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Twelve Colonies

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Subject: List of Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series) locations, Battlestar Pegasus, Cylon War, Tom Zarek, Gaius Baltar
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Twelve Colonies

The symbol representing the Twelve Colonies from the 2003 series.

The Twelve Colonies of Man, also called the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, are fictional locations that constitute the principal human civilization in the Battlestar Galactica universe. This includes the original 1978 series, the 2003 "reimagined" series, and its spin-offs Caprica (2009) and Blood and Chrome (2012). The names of twelve planets were taken from the signs of the Zodiac.

The Twelve Colonies were established by tribes who left their homeworld, Kobol, the birthplace of humanity. There were at one time thirteen tribes, but one that was separated from the others instead went to a distant planet called Earth. In the reimagined series, the humans of the Twelve Colonies totalled around 50 billion people.[1] In both the 1978 and 2003 series, the Twelve Colonies were attacked by the Cylons who virtually exterminated humanity. A few thousand survivors escaped in a collection of assorted spacecraft that formed a fleet headed by the Battlestar Galactica that attempted to lead them to safety. The concept of twelve colonies alludes to the Twelve Tribes of Israel.


  • 1978 original series 1
    • Relative locations 1.1
    • Government 1.2
    • Military 1.3
    • Economy 1.4
  • Re-imagined series (2003) 2
    • Star system 2.1
    • Society and homeworlds 2.2
      • Semi-canonical information 2.2.1
    • The Outer Colonies 2.3
    • Government 2.4
    • Colonial Military 2.5
    • Economy 2.6
  • References 3
  • External links 4

1978 original series

  • Given the name's negative connotations, the word "Cancer" was rarely spoken, or even shown on-screen, as a colony name. (Some fan-fiction accuses that particular colony of having been a center of all manner of vice and crime.)
  • Count Baltar was the representative of one of the colonies (it was never revealed which one was his home) prior to his betrayal. The script for the first episode states that he was from the colony of "Orion", however this mention never made it to the screen. (The telefilm novelization, however, says he was a wealthy rare items trader whom the Cylons first approached to sue for peace, and whose title of Count was self-awarded, but all this information has to be regarded as somewhat apocryphal as none of it was ever mentioned in the series.)
  • 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 novelization), Adama remarked that Sagitara had "the best defense systems in the Colonies".
  • In the novelization for the series pilot, several Colonies were mentioned: Virgon, Sagitara, Caprica, Scorpia, Taura, Piscera and Gemini.
  • In the novelization, one planet is called Aeriana, yet in the episode "The Long Patrol," it is pronounced Aeries.
  • In a deleted scene from "Experiment in Terra," Apollo mentions Sagitaria, though it was called Sagitara in all other references.
  • In "The Magnificent Warriors," Orion is mentioned a few times, and it is stated that it was not one of the Colonies, but a nearby planet.
  • In the novelization for "The Young Lords," the planets Aquarus, Scorpia and Virgon are mentioned.
  • In the novelization of the pilot for the 1978 series, the Twelve Colonies are referred to as "The Twelve Colonies of the Three Suns."

Relative locations

In the 1978 series, the Colonies were very obviously set in a binary star system , and there was a distinction between "Inner" and "Outer" colonies. "Inner" colonies orbited the primary star in the system, and "Outer" colonies orbited the other one; both stars appear identical in the TV series. The inner colonies - including Virgon, 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 one episode, "The Long Patrol", Starbuck refers to the colonies as being located within the "Cyrannus Galaxy." However, in the Battlestar Galactica video game, published in 2003 just prior to the release of the reimagined series, Cyrannus is the name of the star system, not a galaxy. As with many science fiction shows, the terminology used is often self-contradictory. The name "Cyrannus" has not been used in the reimagined series, but appears on a map produced by the writers and producers of the show.


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, who is apparently required to hold active regular-duty command of a battlestar. (This last can be inferred from the fact that Commander Adama, when he served first on the pre-destruction Quorum and then as the President of the post-destruction Quorum, was always outfitted in his full-dress uniform whenever he attended and/or presided over its meetings.) The President and civilian government lead the Colonies, unless martial law is declared. After the deaths of President Adar and the Quorum of the Twelve, the Colonial remnants, under the protection of the 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 political power to repeal martial law itself, but after a disastrous attempt (in "Baltar's Escape") at reestablishing civilian rule in the "rag-tag fleet," such matters were dropped for the present.

