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Grand Admiral Thrawn originated from the Unknown Regions, and that's probably why he gained such a high Imperial rank, despite of the humanocentrism of the Empire. The Emperor himself experienced a call in the Force which came from the Unknown Regions (which might or might not have been Snoke). In Legends, some essential characters such as Cronal came from the unknown half of the Galaxy.

So, there were these regions in the Galaxy that were left uncharted and thereby had remained unknown to space travellers, even though they possessed aspects, that had significant importance to the "Known" regions. What were the reasons that kept these parts of the Galaxy uncharted by (a) the Old Republic, (b) the Republic, and (c) the Empire?

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    They wouldn't be the Unknown Regions if they were charted, would they? ;) – Andy Apr 8 '17 at 21:57
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    They call the uncharted bits "The Uncharted Regions". The bits they'd charted are called something else. – Valorum Apr 8 '17 at 22:01
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I think your premise in the first is wrong. Thrawn gained the high Imperial rank not because of where he originated but because he was so good. Whether only a Chiss could have been Thrawn is a different postulation. If it had been any other race that originally came into contact with Palpatine (or rather, his representative Kinman Doriana, during Outbound Flight, it could have played differently, but Palpatine's humanocentrism was mostly a ploy for the others in the Empire to spend their energy fighting each other and not him. He regarded talent as talent wherever he noticed it.

As I noted above with the Outbound Flight, there were attempts to colonise and explore that region of the Galaxy. It's just that there existed powerful interests in that area who would rather not have had that happen.

But, specifically, in the Old Republic (I don't understand your differentiation of the "Old Republic" and the "Republic" by the way - Ruusan?): too often was the state involved in civil wars, I would say. Especially as there would have been powerful counter-influences who would not be keen on sending people to the 'Unexplored' regions.

During the Empire, again, it would seem that most of the Fleet had to be kept in the known regions taking care of everything which was going on. After all, lots of civil disobedience, etc. Plus, the Moffs would all be unkeen to see another one of their kind gain a bigger power base and would block that move. Palpatine seems to have sent some small expeditions] into the area though -- from the Unknown Regions' Wiki page you posted.. One of these being noted as:

As part of the relations with the First Galactic Empire, the Chiss Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn, a native of these parts, was dispatched aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Admonitor to the Unknown Regions during the years of the Galactic Civil War, ostensibly on a simple mapping expedition, but in reality to explore and subjugate entire sectors for the Galactic Empire.

Lastly, from a Legends' point of view:

One hypothesis by a noted scientist suggested that a mass of dark matter intersected the galaxy in this region, creating gravitational anomalies that hindered navigation.

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The explanation for the Unknown Regions in Canon is similar yet contains some notable differences to Legends. In Canon the Unknown Regions of space are described to be a labyrinth of of solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes, gravity wells, and unknown terrestrial forces that inhabit the void. This maze was considered impassable and many exploration ships and probe droids were lost trying to breach it.

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    Where is this information coming from? – Valorum Sep 23 '17 at 13:47

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