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Inspired by this question, Naboo has a tradition of electing twelve and fourteen year old girls to represent them at a galactic level.

Padme remarks that at 14 she wasn't the youngest queen ever elected but she seems incredibly young by our standards, she'd still be in school in most European counties let alone ruling a planet!

Is there any reason why such young women (and possibly men) are selected to rule (or at the very least represent) the planet. Are the Naboo a particularly short lived race like Star Trek's Ocampa?

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    Have you considered different perspectives? Back in medieval Europe, a 14 year old girl who didn't have kids yet was getting "too old". – Theik Apr 2 '15 at 12:39
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    @Gaius not canon? What are you talking about? – Alfredo Hernández Apr 2 '15 at 13:29
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    Perhaps it's Nabooian culture to elect children because they're innocent, idealistic, and not yet politically corrupt. Incidentally, was Palpatine elected or appointed to the Senate? – Michael Itzoe Apr 2 '15 at 14:33
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    One of the novels or comics (a novel IIRC) explained that a reform of the Naboo election system allowed for anyone to take the aptitude test. If you made X score or higher on the aptitude test, you were automatically entered into the elections. Can't make it an answer, however, since I don't remember where I saw that. – Omegacron Apr 2 '15 at 14:54
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    @Omegacron The Nubians built the Naboo Royal Cruiser (although the Naboo applied the Chrome Bling of Royalty themselves), they have nothing to do with the planet Naboo - theirs is called Nubia (common misconception apparently - starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Nubia#Behind_the_scenes). – BMWurm Jun 20 '15 at 5:38
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As the other answerer has stated, there have been many real world examples of young monarchs. It wouldn't be terribly hard to imagine that a fourteen year old could come to power in a monarchy if their parents died when they were still young.

However, Naboo, between 150-18 bby, was an elected monarchy. Rulers came into power via election, and were not directly thrust into power through their parents. Therefore, people chose to elect young monarchs (though not all were young). There are a couple of clues as to why:

  • Rulers were selected for their intelligence and skill, rather than age or power. Anyone could run regardless of age.
  • The most important factor of a ruler to many Nabooians was to be pure of heart and to have good intentions. I would imagine that many intelligent young people would lack the corruption of older rulers — but this may be because their naivety, rather than political intentions. During the clone wars TV show, we see many instances of Padmé trying to do what's right rather than what would make her politically popular. This would have been seen as respectable to the people of Naboo.
  • Anyone could vote, regardless of age. There was an aptitude test open to any citizen. Pass it, and you would be allowed to vote. Maybe younger voters would be more willing to vote for younger leaders?
  • There was a galaxy-wide program established to promote the education of young people for work in public services. The organization was known as the Legislative Youth Program and was held primarily on Naboo. While it was open to anyone in the galaxy, on some planets, including Naboo, enrolment was mandatory. All citizens of Naboo had to serve between the ages of twelve and twenty. So anyone could be a politically viable citizen at a young age. Members included a young Palpatine and Padmé.

All in all, Naboo's culture centered around creating a politically just and kind-hearted government. Electing young rulers was common because of the amount of training given to them was substantial enough to make them viable leaders. There was also a common belief that age ≠ political ability and the kind souls of youth also appealed to the people of Naboo.

More information can be found here.

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Without references to a galaxy far, far away in general and without knowledge of the constitution of Naboo and therefore also without any ideas as to what extend the Queen of Naboo rules without further advice (be it a regent or advisors) I'd like to point out that our history offers many examples of incredibly young monarchs. Most of them of course are under the regency until becoming of age but fourteen seems not completely uncommon.

Consider some of the Kings of Sicily which seem as important on earth as Naboo in the Galactic Republic:

