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How many interstellar powers were there in the Star Trek universe? Such as the United Federation of Planets, the Romulan Star Empire, the Klingon Empire...

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    Do you mean on screen only? A lot. Generally considered canon? Some more. In all licensed works? Many more. Further, do you mean only in the time period depicted in some or all of these works, or known dead civilizations as well? Does it need to be as a cohesive political entity as those you pose as examples, or would groupings like The Ferengi Alliance or The Kazon Nistrum count?
    – Politank-Z
    Jan 20, 2016 at 17:44
  • Entities? Governments? Communities?
    – Catija
    Jan 20, 2016 at 17:45
  • This question uses the term 'power': scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/7285/… Jan 20, 2016 at 18:01
  • Some of James Blish's novelizations of TOS mention the 'Vegan Tyranny', though it's extinct by the time of TOS.
    – LAK
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:06
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    An infinite number. The number of alien species with interstellar power increased at the speed of plot, and they were only in a tiny quadrant of a single galaxy.
    – user40790
    Jan 20, 2016 at 19:13

4 Answers 4

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Assuming you're referring to multi-planetary polities, the answer is loads and loads.

The Star Trek: Star Charts mapbook offers us the following view of the Alpha and Beta quadrants as well as some tiny slices of the Delta and Gamma quadrants.

enter image description here

Just from this (very limited) glance, we can see the 4 major powers in the region

  • The UFP
  • Romulan Star Empire
  • Klingon Empire
  • Cardassian Union

as well as a host of minor powers;

  • Breen
  • Ferengi Alliance
  • Tholian Assembly
  • Mirador
  • Lisseppia
  • Tzenkethi Alliance
  • Bajor and its colony world
  • Talarian Confederation
  • Coalition of Madena
  • Satarran Star Empire
  • Lysian Alliance
  • Tamaria
  • Ktarian Empire
  • Kressari Kingdom
  • Chrysalian
  • Nyberrite Alliance
  • Gorn Hegemony
  • Kyrdan Kingdom
  • Lyran Empire
  • Kzinti Hegemony

and in the Delta Quadrant

enter image description here

  • Kazon Space
  • Vidiian Sociality
  • Haakonian Order
  • Krowtonan Guard
  • Numiri Empire
  • Swarm Space
  • Etanian Order
  • Borg Space

Which all may seem pretty impressive until you get some idea of the size/scope of the galaxy

enter image description here

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    Do you have a larger version of the galaxy map image?
    – Xantec
    Jan 20, 2016 at 20:13
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    It makes you wonder why the Dominion bothered with the Alpha Quadrant - who was preventing their indefinite (presumably resource-intensive) expansion in the Gamma Quadrant?
    – Shamshiel
    Jan 20, 2016 at 22:32
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    @Shamshiel - I'd guess that it's the same things that always prevents countries from indefinitely expanding; lack of resources, lack of colonists and neighbours who're willing to spend blood to defend themselves.
    – Valorum
    Jan 20, 2016 at 22:46
  • @Richard: Sure, but none of those things stopped them from invading the Alpha Quadrant.
    – Shamshiel
    Jan 20, 2016 at 22:53
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    The image doesn't reflect the topology provided by the Bajoran wormhole. By any practical measure, Bajor was closer to and easier to reach from the Dominion than much of the rest of the Gamma Quadrant.
    – chepner
    Oct 21, 2021 at 19:54
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In Alpha Quadrant there are 7 Governments acording to alpha memory wiki :

  • Breen Confederacy
  • Cardassian Union
  • Ferengi Alliance
  • Klingon Empire
  • Romulan Star Empire
  • Tholian Assembly
  • United Federation of Planets

Rest of Quadrants were not that explained and apart from Borg in Delta Quadrant no Governments were shown. Just planets or species.

