The Vulcans or Vulcanians are a warp capable humanoid species from the planet Vulcan. They are widely known for their logical minds and stoic culture. In 2161, their homeworld became a founding member of the United Federation of Planets.
History and politicsEdit
Commander T'Pol revealed, regarding Vulcans and the planet Vulcan, that her "species evolved on this planet."
Culturally one of the most fascinating species in the Federation, the Vulcans were once an extremely violent and emotional people (even by Earth standards) who waged almost constant warfare on one another. Paranoia and homicidal rage were common. They believed in a variety of gods, such as war, peace and death. As their level of technology improved, the Vulcans eventually reached a point where their violent nature threatened species extinction.
In an effort to avoid this fate, a Vulcan named Surak developed a new philosophy thereby igniting the Time of Awakening. Surak maintained that the root cause of all the problems on Vulcan lay in the uncontrolled outpouring of the people's emotions. His followers swore to live their lives by an ethical system devised by Surak and based purely on logical principles. Emotions were to be controlled and repressed.
Although this new philosophy spread rapidly across Vulcan, a minority, many of whom were known as "those who march beneath the Raptor's wings", rejected Surak's ideals. A destructive war began including the use of atomic bombs and among the victims was Surak himself.
Eventually, however, those who opposed logic left Vulcan and founded colonies elsewhere – most notably on the planet Romulus, where they founded what eventually became the Romulan Star Empire. At some point in history, the Romulans and the Vulcans engaged in a hundred-year long war against one another. The war was instigated by the actions of a member of the Q Continuum.
Another group that rejected Surak's philosophy was known as the "V'tosh ka'tur" or "Vulcans without logic". The V'tosh ka'tur believed in controlling emotions by allowing themselves to actively experience them rather than suppressing them. Many of these also left Vulcan, and took up a nomadic existence.
At least one planet studied by the Federation was inhabited by "proto-Vulcan humanoids" without warp technology or any direct ties to the Vulcans or the Romulans. The Mintakans possessed technology identified as Bronze Age, but their culture was described by Federation scientists as generally peaceful and highly logical, much like their Vulcan brethren. Eventually, an error during a Federation science mission led to the exposure of Mintakans to Federation technology and society, exempting them from the Prime Directive.
The Vulcans conducted a series of survey missions to the Sol system, as early as 1957. Vulcans were in fact one of the first species to develop warp drive, though a century passed between the first warp flight and the breaking of the warp 2 barrier. (ENT: "First Flight") T'Pol told Archer that Vulcans "don't share" Humans' "enthusiasm for space exploration," but a Syrrannite on Vulcan advised Archer that this may not be true.
The official First Contact between Vulcans and Humans came on April 5, 2063 when a Vulcan survey ship detected the warp flight of Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix. The Vulcans met with Cochrane at his launch site on the day following the flight.
The Vulcans eventually became Earth's "big brothers" in a way, advising Earth officials on how to proceed into the galaxy. The Vulcan High Command considered Humans volatile and similar to Vulcans before the Time of Awakening, and so attempted to slow down Humanity's move into the galaxy until the time was right.
By the 21st and 22nd centuries, the Vulcans had also made contact with the Cardassians, Trill, Tholians, Klingons, and scores of other races.
In contrast to their tradition of peaceful exploration, the Vulcans had a long history of border skirmishes with the neighboring Andorians. The Humans helped negotiate a peace between the two over the disputed Class D planetoid, known to the Vulcans as Paan Mokar.
In the 22nd century, the Vulcan High Command, once in charge only of space exploration and planetary defense, gained much more control over civilian affairs. Under the High Command's leadership, Vulcan policy toward other planets became more aggressive and interventionist, using the ancient monastery at P'Jem to spy on Andorian activities.
Vulcan also became less tolerant of political and philosophical challenges towards the High Command's operations, notably engaging in purges of the Syrrannite group, who claimed that Vulcan society was no longer following the teachings of Surak. These tensions came to a head in the crisis called the Vulcan Reformation, which resulted in the overthrow of the High Command (and its leader, V'Las, who was secretly allied with the Romulans) and a restructuring of the Vulcan government under the leadership of Kuvak and T'Pau. One of the first acts of the new government was to end the policy of holding back Human expansion into the galaxy.