The Goa'uld are aquatic parasitic creatures that evolved into intelligent, but extremely evil, beings. A symbiote, as it is also known as, invades a host, usually human, through the back of the neck (some have been known to go through the front) and blends into the host's biological structure, attaching itself into the brain and thus gaining access to the host's knowledge and voluntary muscular system. The term "Goa'uld" is applied to both the symbiote itself and the blended host, since the host of a Goa'uld is prevented from exerting his own personality after the blending.
The Goa'uld have existed for a very long time, but they have been most successful in exerting their power since they took humans as hosts (their first hosts, the Unas, evolved on the same planet, P3X-888). The First World, Earth, was found by the Goa'uld Ra 10,000 years ago. He was searching for a new type of host for his dying race. He found that the human body made a very good host and was easily maintained through the use of the sarcophagus, a device capable of rapid healing, even from death.
Since Ra's visit to Earth, the Goa'uld have favored human beings as hosts and have taken groups of people from Earth to other planets suitable for them. They found the network of Stargates left behind by the Ancients to be a most useful tool, since the planets on which these Stargates were found were very Earth-like and would make perfect human-sustaining environments. The Goa'uld would visit these planets and take the most beautiful and healthy people to become new hosts. Teal'c described the visits as "harvests", to which Daniel replied, "You know, I wish you wouldn't say 'harvest'. We're talking about human beings, not brussel sprouts." Teal'c's responded to this by saying, "That is how the Goa'uld perceive it."
The Goa'uld perceive humans as "brussel sprouts" because they have genetic memory that gives them great knowledge. With each generation, however, access to this extraordinary knowledge produced a "god complex" and they became increasingly evil. To ensure their supremacy, they scavanged the galaxy for the latest technological advances. If a world began to show technological progress, the Goa'uld destroyed it or took it over and forced the inhabitants into slavery. Usually, this slavery included mining the precious mineral naquadah on which much of the Goa'uld's technology depended. When the mines ran dry, the Goa'uld usually abandoned the planets, leaving the people to fend for themselves. In some cases, the people were successful in overthrowing their oppressors and buried the Stargate to prevent the Goa'uld's return. The burying of the Stargate, however, did not always guarantee that the world would be free from the Goa'uld threat indefinitely, since the Goa'uld possessed starships capable of traveling exceedingly fast through hyperspace windows.
In the process of building their power, the Goa'uld made allies and enemies. As far as allies go, however, any arrangements made between the Goa'uld were usually short-lived and only lasted as long as a specific purpose was served, this purpose most often being to maintain the balance of power.
Since opening the Stargate on Earth, Stargate Command (SGC) was plunged into the middle of the galactic power struggle. Their first trip through the Stargate sent them to Abydos, a planet peopled by the descendants of Ancient Egyptians. The Abydonians slaved in the naquadah mines and worshipped Ra as their god for thousands of years. Col. Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson helped free the people by destroying Ra and his starship in orbit. Ra was the most powerful and feared of all the Goa'uld System Lords. After his death, the balance of power was forever changed and, subsequently, those who had hoped to overthrow the Goa'uld were given a fighting chance.
The struggle for the balance of power among the System Lords lasted nine years (since the death of Ra), until only the System Lord Ba'al remained of any great significance. His role, however, was reduced greatly when the Rebel Jaffa convinced the remaining Jaffa armies that the Goa'uld were not gods and they took the temple on the planet Dakara that was deep in Ba'al's territory. Ba'al lost his army, his territory, and his ships in the final battle among the Goa'uld, Rebel Jaffa, Tau'ri, Tok'ra, and Replicators over the planet Dakara.
Although not all of the Goa'uld are dead, the great power that they enjoyed for thousands of years no longer remains.
