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Generican Empire

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This is the tendency for space states not to have an actual identification beyond a generic term for a given political system. Often this is specified a little by equally generic terms such as "of planets". But there is no identity with any local culture. Writers can justify this by explaining that past conquerors decided that it was bad politics to hurt their subjects' feelings more than necessary. This is partly a result of Good Republic, Evil Empire: The Federation, The Republic or The Good Kingdom are generic goodness, empires are simply evil, and that's all that needs to be said.

Also see Generic Federation, Named Empire .


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  • Star Wars: The Galactic Republic, which Palpatine turned into the Galactic Empire. (The trend continues in the Expanded Universe with the New Republic, then the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances...) Also, the separatists are officially the Confederacy of Independent Systems.
    • And the villains of the sequel trilogy are called the First Order, with them being reformed into Final Order after Palpatine declares his return.

  • David Weber's Dahak series (Mutineers' Moon, The Armageddon Inheritance, Heirs of Empire) has the Fifth Imperium. And the Fourth Empire, and the Fourth Imperium, and the Third Imperium and... well, you get the picture.
    • They are technically the Xth Imperium/Empire of Man, but since they're usually the only real game in town people usually don't bother.
  • Played straight in The History of the Galaxy series with the Confederacy of Suns (which doesn't actually include the Sun), the Free Colonies (an alliance preceding the Confederacy), the Star Caliphate. Averted with the Terran Alliance.
  • The Galactic Federation in the Sector General books, which strictly speaking isn't confined to a single galaxy.
  • Isaac Asimov's
    • The Empire Novels' Pebble in the Sky: The only galactic nation is simply called the Galactic Empire.
    • Foundation Series:
      • The nation referred to (originally) as the "Encyclopedia Foundation", and sometimes as the "Foundation Federation", is more often called simply the "Foundation". It is meaningful because of the prediction by Hari Seldon that the original government would grow to encompass the entire galaxy within one thousand years. However, it doesn't identify much of the culture or political structure because both are expected to drastically change every few decades.
      • A secret organization/conspiracy, established before 1 F.E., is only known as the "Second Foundation". They are the hidden half, compared to the public "First Foundation". Discovering their hidden location drives the Story Arc of the final half of The Foundation Trilogy.
      • During the middle of The Empire Novels, The Currents of Space, the Empire was known as the Trantorian Empirenote , but it is brought up a few times that they seem to be heading towards becoming a Galactic Empire (capital letters included), and by the time of the third Empire novel, Pebble in the Sky, the Empire (because it is the only nation in the entire Milky Way Galaxy) is, at most, called the Galactic Empire.
      • Despite the more significant nations in this series having generic names that don't reflect their location/culture, many of the smaller states do actually retain location-specific names, such as the Four Kingdoms being known as Smyrno, Konom, Daribow, and Anacreon.
      • "Search by the Mule": The Mule has named his Galactic Empire, "Union of Worlds", and controls one-tenth of the volume of the galaxy, based on the Encyclopedia Galactica entry for this story.
  • Dune has the Imperium, officially known as the Galactic Padishah Empire ("Padishah" is just a Persian word for "King"). The prequels have the Synchronized Worlds and the League of Nobles, as well as another unnamed Empire preceding both.
  • Sergey Lukyanenko's The Stars Are Cold Toys duology has the Conclave, the Star Shadow, the briefly-mentioned Crystal Alliance, and the Trade League.
  • The government the Galactic Patrol belongs to in the Lensman books is only ever referred to as Civilization.
  • Ender's Game has the Hegemony and the Starways Congress.
  • The Associated Worlds, from the Eldraeverse. Lampshaded as necessarily generic to let otherwise disagreeable polities agree on it, and that everyone disagrees on what exactly the "Associated" means.
    • The Empire of the Star could reasonably claim to be the Eldraeic Empire, but at the time they formed they hadn't made it out into space, much less encompassed their homeworld.
  • The Common Confederation in The Android's Dream, a loose multi-species union similar to the modern-day UN.
  • Vyacheslav Shalygin's The Fall of the Galaxy has the Galaxy, a vast empire taking up a large chunk of our galaxy. One of the other star nations, the Seven Systems Union, also fits the trope (although their nickname "Crabs" doesn't, as it refers to the Union's location in the Crab Nebula). The other great nation, the Bargon Empire, doesn't fit, though.
  • Somewhat averted in Star Wars Legends, the original Star Wars expanded universe. While the generic names inherited from the movies remain, we're also introduced to the Hapes Consortium, the Tion Hegemony, the Dushkan League, the Chiss Ascendancy, the Ssi-ruuk Imperium and the Yuuzhan Vong Empire, which are named after their species or their geographical region. Still played straight with the Centrality and the Corporate Sector Authority, however.
  • The reboot Star Wars Expanded Universe plays it straight, however, introducing new, post-Empire nations called the New Separatist Union, the Confederacy of Corporate Systems, and the Sovereign Latitudes.
  • In Seekers of the Sky, the Roman Empire never falls in this setting and evolves into something simply called "the State". It controls most of Europe and has colonies in Africa and the Americas.
  • The Lost Fleet has The Alliance and the Syndicate Worlds.
  • Destroyermen has the Grand Alliance (formally known as the Grand Alliance of all Allied powers united beneath [or beside] the Banner of the Trees), the Holy Dominion, the Republic of Real People, the Celestial Realm, the United Homes, the New United States, the Brotherhood of Volunteers, and Les Confédération États Souverains (the Confederation of Sovereign Governments/States). Averted with the Empire of New Britain Isles, the League of Tripoli, and the Shogunate of Yokohama.
  • Crystal Lattice has the Cyberempire (also called the Cybercity) as one of the two Space Filling Empires on the planet. The Cyberempire dominates the Western Hemisphere.
  • The Dark Profit Saga has the Empire in the setting's past. After the secession of its northern provinces, now called the Freedlands and Ruskan, it's known as the Southern (or Desert) Empire.
  • In Arrivals from the Dark, the Dromi Empire is internally known as the Clans. Even the Faata technically means "the people of the Third Phase". On the planet Osier, the dominant Empire (which also fits) is also called the Seven Provinces. Four of these provinces don't have proper names are are instead named after the times of day: Dawn Province, Midday Province, Day Province, and Dusk Province. There are also nations called the Island Kingdom and the Archipelago Principalities.
  • The Culture novels center on the interstellar civilization known as, well, the Culture. Since they don’t really have a government, there’s not a lot of things they could honestly call themselves.
  • Sword of Truth: The antagonist faction of Dirty Communists is called the Imperial Order.

