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Encyclopedia > Twelve Colonies
The flag of the Twelve Colonies in the reimagined series

The Twelve Colonies of Man or Twelve Colonies of Kobol constitute the main human civilization in the fictional universe of the original 1978 science fiction film and television series Battlestar Galactica, and in the subsequent miniseries (2003) and series reimagining (2004). Image File history File links Twelve-Colonies-Flag. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... This article is about motion pictures. ... A television program is the content of television broadcasting. ... Battlestar Galactica is an American science fiction movie and television series, produced in 1978 by Glen Larson and starring Lorne Greene, Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict. ... Battlestar Galactica is a three-hour miniseries written and produced by Ronald D. Moore and directed by Michael Rymer. ... This article is about the 2004 television series. ...


The colonies

The Twelve Colonies were founded by settlers from Kobol, the birthplace of the human species. In the original series, the twelve tribes of humans settled on twelve different planets in the fictional Cyranus binary solar system. The reimagined series has never made it clear how the worlds of the Twelve Colonies are situated, however producer Ronald D. Moore has suggested that all the colony planets are together in the same star system as described in the original series. Kobol is the name of a planet in the fictional Battlestar Galactica universe. ... This article is about the astronomical term. ... For the band of the same name, see: Binary Star (band) Hubble image of the Sirius binary system, in which Sirius B can be clearly distinguished (lower left). ... For other persons named Ronald Moore, see Ronald Moore (disambiguation). ...

The human population of the twelve colonies (estimated at 20 billion in the 2003 reimagined television series[1]) was virtually exterminated by the Cylons in the The Destruction of the Twelve Colonies. Less than 50,000 human survivors from all twelve colonies managed to escape this holocaust by fleeing the colonies in a fleet of civilian starships led by the Battlestar Galactica. The Destruction of the Twelve Colonies was a fictitious interstellar holocaust first depicted in the 1978 motion picture Battlestar Galactica, which set the stage for the subsequent original television series. ... Battlestar Galactica. ...

The names of the colonies are taken from the constellations of the Zodiac: The term zodiac denotes an annual cycle of twelve stations along the ecliptic, the apparent path of the sun across the heavens through the constellations that divide the ecliptic into twelve equal zones of celestial longitude. ...

Constellation Name in the Original Series Name in the 2003 Series
Aquarius unrevealed Aquaria
Aries Aeries Aerelon
Cancer unrevealed (believed Orion) Canceron
Capricorn Caprica Caprica
Gemini Gemoni Gemenon
Leo unrevealed Leonis
Libra unrevealed Libris
Pisces Picon Picon
Sagittarius Sagitara Sagittaron
Scorpio Scorpia Scorpia
Taurus Taura Tauron
Virgo Virgon Virgon

Aquarius (IPA: , Latin: ) is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, situated between Capricornus and Pisces. ... Aries (IPA: , Latin: , symbol , ) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. ... Cancer (IPA: , Latin: , symbol , ) is one of the thirteen constellations of the zodiac. ... Capricornus ( or , Unicode: ♑), a name meaning Horned Goat or That which has horns like a goats in Latin, is one of the constellations of the zodiac. ... Gemini (IPA: , Latin: , symbol , ) is one of the constellations of the zodiac known as the twins. It is part of the winter sky, lying between Taurus to the west and the dim Cancer to the east, with Auriga and the near-invisible Lynx to the north and Monoceros and Canis... Leo (IPA: , Latin: , symbol , ) is a constellation of the zodiac. ... Libra (IPA: , Latin: , symbol , Unicode ) is a constellation of the zodiac. ... For other uses, see Pisces. ... For other uses, see Sagittarius. ... This article is about the constellation. ... Taurus (IPA: , Latin: , symbol , ) is one of the constellations of the zodiac. ... Virgo (pronounced , Latin: , symbol , ) is a constellation of the zodiac. ...

Notes on the colonies in the original series

  • The original series' versions of the colonies based on the names Cancer, Leo, Libra and Aquarius were never named. Given the name's negative connotations, the name "Orion" was substituted for "Cancer." Count Baltar was the dictatorial ruler of Orion prior to his betrayal of the Colonies.
  • In either version of the show, many colonies spoke different languages. For example, in the original series, Gemonese was spoken in several scenes (in the Terra arc, 'Terra' is said to be the Gemonese term for 'Earth').
  • In the original series pilot (and novelisation), Adama remarked that Sagitara had "the best defence systems in the Colonies."