Comprehensive History of the Goa'uld
This series of articles covers each Goa'uld personality that the SGC has encountered since Daniel Jackson reopened the Stargate (Stargate: The Movie):
- Goa'uld Home Page And Links
- History From Movie Through Season Three
- History From Seasons Four And Five
- History From Seasons Six And Seven
- History From Season Eight
- History From Season Nine
- History From Season Ten and Movies
- Goa'uld Detailed Biographies
- Goa'uld Language and Dictionary
- Goa'uld Technology
It is in the nature of the Goa'uld to serve only their own interests and basically operate on their own. However, within the race, there were some alliances formed when one group of Goa'uld wished to overthrow another.
The Goa'uld formed a feudal system of galactic rule in which the most powerful were known as System Lords. These System Lords created a High Council that exerted itself whenever one of their own began to gain too much power. The High Council was also a means by which the System Lords could unite to defeat a common enemy. They took votes on requests for a seat on the Council, but this vote did not have to be unanimous (5.16 "Last Stand Part 2"). They also required a fully-assembled Council in order to vote to stop any action they had originally agreed upon (8.02 "New Order Part 2"). The number of members of the High Council varied as System Lords came and went, but the latest estimate the SGC had indicated that the Council had around a dozen members (8.01 "New Order Part 1"). The last of the High Council died at the hands of the Replicators (8.16 "Reckoning Part 1").
- When the System Lords saw the humans of Earth, called the Tau'ri, as a threat after SG-1 eliminated several of their most powerful within a very short period of time, their attention was directed toward Earth as a possible planet for conquest or destruction. The Asgard found out about this and decided to add Earth to their list of protected planets in the Protected Planets Treaty they had with the Goa'uld System Lords. In this agreement, the Goa'uld promised that they would not destroy Earth because they feared the Asgard's supreme weaponry. Three System Lords came to Earth to represent the interest of the High Council and to negotiate with Thor of the Asgard. (3.03 "Fair Game")
- The System Lords called a summit of the High Council after the defeats of Cronus and Apophis, both of which SG-1 had helped accomplish (4.21 "Double Jeopardy" and 5.01 "Enemies Part 2", respectively). The seven most powerful System Lords met in this summit to create a new order because they had created too many losses among their own power bases fighting amongst themselves in their attempt to gain the control of the vacated domains of the two former System Lords. They also needed to deal with a common enemy, Anubis, who had once been among them but had been banished for crimes that were unspeakable even for the Goa'uld. Anubis was quickly gaining power and the High Council decided to permit him to rejoin them as a fellow-System Lord rather than fight him as an enemy. Before he took his position on the High Council, Anubis promised to get rid of the Tok'ra and the Tau'ri since he wasn't bound by the Protected Planets Treaty. (5.15 "Summit Part 1" and 5.16 "Last Stand Part 2")
- Anubis failed in annihilating the Tok'ra and the Tau'ri and most likely never gained his seat back on the Council, even though he had been voted back in. When he was collecting weapons enhancement technology, called Eyes, to create a powerful superweapon on his mothership, the System Lords, led by Yu who had opposed his readmission, attacked Anubis in orbit over Abydos. The System Lords were not able to defeat him and after losing several ships, they retreated. Anubis destroyed Abydos as a demonstration of his power and as a reminder to SG-1 not to challenge his position again, since it had been Daniel, as an Ascended Being, and SG-1 who had attempted to protect Abydos and prevent his rise in power. (6.22 "Full Circle")
