In my book series (link here), Aurea (a planet based on Byzantine Anatolia) is conquered by a group called the Tatians, who have access to technology that would not be out of place in Star Wars (faster-than-light space travel, holograms, orbital bombardments, electricity, internet, etc). Could this planet be fully brought up technologically to their standards by the time their 19-year rule is over?


The Tatians are at war with basically all of the rest of the galaxy (which is loosely united in a shaky alliance centered around the Aureans and the Ishgas). The Ishgas are the only civilization in the galaxy whose technology is on par with that of the Tatians (in fact the Tatians stole their tech from the Ishgas).

Anyway, when the Tatians occupied Aurea, its king (named Weasel) went into hiding on a backwater planet and will not be heard from again until 19 years into the future. Since all of the planets in the alliance besides Ishgabangaloodoo and its farming colonies were under temporary Aurean leadership, the Tatians acquired these planets as well when they took over Aurea. The Tatians swiftly moved to occupy these planets, and within a few days, the Tatians controlled all of the galaxy except for Ishgabangaloodoo and 5 farming colonies under its rule.

However, Aurea was the most resource-rich planet they conquered, causing them to invest the lion's share of their economy into building up its infrastructure. Hundreds of millions of workers were forcibly resettled there. Roads were built. Schools were built. All of the illiterate peasants were put in schools and taught to read. Power grids were set up. Internet servers were installed. Medieval spires were replaced by steel skyscrapers. Spaceports were built in all the major cities, allowing people from other planets to flock to Aurea due to an extreme excess of unfilled jobs. The Tatians even moved their capital to Aurea since they considered the land so beautiful compared to their freezing tundra homeworld. The Tatians operated a command economy, similar to that of the Inca Empire or Ancient Egypt. However, their repression towards basic human rights proved to be their undoing here.

Around 17 years into the occupation, although the planet was advancing technologically like never before, many teenagers began to question the authority they were living under. Despite things like mandatory 2-hours-a-day propaganda radio that managed to brainwash all of the adult ex-peasants into mindlessly obeying their new government, people began using the radio's music channels to express their views. Albums like Purple Day's "Tatian Idiot" topped the charts. When the government began imprisoning the people who made this music and shutting down anti-government radio stations, basically the entire youth rose in a massive revolt. The Tatian garrison was overwhelmed and completely wiped out by sheer force of numbers, forcing the Tatians to send in 60 million troops (roughly 1/5 of their entire army) to suppress the rebellion.

During this time, the Tatians relocated their capital back to their icy homeworld to avoid this danger. When the reinforcements arrived, they badly beat the Aurean revolutionaries over the next year until they were on the verge of defeat. When all hope seemed lost, the Aurean Alliance (a group, centered around Ishgabangaloodoo that had been rebelling against Tatian rule in the northeast of the galaxy) had found Weasel in hiding, made him their leader, and began an all-out attack on Aurea that worked together with the revolutionaries to liberate the planet.

When the planet was liberated, the new Tatian institutions were kept in place with some major modifications: The economy was changed from a command system to a mixed system, similar to that of the modern USA, meaning things such as factories and farms were now privately owned, but still regulated by the government. However, the propaganda radio was abolished, and the Tatian government was replaced by a Democratic system.

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    $\begingroup$ You don't need all the extra pictures. I think you could sum all of this up in just the first paragraph. "A planet is conquered by a civilization with Star Wars-level tech. Could the invaders bring the planet up to their tech-level in 19 years?" $\endgroup$
    – John Locke
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ 19 years would be pushing it a lot, hell tech level today isn't universal around the world and we have hand hundreds of years to do it. what you should focus on is a small group of people that are hungry for knowledge. use them to spread your tech around the world. why the time limit may i ask? is it an invasion are they going away after the time frame ends. and lose all the pics to much useless info to read that has nothing to do with the Question at hand. and this coming from a guy that just came from doing my own map (so i know you want to share...but not so much) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ Star Wars might be the wrong Tech level for this job. Mirror-Mirror Star Trek is more applicable. With replicators, the conquerors could solve the social disruption & supply chain difficulties which would arise from the conquest and subsequent reallocation of population. Also, Mirror-Mirror morality would come in handy, since the first step in any such cultural upgrade would be to cull the medieval population of the aging, infirm and untrainable. Knock the 5-7 million medievals down to a managable 500k and scorge all other nations off the planet. That would be the best way to start. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ We don't need to know why the occupation ended, but we do need to know the consequences of the occupation ending. Are the Tatians entirely removed from the picture, including all automated educational systems? Are they replaced with an equal or reasonably near-equal invader who would benefit from the Aurea continuing to use the tech? Was their removal such that the Aureas are left with substantial motivation to maintain the tech? Or do the Tatians simply vanish, like flipping a switch, and we're asking if the Aurea can make it? The consequences of leaving are very important. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 22:47
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    $\begingroup$ 19 years seems a difficult timeframe just to build all the infrastructure an industrial society needs. Think about building all of the sealed roads on Earth from scratch, for example. Maybe "star wars level technology" needs less infrastucture; hovering speeders don't need paved surfaces, maybe they can transmit energy by "beaming" it rather than needing poles and wires, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 6:20

6 Answers 6


Is the Tatians' advancement of Aurean civilization deliberate or is the advancement just incindental?

