“Your peaceful ways have paid off. Mandalore has prospered since the last time I was here.”
―Obi-Wan Kenobi to Duchess Satine Kryze.
“Not everyone on Mandalore believes that our commitment to peace is a sign of progress.”
―Duchess Satine Kryze, ruler of the New Mandalorian people.
Mandalore was the fifth planet in the Mandalore system of the Outer Rim Territories, not far from the Hydian Way trade route. The homeworld of the multi-species cultural group known as the Mandalorians, the planet was known as Manda’yaim in the Mandalorian language, and was named after the legendary conqueror of the vibrant world, Mandalore the First. Mandalore the First’s Taung warriors slew the indigenous mythosaurs and tamed the savage landscape, solidifying Mandalore’s place as a powerbase and the center of Mandalorian space for millennia to come. Mandalore was covered in a rich natural landscape, largely unspoiled due to its sparse sentient population. The world was blanketed in lush veshok tree forests, dense jungle, sprawling hills and grassland well suited to farming, inhospitable deserts of white sand, and numerous rivers, lakes, and seas. It was also the only known world in the galaxy, with the exception of its moon Concordia, to possess the unique, nearly indestructible iron ore known as beskar, an element capable of withstanding blows from even a lightsaber.
An independent world ruled by the Mand’alor—the leader of all the Mandalorian clans, following the tradition established by Mandalore the First—the planet Mandalore found itself the ally and enemy of numerous galactic governments and groups throughout the years. Though largely abandoned by the early Mandalorian Crusaders, who continuously sought fresh conquests, Mandalore became the fallback point for many defeated Mandalorian Neo-Crusader warriors after the end of the Mandalorian Wars. With the rise of the pacifist New Mandalorian faction and their efforts to reform Mandalore’s warrior ways, distancing themselves from the violent past after the disastrous events that lead to their formation, Mandalore was accepted by the Galactic Republic and was known as New Mandalore throughout the isolationist society that the New Mandalorians created. Originally neutral during the Clone Wars, after the New Mandalorian capital fell to the machinations of the Death Watch, the pacifist faction’s influence dwindled. Later, when Mandalore the Resurrector came to power, the planet broke from the Republic and joined the Confederacy of Independent Systems against the oppressive Coruscant regime, only to come under the heel of the Galactic Empire following the end of the Clone Wars.
Mandalore was once a wild and savage world, uninhabited by sentients, where the dominate life forms were the gigantic mythosaurs. That all changed with the arrival of the Taung. Forced from the planet Coruscant in the Core Worlds long before the foundation of the Galactic Republic by the Human Battalions of Zhell, the Taung fled to Roon, before arriving at the Outer Rim world they came to call Mandalore circa 7000 BBY. In honor of their leader, Mandalore the First, the Taungs named the world Manda’yaim, or “home of the Mand’alor,” which was later transliterated as Mandalore in Galactic Basic Standard. Similarly, the Taungs recast themselves as the Mandalorians, or Mando’ade: “sons and daughters of Mandalore.” The newly branded Mandalorians set to taming their new world, and in the process slaughtered the enormous mythosaurs, leaving only their skeletons behind. Mandalore became the home of fierce clans of masked Taung warriors led by a single warlord who always adopted the name Mand’alor,—a title which meant “sole ruler” in the Mando’a language—after Mandalore the First. But a single new planet was not enough for the Mandalorian Taungs who craved fresh conquests, and though Mandalore remained the center of what was to become Mandalorian space, it was largely abandoned by the time of the Great Sith War in 3996 BBY, as Mandalore the Indomitable led the clans outward as Mandalorian Crusaders to bring new star systems under Mandalorian control.
The attacks of the Crusaders only intensified as time passed, and though Mandalore the Indomitable fell in battle while engaging the Republic’s military with the Brotherhood of the Sith Mandalore the Ultimate quickly replaced him. The new Mand’alor, believing the fabled “Great Last Battle” to be at hand, turned back to the planet Mandalore at the behest of his advisor, Cassus Fett, for his new army. There on the Mandalorian homeworld existed the unorthodox warrior sect known as the Neo-Crusaders. These warriors deviated from the Crusader norm by wearing identical suits of armor and implementing a more rigid chain of command. Following Fett’s advice, Mandalore the Ultimate made the Neo-Crusaders the backbone of his new army, and by the time he had instigated the Mandalorian Wars with the Republic, Neo-Crusaders comprised most of Mandalore’s warriors. As the Neo-Crusader army conquered more and more worlds, the planet Mandalore became the center of a Mandalore sector that stretched across the majority of the galaxy’s northern quadrant. Mandalore the Ultimate’s endeavors were doomed to failure, however, and when the Jedi Knight Revan slew the Mand’alor in single combat at Malachor V, the Mandalorian Wars were brought to a swift end. With no purpose, many defeated Mandalorians turned to lives as mercenaries, bounty hunters, and even bandits, while others returned home to Mandalore.
“Mandalore’s violent past is behind us.”