I don't know would you consider Q Continuum here

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  • Is there a rule that they can't use the same noun? Jan 20, 2016 at 17:58
  • @ThePopMachine The Klingons seem to agree with the Romulans here. Which is odd, by the way. They never got on otherwise.
    – Mr Lister
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:05
  • @MrLister: Empire and Star Empire are different, I can reasonably argue. This is the non-proper noun portion of the name. The Klingon polity is an 'empire' and the Romulan polity is a 'star empire'. Jan 20, 2016 at 18:09
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    What about the Gorn, and the First Federation? Both were probably multi-star organizations.
    – LAK
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:09
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    Actually, Voyager encountered many different galactic powers on it's journey home. In fact, there are entire episodes devoted to Voyager negotiating or making a run through another power's claimed space. There's also the Dominion, which is a massive story arc in DS9. So, there's plenty of galactic governments missing from this answer and summarizing the rest of the quadrants as "just Borg or none" is very much incorrect.
    – Ellesedil
    Jan 20, 2016 at 18:41
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In the Lensman novels of E.E. Smith "Civilization" ruled most of our galaxy and "Boskone" ruled most of The Second Galaxy (location relative to ours unspecified.)

Each galactic realm ruled millions of planets. Each planet that was modern and as advanced as the others in its realm could build a space battleship in a few months. Thus the main battles where the two realms fought each other with everything they had involved vast numbers of ships, millions of space battleships plus many other types of space warships.

in DS9 "Sacrifice of Angels" 600 Federation and allied ships fight 1,200 Dominion, Cardassian, and allied ships. Each side has other fleets fighting in other fronts of the war.

But the total sizes of the two space forces are pathetically puny and tiny compared to the fleets in the Lensman series. E.E. Smith did the math, and the writers of the various Star Trek shows and movies didn't, or just couldn't face up to the incredible numbers of stars in a large spiral galaxy.

The creators of Star Trek suffer from "Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale". http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ScifiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale1

The creators of Star Trek create star maps in which major space realms like the Federation or the Klingons are not just dimensionless dots compared to the galaxy as a whole but spread out over measurable areas of the galactic disk. If they were that large, they would rule millions of solar systems and probably have fleets of millions of space battleships. If each of the major Star trek realms ruled only a miserable few hundred or a few thousand star systems, it would be a tiny, dimensionless, dot on the map of the galaxy.

There were certainly times in the far past when there were no interstellar realms yet in our galaxy in Star Trek. There might possibly have been times in the past of Star Trek when there was a single galactic government ruling all the galaxy.

But in the time of the Star Trek productions there are many different interstellar governments in the Galaxy, and if the creators admitted how small the main realms would have to be to have only a few thousand space warships each, there would be room for thousands and maybe millions more interstellar governments with plenty of unclaimed stars and planets between them.

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  • The one counter to the very good argument you make is that we do not know the answer to the Drake equation in-universe. It may well be that most systems are barren, incapable even of colonization. But I completely agree that scale is often missed completely.
    – JohnHunt
    Oct 21, 2021 at 20:35
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Such a list would need to include Species 8472 and the Xindi. It's been made mention that these are species but I can't see the distinction between Species 8472 and the Borg, and the Xindi had a government of 5 separate and individual species.

I second the idea of adding the Q Continuum but potentially as a new category of highly advanced interstellar powers. This category would include the Organians, and the Metrons. The Q chose a more active role where the Organians and Metrons opted out beyond their need to intervene in a specific instance citing a requirement for advancement before they would consider getting involved, despite having powers equal to the Q.

A sub-category of advanced races would need to include the Talosians and Melkotians.

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  • Godlikes don't really count.
    – Valorum
    Oct 21, 2021 at 21:44
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Oct 21, 2021 at 22:10
  • Ok so how could Godlikes not factor into a question about interstellar powers? The Federation wouldn't know about the Borg and vice-versa if it weren't for the Q. The Federation and the Klingons would have fought wars for ? long if it weren't for the Organians (The Organian Peace Treaty). And the Enterprise was on the brink of starting war with the Gorn if the Metrons hadn't intervened. It could be argued that these more advanced powers were the regulating forces that had control over the lesser powers, but done in the background without territorial designation.
    – Zufo
    Oct 22, 2021 at 23:07

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