The Tau’s rapid technological advancement wouldn’t last forever with their new focus having to be on military conflict! Find out more!
Via our good friends at Lexicanum
Over the next thousand years the Tau empire experienced an unprecedented period of scientific discovery and philosophical advancement. The Tau empire continued to expand its border at a fast rate through a series of Expansion Phases. The Tau empire has gone through Spheres of Expansion 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. Therefore, apart from the star systems of the Tau, which are called Septs, the Tau Empire also incorporated worlds and star systems belonging to the Kroot, Vespid, and the Nicassar, who were the first race to join the empire and survive (as plague wiped out the Poctroon). 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 hundred settled worlds, but the exact number and most of their names are unknown.
When the Tau encounter a new alien species, the Ethereals direct each of the Castes preforms a designated role to bring them into the Empire’s fold. The world is first scanned by the Air Caste and those classified as desirable are investigated further, and if a sentient alien race is discovered the Water Caste sends ambassadors to make trade deals, defense pacts, and offer advanced technologies built for them by the Earth Caste. However should all these efforts fail to persuade the planet to join with them in the Greater Good, it will fall to the Fire Caste to forcibly absorb the world into the Tau Empire. Only the stubborn and warlike Orks have been denied the offer to join the Greater Good, for the Tau abandoned their futile attempts to absorb the Orks after many battles convinced the Ethereals that bargaining with them was impossible.
The Tau made first contact with the Humanity shortly after the Second Sphere of Expansion in the form of free captains, pirates, and lost colonies. They had regressed so far that they knew not of the outside galaxy. These planets were eventually peacefully assimilated or forcibly subdued, but it took the Water Caste time to realize that these worlds were just the outer fringes of an unimaginably vast inter-stellar empire, the Imperium of Man. However thanks to the wisdom of Aun’va, the Fire Caste calls for war with mankind were averted and the Tau embarked on a subtle campaign of trade and diplomacy with Planetary Governors to absorb further human worlds. The Imperium’s response to these activities was slow, but when it did come, it was characteristically brutal and the first wars between the Imperium and Tau Empire began.
The Damocles Crusade, was the first major military conflict fought between the Imperium of Man and the Tau Empire. Members of the Tau Water Caste had established trade agreements with Imperial worlds on the frontier of the Tau Empire, near the Damocles Gulf region of the Ultima Segmentum, and exchanges of goods and technology were common. Alarmed by the threat of alien contamination, the Administratum readied a suitable response and almost a century later, the Damocles Crusade invaded Tau space, destroying several outlying settlements and pushing deep into the Tau Empire. When the Imperial fleet reached the Tau Sept world of Dal’yth, however, the Crusade ground to a bloody stalemate as the formidable numbers and high technology of the Tau and their Kroot allies thwarted every attempt to capture the world or its star system. Many months of terrible fighting ensued with nothing gained on either side. By late 742.M41 the Crusade’s commanders eventually agreed to requests from the Tau Water Caste for peace talks. The negotiations were successful and the Imperial fleet withdrew from Tau space unmolested, primarily due to the impending approach of the Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth. 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.