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As a long-time Trek fan who just finished watching the ENT series for the first time, I realized that there were very few clues on just how large and widespread the Vulcan state[1] actually was, compared to United Earth.

On one hand, they have been warp-capable for many centuries and should have had the opportunity to reach much of the Alpha Quadrant before many of the rivaling spacefaring species in the region. For example, Carbon Creek indicates that they had already been aware of Earth for some time in the 1950s. This seems to provide good reason to assume that the Vulcans could have had a pretty large territory by the 2150s. Though an aggressive colonization policy does not seem very likely, not putting all of your eggs in one basket does sound like the logical thing to do, don't you think?

On the other hand, we know Vulcans don't go particularly out of their way to explore unknown regions. I'm not certain if that attitude also applies to colonization and terraforming (vulcaforming?). The Vulcans have a border with the Andorian Empire, and in Cease Fire, the planet Paan Mokahr/Weytahn was described as being on that border, but also as being very close to Vulcan, the home world (T'Pol even compares it to Pluto - implying it's in the Vulcan home system!). This confuses me a lot, how can the Vulcans not have managed to secure their own home system in the past 1500 years? Did they expand but lose lots of territory to the Andorians and Romulans or other more aggressive species?

So, to get to the point, does anyone have (semi-)canonical information that can give me some idea about the extent of the Vulcan state? If not, speculations? And as a directly related question, just how expansionistic are they?

[1] Call it what you will, Confederacy of Vulcan, Planetary Confederation of 40 Eridani, Confederacy of Surak... See here for a discussion on its name. 'Vulcan state' seems neutral to me.

  • The government is called the Vulcan High Command – Izkata Jul 24 '12 at 22:58
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    @Izkata: The High Command is the ruling body, not the state. I think that's like confusing the US Congress with the USA. – Junuxx Jul 24 '12 at 23:01
  • Congress is more akin to the High Council. Vulcan High Command is closer to the government at large. I guess what you're looking for is just the "Vulcan civilization"? – Izkata Jul 24 '12 at 23:03
  • @Izkata: Don't know much about the Vulcan High Council, so that could be right. But 'Civilization' does not really have the connotation I had in mind, as that seems to be more about cultural and societal rather than political aspects. There are conflicting names for the Vulcan "country" in canon material, and my footnote and its link were intended to avoid a debate over it here ;) But maybe the topic merits a question of its own? – Junuxx Jul 24 '12 at 23:14
  • Nah, that would be "Vulcan culture", then. "Civilization" tends to include the reach of government and the spread of technological advances within their society. – Izkata Jul 24 '12 at 23:25
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Much of this is going to be borrowed and extrapolated from the Memory Alpha article on Vulcan history.

This much tells us that before the Time of Awakening, the Vulcans didn't even do much exploring, let alone conquering or colonization.

As for after the Time of Awakening:

  • In an early episode of Enterprise, T'Pol says to Archer something along the lines of "There is a reason we don't contact pre-Warp civilizations", establishing that Vulcans do have something similar to the Prime Directive, even before the Federation. (Unfortunately, I can't find a reference to this on Memory Alpha..)
  • As for general colonization, Vulcan didn't have very many colonies shown on screen. There were only two, the Vulcanis Lunar Colony (which may have been established after the Federation formed) and Paan Mokar, which the Andorians called Weytahn, claiming it as their own.
    • Memory Alpha mentions that the conflict over Paan Mokar/Weytahn had lasted about 100 years, with some periods of treaty-enforced peace between.
    • The Vulcans didn't claim Paan Mokar until after the Andorians had already terraformed and staked their claim.
    • As mentioned in the question, Paan Mokars's strategic location is "similar to Pluto". Even if it's not in the same star system as Vulcan, it must be close, implying that the Vulcans haven't expanded very far.

So this should fairly well answer the question of how expansionistic the Vulcans are: Almost not at all. The only colony we know was theirs before the Federation was formed, they only claimed so that the Andorians couldn't.

  • I only know about the live-action series, not any of the novels or the animated series. There may be more there, since you indicated in a comment you'd accept info from there. – Izkata Jul 25 '12 at 0:25
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    Well researched, thanks, can't argue with the facts! But for me it's hard to believe that there isn't a fair number of Vulcan planets that just haven't been mentioned. For example, why would they need dozens of warships including Warp 7-capable "Battle Cruisers" (ENT:United) if they just needed to protect their homeworld and a handful of nearby outposts? It seems such a small-scale Vulcan would be better off with a planet based defense system: The technologically inferior humans had the Verteron array and its power appeared to far outclass ship mounted weapons of the time. – Junuxx Jul 25 '12 at 0:45
  • @Junuxx They were also spacefaring for a very long time (time to build up lots of ships if they weren't destroyed/decommissioned too often), and in the post-Awakening era they did do more exploration, such as the Seleya into the Delphic Expanse. – Izkata Jul 25 '12 at 1:08
  • @Junuxx I just realized how dismissive my last comment looks, in regards to your suggestion about Vulcan planets/colonies that simply haven't made it to the screen. 'Twasn't meant to be, just an additional possible suggestion that also sort-of explains why they have powerful ships as well. – Izkata Jul 25 '12 at 23:12
  • Don't worry about it :) It's a reasonable suggestion, especially considering the inconclusiveness of the evidence. About the Seleya, the article you linked to mentions they intended to study the Expanse from the outside but were dragged in. – Junuxx Jul 26 '12 at 5:25
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It seems the ENT canon supports at least these Vulcan worlds:

  • Vulcan
  • P'Jem
  • Paan Mokar (claimed, but apparently no permanent Vulcan residents)