Suppose it is deliberate. You suggest that. How will the Tatians prepared for this? this is going to need a lot of organization. That's all doable with StarWars technology though.

The Tatians are going to need to build up a whole economy in 19 years! Can they do that?

Both Henry Taylor and kingledion mention The neccesity of smart people .

You say Tatians have StarWars like technology. That might include a technology that would alolow them to "download" civilization building ideas into the Aureians brains. There would be Tatians in charge of kidnapping Aurians and Tatians who would strap 'em down and zap'em with information. We don't need no stinking teachers.

Both Henry Taylor and kingledion mention infrastructure and they'e correct. Here's what I think about that-

You can't build infrastucture by just being smart enough to make it. Infrastructure building requires access to natural resources. The Aureans will have to find them,and they'll have to extract them,and they will have to be able to extract them in an economical way,and don't forget,that economy will have to built within 19 years.

The Aureans probably won't want build all this. They'll need a reason,but that's not a problem. "Back to work! -Ptttssh-

The Tatians will have 19 years in which to:Establish a headquarters and method of controling the Aureians. Advance a Byzantine civilization to a StarWars level. Depart said civilization. The first requirement would be,hard.These Planetary Command and Control Centers don't build themselves. The second, really hard because of the whole education-infrasructure thing. The third would also be hard because it would be very disruptive of the civilization. People have air traffic systems and missile detection systems and things.

All these topics and must be on the agenda of the Interplanetary Technology Advancement commitee.

I don't think it can work.


Difficult to impossible.

To maintain an industrial society, you need a large number of people with a scientific and engineering mindset, and even larger numbers of industrial workers. The historical medieval mindset mixed science and theology at the university level, and craftsmen were trained in a guild system.

It takes 12 years from primary school to the end of secondary education and another five or more years to get a master. A master's degree might be enough to teach the next generation in primary school, but not to organize and teach PhD-level courses. And that's assuming the Aureans progress as quickly as people do today. Parents are a significant influence on educational outcomes. Students will need more support if they come from an illiterate home.

Your Tatians could start to educate workers, and give the smartest of them the chance for higher education, but that would lead to major social disruption. They might be able to force this change through, but will it hold once they leave?

I guess the Aureans will get a big boost, followed by a breakdown that does not fall quite as far as the starting point, followed by faster-than-historical development as the parroted contents of the libraries is truly understood.

  • $\begingroup$ This is the correct approach to calculating the minimum necessary time. How long does it take to educate a generation of engineers, doctors, lawyers, architects, scientists? 19 years almost enough, but not quite. I'd say that 25 years is the absolutely bare minimum . . . $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ So advancement to Star Wars level technology offers no improvements to the 12+4 (or 12+5) education process? In Star Warz, grade school kids build sentient robots! I think 19 years is more than enough and probably even includes a few years to spare. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ @om: 50 years is obviously enough -- the Soviet Union lifted Central Asia from a medieval society to a 20th century society in 50 years. Now the question is to find the absolute minimum. If the civilizing society comes prepared, with textbooks already written, languages already known, teachers and engineers and technicians already available and eager to start working etc. then I'd say that a quarter of a century is imaginable, although, indeed, very ambitious. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP, Star Wars already acknowledges advanced teaching techniques, although they do it subtly. Anikan built C3PO! What grade school brat can do that without the help of a high-speed brain dump? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ "In Star Warz, grade school kids build sentient robots!" - no? Where? Not from SCRATCH. Putting together a "sentient robot" by - ah - using a sentient robot brain that already works is not exactly "building a sentient robot". $\endgroup$
    – TomTom
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 2:22

If the goals of the conquerors was to elevate the technological level of the conquered, and if the conquerors knew ahead of time that they might only have 19 years, then it could be done. The trick is that it would have to be very deliberate on the part of the conquerors.

Start year one by taking all of the conquered children out of the fields and put them in school full time. For the next sixteen years, educate all age groups in parallel such that children who were sixteen on day one, graduate with a highly technical college education at age 32. Children who were 3 on day one, graduate with the same degree at age 19. Children born after the conquest would be enrolled in school as they reach age 3, and would progress with education in a more normal birth year-based grade-level manner.

This gives you a massive first generation of graduates who can take over all of the technology support and educational roles which your conqueror crew have been handling for the last 16 years. Then, with three years of on the job training from your conqueror crew, who stay on in an advisory condition, the planet should be ready for liberation on the first day of year 19.