  • William II "the Good", became king aged eleven, under regency of his mother until declared adult at age sixteen
  • Frederick I (AKA Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor), born 1194, became king at age two under ever changing regencies until declared of age in 1208 (aged 13 or 14)
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    These are not elected officials. – Valorum Apr 2 '15 at 17:19
  • Some monarchies, especially back in the old days had the tendency to elect their kings, though election is to be interpreted a little different from today as it involved huge bribes and doesn't exactly took a vote of the populace. However it shows that adolescents put into high-profile positions such as head of the state in a wide sense (whether elected or not) are not uncommon in history. – Ghanima Apr 2 '15 at 17:26
  • I disagree. Comparing monarchical heads of state with democratic ones is like comparing apples with oranges. – Valorum Apr 2 '15 at 17:28
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    And this is where I beg to differ. How a society decides to put their rulers into places of power (be it by democratic votes or by inheriting the throne) got nothing to do at what age they deem them fit for the task. – Ghanima Apr 2 '15 at 18:47
  • I'm struggling to find any elected Head of State (ever) below the age of 24. Most countries have laws that prevent those below voting age from assuming office. – Valorum Apr 2 '15 at 19:16
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Amidala is elected young by today's European standards, but at 14 years in medieval times she would be already adult. Sometimes ascending the throne required some kind of election (acceptance), which could be given even to very young children - only then a regent was designated. Looking for some historical examples I propose queen Richesa Elisabeth. Lost her mother at age of 3, at age of 8 her father was murdered (the only case of a king's murder in Poland's history), at age of 10 her fiancee died (maybe was poisoned), at age 19 she was already a double queen widow, first queen of Bohemia and Poland, later queen of Bohemia and Germany. Then at age of 19 her life shifted from politics to love, for 21 years she loved a count from Bohemia she could not marry (compare with forbidden marriage of Amidala and Anakin) because it would cause strong political disruption.

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    Interesting piece of history. So there's real-world historical precedence, but can you tell us how or why that matters in the Star Wars universe? Has the creator/writer given proof that they were influenced by real-world history? – Möoz Feb 20 '17 at 1:03
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Here is a short discussion of more or less elected rulers who used titles which are also commonly associated with hereditary monarchy.

From 27 BC to AD 1806 (1,833 years, and in most of them there were multiple Roman empires and multiple emperors) almost exactly every single person you will find on lists of Roman emperors, "Byzantine" emperors, and Holy Roman Emperors gained his legal right to his power by some type of election, whether by a large group such as the senate and the popular assembly at Rome and the Roman army, or by a small group such as the famous Seven Electors.

Of course almost all of them gained their actual power by inheritance, assassination, or armed rebellion, but their power was made legal by some process of more or less formal election by some group of persons. In a small proportion of cases there was no reigning emperor who wanted to make have his heir elected as the next emperor nor any successful usurper and the election was actually a free choice by the group who chose the next emperor.

And in many cases the group entitled to elect would rubber stamp the election of a child who was the heir of the reigning emperor.

What was good enough for the empire was good enough for lowly kingdoms.

In 1660-61 in the reign of Fredrick III Denmark (and Norway) became an absolute and hereditary monarch and the old practice of formally electing the king's oldest son became unnecessary.

The kings of Sweden were elected by the assemblies of Uppland at the stones of Mora until the election of Christian I in 1457.

enter link description herehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stones_of_Mora

At the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II the ritual described her as being elected (technically the voting population elected the parliament that passed the Act of Succession in 1701 that decreed the rules by which she inherited the throne).

The throne of Poland was partially elective as far back as the ninth century AD according to legend and into historic times. After the last king of the Jagiellon Dynasty died in 1572, the Polish nobility agreed on the terms for royal elections in 1573 and from then on until 1791 were absolutely free to elect anyone, even to reject the previous king's chosen heir in favor of someone else.

The coronation or installation of almost every hereditary European monarch includes asking the e people represent if they accept him or her as their monarch, and the swearing-in of the monarch with an oath of office i similar to those of presidents and prime ministers. Thus there is at least a slight element of election and the monarch agrees to rule (or these days mostly just reign) according to various rules.

This is a holdover from the days when there often was more of a choice of monarch and when the monarchs actually ruled and so were required to vow to rule justly.

In 1873 and again in 1874 the Hawaiian legislature elected a new monarch, and the election in 1874 was much like an American presidential election with mudslinging accusations.

Christian bishops have usually been elected by some or all of the clergy and/or laypeople of their dioceses (though sometimes appointed by lay or clerical lords) and often had control of considerable wealth used to finance the church's work and do charity. Many bishops have often been powerful secular rulers. Even today the bishop of Urgel is one of the two co-princes of Andorra.