There is no death penalty, not even for treason. The maximum punishment is life imprisonment. Officers of the courts, called "tribunals," in criminal proceedings include 'Opposers' (prosecutors) and 'Advocates' (defense attorneys). Such tribunals have to convene within ten centars (the rough Colonial equivalent to twenty-four Earth hours) after charges have been brought against accused criminal suspects. (Colonial law may be assumed, from these facts, to require speedy and public trials, as is also guaranteed in the Bill Of Rights Of Citizens Of The United States.)[2]


The combined Colonial armed forces are called the Colonial Military, or the Colonial Service. This is divided into at least three branches:

  • The Colonial Fleet is the first line of defense 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, who are outfitted in blue uniforms with silver trim and black boots.
    • Enlisted starship crew typically dress in light brown jumpsuits with darker brown boots.
    • Colonial Warriors, the Viper pilots and ground troops of the Colonies, wear light brown uniforms with darker brown uniform jackets and dark brown boots. These are specially designed to protect them from g-forces experienced in Viper launch operations.
  • The Colonial Marine Corps
  • Colonial Security Forces, also called Council Security personnel, 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." There appears to be some animosity between Colonial Warriors and the security forces, whose personnel also carry the same pistols as Colonial Warriors, especially when security officers attempt to force Warriors to adhere to Council edicts that the Warriors believe to be ridiculous or naive.[3]


The currency used by the Twelve Colonies are "cubits," which take the form of square-shaped gold ingots. They are still used in the refugee fleet led by the Galactica, and are often seen when Starbuck is gambling.

Re-imagined series (2003)

Twelve Colonies
United Colonies of Kobol
Series Battlestar Galactica, Caprica
Creator Glen A. Larson (1978 series)
Ronald D. Moore (2003 series)
Genre Science fiction
Anthem Colonial Anthem
Capital Caprica City, Caprica (upon commencement of the 1st Cylon War)1
Language(s) Caprican,[4] others
Ethnic groups 12 colonial groups of common ethnic origins
Government Federal Presidential Constitutional republic
Population ~28,592,125,000 (BCH)[5]
<60,000 (1 ACH)
Currency Cubits
1Following the destruction of the colonies: none officially.
On New Caprica: New Caprica City.
2 With interruptions.

Star system

Map of the Twelve Colonies (not to scale).

The 2003 series did not clarify the relative positions in space of the Twelve Colonies; however, Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore has stated that all the planets are located within one star system, as in the original series:

"Does it make sense that there would be a star system with 12 inhabitable planets? Not really, but that was in the original and at some point I decided to run with that as another nod to the old show."[6] that all the colony planets are in the same star system, as described in the original series. This was also hinted at several times in the pilot episode.

Tweets from Serge Graystone, SyFy's official Twitter site for Daniel Graystone's robot Serge indicate that all 12 colonies are on planets within a single system containing four stars.

In 2011, Galactica writer Jane Espenson and science adviser Kevin Grazier produced a map that clarified the relationships between the colonies. It depicts the "Cyrannus star system" as two pairs of binary stars (i.e. four stars) that orbit a common barycenter at a distance of 0.16 light years from binary barycenter to binary barycenter. Kobol is located 2000 light years away.[5]

The first pair is "Helios Alpha" and "Helios Beta," orbiting the barycenter at 63 astronomical units.

  • Helios Alpha: Spectral Class G2V, Mass 1.0.
    • Planets: Icarus, Picon, Caprica & Gemenon (binary planets orbiting a barycenter), Tauron (moon: Minos), the Erebos asteroid belt, the gas giant Zeus (74 moons, including Hebe and Nike), and Persephone.
  • Helios Beta: Spectral Class K1V, Mass 0.79.
    • Planets: Troy, Leonis, the Ouranos asteroid belt, Virgon (moon: Hibernia), the gas giant Hera (29 moons, including Iris and Euboea), and Pallas.

The second pair is "Helios Delta" and "Helios Gamma", orbiting the barycenter at 70 astronomical units. The gas giant Ragnar (moon: Sigurd) orbits the binary system about the barycenter at 110 astronomical units.

  • Helios Delta: Spectral Class K2V, Mass 0.74.
    • Planets: Phoebe, the Aeolus asteroid belt, the gas giant Hestia (17 moons, including binaries Rhea and Kronos) with Canceron & Aerilon at Hestia's L4 and L5, Aquaria, and Styx.
  • Helios Gamma: Spectral Class G9V, Mass 0.89.
    • Planets: Thanatos, the Acheron asteroid belt, Scorpia, Sagittaron, Libran (moons: Herse and Pandrossos), and the gas giant Ophion (14 moons).