VOY mentions another, which might or might not have been founded after the Federation:

Then there are several non-canon candidates I found:

  • Cor Caroli IX - a population of a few hundred Vulcans in the 24th century probably means it was founded after the Federation
  • Trilan might be a major colony and is mentioned in both TOS and ENT material
  • Merak II "Merak was one of the first worlds that was colonized by the Vulcan race"
  • From Memory Beta on Vulcan history: "The Vulcans soon established colonies on worlds such as T'Khut, Kethri and Mevet"
  • Darien 224

Finally, there's an article on Vulcan Space on alpha-command.com, the most important bit of which is quoted below. While the Alpha Command project claims that "We incorporate many sources of canon and non-canon elements into our group...", the article is unsourced, so it might as well be nothing but fan fiction. Some of the planet names gave no hits at all on Google, but others I could confirm on Memory Beta.

Vulcan space consists of approximately 26 star systems spread through out Federation space. The most notable are; the Vulcan system, the P'Jem system, the Nisan system, the 3 system Vulcan Colony space in the gamma quadrant and the 9 system colonies in the alpha and beta quadrants in federation space.

ADDITION

I found a fan-made map showing the extent of Vulcan's territory in the ENT era. The maker claims that it is based on the Star Trek Star Charts with additions and improvements based on the televised series (though I have some doubts about that). STSC is not full canon, but I guess it's the most authorative source we have.

This map shows 5 Vulcan systems; Vulcan proper, Chara, Harmony, Calanara and P'Jem.

enter image description here

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It's worth mentioning that, in the parallel history of the Star Trek universe shown in the JJ Abrams films, the destruction of Vulcan (the single planet) immediately results in the Vulcans becoming "an endangered species" and on the precipice of complete extinction. This implies that, in that continuity at least, the Vulcans may have had few if any colonies off-world, and the only surviving Vulcans are the refugees rescued by the Enterprise, and those stray individuals who happened to be off-world at the time. Otherwise such comments wouldn't make sense: for example, nuking Washington DC would be a catastrophe, but it would hardly result in Americans becoming "an endangered culture" because there are other cities in the United States.

Therefore, if the JJ Abrams films are to be believed, the Vulcans may have established no substantial colonies at all beyond their homeworld.

That being said, the JJ Abrams movies contradict a LOT of pre-existing Star Trek canon (not to mention basic physics), so they may or may not be applicable. I personally tend to think of them as super-high-quality fan films, or some other kind of non-canonical works, so as to sidestep issues exactly like this.

But since the first film dealt largely with the Vulcan state, it's worth mentioning.

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    This is a very good point, I hadn't thought this. But I think the "endangered species" thing is not necessarily inconsistent with having multiple "somewhat substantial" surviving colonies. Many Federation colonies in the various tv series are said to have only a few thousand people, so absolutely tiny compared to a homeworld of billions. Using your example, I think you could actually talk about Americans as an "endangered culture" if the entire contiguous 48 states were wiped out, even though the survivors would still number in the millions. – Junuxx Oct 21 '14 at 20:13
  • @Junuxx True, but the 48 States make up the majority of the USA, both in land and population. However many colonies the Vulcans had, if wiping out one planet makes them "endangered", we can safely assume that the number of Vulcans on their homeworld dwarfed the number of Vulcans off-world at that time. – Nerrolken Jun 2 '15 at 6:01
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I suspect there are few Vulcan planets because of the Pon Farr. For example, it compelled Spock to return to Vulcan in "Amok Time." They may be other cultural or religious reasons to stay close to home as well. For example, in ST:3, Spock's Katra was compelled to return to Vulcan.

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TBH JJ Abrams Star Trek is a basis to base nothing upon considering that over 30 years of Star Trek existed before JJ Abrams turned up and started messing with the time line. To put this another way the JJ Abrams versions of Star Trek risk being dumped in the ditch if they don't show or revert to a continuing line of Star Trek because 30 years and 5 different TV series with 1000's of hours of trek knowledge and work sort of overrides anything that JJ Abrams would have to say.

At the present moment in my mind the JJ Abrams versions of Star Trek sits alongside the main universe.

To answer the question there are 4 quadrants the Vulcans were around exploring during the 1950s... however, the Vulcans were a nonconfrontational race not interested in exploration, unlike the Federation who were willing to set treaties and fight over treaties, the Vulcans were less inclined to do this.

Also, as a side note, the Vulcans are related to the Romulan Star Empire, who have a mass swath of Beta Quadrant space, including some Alpha quadrant across the neutral zone.

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    Can I suggest you remove the rant about JJ Abrams' ST. It seems quite tangential to answering the question. – Edlothiad Aug 21 '17 at 2:27
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That JJ Abrams has enough plotholes to make Swiss Cheese. I can understand rescuing only 10,000 from the main planet Vulcan, but only 10,000 Vulcans left in existence, utter rubbish! Even if 1% of Vulcans were living offworld that would still be 60 million Vulcans, hardly an endangered species. As much as I enjoy the reboot movies as comedy Abrams ignorance is exposed in the first film. Vulcans had colonies, probably not as many as Humans since they seemed the type to stay close to home and explore for scientific reasons only. Tuvok was born on a Vulcan colony, V'Las corrupt government used a colony to spy on Andoria.

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    You seem to be posting a lot of low-quality answers. You might find more positive response if you chose one question and gave a far more detailed answer. – Valorum Jan 12 '15 at 17:59
  • @Richard Answers like this almost move me to actually try and write some questions / answers just so I could downvote :D – Luaan Jun 1 '15 at 12:50

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