The Bishop of Rome, or the Pope, is an elected clergyman, and for centuries Popes claimed to be the rightful spiritual and secular rulers of the whole world as the Vicars of Christ, and for centuries the Popes were recognized as secular rulers of the Papal States and now of the Vatican City.

Many Buddhist Lama positions are filled by selecting a child who is considered to be the reincarnation of previous holders of he position. They include the Dalai Lamas, who ruled or reigned over most of Tibet from 1642 to 1912.

Himiko (c. 170-248 CE), the queen or chief priestess of the unidentified land of Yamataikoku in ancient Wa (Japan), sent several tribute missions to the court of Wei in China. A Chines official named Chang Cheng was on a mission to her court when she died.

When Himiko passed away, a great mound was raised, more than a hundred paces in diameter. Over a hundred male and female attendants followed her to the grave. Then a king was placed on the throne, but the people would not obey him. Assassination and murder followed; more than one thousand were thus slain. A relative of Himiko named Iyo [壹與], a girl of thirteen, was [then] made queen and order was restored. Chêng issued a proclamation to the effect that Iyo was the ruler.

It is believed that Iyo was actually named Toyo. Anyway, she was a shaman or queen whose selection as ruler and then confirmaiton by the Chinese envoy brought peace after a period of violence.

According to the epitome of Book LXXII of Cassius Dio's Roman History, about 170 CE in the Marcomannic wars of Marcus Aurelius:

Marcus Antoninus remained in Pannonia in order to give audience to the embassies of the barbarians; for many came to him at this time also. Some of them, under the leadership of Battarius, a boy twelve years old, promised an alliance; these received a gift of money and succeeded in restraining Tarbus, a neighbouring chieftain, who had come into Dacia and was demanding money and threatening to make war if he should fail to get it.

Since this was probably a few centuries before the first example of a child inheriting a German throne, I don't think that anyone has any idea how Battarius became the leader of his unspecified group.

It should be noted that the age of majority varied a lot and still varies a lot in different cultures and legal systems and that many child hereditary rulers attained their majorities at ages down to fourteen and even younger in some cases.

If a child hereditary ruler could reach his or her majority at age fourteen it is certainly possible that that kids as young as fourteen could have been sometimes elected to any elective positions there may have been in their societies.

Of course it seems to be many, many, times from common on Naboo than on Earth to elect a child to a position with a royal title.

It is possible that the Queens of Naboo don't usually control the government, especially as young as Amidala, but that queen Amidala was forced to take action during the emergency situation, just as some of the European monarchs had to take important actions during World war II.

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    Historical precedent on Earth is an out-of-universe explanation. OP is looking for why it happened in-universe. – phantom42 Jun 20 '15 at 4:55
  • phamtom42 - If the OP seeks totally top level canonical answers he should hope some future movie or tv series gives them. If the OP will accept lesser canonical answers he should seek all novels,comics, games, etc. which mention Naboo history to see if they offer any explanation. And just as alien societies should vary from far more capitalistic to far more socialistic than any on Earth, and so on for various issues, so should they vary on how common it is to elect kids to jobs having royal titles, with it being much commoner on a few worlds than on Earth. – M. A. Golding Jun 20 '15 at 5:41
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Let me try another answer. Here is a quote about Empress of Outer Space (1965) by A. Bertram Chandler:

The planets of the Empire had decided on the best possible form of government for themselves: a monarchy, for quick decisions; a monarch chosen from the people, for democracy's sake; a female monarch, tall, blonde and beautiful, for dramatic appeal. Her Imperial Highness, the Empress Irene.

[1]http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8388751-the-alternate-martians-empress-of-outer-space

As I remember, the Empress had to be young, since she had to be beautiful, and back in 1965 it was hard to picture a beautiful woman much over 40. But not too young, since she had to have shown her competence - Empress Irene in particular was a former space captain, as she was over fond of reminding the officers of ships she traveled aboard.

Thus I think it was normal for an empress to be replaced - after a specific term of years, like a president, or after losing some equivalent of a vote of no confidence, like a prime minister can lose office before the end of her term - instead of serving until death.

As I remember, the empress was not elected directly by the people, as in most republics, but was selected or elected by an electoral college vaguely similar to those of the Holy Roman Empire and of the United States of America, and in the novel a member of the electoral college accompanied the empress and was authorized to veto her actions if necessary, and if she ignored the veto to call a electoral meeting to vote her out of office.