Society and homeworlds

The 2003 re-imagined Battlestar Galactica TV series established the social and political distinctions of several of the Twelve Colonies. Each of the Twelve Colonies was originally its own independent state for 2,000 years, with various shifting alliances. They finally united into one all-encompassing federal government for all Twelve Colonies 50 years before the date of the Second Cylon War in order to face the threat of the First Cylon War as a united entity. Thus for hundreds of years, being a "Caprican" meant that someone was ethnically part of the Caprican tribe, which controlled its own independent planetary state. Under the new federal government, this shifted to a residency system; thus, Gaius Baltar was eligible to be elected as Caprica's delegate to the Quorum of Twelve, even though he had been born and raised on Aerilon. However, the inhabitants of the Twelve Colonies had only been living under the united federal government for fifty years, and thus ethnic Sagittarons and Aerilonians registered as citizens of Caprica still faced a degree of discrimination.

Season 1 established that Caprica is the capital planet, "the seat of politics, culture, art, science, and learning." Season 1 also established that Sagittaron is the poorest planet, economically and politically dominated by the other 11 colonies for centuries. Various puppet governments were installed by the other colonies to rule Sagittaron over the generations, even in the recent decades of the united federal government. As a result, local insurgencies were endemic on Sagittaron, led by terrorist leaders such as Tom Zarek. Season 2 established that Gemenon is religiously fundamentalist, following a strict literal interpretation of their religious scripture, called the Sacred Scrolls of Kobol.

In season 3, a broader description was given that Gemenon, Sagittaron, and Aerilon are regarded as "poor colonies" where most of the inhabitants worked in harsh blue-collar jobs while the colonies of Caprica, Tauron, and Virgon are the wealthiest, containing 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 cavalier religious attitudes of Capricans (generally secularized but religiously tolerant) are in stark contrast with those of Gemenon and Sagittaron, who take their faith very seriously. Sagittaron, in contrast to literal and fundamentalist Gemenon, is also quite devout but embraces many local folk practices and variants on the mainstream colonial polytheistic religion. Tauron is also established as a troublesome colony; even under the new unified federal government, Tauron remained strong enough to frequently buck the federal government's authority. Capricans and Taurons disproportionately dominate the officer corps of the unified military of the Twelve Colonies. Most officers portrayed in the series are either Caprican, like William Adama (a half-Tauron born on Caprica) and Lee Adama, or Tauron, like Admiral Helena Cain.

Aerilon 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 because it is stereotypically associated with people from a working-class background, fitting the image of life on Aerilon as an isolated agricultural planet. In the original series outline, Baltar was supposed to be a poor farmer's son from Sagittaron, who abandoned his past when he left for university on Caprica and re-invented himself into a world-renowned scientist. Because they dropped the "Sagittaron story arc" in season 3, the creators had to slightly tweak Baltar's backstory so that he was still from a poor farming colony, but not Sagittaron. This ultimately resulted in rounding out the story of Aerilon's agrarian society, and that Baltar was from there.

The 2004 series only developed the defining characteristics of these five out of the twelve Colonies:

  • Caprica - capital, pseudo-United States
  • Tauron - one of the wealthy colonies, and a troublesome member of the federal government. Caprica's great rival, Tauron is described as a repressive pseudo-Soviet Union to Caprica's United States.[7]
  • Sagittaron - exploited, oppressed colony that is discriminated against
  • Gemenon - religiously fundamentalist
  • Aerilon - poor agrarian breadbasket world

The Caprica prequel series set the goal of trying to round out and further develop the culture of all Twelve Colonies.

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan establishes that Leonis has plains, Scorpia has jungles, Virgon is forested, Libran is dedicated to the Colonial judiciary, Tauron has pastures, both Picon and Aquaria are largely covered in water, and Canceron is known for its beaches. No mention is given of Sagittaron, with the television version mentioning temples on Gemenon, reinforcing the strong religious fabric on the planet.

Many colonials speak the Caprican language, but apparently have different accents or dialects. At least one archaic language, Old Gemenese, is referred to by Colonial lieutenat Kendra Shaw. Baltar mentions that he has an Aerilon accent. In the series Caprica, Taurons are heard speaking a separate language resembling Ancient Greek. The Tauron word Ha'la'tha means "Always faithful to the soil," quoted by the Gua'trau in the episode "False Labor" of Caprica.