Notes on the colonies in the re-imagined series

  • The people of Gemenon are deeply religious and believe in the literal interpretation of the scriptures. They abhor the practice of abortion, however Colonial law allows it to occur.
  • Sagittaron is seen as a neglected and disenfranchised member of the colonies, oppressed for several centuries (whether by external or domestic tyrants is not made clear). They do not believe in modern medicine and handle sickness and injury with traditional cures and prayers.
  • Gemenon, Sagittaron, and Aerelon are regarded as "poor colonies" where most of the inhabitants worked in harsh blue-collar jobs while the colonies of Caprica, Tauron and Virgon contained a more elite and educated social class who worked administrative and professional white-collar jobs. Caprica, being the capital of the Colonies, is especially cosmopolitan, and the religious attitudes of Capricans in contrast with those of Gemenon and Sagittaron, appears to be a comment on the differences between East- and West-Coast Americans on one hand and Midwesterners and Southerners on the other.
  • Aerelon is primarily a farming colony and is referred to by Gaius Baltar as the "foodbasket" of the Twelve Colonies. When portraying Baltar's "native" accent, James Callis adopts a Yorkshire accent as it is an accent that can be stereotypically associated with people who come from a working class background and thus fit the image that his character was trying to project of life on Aerelon as a backward agricultural planet

A blue-collar worker is a member of the working class who performs manual labor and earns an hourly wage. ... White-collar worker is an idiom referring to a salaried professional or a person whose job is clerical in nature, as opposed to a blue-collar worker whose job is more in line with manual labor. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... This article is about the Midwestern region in the United States. ... Historic Southern United States. ... Gaius Baltar is a fictional character in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. ... Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...

Relative locations

Executive producer Ron Moore has stated that as a nod to the original series, each of the Twelve Colonies is one of 12 planets in a single solar system [citation needed].

In the Battlestar Galactica video game, published in 2003, just prior to the release of the reimagined series, the colonies were in one star system called "Cyrannus". The name "Cyrannus" was used in the original series episode "The Long Patrol", but was used by the character Starbuck as the name of the galaxy, not a single star system, although as with most SF shows of that era, much of the terminology used is obscure and self-contradictory. It appears as if the authors were themselves frequently unclear as to what the difference between a solar system and a galaxy were. As yet, the name "Cyrannus" has not been used in the reimagined series. In 1978, Mattel released a handheld electronic game called Battlestar Galactica Space Alert based on the original Battlestar Galactica movie and television series. ... Captain Kara Starbuck Thrace, see Kara Thrace. ...

In the 1978 series, the Colonies were very obviously set in a binary star system, and distinguished between "Inner" and "Outer" colonies. "Inner" colonies orbited the primary star in the system, and "Outer" colonies orbited the other one, though both appeared to be G2 class stars from what little information was visible onscreen. The inner colonies - including Sagitaria and Caprica - were attacked first. By the time the Galactica arrived, the Cylons were already launching their first wave against the outer colonies.

In the novelization of the pilot for the 1978 series, the Twelve Colonies are referred to as "The Twelve Colonies of the Three Suns."

Colonial government

1978 series

The Quorum of the Twelve (sometimes called the "Council of the Twelve") is the main governing body of the Twelve Colonies. There are twelve members, each representing one colony. There is a president of the Twelve Colonies, who acts as the head of state. There is also a Commander in Chief of the armed forces. The President and civilian government lead the Colonies, unless martial law is declared. After the death of President Adar and the death of the Quorum of the Twelve, the Colonial remnants, under the protection of the Battlestar Galactica were placed under martial law by Commander Adama, the last surviving member of the Pre-Destruction Quorum. Count Baltar, a member of the Quorum who survived due to his treachery, was presumably stripped of his rank in absentia for his gross betrayal of humanity. The Quorum has the power to repeal martial law itself, but after a disastrous attempt at reestablishing civilian rule in the "rag-tag fleet," such matters were dropped for the present. The Quorum of Twelve is a fictional governing body on the 2004 Television Series, Battlestar Galactica (2004). ... In the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica movie and ABC television series, Count Baltar was a leading antagonist character who betrayed the human race to its enemy, the robot race of Cylons. ...

There is no death penalty, even for treason. The maximum punishment is life imprisonment. Officers of the court include 'Opposers' (prosecutors) and 'Advocates' (defense attorneys). The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries adopting the common law adversarial system or the civil law inquisitorial system. ...

The Colonial military

The Colonial military is divided into two branches: // Original Series There is no canonical list of rank insignia for the Colonial Forces in the original series. ...

