Star Trek history at a glance

The following provides a history of Star Trek at a glance: a bitesized version of Trek history that people can read instead of having to trawl the text-heavy main Chronology. Because there are so many different versions of this history, with four decades' worth of fandom and speculation imposed upon it, I've taken the middle path and compromised—when there is dispute about a given date or dates, I've made the dates more vague. The "window" given is the consensus that 99% of fans and producers seem to agree on. I've also restricted it to "important" events, so you won't get birthdates and graduations, etc.

Main events

Early-mid 1990s: The Eugenics Wars take place on Earth (see A).

2053: World War III takes place on Earth (see B).

2063: Zefram Cochrane demonstrates warp drive and makes Earth's first contact with the Vulcans (see C).

2151-2155: "Star Trek: Enterprise" (see D)

Late 2150s-early 2160s: The Romulan Wars take place, involving Earth (see E).

2161: Earth, Vulcan, Andor, Tellar and Alpha Centauri found the United Federation of Planets (see F).

2258: "Star Trek" (movie) (Abramsverse) (see G)

2259: "Star Trek: Into Darkness" (Abramsverse)

2260s: "Star Trek" (The Original Series), "Star Trek" (The Animated Series) (see H)

Early 2270s: "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"

Mid-late 2280s: "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"

Early 2290s: "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country"

2364-2370: "Star Trek: The Next Generation"

2369-2375: "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"

2371-2377: "Star Trek: Voyager"

2371: "Star Trek: Generations"

2373: "Star Trek: First Contact"

2375: "Star Trek: Insurrection"

2379: "Star Trek: Nemesis"

2387: The Hobus supernova destroys Romulus. (see I)

2407: The USS Newton begins the Federation's exploration of the Cocoon. (Cocoonverse)

2408 onwards: "Star Trek: Horizon" (Cocoonverse)

2409 onwards: "Star Trek Online"


(A) Because the Eugenics Wars didn't really happen to any of us in the 1990s, latter-day Star Trek on TV has tended to ignore it, or pretend it's not part of Trek history. The most common dates for the Wars are between 1992 and 1996, although sometimes these are interchangeable with 1993 and 1997. Either way, this represents the first major difference between Trek's fictional history and reality.

(B) Alternately, this is the year in which WWIII simply ended, having started some years earlier.

(C) For those few who have whined on about "Star Trek: Enterprise" not fitting into Trek continuity (see D), this event represents the point at which "Enterprise"'s history most likely diverges from the previously-established history.

(D) "Star Trek: Enterprise" was considered to be part of an alternate continuity for many earlier editions of this Chronology. However, it is part of the franchise and it's not going away, and in my wisdom I have learned to love it for what it is.

(E) The most common dates for the Romulan Wars are from 2156 to 2160, although, like the Eugenics Wars (see A), alternate dates exist, making the Wars longer, starting earlier and finishing later. Also, the Wars are also referred to as both the Earth-Romulan Wars and the Federation-Romulan Wars—yet another point of debate (see F)…

(F) 2161 is the most widely-accepted date, but there's tonnes of other source material saying that the Federation came together in the 2120s—making the Romulan Wars (see E) into the Federation-Romulan Wars. In the end, it doesn't really matter. This Chronology has opted to keep the matter relatively simple.

(G) J J Abrams' Trek reboot, named simply "Star Trek", takes place explicitly in a new continuity that deviates dramatically from the original continuity sometime around the year 2233, or possibly earlier. Despite being separate from all that has gone before, it is part of the Trek canon and therefore is included here. Similarly, the adventures of the starship Horizon itself have, in time, made themselves separate from "Prime" Trek continuity. But do we still love them? Hell yes! Stories taking place in the new "Abramsverse" are labelled as such.

(H) The animated Star Trek series, despite featuring the voice talents of the original Star Trek actors, is not widely accepted as being "official"… But you know what? I HATE that word. "Official." Bleh.

(I) The Hobus supernova is THE event that separates the fictional history of the starship Horizon and the Cocoon Fleet from the "Prime" Trek universe and the MMORPG "Star Trek Online", which is the "official" *cough* continuation of the Prime universe into the 25th Century. Anything that takes place after 2387 can be said to take place in its own continuity, labelled here as "Cocoonverse". Hoorah for the Cocoonverse!

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