In Roman names for the gods, such as Jupiter and Mars. Prior to the First Cylon War, Capricans took a racist view of Taurons, with one Caprican government official privately stating that "deceit is in their DNA," and another directing the racial slur "dirt-eater" toward Joseph Adama.

Semi-canonical information

During the production of the prequel series Caprica, the production team released several online bonus materials, such as faux in-universe media publications and star maps which provided more information about the culture and society of all Twelve Colonies.

The people who live on these twelve planets share their origins with a common location, that being Kobol. However, each planet has developed cultural differences to each colony.[8] The flag of the Twelve Colonies is a vertical banner of alternating red, white, blue, white and red, where the red and white stripes are of equal width while the central blue stripe is wider than any of the other stripes.[5][8] The central blue stripe is divided into light blue (top) and dark blue (bottom), with the light blue section forming a triangular finish pointing downwards.[5][8] The emblem of the colonies is placed on the light blue portion of the flag.[5][8] The flag of the Twelve Colonies is the source on which all other Colonial flags are based.[5][8]

In January 2011, Jane Espenson and Kevin Grazier made public a map of the Twelve Colonies that the show creators worked from.[5] This map reveals that Picon, Caprica, Gemenon and Tauron orbit Helios Alpha; Leonis and Virgon orbit Helios Beta; Libran, Scorpia and Sagittaron orbit Helios Gamma, and Aerilon, Canceron and Aquaria orbit Helios Delta. It also reveals the names of gas giants, minor planets and moons in the Colonies' solar system (the Cyrannus system) and includes cultural details on each colony.

While the first planet colonized in the system was Gemenon, for most of their 2,000-year history, the Twelve Colonies were dominated by the two major colonies of the Helios Beta system, Virgon and Leonis. The two rival imperial powers conquered and dominated each of the colonies of the Helios Alpha and Helios Gamma systems at one time or another. Particularly long and bloody struggles were fought for control of their colony-worlds Picon and Tauron (in Helios Alpha), and Sagittaron (in Helios Beta), which frequently changed hands, along with its lightly-populated neighboring colonies Scorpia and Libran. The Helios Delta system — containing agrarian Aerilon, poor and overpopulated Canceron, and barely-populated Aquaria — was regarded as a backwater, and largely ignored by the imperial powers of Virgon and Leonis. The centuries-long rivalry between Virgon and Leonis eventually led to the exhaustion and decline of both, starting roughly 850 years ago, when Tauron successfully fought a war of independence against them, and culminating roughly 200 years ago, around the time Picon achieved independence. Leonis and Virgon were replaced by rising Caprica and Tauron as the superpowers dominating the politics of the Twelve Colonies. The allegiances of the other colonies shifted from the old Virgon-Leonis rivalry to fit into new power-blocs centered on the Caprica-Tauron rivalry. This was the state of affairs for the next two centuries, up until the time of the First Cylon War.

Capricans live a very cosmopolitan life with a prosperous economy, and have access to the latest technological conveniences. They appear to be accepting of just about any lifestyle, and with few reservations, seem to live and let live.[8] According to Doctor Gaius Baltar, Caprica was the "seat of politics, culture, art, science and learning." He considered being Caprican to be prestigious in and of itself.[9] The official language of Caprica is Caprican,[5] which is equivalent to modern English, and is spoken throughout the Colonies.[10] The national anthem of Caprica is Caprica Abides.[11]

Taurons are a people who have been hardened by battle, having lived with war and death for a very long time. Periods of civil unrest on their home world has instilled a degree of Trojan battle hardness and a practical, no-nonsense attitude toward life in general. Taurons are loyal, and are seen to never forgive a betrayal or any form of treachery. The patron gods of the Taurons are Jupiter, Diana, Mars, and Venus. The Tauron government is a democracy, with Ha'la'tha syndicate leaders installed within. Tauron's primary source of income is the cattle trade, and a Tauron steak is considered the best in the Colonies.[8] The language of the Tauron people is similar to Ancient Greek and Modern Greek. The country highly resembles northern Mexico, the southwest region of the United States of America, Italy and Greece; with similar looking people, architecture, and traditions.