Simultaneous to the mass education effort, other members of the conquering crew would be installing modern infrastructure, building hospitals, power stations and factories. Again, all of this would need to be targeted for eventual transition into native hands. Every technological appliance installed would need to be based on the knowledge which the children are being trained.

Finally, at some point the children who now run and maintain the planet need to be informed that the conquerors are leaving and why. Pulling a "So long and thanks for all the fish" departure could disrupt the planet and cause it to regress back into barbarism. Furthermore, detailed instructions should be left with the children, outlining then next several decades of planned industrialization and growth. "The power-packs for all of the class 3 equipment will only last another 50 years, so start building power-pack assembly plants near all of the hydroelectric and geothermal power stations we have given you. Here are the plans for those new plants."

I would suggest that the reason behind the Conquerors doing all this can be based on how dangerous our own journey from Medieval to Star Wars is likely to be. We have barely survived getting to the Nuclear level. Without the assistance of a Benevolent Conqueror, we probably won't survive to play with Blaster Pistols.


I think it would be possible, but only if the Tatians brought along a literal planets worth of technology to elevate the planet.

Basically, once the Tatians have conquered the planet and want to access its resources, they bring in their own technologies and equipment and place them all across the planet. They train the natives to use this machinery and basically be free labor for them. You don't need to be smart, to follow a comprehensive guide that will cover ever single aspect of the technology, every thing can be documented along with a maintenance guide to ensure the machine can basically run forever.

So imagine you've just lost the war and you declare victory, you just warp in all the resources you need. Mining equipment, factories, robotics centers, satellites, colonists to better repopulate the world and so on. Just use your warp drive, and drop them into orbit. Educate the workers enough to be able to follow a visual and extremely comprehensive guide and force them to look after everything while you harvest all the resources you can.


As a counterpoint to the 'is Africa industrialised?' answer (which I think is possibly overly derogatory about that continent anyway) I'd like to point to the example of Meiji Japan. This culture went from more-or-less medieval technology to beating industrialised European empires at their own game within a generation or so, and that was without even being (formally) colonised. Obviously, this is less of a leap than your jump to space-age tech requires, but presumably this tech would itself allow the cutting of corners in the process of education and infrastructure-building as other answers suggest. A lot depends on the attitudes of the peoples involved, and the circumstances of conquest; are the colonisers able to credibly present themselves as benevolent liberators rather than oppressors forcing their alien ways upon people? Even in a best-case scenario I think such a wholesale transformation of society is likely to meet strong resistance from people's innate resistance to change, so 19 years is cutting it fine, but if your colonisers are really skilled at the process I don't think it's wholly out of the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Corollaries to Japan are the Ottomans, Persians, and Mughals. Ottomans failed their attempt, Persians had some success until they stopped, and the Mughals languished. Japan had some success yes, but they went through civil war, mass assassination, and still ended up with an unstable government. This while having a unified culture, ethnic group, common traditions, and a centralized government. A lot of posters focus on the tech, but anything less than a unified culture with a tradition of strong centralization would likely fail hard. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 6:24
  • $\begingroup$ Which colonizing power conquered Japan? Also Japan had an advanced manufacturing economy in ~1800; not as advanced as that of the west but there were complex industrial and financial systems in place to build on. It was not 'medieval' at all. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 12:23
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough: I don't wish to deny that Japan had a sophisticated economy and culture in 1800, and Eurocentric medieval-to-modern periodisation doesn't really work in the East. Still, my basic point was just that the Meiji Restoration was a very rapid phase of societal and technological change which brought Japan from a level where it was unable to compete militarily with big Western powers (there was certainly no formal colonisation as I said, but it was pushed around heavily: the Perry Expedition, extraterritoriality treaties, etc) to the point where it was roughly on a par with them. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 13:46

Is Africa industrialized?

Most of Africa was colonized by European powers for some 50 years between ~1900 and ~1950. The colonizing powers brought in Western technical expertise and built railroads in particular, and some other infrastructure as well.

Very few of the post-colonial African nations have any sort of advanced infrastructure remaining, another 50 years after de-colonization. South Africa (which was not really colonized) has some significant industrial infrastructure remaining, but in general, these countries don't have the industrial base to build railroads, automobiles, skyscrapers, dams or whatever else. What manufacturing exists is usually brought in and installed by other, more advanced nations (largely China, these days).

From the example of the colonial experience here on Earth, I would say that the answer to your question is a resounding no.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe that Africa is more industrialized than you think. They don't do high tech, but they produce steel. $\endgroup$
    – o.m.
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ Africa is more of an urban versus rural divide in technology. The largest cities have electricity and Internet access. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that educating the local population was the respective empire's main goals, it was more extracting resources $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2018 at 20:47

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