―New Mandalorian Prime Minister Almec
As the Clone Wars broke out in 22 BBY at Geonosis, between the Galactic Republic and the droid army of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, Jango Fett was killed in battle with Jedi Master Mace Windu, but not before he was chosen ten years earlier to be the template for the clone troopers of the Republic’s Grand Army, secretly grown from his DNA on Kamino by Kaminoan cloners. With Fett gone, Mandalore’s role in the war was defined by the New Mandalorian government. By this time, Mandalore and its sector were represented in the Republic senate by Senator Tal Merrik of the neighboring world, Kalevala. Under the leadership of Duchess Satine Kryze—who had been named Mand’alor of the New Mandalorians at the conclusion of the Great Clan Wars in opposition to Jango Fett, whom the New Mandalorians refused to recognize—Mandalore joined the Council of Neutral Systems, a political coalition comprised of close to fifteen hundred star systems with desires to remain neutral in the Clone Wars. Despite the planetary neutrality established by the New Mandalorian government, several Mandalorian mercenaries took work individually and in groups for either side during the conflict.
It was at this point in history that the Death Watch made their return to the galaxy at large. Having fractured and gone into hiding under the Mandalorian principle of ba’slan shev’la, or “strategic disappearance,” following the death of Tor Vizsla and the end of the Great Clan Wars, Death Watch had begun to reassemble under the command of another member of the Vizsla clan, Pre Vizsla. Acting as governor of Mandalore’s moon, Concordia, Vizsla kept up a public persona as the loyal friend and ally of Duchess Kryze. But in secret, Vizsla despised Kryze, and hated both the pacifist New Mandalorians, and their government’s power over Mandalore. In the aftermath of Jango Fett’s death, Vizsla believed that he was carrying on the role of the traditional Mand’alor, and to that end he began assembling a new Death Watch army at a secret base within the abandoned beskar mines of Concordia. Allying with the Confederacy of Independent Systems and its leader, Count Dooku of Serenno, Vizsla dreamed of destroying the New Mandalorians and conquering Mandalore. He sent a Death Watch operative to attack a Republic cruiser, and disseminated rumors of Mandalore raising an army for the Confederacy, drawing the attention of the Jedi Council who dispatched Jedi General Obi-Wan Kenobi to Mandalore. While meeting with Duchess Kryze in Sundari’s Peace Park, the park’s Memorial Shrine was bombed by a member of the Death Watch, the latest in a series of escalating attacks.
Fearing the apparent threat the Death Watch posed to Mandalore and beyond, the Republic senate drafted a resolution to deploy a Republic military force to Mandalore in order to defend against the Death Watch, a resolution championed by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. This was the plan of Count Dooku all along, intending to make the Republic appear as an antagonist invasion force, which would in turn cause the people of Mandalore to rally behind the Death Watch as liberators. In an effort to keep this outcome from occurring and making Mandalore a military target, Duchess Kryze, Senator Tal Merrik, and a retinue of other sympathetic senators traveled aboard Kryze’s personal starship to Coruscant, where the New Mandalorian leader intended to plead her position to the Galactic Senate. On route, Senator Merrik was revealed to be a traitor to the New Mandalorian cause and a secret ally of the Death Watch; he attempted to have Kryze murdered, only to be exposed and killed, himself, by one of the Duchess’s Jedi protectors. With Merrik dead, Mandalore was left without a senator, and Kryze took it upon herself to personally speak before the Republic senate. Though manipulation within the Republic government initially turned the vote against Kryze—and the Death Watch continued to make attempts on her life, even on Coruscant—the Duchess was ultimately able to convince the Galactic Senate with the aid of posthumous testimony from the New Mandalorian Deputy Minister, Jerec, that the New Mandalorian government would be able to combat the Death Watch independently and effectively, without the need for Republic intervention. Death Watch was eventually exiled from Mandalore, and forced from the surrounding system.
The senate elected to allow Mandalore to uphold its neutrality in the war effort, quashing the hopes of Pre Vizsla and the Death Watch to take control of the planet, but that victory came at a price: Duchess Kryze’s actions were negatively perceived by elements of the Republic government, and as a neutral state, Mandalore was viewed as a Republic outsider. Trade routes to Mandalore were closed, leaving the world to its own resources without aid from the interstellar government, and forcing the New Mandalorian people to invest heavily in black market dealings in order to obtain much-needed supplies. This foray into the world of illegal goods had the unintended side effect of rampant greed and corruption spreading through the New Mandalorian government and police force. To help alleviate these tensions, Duchess Kryze invited Senator Padmé Amidala to Mandalore for a diplomatic visit to discuss the crisis. It was during Amidala’s stay on Mandalore that the corruption within the New Mandalorian customs department allowed for a large number of New Mandalorian school children to be poisoned by slabin-laced tea that had been imported by smugglers. Kryze and Amidala tracked the Moogan smugglers responsible to a warehouse at the shipping docks of Sundari, and following a brief shootout between the smugglers and several officers of the Mandalorian guard, the operation was dismantled. Kryze later provided the poison antidote to the hospitalized children, and not long after, it came to light that the New Mandalorians’ own Prime Minister, Almec, was behind the black market conspiracy. At this revelation, Almec was removed from office and summarily imprisoned.