    Live-Action TV  
  • Star Trek: The United Federation of Planets.
    • By contrast, Klingons still consider themselves Klingons, and Romulans still regard themselves as Romulans. No crisis of ethnic identity there.
      • Of course, both the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire include other species as well. They just aren't given equal status and are really only mentioned in the Star Trek Expanded Universe (in the novel Section 31: Rogue, both the Federation and the Romulans are offering membership to a civilization that has recently discovered warp drive; while the choice would seem to be a no-brainer, the race ends up going with the Romulans, as they need stability more than they need freedom). Although the Expanded Universe suffers from some Depending on the Writer about how democratic the process of entering the Imperial Senate is and how much executive power the Praetor wields, though as per its historical inspiration this has probably varied a lot over the course of Romulan history.
    • Played straight with the Dominion. It was intentional, as the writers intended for the Dominion to be an "anti-Federation".
    • Also averted with the Mirror Universe Evil Counterpart the Terran Empire but played straight with the Alliance.
      • Not necessarily. While it is often just called "the Alliance," the full name is the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance.
    • The Federation was preceded by the Coalition of Planets.
  • The Alliance in Firefly, though technically, the full title of the government is "the Union of Allied Planets." There's also the "Hands of Blue" and the "Academy," though both of those are actually nicknames for specific people or organizations, and the Operative, which is, well, a title for a secret government agent.
  • The Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda. The name doesn't sound like something that stretches throughout three galaxies. Averted with the Nietzschean Empire that never arose.
    • Also averted with the Vedran Empire, which preceded the Commonwealth.
  • The original Battlestar Galactica has the Eastern Alliance on the Planet Terra (which isn't Earth), a fascist nation subscribing to the "Master Race" idea and fully prepared to unleash a nuclear Armageddon on their ideological opponents known as the Nationalists (AKA the Western Coalition).
  • The Orville has the Planetary Union, an obvious nod to the Federation of Star Trek.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller: The Third Imperium
    • The Third Imperium even went this one better by changing its capital's name from Sylea to "Capital"
      • Arguably justified. While the Third Imperium began as what was effectively a Sylean Empire, it became an empire glued together by its upper caste rather then by a core ethnicity. It probably would have been diplomatic to not stress the Sylean origins.
    • Other states are less bland about it. The Terran Confederation was the TERRAN Confederation long after most of its population grew up on other planets and were of mixed Solomani-Vilani descent.
    • And the Vilani before them were blatant about their Vilani origins. But one of their empire's names is the Ziru Sirka which means Grand Imperium of the Stars.
  • The Planetary Consortium in Eclipse Phase.

