"We acquired territory during the wars. We developed new resources. We initiated a rebuilding program. We have mandated agricultural programs. That is what the military has done for Cardassia." - Gul Madred
Once a proud, noble and highly-spiritual people, the Cardassians quickly began to face resource shortages, famine and death on a global scale. Ancient artifacts were sold, temples looted, all to try and feed a starving population without hope. Finally, the military seized control and began a campaign of aggressive expansion - feeding the people, but changing Cardassian society forever.
In their quest for resources, the Cardassians came into conflict with the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulans. In 2328, the Cardassians began a decades-long, brutal occupation of Bajor, which would leave that ancient civilization in shambles and desperate for assistance. In hindsight, their withdrawal from Bajor would be devastating for the Cardassian Union.
In 2368, the Cardassians signed a peace treaty with the United Federation of Planets (UFP) that established a Demilitarized Zone between the two powers. This led to the formation of the Maquis Resistance, a terrorist group that would plague both the Federation and the Cardassians until their destruction in 2373.
Shortly after establishing peace with the UFP, the Cardassian Union was invaded by a newly-aggressive Klingon Empire. It was this final humiliation that historians believe led Dukat to accept membership in The Dominion in 2373. Dukat believed that The Dominion would allow the Cardassians to regain their former glory - and they very nearly did.
Later that year, the Cardassian/Dominion alliance attacked the Federation/Klingon alliance at Deep Space Nine, forcing the Federation to abandon the station and the wormhole. The war would be costly - for both sides - and eventually draw in almost all the Alpha Quadrant powers. Finally, in 2375, the Cardassians rebelled against their Dominion masters, which allowed for the Alliance to finally defeat the Dominion. But this rebellion came at great cost - hundreds of millions killed, entire cities destroyed, and a civilization left in ruins.
Modern Cardassians are known as ruthless, manipulative people. Family, status, pride and power are the tantamount virtues in Cardassian society. One's social status was the highest concern, second only to his or her family's well being.
First introduced in The Next Generation episode "The Wounded," the Cardassians became a casual adversary for Picard and his crew, but would gain infamy as villains during Deep Space Nine (DS9). Garak - a frequently-recurring character - played as a foil for Dr. Bashir, eventually taking a major role in the storyline of DS9. Making only occasional appearances during Voyager, and completely absent from The Original Series, the Cardassians were only briefly mentioned during the Enterprise episode "Observer Effect."
Great Cardassian Episodes:
The Cardassians made their debut in Second Edition as one of the six original affiliations. They gained a significant boost in Call to Arms (which introduced the Terok Nor sub-affiliation) and (the now out of print) Necessary Evil. Recently, Cardassians have made strong appearances in In a Mirror, Darkly and What You Leave Behind. Almost every set contains something for the Cardassian player.
Head over to our forum and discuss your favorite Cardassian episodes, vote in our Cardassian polls, and talk about your favorite Cardassian decks and strategies. Stay tuned this week for lots more Cardassian content!