Picons are a close-knit people, but are also friendly and hospitable to Capricans, and enjoy a low crime-rate. Picons tend to believe in an overall sense of balance, which is indicative of their zodiac symbol of two stylized fish circling each other, suggesting balance. Picons are also very good athletes, and enjoy a good fight and a pint of ale. The Picon government has made available health care, education, and affordable housing to all inhabitants, asserting that it is a basic human right.[8]

Gemenese culture is influenced by strict interpretations of the Sacred Scrolls. School children know the names of every god, and won't hesitate to correct you if you get one wrong. The government is a republic led by the Prime Minister. They have a Guardian Council, which presides over all moral issues, while the lower house called the House of Councilors handles the administration of the laws.[8] Gemenon is one of three colonies other than Caprica known to have an official language, Old Gemenese. Old Gemenese is similar to Romanian.[12]

Virgons tend to revere the "finer things" such as ornate country gardens, elaborate laced garments, and the ability to distinguish vintages of Leonian wine. Virgon government was at one time a true monarchy, which changed to a parliamentary system. The royal family remain, but are figureheads. Virgons pride themselves on their ability to determine where someone new they meet originally came from, due to the accent spoken.[8]

Leonans are similar to Virgons, in that they enjoy gourmet food and fine wine. Leonan women are known for being beautiful and thin, no matter what they eat. Beauty is defined uniquely as "being in one's own hour." Leonis was once an empire, ruled by a powerful set of royals who protected their rule by insisting on a millennium of inbreeding. Eventually the Leonan empire came to be ruled by a leader who was descended from one great-great grandmother, Johanna the Mad, no fewer than fourteen different ways. Leonan government changed to a democracy, and the royal family did not continue.[8] Leonis is one of three colonies known to have an official language other than Caprica, Leonese, which printed material in the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide :Beyond Caprica travel guide on Leonis resembles French.[5]

Sagittarons have a profound distrust of advanced science, and most treat illness and even broken bones with herbal medicines, faith healing, mojo bags, and prayer. Due to the rugged and isolated terrain, they tend to be comfortable being alone and being self-sufficient.[8]

Scorpians place family happiness as paramount on Scorpia. The people consider themselves deeply pious, but to other cultures like Capricans, they're actually very tolerant and flexible. If an eccentric lifestyle makes someone happy, then it's all right with them. Scorpians are also very athletic like Picons, and are very devoted to their favorite sports teams. The government is a democracy, where torture is legal, institutionalized, and conducted at the Central Detention Facility in the capital of Celeste. Locals regard the police as walking angels of death. However, tourists are seen as a source of national income, and they will kill to protect them. Other colonial governments have been known to dispose of terrorists, dissidents, and other undesirables on Scorpia.[8]

Libran is a culture devoted to law, and as such has little history or culture of its own. Streets near the courthouses are named for gods and great leaders. If you are a lawyer sent to Libran, it probably represents the pinnacle of a career in law. The government is administered by a ruling council elected by everyone assigned to the planet in a direct democracy funded by the other colonies.[8]

Canceron has a large multitude of diverse dialects, religions, epic poems, cuisines, music, theater, and literature, yet Canceron's own people rarely know much outside their own subculture. The government, due to its massive population, proclaims itself the largest democracy of all the colonies. At its planetary Congress, it has more than 2,300 representatives from 88 states that speak at least 19 distinct dialects, that are answerable to the 88 state congresses. Terrorism is a basic fact of life for young Cancerons.[8]

The Aerilonian idea of self-reliance without a central government is strongly adhered to. As a result, the Aerilon Parliament and the Prime Minister have publicly stated that the government will not attempt the funding of health care, schools, or anything that could be relied upon by the people, unlike the government of Picon. The Aerilonian people have granted the police remarkably broad powers to detain, imprison, and even torture people on even the slightest pretext. The people are very much into spending time outdoors, and value plain speech, hard work, and trust in one's neighbor above everything else, except for the worship of the gods. Like Picons, Aerilonians enjoy a good fight and a pint, or two. Paintings are suspect unless they are of family members, heroic men, or cattle. Primary colors are recommended, sculpture is also suspect, unless it is made by hand, out of wood, with a pocket knife, and results in a pointed weapon. Artists who desire to become famous will find themselves leaving Aerilon for another colony, such as Caprica, Leonis or Virgon to do so. Agriculture is the foundation of the planetary economy.[8] Doctor Gaius Baltar, a native of Aerilon, described his homeworld as "a drab, ugly rock, condemned to be the food basket of the Twelve Worlds."[9]