- The SGC involved the High Council of the System Lords once again in opposing Anubis by baiting him with the possible location of the Lost City of the Ancients that was supposed to have a powerful weapons cache that would guarantee the possessor of galactic supremacy. The System Lords, under the leadership of Yu, was supposed to assemble over the planet Vis Uban after the SGC eliminated his superweapon. But, because Lord Yu was showing senility, his First Prime Oshu asked that Ba'al lead the combined fleet against Anubis. Ba'al did this and Anubis' mothership was destroyed in the skies of Kelowna (Jonas Quinn's homeworld), but Anubis escaped. (7.01 "Fallen Part 1" and 7.02 "Homecoming Part 2")
- After Anubis was defeated through the use of the powerful weapon left behind by the Ancients on Earth in their Antarctic Outpost, the System Lords sent three representatives to Earth to discuss regaining the balance of power by eliminating Ba'al who had been taking more than his fair share of Anubis' domain. As a test of Earth's strength and that of the Asgard, the System Lords sent a ship to provoke Earth into using the Ancient weapon, but Ba'al destroyed the ship before it made it to Earth. The System Lords did not get their demonstration of the weapon and were sent home to continue their struggle against Ba'al. (8.01 "New Order Part 1" and 8.02 "New Order Part 2")
- Ba'al's rise in power meant that many of the System Lords either died or capitulated. Eventually, only three System Lords remained: Lord Yu and two others. They were massacred on their summit space station by Replicator Carter, so that only Ba'al remained in power. (8.16 "Reckoning Part 1")
- Ba'al's total dominance, however, was kept in check by Anubis, who had himself regained much of his power after his defeat over Antarctica. These two System Lords joined forces in order to defeat the Replicators and the Rebel Jaffa, but they suffered a major blow with the destruction of their fleets in orbit over the planet Dakara, located deep within Ba'al's territory. Ba'al assisted the Tau'ri and Tok'ra in destroying the Replicators using the weapon left behind by the Ancients on Dakara, and Anubis discovered his betrayal and promised he'd live only to see the entire galaxy destroyed. Anubis was stopped in remaking the galaxy in his "grand design" by Oma Desala who engaged him in an eternal battle on the ascended plane. Ba'al remained, but his fleets, territory, and armies were no longer his. The System Lords are now no longer. (8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads")
The Linvris was a group of nine Goa'uld who opposed the System Lords. They never gained much power and were killed by inventions left behind by Ma'chello, a man who had been placed on top of the System Lords' most wanted list because he had become a major threat to their existence. (3.04 "Legacy")
The Asgard had a Protected Planets Treaty signed with the System Lords that attempted to keep the Goa'uld in check. The terms of this treaty were not revealed in great detail and it seemed to be absolutely worthless once the System Lords gained more advanced technology to overpower even the Asgard. After the defeat of the System Lords and Replicators, the Asgard withdrew for a time to address their cloning issues. After realizing that their generations upon generations of extending their lives through cloning had produced a rapidly degenerating disease, the Asgard decided to end their lives in an act of mass suicide. They gave Earth all of their knowledge and advanced technology before their homeworld Orilla exploded during an attack by the Ori. They destroyed their world to prevent their advancements from falling into enemy hands (10.20 "Unending").
- The Asgard added Earth to the Protected Planets Treaty (3.02 "Fair Game"). This agreement did not bind the Goa'uld who were not part of the High Council and stated that the Asgard could not use their technology to save a protected planet if it was threatened by natural causes. These two points were used against Earth when Anubis attempted to destroy Earth by sending a naquadah-rich asteroid on a collision course (5.17 "Failsafe") and sending a build-up of energy through the Stargate (6.01 "Redemption Part 1" and 6.02 "Redemption Part 2").
