One of the most iconic and memorable settings in Star Wars: A New Hope is the Mos Eisley cantina. Luke and Ben come in from the wilderness and find a myriad of sentient beings of all shapes and sizes: Rodians, Duros, Bith, Yam'rii, Lamproids, Givin, and more greet the pair as they enter. The sudden profusion of alien (to human eyes) diversity helps introduce the Galaxy as a vast place full of hundreds of species. Why is it, then, that humans seem to have such a disproportionate share of the leadership roles and positions of power in the Old Republic? Join us after the jump as we delve into the history of the humans of Star Wars in an attempt to get to the bottom of this mystery.
While by no means the oldest species in the Galaxy, humans are certainly one of the most widespread and influential. We frequently refer to other species as either "near-human" or "non-human", while we never refer to humans as "non-Shistavanen" or "near-Chiss". The rise of humanity in galactic affairs is tied closely to galactic history, so we will need to examine that to see why humans occupy the place of power that they currently do.
The world that was first inhabited by humans is information that we lost to time, though most scholars agree that humans originally came from the Core, and most likely from Coruscant (or Notron, as the planet was known in ancient times). If this is the case, it is very possible that the Battalions of Zhell are the ancient progenitors of humanity. Another possibility (and one that BioWare has been directly involved in) is that humans originally came from Tatooine (sharing a common ancestor with the Sand People who still make their home there) and were taken to the Core as slaves by the Infinite Empire.
What's certain is that by the time the Infinite Empire fell in 21,547 BTC, humans had spread throughout much of the closely-packed Core on FTL sleeper ships and ancient generation ships that took centuries to travel between stars. Some have theorized that several of these far-flung colonial expeditions spent so long isolated from the rest of humanity that evolution took them along different paths, giving rise to the various near-human races such as the Chiss and the Miraluka. After the defeat of the Rakata and their subsequent retreat to Lehon, the species that had been slaves to the Infinite Empire were in a prime position to take the technology that had been their masters'. Much Rakatan technology was dependent on the Force to function, so hyperspace drives were not immediately forthcoming. Developed first, Hyperspace Cannons would launch ships from one star system to another.
Travel and exploration began across the galaxy, and newly discovered worlds were colonized and settled. Humans had an advantage here in that they had already begun to spread around the Core, and hyperspace cannons easily linked the Core Worlds. This gave humans a larger base to expand from than most other species had, and within a hundred and fifty years, humans had spread throughout the Core Worlds and even into the Outer Rim.
The human diaspora only accelerated when engineers on Corellia finally discovered a way to adapt Rakatan hyperdrive technology for non-Force users. The inevitable territorial disputes that came with exploration culminated in the Unification Wars, which lead directly to the signing of the Galactic Constitution and the creation of the Galactic Republic.
The Core Founders, as the founding worlds of the Republic are called, were all Core worlds, and therefore predominantly human. Indeed, the Avenue of the Core Founders on Coruscant (directly outside the Senate building) features statues honoring the original founding fathers of the Republic, all of them human. As the Republic expanded and other civilizations joined it, the prominence of humans in the galaxy only grew. The high proportion of humans in the newly-formed Jedi Order, and the support of that Order for the Republic, reinforced this further.
Perhaps recognizing the human-centric nature of the Republic from its formation, the Core Founders included the Rights of Sentience clause in the Galactic Constitution. This clause declares that all sentient lifeforms are equal and should be treated as such, as well as outlawing slavery and outlining certain rights. Sadly, the Rights of Sentience clause has had mixed success; those who have played through Knights of the Old Republic will remember the alien ghetto on Taris.
Humans, non-humans, and near-humans are all found on both sides of the Great War, and it's certain that all will have vital roles to play in Star Wars: The Old Republic.