Aquarions are highly educated, liberal, tolerant, and peaceful, and think nothing of paying for services rendered with a painting, a song, or a good story, and will accept such payment just as casually. The society is small enough for individuals to remain fully accountable, so the system usually works very well. The colony was founded as a utopian outpost for those who prefer not to be bothered with gods, planetary identity, politics, or other sources of division. As a result, they have developed a strong self-perception as a place where the human spirit and its creative expression can reach their maximum potential. Anyone who disrupts the social balance will find themselves permanently banished to another colony with a simple two-thirds vote, usually finding themselves on Scorpia, or on trial on Libran, never to come back.[8]

Zodiac Constellation 1978 Series 2004 Series
Name Name Flag Capital Population[5] Pyramid Teams Patron God[5] Nickname[5]
Aquarius Symbol Aquarius Aquarus[13] Aquaria/Aquarion None officially, major city is Heim 25,000 None Hermes The Ice Colony
Aries Symbol Aries Aeries Aerilon Gaoth 1,200,000,000
  • Aerilon Threshers (Gaoth)
  • Promethea Golden Horns
Demeter The Food Basket of the Colonies
Cancer Symbol Cancer Orion Canceron Hades 6,700,000,000
  • Canceron Hydras
  • Hades Vice
  • Mangala Krill
Hephaestus The Largest Democracy
Capricorn Symbol Capricorn Caprica Caprica Caprica City 4,900,000,000
  • Caprica Buccaneers
  • Delphi Legion
Apollo The Capital of the Colonies
Gemini Symbol Gemini Gemoni Gemenon Oranu 2,800,000,000
  • Gemenon Twins
  • Illumini Vipers
Hera The First Colony
Leo Symbol Leo Leonis Leonis Luminere 2,600,000,000
  • Leonis Wildcats
  • Hedon Suns
Artemis The Heart of the Colonies
Libra Symbol Libra Libris Libran None officially, major city is Themis 2,100,000 None Athena The Colony of Justice
Pisces Symbol Pisces Piscera Picon Queenstown 1,400,000,000
  • Picon Panthers
Poseidon The Ocean Colony
Sagittarius Symbol Sagittarius Sagitara Sagittaron Tawa 1,700,000,000
  • Sagittaron Archers
Zeus The Lone Colony
Scorpio Symbol Scorpio Scorpion Scorpia Celeste 450,000,000
  • Celeste Storms
  • Celeste Lightning
  • Scorpia Stingers
  • Argentum Bay Silverstars
Dionysus The Playground of the Colonies
Taurus Symbol Taurus Taura Tauron Hypatia 2,500,000,000
  • Tauron Bulls
  • Olympia Stallions
Ares The Old Colony
Virgo Symbol Virgo Virgon Virgon Boskirk 4,300,000,000
  • Boskirk All Reds
  • Virgon United (Blaustad)
Hestia Imperial Virgon

The Outer Colonies

The Outer Colonies[14] are a scattered assortment of a few marginally habitable planets or moons within the double-binary Cyrannus star cluster, which are the site of some human habitation. According to Ron Moore in a blog post,[15] the "Twelve" Colonies are the only human colonies in the system of any significance: they do loosely maintain a few scientific outposts, military bases, or mining outposts on some of the uninhabitable moons or asteroids in the system, but none of them are fully functional or in any way self-sustaining, and few if any have been kobolformed. Moreover, even the combined population of all of these "outer colonies" is so low - 1.4 million, compared to the total 28.5 billion population of the star system as a whole - that they have little social or political significance, and are truly more "outposts" than "colonies". Nonetheless the mining resources of several airless rocks, or Tylium mining operations in asteroid fields, are vital enough that different colonies have fought interplanetary wars over them.

