The Battle of Iridonia was the first battle of the Hutt War between the Galactic Republic and the Hutt Empire. Following the conclusion of the Alsakan Crisis in 12,999 BBY, the Republic adopted a policy of expansion into the Mid Rim of the galaxy in order to gain support for any potential future conflicts. This expansionist policy proved to be a source of tension with the Hutt Empire of the Outer Rim Territories, as the Hutts feared that the Republic was planning to expand into the Outer Rim Territories and, with it, Hutt space. This led to more than a decade of failed negotiations and tense diplomatic relations between the two governments.
In 12,979 BBY, the Republic’s Supreme Chancellor, Homer Anthony Salandra, proposed a meeting with the Hutt leader, Gorrbag, on the neutral Mid Rim world of Iridonia where the two sides could discuss their respective issues. During the meeting, a battle broke out in orbit, though it was unknown who fired the first shots. Believing that they were overwhelmed, the Republic forces retreated from Iridonia, which sparked the Hutt War once the Hutts used the battle as justification to move their forces into the Mid Rim to combat the Republic.
Following the Alsakan Crisis, a war between the Galactic Republic and the theocratic Alsakan Union from 13,000 BBY to 12,999 BBY in which the Republic emerged victorious and the Alsakan Union was destroyed, the Republic adopted a policy of expanding into the Mid Rim of the galaxy. This policy came about under the administration of the Republic's Supreme Chancellor Alcor Bac in order to gain more territory and support in the event that groups loyal to the former Alsakan Union, such as the Alsakan Restoration Movement, built up military strength and launched an assault on the Republic. This Republic policy caused tension with the Hutt Empire, which governed much of the Outer Rim Territories, as the Hutts believed that the Republic was planning to expand into Hutt territory. The Republic, however, did not have any plans to expand their influence past the Mid Rim.
After years of failed peace talks and negotiations, along with the resignation of the Republic's then-Supreme Chancellor, Etesutr Hapor, the tension culminated in 12,979 BBY. After his election as Supreme Chancellor, Homer Anthony Salandra proposed a meeting with the Hutt leader, Gorrbag, on the neutral Mid Rim planet Iridonia. The Hutts agreed to the proposal, and the two sides ferried their leaders, each escorted by a small fleet, to Iridonia.
Though the Republic believed that the meeting on the surface was going well, the two fleets in orbit wanted to fire upon the other. Nevertheless, they restrained themselves from doing so. As the meeting was still taking place, however, each fleet was fired upon, seemingly by the other, but it was unknown who fired the first shots or why. As soon as the battle broke out, the talks on the surface ended and each leader was escorted out by their respective security personnel. The Republic and Hutt troops that were guarding their leaders fired upon one another, but Salandra and Gorrbag were both able to escape the planet as neither side attempted to assassinate the other's leader. Salandra and Gorbagg's vessels were able to jump into hyperspace shortly after leaving the surface.
The battle continued on after the two leaders escaped, with the upper hand of the battle changing sides multiple times. The Republic forces ended up taking more damage than they believed they could handle due to the perceived aggressiveness of the Hutts. This resulted in the loss of a number of Republic vessels, including the capital ship Hope, and troops. Once the Republic's troops returned to the fleet from the surface, the Republic commanders ordered a retreat in the hopes of preventing any further casualties. This gave the Hutts a victory in the battle.
Following the battle, the Hutts, who traditionally did not have any interest in military conquest, recognized that if they put aside their thoughts about combat then they could potentially gain control of the Republic’s commerce. By doing so, they would be able to control the economy of the entire known galaxy. To that end, the Hutts moved their fleet, one that rivaled the Republic's in strength and size, into the Mid Rim. Once there, they made it clear that their goal was to take over the Republic's commerce and assert economic dominance over the galaxy.
Though the Hutts ending up using the battle to begin the conflict that became known as the Hutt War, the Republic had no desire to fight a war only twenty years after the Alsakan Crisis. Once the Hutts began moving their forces into the Mid Rim, however, the Republic's leaders felt that they had no choice but to fight the Hutts. Therefore, the Republic decided to declare war on the Hutt Empire.
The Battle of Iridonia caused a change of perspective for the Republic in regards to how it viewed its own strength. After the Alsakan Crisis, many people within the Republic believed that there would be everlasting peace because of the measures that were taken to prevent future wars. One of those measures, albeit carried out without the public's knowledge, was the establishment of the covert Sector 13 agency within the Republic. The belief that war could be prevented caused the people of the Republic to feel invincible, but the start of the Hutt War left them reevaluating whether they were as invincible as they thought. The destruction of the capital ship Hope played into this reevaluation and was a source of irony for the Republic, as the people felt that their hopes for peace died with the ship. The war eventually did come to an end, but the Battle of Iridonia was remembered by the galaxy as the event that solidified tense relations between the Republic and the Hutts for thousands of years.
Behind the scenes
The Battle of Iridonia was conceived by Brandon Rhea, the Head Administrator of TheStarWarsRP.Com, as part of the backstory of the Hutt War in his proposal, released on July 10, 2009, for the website's fourth and current role-playing timeline. The location, name, and events of the battle, as well as the specifics of what led up to it, were revealed in the website's history of the Galactic Republic when the fourth timeline began on July 15, 2009.
- TheStarWarsRP.Com (First mentioned)