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As I've remembered from TV shows, Klingons were capable of interstellar travel from the time of Kahless somewhere in 9th century. And, other species were much backwards.. even Vulcans invented warp drive lately over 100 years before they gave it to Humans (ST: Deep Space 9). But, they were in contact with Andorians far much before Kahless time in 9th century BC (ST: Enterprise). Isn't it conflicting?
So, which one first invented warp capabilities: Klingons or Vulcans? Or, others?

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Perhaps warp drive was invented more than once by the vulcans, in the same was that different cultures invented the same things on Earth but at different time periods (can't recall specifics but I'm pretty sure there are some - someone want to help me out?). Just a thought. –  Paperjam Jan 7 '12 at 6:42
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I read once that in an early encounter between the Kligons and Romulans the Klingons exchanged their Warp technology against the Romulan cloak. So the Klingons had Warp before the Romulans. –  Martin Scharrer Mar 13 '12 at 20:53
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1 Answer

up vote 33 down vote accepted

Technically the first race to discover warp drive would be the ancient race in The Chase in Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is the species that moved out into the galaxy, explored it, and found it empty, so they seeded planets with DNA (which also explains why there are so many humanoid races in the galaxy).

But if you're talking races that are currently active on an interstellar scale, according to Memory Alpha, here's a simple table taken from the article on warp drive:

Vulcans: 9th century B.C.
Romulans: Didn't split from Vulcans until after Warp Drive.
Klingons: 9th century A.D.
Humans: 21st century A.D.
Vissians: 12th century A.D.
Borg: 15th century A.D.

(Note: Changes since original posting! The Memory Alpha article is confusing, one way it can be read is that Vulcans had an interstellar civilization in the 9th century B.C., but still didn't have warp drive until after A.D. 1947. It also took Vulcans a century to go from breaking lightspeed to reaching speeds as fast as warp 2.)

Data on other races and when they developed warp drive is apparently not available.

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Do you know the name of ancient race in The Chase in Star Trek: The Next Generation?? –  Sachin Shekhar Dec 30 '11 at 15:51
    
And, what about Andorians? –  Sachin Shekhar Dec 30 '11 at 15:53
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The Romulans didn't depart Vulcan until the 4th century A.D., so they always had warp drive. –  cjm Dec 30 '11 at 21:06
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@TangoOversway Unless you have a source I don't know about, the Borg were at least as far back as 1484, at which point they were already spacefaring. We don't know an actual date for them. A bit nitpicky, but when we don't know... ;) –  Izkata Dec 31 '11 at 0:03
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@SachinShekhar There is speculation that the ancient race is the Preservers –  Wesley Wiser Jan 5 '12 at 18:26
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