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40K Lore: The Unification Wars

4 Minute Read
Apr 27 2019

Loremasters, today we delve into the birth of the Imperium with the Unification Wars.

The Unification Wars, also known as the Wars of Unification, is the name of an ancient number of conflicts fought at the end of the Age of Strife. They were spearheaded by the warlord known only as The Emperor in his attempt at reunifying the shattered tribes and nations of Terra, now ruled largely by Techno-Barbarian lords. His intentions were to reforge the shattered remnants of Man and create an Imperium that would bring about a Great Crusade to bring order to the galaxy.

By M29, Terra had been engulfed in the chaos and anarchy of the Age of Strife for several thousand years. Terra was a violent cauldron divided between city-states, Techno-Barbarian warlords, and various other polities. However as Slaanesh was close to its birth at the epicenter of the Eldar Empire, the Warp Storms plaguing humanity’s homeworld becalmed themselves. Sensing the time was right, a being known as The EmperorĀ finally began his campaign to reclaim Earth.

Appearing openly for the first time, The Emperor led his Thunder Warriors, genetically engineered super soldiers created in secret laboratories, in a series of campaigns against all other warlords and Techno-barbarians of Old Earth. His forces included not only the Thunder Warriors but also the Custodian Guard, formations that would become the early Imperial Army including Geno Five-Two Chiliad and the Inferallti Hussars, and eventually the proto-Astartes. His forces utilized the advanced weapons of the Terrawatt Clan after he secured an alliance with them. Thus did the Emperor make his move on the major powers of Terra.

The fighting was furious all over Terra, no part of the ancient planet was left unscathed.

Albia – Albians refused to kneel before the Emperor and met his Thunder Warriors with their own steam-belching proto-dreadnoughts and armored ironside soldiers. In battle after battle, the Albians managed to hold back the Emperor’s forces but only at staggering cost for the defenders. Admitting the martial temper and indomitable spirit of his foe, the Emperor called a ceasefire and sought a diplomatic solution. The Emperor appeared before the Albian Clan Lords unarmed and clothed in white and crimson, speaking of his vision of a unified mankind. He offered them glory among the stars and redemption. To the shock of many, the warlords of Albia, seeing the Emperor as different from past tyrants, accepted terms and soon became one of the most zealous supporters of unification.

Boeotia – Mentioned in Imperial records as holding out against full Unification for some considerable time; while tacitly recognizing the Emperor’s dominance, the ruling monarchy of Boeotia used all manner of diplomacy in order to avoid losing power. In a show of great patience and benevolence, the Emperor allowed the ruling family of Boeotia – the Yeselti – to carry on like this for over 150 years, with the intention that they would integrate themselves into unified Imperial Terra at their own speed and with as much dignity as possible. Instead, the Yeselti clung onto their independence to the point where, firstly, the Imperial Army was forced to invade the province and finally, Legiones Astartes of the Thousand Sons were assigned to quash the truculent little state. Boeotia was notable both for the presence of industry and at least one buried shrine to gods worshiped by humans in an earlier age.

Merica – This major kingdom was known for its high fashion and ballrooms, fell to the Emperor’s forces.


Saragorn Enclave – the Enclave surrendered to the forces of the Emperor but still carried on the experiments in secret. When the Emperor discovered this defiance, he dispatched the VIIIth Astartes Legion to bring his retribution. The Enclave was viciously destroyed.

The final battle of the war was the Massacre at Gaduare in Franc, where 5,000 Thunder Warriors slaughtered 50,000 rebel militia. The last act of the Unification era saw the Emperor purge the Thunder Warriors at Mount Ararat, making way for his next generation of superhuman warriors, the Space Marines. After his military victories, the Emperor sought to spread his Imperial Truth across the planet, enforcing atheism and destroying the planet’s churches. The final church of Terra, the Church of the Lightning Stone, was destroyed shortly before the Great Crusade.

From there, Luna falls next, and then the first Great Crusade begins to try and bring the glory of the Imperium to the galaxy. And they all lived happily ever after, and nothing at all went wrong or was terrible or grim or dark because of it.

Want to learn more? Visit the Lexicanum for more on the Unification Wars!

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