    Video Games 
  • The games in the Space Empires series even have a list of generic empire names and titles, all of which are cosmetic. Starting in SE4 however, you can define the political system your civilization adopts. Which doesn't prevent you from calling your very loose federation an empire.
    • It never stopped the Holy Roman Empire, later the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, from calling itself one.
  • Humanity's spacefaring government in Mass Effect is the Systems Alliance. Possibly justified since it has little or no authority on Earth itself, which is still a collection of independent nations. Other races have similar terms, with the Turian Hierarchy, Salarian Union, Asari Republics, and Krogan Clans as a few notable examples.
  • The United Nations Space Command and the Covenant in Halo. In the past, there was also the Forerunner Ecumene.
  • The Wing Commander series features the Confederation and the Border Worlds. Although sometimes the Confederation is the Terran Confederation.
  • The Avernum series lampshades it with the Empire, which is described as "Not the Something Empire or the Empire of Something. Why bother with names, when you are the only Empire around?"
  • The Coalition of Ordered Governments in Gears of War. (Get it? COG? Gears?) In the backstory there's also the Union of Independent Republics.
  • Escape Velocity:
    • Classic only ever refers to the Confederation as the Confederation and the Rebellion as the Rebellion.
    • Nova has the Federation (full and formal name the Federation of United Planets, although that is only mentioned in the Preambles) in the present and in the past the latest pan-human government, the Colonial Council. More-or-less inverted by the Polaris (named for the North Star, as the colonial expedition that led to their founding set beyond that star), where we never find out if their state has a governmental term in it.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has the Trade Emergency Coalition (formerly the Trade Order) and the Advent.
  • The Northern Coalition in Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak
  • Star Lancer has the Coalition and the Alliance.
  • X has the main five civilizations forming a loose alliance that is alternately translated as "The Commonwealth" or "The Community of Worlds".
  • The Corpus from Warframe. Unlike most examples, this trope gets lampshaded and justified; its explicitly noted that "corpus" used to be a generic term for spacefaring merchant guilds and corporations. The capital-C Corpus is called that because they were the only corpi to survive the collapse of the Orokin Empire and it's been so long that Legend Fades to Myth is taking effect.
  • Fódlan in Fire Emblem: Three Houses comprises the Adrestian Empire, the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance. The characters, however, almost exclusively refer to them simply as the Empire, the Kingdom, and the Alliance.
  • Star Control has the Alliance of Free Stars. The third game has the Hegemonic Crux.
  • Disciples has the human faction be simply called the Empire. The other major faction names either refer to the race or the location: Mountain Clans, Elven Alliance, Undead Hordes, Legions of the Damned.
  • Crying Suns has the Empire, which is never referred to by any other name.
  • Sunrider has the Solar Alliance, the People's Alliance for Common Treatment (a.k.a. PACT), and the defunct New Empire.
  • Drakengard has the Union and the Empire, who are at war with each other.
  • In the original English localization of Final Fantasy VI, The Empire was referred to only as... the Empire. Later translations (as well as the original Japanese) avert this, dubbing it the Gestahlian Empire in its emperor's name.

