The Babylon Project

The First Shadow War was a massive galactic conflict which happened approximately 1000 years before the Third Age of Mankind. During this war, the Shadows were held in check only by the combined efforts of the First Ones and several of the Younger Races, the Minbari most notably.

Ironically, the First Shadow War occurred nine thousand years after the Last Great War against the Shadows. It implies many prior, undocumented wars. While a tremendous conflict by the younger races' standards, it was relatively mild compared to the "great" wars that came before.


Recounting the history to Sheridan, Delenn explains that a thousand years prior, the Shadows returned to their places of power and prepared to launch another war. While they made early gains, they had struck too quickly, before they were truly ready. The conflict drew in the Vorlons and numerous of the Younger Races, including the Minbari.[1]

In 1260, the major Minbari base of operations was destroyed, severely hampering their ability to project power. The outcome of the war was in doubt, with the Shadows likely to win or, if they did lose, preserve most of their forces. Suddenly, a mysterious Minbari appeared with a replacement station of alien design and the apparent support of the Vorlons. The Minbari accepted this miraculous reprieve and used it to secure victory.

Valen tried to mend the problems between the three castes, who began to fight amongst themselves after their base had fallen. When the castes could not agree to work together, Valen formed the Anla'Shok, where no castes were recognized. The Anla'Shok became his fighting army. When the tide of the war turned in their favor, the castes desired to unite behind him.[2] Valen then led the Minbari to victory against the Shadows. When the war was over the station was abandoned.[2]

Defeated, the Shadows scattered, burying their weapons and ships in secret places and returning to their primary world of Z'ha'dum to await their next opportunity. The victory was not total; the Shadows were able to recover sufficient strength to begin another war, the Second Shadow War, only a thousand years later.

Other Involvement[]

Several of the Younger Races, such as the Narn, who weren't directly involved in the larger conflict, nevertheless were affected by the larger events in motion.

As they gathered their forces, the Shadows set up bases scattered on many distant low-tech worlds. The Book of G'Quan tells of the events on Narn Homeworld where the Shadows had established a base on one of the southern continents, taking little interest in the native Narns.

Their presence and the movement of their vessels prompted the Narn to send a small expeditionary fleet to follow the Shadow ships, confirming they were engaged in a war that threatened to overwhelm the very stars themselves. The Narn pilots followed the Shadow fleet to their homeworld, a planet located at the edge of known space. Reporting this information back, G'Quan and others committed acts of sabotage, bringing the Narn to the Shadows' attention. Learning there were telepaths among the population, the Shadows sent Soldiers of Darkness to wipe the telepaths out, lest they become a threat. However the last of the mindwalkers, led by G'Quan and with the support of G'Lan and a number of other Vorlons, drove the Shadows out, forcing them to abandon their base.[3][4][5][6]

They also attempted to establish a base on another distant world but, as with Narn, the native race resisted. Unlike with the Narn, the Shadows chose to make an example of this race and released a nano-virus, leaving the planet for dead.[7]

Though the surrounding circumstances are unclear, another incident during the war took place over a planet in the Orion System in which the starship Qal’Thaa carrying a shipment of slaves for a colony was shot down.[8]

The war occurred at roughly the same time that the Hyach developed interstellar travel, and that their religious authorities banned intermarriage with the Hyach-do. [9]

It is unknown whether this war had any manifestation in human history. However, the Shadows buried two of their ships in the Sol System following the war, on astronomical bodies that humans would later call Mars and Ganymede.[10]