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The Galactic Civil War was a galactic power struggle in which the Alliance to Restore the Republic waged a rebellion against the Galactic Empire in an attempt to restore democratic rule to the galaxy. The origins of rebellion could be traced to the Clone Wars, when rebel cells were equipped by the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order to fight against the Confederacy of Independent Systems. After Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, secretly the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, transformed the Republic into the Empire and destroyed the Jedi Order, many rebel cells began fighting against the Empire. A number of these cells eventually joined together and became the Rebel Alliance.

The war officially began in the year 0 BBY when the Alliance scored its first major victory against the Empire when it stole the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's planet-destroying battle station. The plans were brought to the Rebel Alliance by Princess Leia Organa, with the help of companions such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. An analysis of the plans led the Rebels to launch the Battle of Yavin, in which Skywalker, with Solo's assistance, destroyed the Death Star. A series of follow-up attacks by the Alliance, including an assault on the Empire's primary weapons factory, left the Empire reeling from the Alliance's advances. As a result, the Empire hunted the Alliance across the galaxy under the leadership of Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith and the Emperor's chief enforcer. Vader's forces located the Alliance on the planet Hoth. The resulting Battle of Hoth forced the Alliance to flee the snow planet and sent its fleet into hiding.

Six months later in the year 4 ABY, the Emperor allowed the Alliance to learn of the existence of a second Death Star as part of a trap to lure the Alliance to its destruction. The Alliance, believing that they were launching a surprise attack, waged the Battle of Endor. During the battle, Skywalker, who had learned that Vader was his father, confronted the Dark Lord in a final lightsaber duel aboard the Death Star. The Emperor attempted to kill Skywalker, but the sight of his injured son led to Vader's redemption, and the Dark Lord threw the Emperor down a reactor shaft and to his death. Vader died from injuries he sustained during the battle, bringing an end to the Sith rule over the galaxy. The Alliance, meanwhile, destroyed the second Death Star, leaving the Empire fractured.

As a result of the power vacuum left in the wake of the Emperor's death, Imperial Moffs began jockeying for power. In an attempt to prevent his people from learning about the Emperor's death, Governor Adelhard locked down the Anoat sector behind the Iron Blockade, sparking an uprising within the sector. One year later, the Empire fought the New Republic in a final stand over the desert world of Jakku. Following a decisive defeat for the Empire and facing severe internal unrest, the Galactic Concordance would be signed on Coruscant, officially ending the conflict and severely limiting the Empire's military capabilities.

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