And it is possible that the planet Naboo had a similar system but the queens were usually elected at a much lower age than the space empresses in Empress of Outer Space.

Now think about the political system in medieval Japan, if it does not give too big a headache.

It is generally believed that the office of Japanese emperor evolved from a priest-king who was the chief shaman of a confederation of kings in the region of Yamato in prehistoric times. By the time of the first completely historic rulers after about 500 AD the confederation ruled most of south west Japan and the title of the supreme overlord was Okimi, or grand king.

Various Japanese rulers had been in contact with the Chinese court via tribute missions, etc. for centuries, and there was much Chinese cultural influence on Japan through Korea. So eventually the Japanese court decided to imitate the strong centralized government of China, and the Japanese ruler began to control the central government of the expanding Japanese realm. The Japanese monarchs began to call themselves Tenno, or heavenly king about 700 AD, and began to claim to be the rightful rulers of the world.

The Tenno ruled the expanding Japanese realm for centuries. Each new Tenno was usually the eldest son of the chief wife of his father, and it became the custom for a close relative of the head of the Fujiwara clan to be the chief wife of the Tenno. Whenever the Tenno was a minor, the head of the Fujiwara clan would usually be his uncle or maternal grandfather, and the logical choice to be his regent until he reached his majority. And the heads of the Fujiwara clan came to desire that the Tenno should be a minor as often as possible.

So it gradually became the custom for a new Tenno to be a child when selected by influential members of the court. Even a child could perform the ancient priestly rituals of a shaman king, while the Fujiwara regent would control the Chinese-style government in his name. After about a decade or so, as the Tenno matured, he would abdicate, and often have more power as a retired monarch and one of several powers behind the throne than when reigning.

Meanwhile new powers were growing up the newly acquired provinces of north east Japan. Groups of Samurai warriors led by powerful clans gradually usurped governmental powers in the provinces, and in 1185 established the first military government of all Japan. The rule of the Fujiwara regent acting in the name of the reigning child Tenno became limited to legalizing and approving and rubber stamping the actions of the military government and granting each new leader of it the title of shogun.

This went on during the rule of the Kamakura (1192-1333), Ashikaga (1336-1573), and Tokugawa (1603-1858) shogons. And from 1206 to 1333 the Hojo Regents ruled the shogunate in the name of child and/or powerless shoguns.

Remember that the Mongols invaded Japan in 1274 and 1281, and were defeated by local forces and the military government of the Hojo Regent Hojo Tokimune who reigned from 1268 to 1284.

Go-Uda (1267-1324) became Tenno in 1274 and abdicated in 1287. Thus he was 7 and 14 during the Mongol invasions. Suppose that in an alternate universe the Mongols were much more successful in 1281 and defeated the local forces and the forces the the Hojo regent and captured city after city. Go-Uda might have escaped from Kyoto when the Mongols captured the imperial capital and fled to join up with a military unit resisting the Mongols and more of less nominally and perhaps actually lead that unit in the fight against the Mongols.

And in an even more alternate universe there might have been a different young emperor when the Mongols invaded, possibly in different years, and he might possibly have been very precocious and led a successful resistance to the Mongols where his elders failed.

So this alternate universe historical situation would have been rather analogous to the reign of Queen Amidala of Naboo. Except that she said she was elected, and there were other young queens of Naboo later on in her life. So we might guess that the Queens of Naboo had the legal right to rule but usually just performed royal rites while older officials ruled in their names, like many child emperors of Japan.

And the child queens would be elected - by the whole population or a small group - at a young age and end their terms young enough to not try to do much ruling. And since the child queens had the legal right to rule and control the government, candidates had to be very precocious, intelligent, well educated, with a record of achievement, etc. - as well as being charming and beautiful young girls - just in case they did start controlling the government.

So perhaps the election of a Queen of Naboo might be like a junior beauty pagent, with the talent part, especially the intellectual talent part, being very important, and with the winner being crowned with the royal crown of Naboo!

So even if the Naboo were worried about relations with the Trade Federation when Amidala was elected queen, every one may have expected senior officials to handle dealing with the Trade Federation, and Amidala may have taken charge only when most of the senior officials and bureaucracy were killed or captured by Trade Federation forces during their surprise attack and invasion.

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