The Tau empire is situated inside of the Ultima Segmentum, near the Eastern Fringe. It borders the Imperium, and lies within the reach of the Astronomican. It has suffered many raids from the Orks, and also seems to lie in the path of several splinter fleets of Hive Fleet Kraken.
The Tau empire consists of a series of Expansion Phases and the Tau empire has gone through 3 phases of expansion already. These phases are a period of several Tau military campaigns during which nearby worlds are colonized, conquered, or sometimes peacefully persuaded to join the Greater Good (i.e. the Tau empire).
Therefore, apart from the star systems of the Tau, which are called Septs, the empire also includes the worlds and star systems belonging to the Kroot, Vespid, and the Nicassar. It is currently unknown if the Demiurg are full members, allies, or mere trading partners. The empire is composed by over twenty fully developed septs and around one hundered settled worlds, but the exact number and most of their names are unknown to us.
A known splinter faction are the Farsight Enclaves. Also, more recently some worlds and star systems of the Imperium have been conquered by the Tau forces, while a handful have seceded and pledged their allegiance to the Tau empire.
Tau Septs Edit
Each sept has its unique cultural identity wholly integrated within the greater Tau culture. This cultural identity seems to mainly derive from which Tau caste is more numerous and influential in the given sept. Currently there are over twenty fully developed septs. Each sept has its own sept symbol.
- T'au, homeworld of the Tau. Capital and spiritual, political, cultural, and administrative centre of the Tau empire. Its citizens are considered especially learned and wise.
First Phase Expansion Edit
The Tau homeworld and the First phase colonies are of major importance and form the hub of the empire.
- Tau'n, first offworld colony, Tau from this world are considered to be pioneers.
- D'yanoi, having been isolated for a time from the empire, its inhabitants are considered somewhat rustic and backwards.
- Bork'an, centre of learning and academia.
- Dal'yth, cosmopolitan and trader-friendly.
- Fal'shia, centre of technological development, Tau from here are considered great problem solvers.
- Vior'la, a major military centre of the empire, its Fire warriors are considered especially aggressive and skilled.
- Sa'cea, another military center, this sept has a very high proportion of very disciplined and honourable Fire Warriors.
Second Phase Expansion Edit
- Au'taal, a beautiful sept, whose citizens are considered easygoing and often lazy.
- N'dras was abandoned for unclear reasons. Its remaining inhabitants are regarded as unstrustworthy, quick-tempered, and of brooding countance.
- Ke'lshan has suffered several raids by several alien races. Tau from this sept have grown mistrustful, solemn, taciturn, unfriendly and sometimes openly hostile to alien races.
- Elsy'eir is known for its poetry and artwork. Its citizens are considered intellectuals and well respected for their creativness.
- Tash'var was raided several times by Orks and pirates. Its people are regarded as tenacious, hardy, practical and courageous.
- Vash'ya seems to be primarly inhabited by members of the Air caste.
- T'olku is known for the skill of its Etheral diplomats.
Third Phase Expansion Edit
The Third Phase Expansion began with the War of Nimbosa (992.M41) under Commander Brightsword, but was halted after Brightsword was recalled to T'au, presumably to account for his cruel conduct. Nimbosa eventually fell to the combined might of several Space Marine chapters, the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy. The third phase continued under the command of Commander Shadowsun towards the end of the 990's of M41 and resulted in gaining 5 colonies for the Tau. Recently conquered and colonized, most of these colonies have yet to form their own identities.
- Ksi'm'yen's colonists seem to be associated with luck, subtlety and opportunistic subterfuge.
- Fi'rios whose pioneers are recognized for a tenacious refusal to accept defeat, tempered by a stoic acceptance of the price all must pay in the furtherance of the Greater Good.
Smaller Tau worlds Edit
Besides the populous septs, there are also sparsely populated colonies. Only a few names are known.
, settled during the Second Expansion.
, settled during the Third Expansion.
Non-Tau Worlds Edit
- Pech, homeworld of the Kroot. According to the maps there are eight star systems inhabited by the Kroot (including Pech). We know solely the name of Krath, where the Tau first encountered the Kroot.
- Vespid, homeworld of the Vespid.
In addition there an unknown number of former Imperial worlds in the Tau Empire, some or all of which might still have a human population (see also Gue'vesa).
Artefact worlds Edit
Three Artefact worlds are located within the borders of the Tau empire. As the name indicates, ancient artefacts of unknown origin have been discovered there. It is not known if these worlds have Tau colonies at all.
Farsight Enclaves Edit
The only known breakaway faction of the Tau empire are the Farsight Enclaves. These worlds are led by Commander Farsight and were conquered from the Imperium during the Second Phase Expansion. These enclaves have less regard for (or a non-standard interpretation of) the Tau'va. Most of their names are unknown.