This page has basic historic data on the five "Frontier Wars" fought in the Spinward Marches Sector, between the Third Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate.
While the Spinward Marches Sector had been sporadically explored by missions from the Second Imperium ( or "Rule of Man" ), the region of space was largely explored by the various empires to hold the title of "The Imperium". In that time, the Ancients seeded of the Darrian system and Terran traders fleeing the collapsing Rule of Man settled the Sword Worlds. Smaller migrations settled worlds which would either be absorbed by the Imperium or other minor states of the Spinward Marches or remain independent, like those systems vying for power in the District 268 subsector ).
However, in the first hundred years of the resurgent Third Imperium, a drive was mounted to re-explore, recontact and re-integrate the lost worlds of the Rule of Man. This effort also led to drives to move excess or suffering populations from worlds once cut off from interstellar travel to the new lush worlds of the Spinward Marches. Unaware of the various Imperial empires, the Zhodani Consulate had become aware of the Darrians due to the Maghiz. Uncertain if the event was the demonstration of a new weapon, the Zhodani did not contact the Darrians until well after they had become aware of exploration by the Third Imperium.
The Darrians had begun the creation of a larger star-spanning empire, but were forced to abandon expansion after the Maghiz. While their drive for research and understanding remained, their culture turned more inward. While they had various good and bad contacts with the Sword World settlements, the Darrian Confederation have been lesser players, as have the sword Worlds Confederation, in events in the sector thus far.The First Frontier War: ( 589 to 604 TI )
This first war between the Third Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate began the continuing hatred and mistrust between these two empires of humaniti. Before the war, the Zhodani enlisted the aid of fleets of Vargr warships. The rimward policies of Empress Jaqueline would delay support from the Imperial core, leaving Grand Admiral Olav hault-Plankwell to his limited resources. Major war events included the occupation of much of the Jewell subsector from 592 and capture of the Jewell system in early 603. Zhodani forces finally drove on the Imperial system of Rhylanor, where Duchess Arbellatra defeated the invasion force. Grand Admiral Olav hault-Plankwell retook key worlds in the Jewell subsector and forced a Zhodani evacuation back into Consulate space.
As the war drew to an end, Grand Admiral Olav hault-Plankwell massed his forces and smashed the gathering Zhodani/Vargr fleet in a climactic Battle at Zivije. At the war's end, Olav hault-Plankwell drove his fleet on the Imperial core to take control as Emperor. After he assassinated Empress Jaqueline, he became the first of the Barracks Emperors and began the Imperial Civil War (604 to 622). He would also be assassinated shortly after assuming the throne. Still, damage had been done and territory taken by the Zhodani as Imperial forces fought to retain or recover key systems. As a result, the Imperial border was pushed rimward and former Imperial systems were either ceded to the Zhodani or forced to renounce Imperial membership, becoming independent as part of the armistice agreement. History leaves no doubt that, while the strategies of the Imperial defenders were inspired, the Imperium had lost the war.The Second Frontier War : (615 to 620)
With the Imperium weakened and it's military paralysed by the Imperial Civil War, Still recovering from the first war, the Zhodani saw the chance to strike and make new gains. For the first time, adding the Sword Worlds Confederation to the Outworlds Coalition. Arbellatra was named Grand-Admiral of the Marches and led the combined local and Imperial forces to defeat the Coalition despite the lack of supplies and support from the core.