Nevertheless, Mandalore was selected as the location for diplomatic talks between select members of the Republic Senate and the Separatist Parliament. In the Royal Palace of Sundari, parties of diplomats from each government met to discuss peace and an end to the Clone Wars. These peace negotiations soured with the intervention of the young Separatist Senator Lux Bonteri, whose accusation of wrong-doing toward the Confederate leader, Count Dooku, brought the proceedings to a break down.
Nearly two years since their last attempt to wrest power from the New Mandalorians, the Death Watch returned to Mandalore at the same time Sundari came under attack by a contingent of criminals known as the Shadow Collective. As the foot soldiers of Black Sun, the Pyke Syndicate, and the Hutt Cartels terrorized Sundari, Death Watch presented themselves to the New Mandalorian people as saviors. In truth, however, Death Watch was in collusion with the Shadow Collective, having struck a deal with the criminal alliance’s leaders, the Sith Lord Darth Maul and his apprentice Savage Opress, wherein the outlaws would sow chaos and disorder throughout New Mandalorian territory, only for Death Watch to appear to come to the people’s rescue and win public favor. Across Sundari and the New Mandalorian-held cities of Mandalore, Death Watch beat back and arrested the criminal members of the Shadow Collective in staged battles, making a display of the ineffectiveness of Duchess Satine Kryze’s leadership, before finally confronting the New Mandalorian leader in her palace throne room. With the will of the people turned to support him, Death Watch leader Pre Vizsla deposed Kryze, imprisoning the duchess and her council of ministers, before finally installing himself as the new Prime Minister and claiming the title of Mand’alor of the New Mandalorians. His goals met, Vizsla turned on his Sith allies, imprisoning both Maul and Opress in the same facility where the New Mandalorian government’s officials had been incarcerated. Unbeknownst to Vizsla, Darth Maul had anticipated and planned for such a betrayal, allowing himself to be captured so that he might find a more malleable replacement for Vizsla as puppet ruler of the New Mandalorians. Within the prison Maul came across the former Prime Minister Almec, who was willing to side with the Sith in order to escape prison and regain his lost standing. Breaking free of their confines, Maul stormed the Royal Palace with his apprentice and Almec in tow, where he challenged Vizsla to single combat for the right to rule. Bound by honor to the ancient warrior codes he sought to reinstate, Vizsla battled Maul in a furious duel through the throne room, finally losing to Maul when the Sith Lord decapitated him.
Though Maul had won leadership of Death Watch in accordance to the old ways the group venerated, a unit of soldiers loyal to Vizsla’s lieutenant Bo-Katan refused to concede leadership to a non Mandalorian. The breakaway group fled the palace amidst a heated firefight, and moved to rescue the imprisoned Duchess Kryze. While Kryze was apprehended shortly after the Death Watch renegades’ escape attempt, she had succeeded in contacting the Jedi Temple with news of the coup, bringing Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to Mandalore on a mission to save Kryze shortly thereafter. Kenobi’s rescue attempt fared no better than Bo-Katan and her troops’, and Kryze was slain by Maul in order to cause her former lover, Kenobi, anguish. In spite of their inability to rescue the duchess, Bo-Katan and her warriors freed Kenobi from Maul’s Death Watch loyalists, and rushed the Jedi Master out of Sundari and off of Mandalore in the middle of a battle between the two Death Watch factions. Concurrently, the Dark Lord of the Sith Darth Sidious arrived on Mandalore, upon having sensed the whereabouts of his one-time apprentice, Darth Maul. In the Sundari palace, Sidious faced off against Maul and Savage Opress in a duel to settle a breach of the Sith Order’s Rule of Two, eventually killing Opress and subduing Maul for his own future purposes.
Though the Empire’s relationship with Mandalore was cordial at first—offering large sums for mining rights in the beskar-rich Tokursh region of the planet, and brokering starship contracts with MandalMotors—by the start of the Galactic Civil War, the Imperial grip on the Mandalorian homeworld had tightened harshly. Aided by elements of the reborn Death Watch, now operating on Mandalore under the leadership of Lorka Gedyc, Imperial advisers were installed on MandalMotors’ executive board, accumulating power in the name of the Empire. One such adviser, known as the Suprema, confiscated the traditional armor of Mandalore’s citizens, and instituted a massive slaving operation that sent a large portion of Mandalore’s population in chains. These slaves were used by the Empire to operate factories contributing to the Imperial war effort, and to aid the Imperial effort to strip-mine Mandalore of valuable beskar ore. It was also during this time that the criminal organization run by the crime lord Tyber Zann engaged in a mission to Mandalore, successfully kidnapping the being known as the “Supreme Strategist.” His pirates were also responsible for several raids on facilities owned by Mandal Hypernautics, carried out in order to convince the Mandalore-based company to supply his organization with their ships and war machines.