In the field of galactic archeology, the Rakata
species presents researchers with an anomaly. The Republic has been
in existence since the arrival of hyperspace travel 20,000 years
ago. Before that time, all known races could barely escape their own
solar systems, and little information was shared between worlds. The
Rakatas, however, appear to have been exempt from that rule. Hints
of their one-time presence seem to be buried on myriad worlds,
though this evidence is often contested due to the difficulty in
recognizing such remnants. This is an understandable impediment
given the length of time that has elapsed since their passing.
It is estimated that the Rakata civilization ceased to exist nearly
30,000 years ago, the height of its power predating the Republic by
ten millennia. The scarcity of remains suggests that they were
either very careful with access to their resources, or that attempts
were made to intentionally remove any trace of their passing once
they had gone. Both hypotheses tend to suggest that the Rakatas did
not arrive on these worlds as ambassadors or merchants. No other
species appears to have been so widespread, and yet so thoroughly
purged from the galactic record.
The Rakata (also known as the Builders) were a humanoid species with distinctive amphibian features. They were a scientifically advanced people that developed early in galactic history. Long term use of the dark side of the Force corrupted their society and turned them into a race of merciless warriors. The Rakata used their potent Force-powered technologies to conquer and enslave every other species they came across throughout the known galaxy. During the reign of their Infinite Empire, they were characterized by their cruelty, savagery, and arrogance. They were known to strip entire planets of their resources, terraform worlds to fit their own shifting needs, kill entire slave workforces, and to eat and defile the bodies of slain enemies.
Five thousand years before the formation of the Galactic Republic, Rakatan civilization was at its peak. Through the use of dark side fueled technologies, the Builders had formed the Infinite Empire which dominated known space for thousands of years and enslaved numerous developing species including the Duros and Humans. By transporting these slave species to new worlds, the Rakata were believed to have inadvertently seeded swaths of the galaxy with sentient life.
At its height, the Empire governed 500 worlds and its population numbered ten billion Rakatan warriors and one trillion slaves. Among its conquests were the Selkath of Manaan, Wookiees of Kashyyyk, Kumumgah of Tatooine, Noghri of Honoghr and the natives of the Corellian Sector. The powerful, Force-wielding Rakata may have even displaced the most advanced species of that time period, including the Killiks of Alderaan and the Sharu of the Rafa system, during their meteoric rise to power.
During their period of expansion, the Rakata encountered the Sith species of Korriban. At first, the Rakata were wary and they pretended to ally themselves with the warlord Adas, going so far as to show him how to construct the pyramidal Sith holocron. In time, however, Adas learned that the invaders were bent on conquest. When the two species went to war, he managed to lead the Sith to victory and drive the Rakata off of Korriban, but at the expense of his life.
After generations of galactic supremacy, the Infinite Empire began to fracture. Constant tensions between internal factions suddenly erupted into a devastating civil war caused by the Star Forge's corrupting influence. Already weakened by warfare, the Builders were suddenly struck by a deadly plague that spread rapidly through their ranks. Later, it would be theorized that the disease was created by a slave species because it only infected the Builders themselves. The virulent plague nearly exterminated the Rakata and brought the Infinite Empire to its knees, yet the worst was yet to come.
The Rakata suddenly and inexplicably began to lose their connection to the Force. Worse, they were unable to uncover the source of their failing sensitivity. Rakatan scientists came up with numerous speculative hypotheses to explain their worsening condition, but in the end, all of their theories proved incorrect. In time, it would be revealed that a mysterious mutation in the plague had caused it to strip the Builders of their powers.
As the Force users were culled from the overall population at an ever increasing rate, the Rakata lost their ability to manipulate their own technology. Soon, they were forced to rely on inferior devices that were not dependent on the Force. Sensing weakness, slave species rebelled in large-scale insurrections on many member worlds and stemmed the total collapse of the Infinite Empire in 25,200 BBY. The nearly decimated Rakata could do nothing but abandon their conquests and retreat to the safety of their homeworld of Lehon.
While defining the Rakata culture,
researchers have had better luck reconstructing the anatomy of the
species. This has involved studying many ancient records, including
the scrawled drawings of various peoples just developing sentience
at the time. Artifacts, when they could be found, have also been
analyzed to determine the shape of hand they were designed for, and
the musculature that would have found them comfortable to use. This
has resulted in a fairly clear physical portrait of these early
galactic pioneers, though what became of their empire remains
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