  • The Colonial Fleet is the first line of defence against Cylon invasion. This force of Battlestars and Vipers has held the Cylons at bay and can easily outwit superior Cylon numbers with human ingenuity; Fleet personnel are renowned for their bravery and prowess in warfare in the Colonies and beyond. The various divisions of Fleet personnel are as follows:
    • Starship officers, such as Commander Adama and Colonel Tigh. They wear blue uniforms.
    • Enlisted starship crew typically dress in light brown jumpsuits.
    • Colonial Warriors, the Viper pilots and ground troops of the Colonies, wear light brown uniforms with darker brown uniform jackets. These are specially designed to protect them from g-forces experienced in Viper launch operations.
  • Colonial Security Forces are officers clad in black who form a catch-all police force, under the direct control of the Quorum of the Twelve. Their jurisdiction appears to cover both civilian and military police roles. They are nicknamed "blackshirts". [1]

A Battlestar from the original series A Battlestar (the Battlestar Galactica) from the re-imagined series, flight pods retracted for FTL travel For other uses, see Battlestar (disambiguation). ... A Colonial Viper is the name of the primary fighter spacecraft type used by the Colonial Fleet in the fictional Battlestar Galactica universe. ... Commander Adama redirects here. ... Colonel Tigh is the Executive Officer of Battlestar Galactica, and was played by Terry Carter. ... The term g force or gee force refers to the symbol g, the force of acceleration due to gravity at the earths surface. ...

2003 Series

In the 2003 remake of Battlestar Galactica, the Colonial government is somewhat different. Referred to officially as "the United Colonies of Kobol," the government was established under the Articles of Colonization. There is a Presidency, and a "Political Cabinet" (which include the ministries of Defense and Education), with each ministry headed by a secretary. The Secretary of Education is the 43rd in the order of succession. There is a death penalty, and executions for treason include being vented into space, a punishment implemented by President Laura Roslin and continued by President Tom Zarek during his brief term. The military conducts execution of its personnel via firing squad. Local government includes mayors, of whom President Adar was one before his first term as President of the Twelve Colonies. The Colonial Government appears to include some form of civil religion. The Battlestar Galactica science fiction franchise, which began as a 1978 TV series, was reimagined in 2003 into the TV miniseries. ... The Articles of Colonization are the basic law of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. ... An order of succession is a formula or algorithm that determines who inherits an office upon the death, resignation, or removal of its current occupant. ... President Richard Adar is a character from Battlestar Galactica. ... The intended meaning of the term civil religion often varies according to whether one is a sociologist of religion or a professional political commentator. ...

The Quorum of the Twelve (see Quorum of Twelve) does exist in the series (an interim one is established a month into the exodus) but its structure and purpose is different. The Quorum's sessions are presided by the President of the Twelve Colonies, who may cast a vote in case of a draw. Each Colony gets a single vote. The functions of the Quorum of Twelve include taking nominations for and electing the Vice President - whether this is common practice or an emergency attribution in the case of a vacant Vice Presidency is not known. Quorum members may run for the Vice Presidency, but must resign their Quorum seat if elected. Given that the Colonies used to be independent nations until a few decades before the Cylon Attack, the Quorum of Twelve is described as a mixture between the United States Senate and the UN Security Council. The Quorum of Twelve is a fictional governing body on the 2004 Television Series, Battlestar Galactica (2004). ... Type Upper House President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R since January 20, 2001 President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D since January 4, 2007 Members 100 Political groups Democratic Party Republican Party Last elections November 7, 2006 Meeting place Senate Chamber United States Capitol Washington, DC United States... A session of the Security Council in progress The United Nations Security Council is the most powerful organ of the United Nations. ...

In his blog, Battlestar Galactica's producer Ronald D. Moore has indicated that the Colonial government presumably included a larger, still unnamed representative body (most likely the People's Council mentioned in Lay Down Your Burdens, Part II) and an independent judiciary system, as well as another (also unnamed) religious body with an advisory function. For other persons named Ronald Moore, see Ronald Moore (disambiguation). ... Lay Down Your Burdens, Parts I and II are episodes of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series. ...

