In the Star Trek episode "The Squire of Gothos", Trelane suggested he was looking at Earth of 900 years ago, in the late 18th century, making Star Trek set in the 27th Century.

According to Wikipedia, it appears that the date when Star Trek was set in was made later than this episode.


At the time episode was written there was no definite century in which Star Trek took place. It is stated that Gothos is 900 light years from Earth and that Trelane had "been looking in on doings nine hundred years past". However, Trelane references people and events of the late 18th and early 19th centuries putting Star Trek in the 27th century.

Which episode establishes the time Star Trek: TOS takes place is (roughly) the 2260s? Was it in the original series or ST:TNG?

  • The question is about which episode the time line was presented.
    – user66716
    Mar 9, 2018 at 13:06
  • That's answered in the linked question: it wasn't until TNG.
    – SQB
    Mar 9, 2018 at 13:12
  • @SQB The answer appears wrong? I think Star Trek the Motion Picture (1979) it is asserted that "V'ger" was in fact the Voyager probe, which Decker pointed out was "launched more than 300 years ago". I'm not sure if the precise year is mentioned in the film, but Wikipedia gives the year as 2171.
    – user66716
    Mar 9, 2018 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


Gothos is situated 900 LY from Earth, and saw Earth as it was "broadcasting" its image 900 years ago at the speed of light.

Trelane manufactured the world, and various artifacts on it, for the purpose of interacting with individuals kidnapped from the Enterprise. Because Gothos was 900 light-years from Earth; Trelane viewed it as it was in the 14th century.

As you mentioned, Star Trek: TOS does take place in the 2260s, as established after that episode. "The Squire of Gothos took place in 2267, according to Memory Alpha/Trelane.

To address the continuity errors...

In reality, it simply could have been the episodes' writers to blame, though an in-universe theory might be that Trelane was simply "breaking character" at times from his projected 14th-century persona. His "planet" could travel at warp speeds, so it stands to reason that he could observe other time periods in Earth's history by moving nearer/farther from it, and was "picking and choosing" affectations as he saw fit.

As an interesting [non-canon] proof for this, in the game Star Trek: Judgment Rites, Trelane makes a reappearance and projects a similar historical farcity - this time during World War I.

  • 2
    it's also worth noting that Trelane is essentially a child, so he could just be wrong
    – NKCampbell
    Mar 9, 2018 at 14:23
  • @Vanguard3000 - Trelane can't be looking at Earth through a giant telescope; he knows too much for such an inadequate method, including knowing Earth languages and Earth music. Trelane knows Napoleon and knows that Alexander Hamilton was killed by a dueling pistol (in 1804). Therefore the date of "Squire of Gothos" would have to be at least 2704. Jaeger's guess seems to be inaccurate and Trelene probably studied Earth with some other method. Mar 9, 2018 at 16:49
  • @M.A.Golding That was my point: Gothos seems to be not only motive, but warp-capable, which would have allowed Trelane to observe (visually as well as by our radio, etc) Earth's history at any point based on his position. And that's to say nothing of the fact that his abilities may transcend science as we know it. (A lot of people seem to equate Trelane with the Q or the Douwd, though it seems like Trelane was dependent on technological machines, while the Q's technology - to paraphrase A. C. Clarke - was indistinguishable from magic.) Mar 9, 2018 at 18:01
  • @M.A.Golding The Nimoy quote you sent is interesting, by the way. It's nice to see someone just own up to a plot-hole, rather than to contrive some elaborate in-universe explanation. Mar 9, 2018 at 18:03