Only Troy was mentioned within the 2004 TV series. Espenson and Grazier's 2011 "Map of the Twelve Colonies" goes into some more detail, stating that minor colonies were located on four planets or moons in the star cluster:

  • Minos - a moon of Tauron, located in Helios Alpha, and the largest moon in the entire star cluster. While it lacks an atmosphere, it is the location of several scientific outposts and domed mining colonies. More of an extension of Tauron than a world in its own right, and like Tauron it was fought over by Virgon and Leonis during their old imperial wars.
  • Troy - a small but metal rich planet in Helios Beta, whose material resources were fought over for centuries by nearby Virgon and Leonis. Troy's mining outposts required sealed domes, indicating that it either doesn't have an atmosphere or that it is toxic to humans.
  • Pallas - a Mars-like planet whose atmosphere gradually leaked away into space over millions of years, located in Helios Beta. Today its dry, barren, desert-like surface has an atmosphere that is too thin to breathe, and kobolforming efforts have failed. It is nonetheless the site of several domed colonies and a military research station. Although marginally more habitable than Troy, and fought over between Virgon and Leonis as it was, Pallas does not have the rich metal resources of Troy, and thus the planet was not as heavily contested between the two powers as Troy was.
  • Hibernia - a marginally habitable moon of Virgon, settled centuries ago by the Celtans, an ethnic group fiercely opposed to Virgon rule. Along with Virgon it is located in Helios Beta. Although easily the most habitable of the Outer Colonies (the others all require domed habitats), its small population combined with centuries of domination by nearby Virgon have precluded it from ever being considered close to an equal of the main "Twelve Colonies". Administratively, it remains a province of Virgon.

Some of the moons of the gas giants in the star cluster are stated to have atmospheres, but whether these atmospheres are breathable is not clear. Moreover, it is not established if any of these moons were large enough to be inhabitable, atmosphere or not. If that is the case, of the four known "outer colonies", none are located in the Helios Gamma/Helios Delta binary star system, one (Tauron's moon Minos) is located in Helios Alpha, and three (Troy, Pallas, and Virgon's moon Hibernia) are located in Helios Beta.

The exact legal and political status of the inhabitants of the Outer Colonies is not clear, and may have been vague within the fictional universe as well. The Twelve Colonies only shifted to a unified federal government 50 years ago, and before that defined their political allegiances along ethnic lines to each of the "Twelve Tribes" that controlled an entire planet, like Caprica or Virgon. The falsified identity that the Number Eight Cylon on Galactica presented was that she was the child of colonists from Aerilon who were living on Troy (while her cover story was fake, what is relevant is that others thought it was a believable background). it's not clear if miners on marginally habitable planets like Troy would still retain absentee-citizenship with their mother-planet like Troy; it's possible that so few colonists were actually born and raised on minor colonies like Troy that they never developed a group or cultural identity, even on worlds like Troy whose resources had been fought over for centuries. Permanent habitation of these minor colonies seems to not have occurred on a large scale. Again the one major exception to this is the mention that the Celtans of Virgon's habitable moon Hibernia actually strove to assert their independence but were forced into submission by Virgon; it is plausible that they strove for equal representation in the new unified federal government.


In the 2003 re-imagining 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. This cabinet appears to be quite extensive even in comparison to modern real-world governments, as its Secretary of Education is the 43rd in the order of succession, while the lowest cabinet post in the US line of presidential succession is only 18th. 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 Richard Adar was one before his first term as President of the Twelve Colonies. The Colonial Government appears to include some form of civil religion as noted by the presence of clergy such as the priest Elosha in seasons 1 and 2 of the series. In his blog, Battlestar Galactica's producer Ronald D. Moore 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.[16]

The 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 at by the President of the Twelve Colonies, who may cast a vote in case of a tie. 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, Ron Moore describes the Quorum of Twelve as a mixture between the United States Senate and the UN Security Council. The Quorum has the power to remove the President from power via a vote of no confidence.

The Colonies appear to operate on a party system, and at least one party is mentioned in the series. When Tory Foster becomes president Laura Roslin's Chief of Staff in episode 17 of Season 2, she mentions that she was a member of the Federalist Party. It is unclear however if the government of the colonies is made of one or several parties, as parties do not appear to play an important role after the fall of the colonies.

It is unclear if free passage throughout the Colonies was guaranteed for Colonial citizens, although the most likely scenario is that it was not. In season three Gaius Baltar mentions that he got one of his lab assistants from Gemenon a visa, presumably to live and work on Caprica where he was based. Also, throughout the series various passports appear, and although they are all in the same format they are issued according to the colony each citizen is from, similar to the passports of the member states of the European Union.