- While attempting to protect a planet that had a valuable Asgard genetic research facility, Thor's ship was destroyed and he was taken prisoner by Osiris and Anubis. Neither one of these Goa'uld were bound by the Treaty, evidently. Anubis used a mind probe on Thor that gave him access to all of the Asgard's technological and strategic knowledge and, with this knowledge, Anubis became the most powerful Goa'uld System Lord. (5.22 "Revelations")
- Anubis attempted to destroy Earth a third time by sending an attack fleet composed of over thirty vessels. SG-1 found a powerful weapon built by the Ancients in an outpost they had in Antarctica. After Anubis' destruction, the System Lords sent three of their representatives to Earth to ask for help in destroying Ba'al who was greedily taking more than his fair share of Anubis' domain. These representatives stated that Ba'al intended to go after the planets of the Protected Planets Treaty (27 planets, including Earth) because he believed that the Asgard no longer exercised power in the galaxy. (8.01 "New Order Part 1")
The Giant Aliens are associated with Toltec and Aztec mythology and it was Nicholas Ballard, Daniel's grandfather, who had discovered them back in the 1970's when he came across a crystal skull in a temple in Belize that transported him to the aliens' planet. SG-1 happened upon this same planet and eventually, reunited Nick with his "Giant Aliens". The aliens invited Nick to stay with them so that they could exchange culture and knowledge, after Daniel answered the riddle, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," by stating that the Goa'uld were their enemies as well. The history of why the Goa'uld and the Giant Aliens were enemies was not revealed. (3.21 "Crystal Skull")
Ma'chello's life was dedicated in eliminating the Goa'uld by inventing various weapons against them. The Goa'uld took his wife as a host and attempted to have him taken as well in order to preserve his knowledge. He escaped before being implanted. He died in the SGC infirmary, but he left behind many of his Goa'uld-killing inventions as if placing carefully-concealed mine fields. (2.18 "Holiday" and 3.04 "Legacy")
The movement of the Jaffa to end the tyranny of the Goa'uld was started by Teal'c, and their numbers began to grow once he made the call to fight against the false gods (3.01 "Into The Fire Part 2"). The Jaffa were genetically-altered humans of Earth who were engineered to carry the Goa'uld symbiotes to maturity in an abdominal pouch to improve the symbiote's chances of successfully blending with a host (1.03 "The Enemy Within"). Without the Jaffa, a symbiote had a one-in-two chance of success (6.10 "Cure"). The Jaffa's entire immune system depended on the symbiote's natural healing capabilities. The symbiotes gave the Jaffa long lives and good health, but the Jaffa depended on the symbiotes for their very survival. The Goa'uld used the strong Jaffa as soldiers and the others served them in their temples. Teal'c knew that the Goa'uld were not gods, as the Jaffa were taught since birth, but parasites. The Rebel Jaffa who answered his call built their numbers and hoped one day to free all of their brethren. At one time, they took sanctuary at the SGC's Alpha Site (6.09 "Allegiance"), but decided to strike out on their own after the Alpha Site had been discovered by Anubis and destroyed (7.16 "Death Knell"). It was most likely because of the Rebel Jaffa that Anubis replaced his Jaffa with the genetically-engineered Kull Warriors (7.11 "Evolution Part 1" and 7.12 "Evolution Part 2"). Ultimately, in the fateful encounter over the skies of the planet Dakara, the Jaffa won their freedom when the Goa'uld System Lords Ba'al and Anubis were defeated and the remaining army of Kull Warriors were destroyed (8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads"). The struggle to form a strong, independent nation began at the same place where the Jaffa were created by the Goa'uld — on Dakara (8.18 "Threads"). After the Ori destroyed Dakara, the Free Jaffa Nation splintered as they struggled for their own survival (10.07 "Counterstrike").
The Reetou are an insect-like alien species that are 180 degrees out of phase with the humans of Earth, so they are invisible to the naked eye. The Goa'uld attempted to destroy the Reetou and as a result, Reetou rebel forces believed that the only way to get rid of the Goa'uld was to eliminate all possible hosts. It was this extreme reasoning that led this group of Reetou to attempt to destroy Earth. (2.20 "Show and Tell")
The Replicators were everyone's enemy because they didn't play political games at all—they just consumed everything they could to reproduce and this included the advanced technology that the Goa'uld possessed. The Replicators were primarily the enemy of the Asgard, but they were instrumental in the spectacular demise of Apophis before they evolved into human form (5.01 "Enemies Part 2"). Replicator Samantha Carter led the Replicators against the Goa'uld and nearly destroyed them, but she and all of her "brethren" were destroyed through the joint effort among the Goa'uld, Rebel Jaffa, Tau'ri, and Tok'ra (8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2").