    Web Comics 
  • In Schlock Mercenary most governments are named for the sapient species that developed in their respective systems. However Terrans of all different species (since Earth started to genetically uplift all manner of animals to human-level intelligence) hail from the United Nations of Sol. All of these different space-faring nations themselves are part of the League of Galactics.

    Western Animation 
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Federation - in opposition to The Triceraton Republic. In the '80s cartoon, they were called the Triceraton Empire. In the 2012 cartoon, it started out as a Republic, and then became an Empire.
  • The "United Republic of Nations" in the The Legend of Korra. It's meant to be a politically neutral country in the world of Avatar, as well as negotiator to prevent future conflicts between the Fire Nation, Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes and the (slowly resurgent) Air Nomads.
  • The "Federation League of Planets" from 3-2-1 Penguins!, modeled extremely loosely after the United Federation of Planets.

    Real Life 
  • The Hanseatic League which dominated the Medieval Baltic (the word Hanse roughly means "merchant's guild" or "trading league", at least for older examples). There were other Hansas, but the North German one was so powerful and dominant (and long-lasting — the last diet was in the mid-17th century) that if one didn't add any other descriptors it was assumed that was the Hansa meant.
  • The League of Nations and the United Nations, although those don't claim to be states.
  • The actual name of what used to to be the British Commonwealth (and before that the British Empire) is the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a description of the supposed form of government, with no reference to geography or nationality (a "soviet" was a kind of local workers' council). On paper, it was roughly analogous to the United Nations, being a collective of states rather than a single nation. Of course, in practice it was an exercise in Russian imperialism, which just led to the rest of the world referring to the people (or at least the leaders) thereof as "Soviets" and treating the USSR as a single polity.
  • The Commonwealth of Independent States, the organization that replaced the USSR.
  • Silly but real: the Miss Universe pageant is hubristically generic in name, considering that no one from outside of one local planet has ever been allowed to compete. At least, as far as we know.
  • The United Arab Emirates is a halfway example. "Arab" at least specifies an ethnic category (albeit a very broad one), but the lack of any identification beyond that means the demonym for its people is "Emirati" - which is kind of like if that country in the British Isles' full name was just "the United European Kingdoms" and its people were called "Kingdomians." Its former name as a British protectorate, the Trucial States, was a straight example, just designating the political entities whose leaders had signed protective treaties, or truces, with the United Kingdom between 1820 and 1892..
  • The United States of America is often referred to as simply "the United States", especially in formal contexts such as official titles like President of the United States or Supreme Court of the United States. Conversely, The United States of Mexico usually has that part of it's name dropped just to avoid confusion.
    • Within the context of The American Civil War, the United States of America is typically referred to as "the Union", and the Confederate States of America as "the Confederacy".
    • While the people of the United States are known as "Americans" to themselves and most others, Spanish speakers call them estadounidense - literally "United Statesian."
  • Similarly, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is often simply the United Kingdom, presumably for the sake of brevity. Of course, even this is rare outside of formal contexts.
  • Assorted sporting events that banner themselves as "World Series" - especially since they universally neglect to specify which world and almost never have representation from the whole world. Baseball is among the worst offenders of the latter type. note 
    • The Little League World Series averts this, as champions have come from the United States, Taiwan, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Venezuela, and Curaçao.
  • China's Mandarin name, Zhōngguó, means "central states" or "middle kingdom". Sometimes referring to the culturally distinct core area of the region or the capital, sometimes referring to the belief that they were the center of civilization. Though often the empire was known by the name of the ruling dynasty, such as the Qin dynasty which may be where the English name comes from.
  • The Aztec Empire referred to itself in Nahuatl as the Triple Alliance, as it had an alliance of three city-states at its core.
  • Similarly, the Inca Empire called itself Tawantinsuyu, which can be translated as “Realm of the Four Parts”, after its four administrative divisions. Specifically, it can be broken down as tawa (four), -ntin (suffix designating a group), suyu (province/region), so translated literally it could be as nondescript as “the Four Provinces”.
  • The ancient Achaemenid Empire simply called itself “the Empire” in Persian. The term Achaemenid is derived from the name Achaemenes, a minor king who the Empire’s ruling dynasty held as their ancestor.

Alternative Title(s): Generican Republic, Kingdom Of Generica