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this planet's human inhabitants were among the most peaceful beings in the galaxy, although they were not the planet's original form of sentient life. Before human colonists settled Alderaan some 2,500 years before the formation of the Old Republic, the planet was ruled by the Killiks. However, their civilization came to an end near three millennia earlier, when an meteor crashed into the planet and destroyed the Killiks. Thus, when human colonists arrived on Alderaan, they believed themselves to be the first sentients on the planet. They were in continual harmony with the world around them, and chose to build their cities on top of sandstone bluffs and on stilts in the shallow seas. The capital city of Aldera was eventually built in the crater that was formed when the meteor that killed the Killik crashed into the planet. Alderaan itself was a temperate world that was orbited by three moons. The towering cities were built in such a way that they wouldn't destroy the seas or trample the grasslands, where the strange ruins of the Killik civilization were discovered. The human inhabitants of the planet catalogued over 8,000 species of grasses on the plains, and more than that in species of flowers. At the age of seventeen, an Alderaanian was considered an adult. It was a well-known custom that the adult members of Alderaan's society never cut their hair, but allowed it to grow into long tresses. Alderaan was a staunch supporter of the Old Republic, and many of its inhabitants served in the armed forces. Following the Clone Wars and the widespread destruction caused by it, the government of Alderaan outlawed all weapons. They placed all weapons aboard a transport ship and sent the ship out on a never-ending series of random hyperspace jumps. The homeworld of the Organa family, Alderaan's role in galactic politics took a detour during the later years of the Old Republic. As Palpatine continued to gain power, the Organas began organizing a resistance to his Presidency. With the implementation of the New Order, Alderaan became one of the primary supporters of the newly-formed Alliance to Restore the Republic. However, the outspoken dissatisfaction with Palpatine's rule led to the destruction of the planet. When Leia Organa was captured aboard the Tantive IV over Tatooine, she was taken to Grand Moff Tarkin for questioning. Tarkin tried to obtain information from her, but she proved too strong. Even when Tarkin threatened to destroy Alderaan with the new Death Star, Leia lied to him about the location of the Alliance's base. Tarkin took no chances, however, and ordered the destruction of the planet. Alderaan was blown to pieces just before the Battle of Yavin, and all life on the planet was destroyed. Some 60,000 natives survived because they were off-world at the time, and were granted a unique status within the Alliance, as well as the New Republic. In order to avoid public outcries on the destruction of Alderaan, Imperial propaganda claimed that the Death Star had been in the area of the Alderaan System to perform its initial tests. It was then that Alliance agents sabotaged the tests, which resulted in the Death Star's laser firing on the planet, rather than a lifeless target.
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