The Tau'ri, humans of the First World (Earth), became an enemy of the Goa'uld as soon as Ra landed his spaceship in Eygpt seeking a new kind of host for his dying race in 8000 B.C. Like Ra, many of the Goa'uld who took the humans as hosts took on the identity of other gods of Earth, including those from Babylonian, Canaanite, Celtic, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, and Roman mythologies (the word "Goa'uld" means "god"). Since the Tau'ri reopened the Stargate on Earth and organized Stargate Command (SGC), they gave the Goa'uld reason to seriously consider that their days were numbered as the most powerful force in the galaxy. The Goa'uld System Lords were finally defeated after eight years of war, and they no longer posed the threat that they once did for thousands of years (8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads", 8.19 "Moebius Part 1").
The Tok'ra were started over 2000 years ago by the Goa'uld Egeria who first opposed Ra (Tok'ra means against Ra) and his enslaving of the humans he took through the Stargate (4.04 "Crossroads"). All the Tok'ra are descendants of Egeria and, therefore, inherited her Goa'uld genetic memory and her desire to have a truly symbiotic relationship with the host. The Tok'ra do not use the sarcophagus, but instead, take new hosts when the host is about to die (most human hosts of the Tok'ra live to be close to 200 years old). They worked against the Goa'uld through subterfuge. Because they are of the same race as the Goa'uld, there was no way for the Goa'uld to tell the difference between one of their own and a Tok'ra, and the Tok'ra used this to their advantage by infiltrating the ranks of the System Lords and assuming the role of a minor Goa'uld in the System Lord's service. (2.11 "The Tok'ra Part 1" and 2.12 "The Tok'ra Part 2") The Tok'ra moved their underground bases of operations continuously, but, at one point, they took residence at the SGC's Alpha Site (6.09 "Allegiance"). Their stay on the Alpha Site was short because they were at a greater risk of being discovered with both the Tau'ri and Rebel Jaffa living there. Because of their dwindling numbers (Egeria was banished thousands of years ago and did not produce any more Tok'ra offspring), they decided to return to their underground bases (7.16 "Death Knell"). Egeria was discovered in stasis on one of Ra's former planets and died soon thereafter, basically guaranteeing the end of the Tok'ra once the last one dies (6.10 "Cure"). Despite this, the Tok'ra continued to oppose the Goa'uld and fought for the freedom of their slaves, human and Jaffa alike (6.19 "Changeling"). The Tok'ra lived to see the defeat of the Goa'uld System Lords (8.16 "Reckoning Part 1", 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2", 8.18 "Threads"), but their lives are close to an end because they do not use a sarcophagus to extend their lives, living only for about two thousand years (8.18 "Threads").
- Stargate: The Movie
- 1.03 "The Enemy Within"
- 2.11 "The Tok'ra Part 1"
- 2.12 "The Tok'ra Part 2"
- 2.18 "Holiday"
- 2.20 "Show And Tell"
- 3.03 "Fair Game"
- 3.04 "Legacy"
- 3.21 "Crystal Skull"
- 4.21 "Double Jeopardy"
- 5.01 "Enemies Part 2"
- 5.15 "Summit Part 1"
- 5.16 "Last Stand Part 2"
- 5.17 "Failsafe"
- 5.22 "Revelations"
- 6.01 "Redemption Part 1"
- 6.02 "Redemption Part 2"
- 6.09 "Allegiance"
- 6.10 "Cure"
- 6.19 "Changeling"
- 6.22 "Full Circle"
- 7.01 "Fallen Part 1"
- 7.02 "Homecoming Part 2"
- 7.11 "Evolution Part 1"
- 7.12 "Evolution Part 2"
- 7./16 "Death Knell"
- 8.01 "New Order Part 1"
- 8.02 "New Order Part 2"
- 8.16 "Reckoning Part 1"
- 8.17 "Reckoning Part 2"
- 8.18 "Threads"
- 8.19 "Moebius Part 1"
- 10.07 "Counterstrike"
- 10.20 "Unending"
- Alpha Site
- Antarctic Outpost
- Free Jaffa Nation
- Giant Aliens
- Kull Warrior
- Lost City of the Ancients
- Protected Planets Treaty
- Rebel Jaffa
- System Lord
--DeeKayP 13:59, 29 Jun 2004 (PDT)