As had Grand Admiral Olav ( Assassinated himself as Emperor Olav I ) Arbellatra fought primarily to retain or recover key systems, and the Imperial border was again pushed further rimward. The Imperium fought holding actions until local shipyards could complete a battle fleet, which then forced an armistice. But only after ceding more Imperial territory to the Zhodani. Despite the loss, the arrival of late support and the exhaustion of Zhodani military strength which had not recovered from the First Frontier War allowed Arbellatra to drive on the Imperial Core and end the Civil War. Refusing the crown at first, Arbellatra was named Regent in 622 and was later created Empress in 629.The Third Frontier War: (979 to 986)
After three centuries of uneasy peace following the First and Second wars, the Third Frontier War began with surprise Zhodani attacks into the Querion and Jewell subsectors. the initial attacks and Imperial response were followed by years of deep penetration attacks against high population worlds, and commerce raiding by both sides. Again, Imperial reaction was slow and disorganized, and the war streatched on for nearly six years with little gain. When the armistice was finally signed, in 986, each side got little. Popular anger with they loss resulted in the abdication of Emperor Styryx in 989. Still, the peace brought with it a demilitarized zone between the two sides as well as the loss of several more Imperial worlds to the Zhodani.The Fourth Frontier War: (1082 to 1084)
The Fourth Frontier War, also called the False War was a short, inconclusive and accidental war. Fought largely in the Jewell Subsector between the Imperium and the Zhodani Consulate, the initial Zhodani assaults were against systems in the Jewell and Regina subsectors. The war began with an incident near Quar, an Imperial world and naval, until the end of the Third Frontier War. The Imperial Naval command re-opened the base in 1082 over objections from the Zhodani.
A case of mistaken fire escalated before anyone could control the situation. Zhodani and several Vargr units attacked systems in the Regina, Jewell, and Chronor subsectors as Imperial held the borders. Fighting went on for 16 months as Admirals on both sides were initially unprepared for war. A Zhodani plan to invade both Yres and Menorb and break the Imperial defence sparked The Battle of Two Suns, ending in an Imperial victory. With their offensive fleets badly damaged or destroyed, the Zhodani agreed to an Armistice.
In spite of territorial gains and losses to both sides, the war changed Imperial doctrine. First was a tactical move from Battle Riders to jump-able battleships. Against greater numbers, the weakness was that the riders couldn't dock with tenders and escape. Rider BatRons suffered heavy losses early on. Strategically, the Admiralty moved from a "crust" defense to an "elastic defence" with some assets in actual border systems and larger reserves available for commitment in the event of war. Colonial forces were built up around "islands of resistance," high population and tech worlds able to survive a siege.
Note: A number of the characters in this campaign storyline were born or young children during this conflict. The homeworlds of Aali and Emkir were directly involved in events even though they, themselves, were not.The Fifth Frontier War: (1107 to 1110)
The most recent border war, the results suggest a major change in the balance of power in the sector. After several years of increasing tension, Zhodani forces made surprise attacks across Imperial borders while cells of Zhodani guerrillas on select Imperial worlds began uprisings. Vargr and Sword World forces struck on the flanks of a wider Zhodani corridor. Sieges in the Regina and Jewell systems tied up Zhodani forces while the Vargr were blunted at the coreward Imperial Border and the Sword World fleets were tied up in the Lanth system. After significant gains in late 1107 and through 1108, the Zhodani committed their 40th Fleet and units of their elite Zhodani Consular Guard.
As the collapsing Imperial defensive line stiffened and began receiving reinforcements, mission were dispatched to assist embattled systems and relieve some worlds, especially the Efate system. A war which had begun badly for the Vargr got worse and, in 1109, the main Vargr fleets were tracked down and destroyed. In nearly the same time period, the Zhodani 40th was mauled at Rhylanor and destroyed in the Porozlo system while surprise raids were made into Zhodani home space. The latter was an action Imperial forces had never been able to carry out before.
At the same time, the sword world fleets had been turned, tracked and destroyed. With their forces and allies decisively defeated, the Zhodani Consulate signed an armistice as of 120-1110 TI. For the first time in half a millennia of warfare, the Imperial military not only won a victory, but won it decisively and pushed the Imperial borders back, if only just. With significant losses, the Zhodani power in the sector has faded for now and Imperial power is projecting back across the border.
Note: All the significant characters involved in the histories shown on this site had     roles in the Fifth Frontier War.