The differences in Colonial government in the 2003 remake stem from the fact that Cylons were created by humans as servants and soldiers. The production team has established that the Cylons were used as soldiers in wars among 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. In the time of the TV series Caprica, set 58 years before the Cylon holocaust, the Twelve Colonies do not yet have a united government.[17]

Colonial Military

The Colonial Armed Forces are the unified defense forces of the Twelve Colonies, and appear to be made of at least two components:

  • The Colonial Fleet operated a force of about 120 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; Rear Admiral; Commander; Colonel; Lieutenant 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" as detailed by Ronald D. Moore (himself 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. There are also ranks used in the U.S. Army, specifically Specialist, the technical equivalent to Corporal.
  • The Colonial Marine Corps, a specialized ship-based ground force operating on board 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 certain as only two Marine officers, an unnamed lieutenant in the episode Escape Velocity and Lieutenant Terry Burrell in Sacrifice, have so far been shown.
    • It is unclear if there is a separate Colonial Army, Navy, or Air Force responsible for ground-based defense.

Due to a lack of a police force within the fleet, both Colonial Fleet 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.


In the 2004 series, the official currency of the Twelve Colonies is, again, the Cubit[18] (abbreviated cb in the reimagined series banknotes), which has been used since at least 58 years before the fall. It is similar to the euro in that the twelve worlds were united in a monetary union before the creation of the Twelve Colonies as a federal state. Unlike in the original series, cubits appear both in paper and metal form. Throughout the reimagined series, banknotes with the value of 100, 500, 1000 and possibly 10 cubits can be seen. Gold and silver coins are also used. The banknotes are square in shape[18] and the coins are rectangular.[18]

Before the fall of the Twelve Colonies some worlds were highly industrialized, such as Caprica and Virgon, whereas others were more dependent on agriculture, most notably Aerilon which is also nicknamed "the foodbasket of the Colonies".[5] Prior to start of the First Cylon War, the economy of colonies such as Caprica were highly mechanized, but it is assumed that following the war the fear of Cylons had an impact on the economy of the Twelve Colonies. It is known that child labor is prohibited[14] in the Twelve Colonies and that manual labor is the backbone of the refugee fleet's economy.

Following the complete destruction of the Twelve Colonies it is made clear by Tom Zarek[18] that a currency-based economy is not functional in the refugee fleet that survived, but the government of Laura Roslin moves to address this issue.

  • Battlestar Wiki: The Twelve Colonies (Original)
  • Battlestar Wiki: The Twelve Colonies (2003 series)

External links

  1. ^ In the episode "A Disquiet Follows My Soul", Kara Thrace gives an estimate of 50 billion people who died in the Cylons attack on the colonies
  2. ^ These are all drawn from the installment "Murder On The Rising Star," in which Starbuck was wrongly accused of having murdered a fellow Colonial Warrior.
  3. ^ Council Security - Battlestar Wiki
  4. ^ Language in the Twelve Colonies - Battlestar Wiki
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Map of the Twelve Colonies
  6. ^ Ron Moore Blog, January 30, 2005.
  7. ^ (EOnline interview with Esai Morales.)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Beyond Caprica by Bob Harris ISBN 978-0-7566-7311-6
  9. ^ a b The Battlestar Galactica episode "Dirty Hands".
  10. ^ As heard and seen in lettering throughout Battlestar Galactica and Caprica.
  11. ^ Youtube video
  12. ^ As heard in the Caprica episode "Blowback" and the movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor.
  13. ^ File:Names from agenda ep 111.jpg - Battlestar Wiki The names of all twelve Colonies are present on this page, but the 2003 series has referred to the same colony as both "Aquaria" and "Aquarion".
  14. ^ a b The Passage (Battlestar Galactica)
  15. ^ (Ron Moore Blog, January 30, 2005.)
  16. ^ "In Episode 11, Colonial Day we'll see the reinstatement of the Quorum of Twelve, a political body established in the original series, which seems to be a cross between a US style Senate and the UN Security Council, where each Colony has a single vote. Presumably there was also a larger representative legislative body and some kind of separate judiciary. There is also a religious body, (unnamed thus far) that acts in some advisory capacity to the government, along the lines of the British House of Lords. Although we haven't dealt with it yet, Elosha was probably a member of this body." (Ron Moore Blog, January 30, 2005.)
  17. ^ [Caprica Pilot]
  18. ^ a b c d e Cubit on Battlestar Galactica wiki


does not seem to pay much attention to their demands. President Adar. Although one day before the destruction of the colonies the teachers were on strike, New Caprica played such an important role in the Twelve Colonies prior to the destruction or if they were created out of necessity during the colonists' stay on trade unions takes the trade union's suggestions into consideration, but it is unclear whether President Roslin [18]

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