The differences in Colonial government in the 2003 remake stem from the fact that Cylons were created by Man as servants and soldiers, though there are no alien races. The production team has established that the Cylons were used as soldiers in wars between the Twelve Colonies. Indeed, while the Exodus from Kobol was 2,000 years before the final Cylon defeat of the Twelve Colonies in the TV series, the "Articles of Colonization" are stated as being only 52 years old, framed in the early days of the First Cylon War which went on for another 12 years. As such, the Colonial Government made up of the Presidency and the Quorum was meant to be less of a unified one as seen in the original series and more of an alliance of independent members, like NATO or the United Nations. This is evidenced by statements that different colonies had entirely different governments and laws; for example, Sagittaron was ruled by a corrupt military dictatorship. Further, it is stated that Sagittaron law allows a convict that has served their sentence to regain citizenship, implying that all of the colonies were not ruled by the same law. Another example is that according to Gemenon religious law, children are the property of their parents and abortion is an obscenity. The Articles of Colonization are the basic law of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. ... This article is about the military alliance. ... UN and U.N. redirect here. ...

Colonial Military

The Colonial military appears to be made of at least two branches. // Original Series There is no canonical list of rank insignia for the Colonial Forces in the original series. ...

  • The Colonial Fleet, which operated a force of about 120 Battlestars and several support vessels. The Colonial Fleet was organized around "Battlestar Groups", such as Battlestar Group 75 (from which Galactica receives its BSG-75 designator). These groups were possibly composed of a single Battlestar protected and supported by smaller vessels, including, but not limited to, Viper and Raptor squadrons. The Colonial Fleet has a mixed Navy/Marine Corps rank system: Admiral; Commander; Colonel; Major; Captain; Lieutenant; Lieutenant, j(unior) g(rade); Ensign. Non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel also have a mixed Navy/Marine Corps rank system, referred to as a "Naval-style rank system" by detailed by Ronald D. Moore (a former Marine Option Midshipman) in his blog: Master Chief Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer, Petty Officer 1st and 2nd Class, Specialist, Deckhand and Recruit.
  • The Colonial Marine Corps, a specialized ship-based ground force operating onboard the ships of the Colonial Fleet. Marines are used for strike actions and for security purposes such as repelling boardings and maintaining a ship's brig. The role the Marine Corps may have played in planetary defense is still not known, or even if there was a separate Colonial Army for that role. Marine non-commissioned and enlisted personnel use regular Marine rank titles; whether their officers use the same mixed rank structure as Colonial Fleet officers is not known, as no Marine officer has so far been shown.

Due to a lack of a police force within the fleet, both Naval and Marine personnel also serve as law enforcement officials as necessary. According to Ronald D. Moore's own podcast commentary for the episode "Kobol's Last Gleaming," the plainclothed Presidential Security Force is intentionally separate from the military, with its members culled from any and all surviving police officers within the fleet. A Battlestar from the original series A Battlestar (the Battlestar Galactica) from the re-imagined series, flight pods retracted for FTL travel For other uses, see Battlestar (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Admiral (disambiguation). ... Commander is a military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. ... For other uses, see Colonel (disambiguation). ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... Captain is a rank or title with various meanings. ... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... LTJG insignia. ... Ensign is a junior rank of commissioned officer in the militaries of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. ... A midshipman is a subordinate officer, or alternatively a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the navies of several English-speaking countries. ... Good conduct variation Master Chief Petty Officer insignia Master Chief Petty Officer Sleeve Insignia Master Chief Petty Officer is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rank (E-9) in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Senior Chief Petty Officer, and is a non-commissioned officer. ... Chief Petty Officer is a non-commissioned officer or equivalent in many navies. ... Good conduct variation Petty Officer First Class insignia Petty Officer First Class is the sixth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Petty Officer Second Class and below Chief Petty Officer, and is a non-commissioned officer. ... Good conduct variation Petty Officer Second Class insignia Petty Officer Second Class is the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Petty Officer Third Class and below Petty Officer First Class, and is a non-commissioned officer. ... Specialist arm patch (U.S. Army) Specialist is one section of the fourth enlisted rank in the U.S. Army, just above Private First Class and below Corporal. ... For the band, see The Police. ... For other persons named Ronald Moore, see Ronald Moore (disambiguation). ...

External links

  • Battlestar Wiki: The Twelve Colonies (TOS)
  • Battlestar Wiki: The Twelve Colonies (RDM)


  1. ^ In the BSG Webisode series Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance released in 2006 between seasons 2 and 3, Colonel Saul Tigh states that the Cylons "burned up 20 billion of us." (http://video.scifi.com/player/?id=29339#videoid=30385)

Colonel Saul Tigh is a fictional character on Battlestar Galactica played by Michael Hogan. ... Old Cylon Centurion shown in a museum display in the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries The Cylons are a cybernetic civilization at war with the Twelve Colonies of humanity in the Battlestar Galactica science fiction franchise, in the original 1978/1980 series and movie, as well as the 2003 reimagining. ...

See also



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