The Alliance to Restore the Republic, also known as the Alliance to Restore Freedom to the Galaxy, the Rebel Alliance or simply Alliance and, informally as the Rebellion, was a loose alliance of planetary, system, and sector-level insurrectionist factions. They were generally united in common cause, against a common enemy in the form of the Galactic Empire. In order to achieve their primary goal in restoring the former Galactic Republic, the Alliance aimed to remove Emperor Palpatine from power, and his hegemonic New Order from the galaxy. Members of the Rebellion were known as "Rebels," "Rebs," or "Rebel scum" by stormtroopers and other Imperials.

The origins of the overall anti-Imperial movement dated back to 19 BBY, shortly before the Galactic Republic's transformation into the Empire. Some of the Alliance's core founders, such as senators Bail Prestor Organa and Mon Mothma of the Loyalist Committee, joined the Delegation of 2000 in its opposition against the authoritarian leadership of then-Chancellor Palpatine. In 18 BBY, barely a year into the Empire's existence, military resistance had already been formed in opposition to the new regime; one of which was a group of insurgents known as The Eleven, joined by the fugitive Jedi Ferus Olin. By 2 BBY, several resistance groups were unified into a single rebellion, thus creating the Rebel Alliance. Ironically, the Rebel Alliance's formation was secretly instigated by the Order of the Sith Lords. In what was supposed to be a plot for drawing the Emperor's enemies out from hiding, the Sith Lord Darth Vader ordered his secret apprentice, Starkiller, to organize various rebels and dissidents into a large resistance movement. After Starkiller was betrayed by his Master, however, the former apprentice sacrificed himself to ensure the survival of the Rebel leaders.

Hence, the Galactic Civil War erupted with the fledgling Alliance challenging the Empire for control of the galaxy. Rather than challenging the Empire directly, the rebels fought a war of attrition, destroying key Imperial targets and liberating numerous worlds. Though vastly outnumbered in manpower, starships, weapons and various other resources, the Rebels themselves possessed a strong will to fight. By and large, the Alliance was composed of well-trained soldiers and brilliant commanders, some of whom dedicated their lives to the Rebellion after defecting from the Empire due to the atrocities that were committed by the Imperial regime. After securing early victories against the Empire on Kamino and Toprawa, the Rebels achieved one of their most significant triumphs at the Battle of Yavin, in which a Rebel pilot named Luke Skywalker destroyed the Imperial battlestation code-named Death Star. In 4 ABY, roughly four years after the destruction of the first Death Star, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader both perished during the Battle of Endor.

In the wake of their victory at Endor, the Rebel Alliance reorganized itself into a more formal state that was originally known as the Alliance of Free Planets before its reorganization into the New Republic. Ultimately, the New Republic was later remade into the Galactic Alliance, a democratic union that united much of the galaxy under a republican form of government, just as the Old Republic had done in its time.
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