim the Andorian planetoid Weytahn. It is renamed Paan Mokar, and a surveillance satellite is placed in orbit in order to enforce the accord.
  • 2151: Hidden beneath the monastery of P'Jem, a Vulcan listening post used to spy on their Andorian neighbors is uncovered by the crew of the Earth starship Enterprise and members of the Andorian Imperial Guard. After a warning and its subsequent evacuation, the installation is destroyed by the Andorians later that year, thereby dealing a severe blow to Vulcan-Andorian relations, which are already tense due to both power's ongoing vying for politcal influence on the dilithium-rich planet Coridan.
  • 2152: Vulcan-Andorian relations heat up further as the Andorian Empire tries to reclaim Weytahn nearly 60 years after it has been deserted. With the help of Captain Jonathan Archer of the Enterprise, a cease-fire is established and both sides resume their negotiations.


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