|“||Four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man.||„|
|~ A Klingon proverb.|
The Klingons are an alien race that serve as the main antagonists of the Star Trek franchise (with the exceptions of Worf, and B'Ellana Torres, both of whom serve as secondary protagonists within the franchise). Although now strong allies of the United Federation of Planets, the alien warrior race known as the Klingons were originally one of the chief antagonists. Even as antagonists the Klingons had a strong sense of honor.
From the Beta Quadrant planet Qo'noS, the Klingons became more or less united into an interstellar Empire through the actions of Kahless the Unforgettable after his defeat of the tyrant Molor. However the factious Klingons would often fight among each other for control of the Empire. They were led by an Emperor up until about the mid 20th century, when the last Emperor died and the Empire came under control of a Chancellor and High Council.
Even though they were a hard and aggressive race, the Klingons still developed a rich, spiritual culture. Many Klingons were fond of operas that told stories of the greatest heroes of the Empire.
It was traditional for some Klingons to shave their heads during times of war. After the war with the Federation these Klingons allowed their hair to grow again and the practice fell out of favor during later conflicts with neighboring powers such as the Federation, Romulans, and Dominion.
The Klingons first encountered humanity in 2151 when a Klingon courier crash landed on Earth. The two races got off to a rocky start, and misunderstandings led to over a century of hostility.
Obtaining genetically enhanced human embroyos the Klingons attempted to create their own augments on the Qu'vat Colony. These augmented Klingons gained increased strength and cunning, but lost their signature forehead ridges as a result. When one of the individuals they tested had a flu, the modifications mutated into a deadly disease. With assistance from the Enterprise (NX-01) they were able to render the disease harmless, but not before many millions of Klingons were infected and became more human like in the process. Such Klingons became known within the Empire as the Quch'Ha - or the unhappy ones. Unaffected Klingons, on the other hand, became known as HemQuch. It took over a century for the Klingons to figure out how to reverse the changes and restore the descendants of those infected into normal Klingons.
Over the next century the Klingons had little contact with the Federation, instead coming into conflict with each other due to the societal upheavals brought about by the Qu'vat virus and the changes it wroght on millions of Klingons throughout the Empire. The two powers came into conflict at the inconclusive Battle of Donatru V in the 2240s, but it was not until 2256 that the Klingons re-entered galactic politics when the Klingon leader T'Kuvma rallied the 24 great houses of the Empire to make war on the Federation.
The war of 2256 lasted about a year. It was finally concluded when the Federation gave a detonator to a hydro bomb that the mirror universe Philippa Georgiou planted deep within Qo'noS to L'Rell. L'Rell was able to use the threat of rendering Qo'noS uninhabitable to force the Klingon High Council to accept her leadership, and to order Klingon forces to withdraw from Federation space before attacking the core worlds of the Federation.
In the mid 23rd century many Klingons took to shaving their heads during times of war, both during the struggles between the various houses and during the 2256-57 war with the Federation. After that war many Klingons stopped shaving their heads and allowed their hair to grow again. The practice fell out of favor in the 23rd century and wasn't re-instituted in future conflicts.
Relations between the two superpowers remained tense throughout the 2260s, and a brief war broke out between the Federation and Klingons in 2267. The Organians refused to allow the two races to destroy each other, with an Organian predicting that even though they were presently enemies they would someday come to be even stronger allies.
Along with the Romulans, the Klingons remained a major thorn in the side of the Federation throughout the latter half of the 23rd century. While there was some thawing in the relations in the 2270s and 2280s, knowledge of the Genesis Device caused major issues in the relationship between the two powers.
After the explosion of Praxis in the 23rd century the Klingons swallowed their pride and went to the Federation for assistance. In what would eventually become known as the Khitomer Accords the Empire and the Federation stopped fighting each other and began turning into allies. The Federation provided assistance to the Empire to stabilize and repair the damage to Qo'Nos.
In the 2340s relations between the two powers was floundering, but in 2344 the crew of the Enterprise (NCC-1701-C) sacrificed themselves to prevent the Romulans from destroying a Klingon outpost. Even though they were unsuccessful the Klingons were impressed with the sacrifice the crew of the Enterprise made, and the sacrifice solidified the alliance between the two races.
Owing to manipulation by The Dominion, the Empire and the Federation broke off peaceful relations in the 2372 and began fighting again. After realizing the Dominion was manipulating both of them to fight each other and become easy targets for conquest the two powers put down their arms and began to talk to each other again. When the Dominion and the Cardassians joined forces and badly defeated the Empire, Chancellor Gowron and Captain Sisko reinstated the Khitomer Accords. Once again the Klingons and Federation stood together as allies and fought side by side against the Dominion in their war agains the Gamma Quadrant Empire.
The two powers would soon be joined by the Romulan Empire - making it the first time in galactic history that all three powers would stand united against a common enemy. The Klingons, Federation, and Romulans fought hard and defeated the Dominion, which was the first time the Dominion had been defeated in its 10,000 year existence.
Star Trek: Picard Continuity
Little is known about the status of the Klingons following the destruction of the Romulan Empire. However, in a historically significant move, Worf was promoted to Captain and named Captain of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E) after the promotion of Jean-Luc Picard to Admiral. It was seen as a sign of how far the Federation-Klingon relations had come that a Klingon commanded the Federation's flagship.
Star Trek Novel Continuity
After the Borg invasion of 2381 the Klingons became even stronger allies of the Federation after joining them in fighting the Borg. With Qo'noS devastated and millions of Klingons dead Chancellor Martok had his work cut out for him in the years ahead as foreign enemies such as the Typhon Pact as well as domestic enemies challenged the Empire.
Star Trek Online Continuity
In the MMORPG Star Trek Online the Klingons, following the destruction of Romulus, became enemies of the Federation once again and a new war has sparked between them. By 2410 the Federation and the Empire had put their differences aside as they faced the new Iconian threat.