The Maquis were first introduced to the “Star Trek” universe in “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The episode “Journey’s End” depicted the beginning of the resistance movement.
When the Cardassians signed a peace treaty with the Federation, scores of Federation colonists on multiple planets were displaced to accommodate the Cardassian occupation. The colonists that did remain suffered at the hands of their Cardassian overlords. Many of them decided to fight back by forming a resistance group called the Maquis.
The Maquis’s Role in ‘Star Trek’
Colonists in the Cardassian Demilitarized Zone, the area of space that separated Cardassian and Federation space, formed the core of the Maquis. In the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” two-parter, “The Maquis,” members of the resistance group destroyed a Cardassian freighter. As Commander Benjamin Sisko investigated the incident, he discovered that the Cardassians had been engaging in acts of aggression against the Federation colonists in the Demilitarized Zone for years. Many of the colonists, including a Federation commander, joined the Maquis to fight back.
The Maquis garnered a lot of support from the Bajorans, who had dealt with decades of Cardassian occupation. The crew of Deep Space Nine often encountered Maquis resistance fighters while mitigating the situation between Bajor and Cardassia.
The Maquis also played a major role in “Star Trek: Voyager.” As the resistance group grew, it recruited several Starfleet officers. Voyager was sent to apprehend the members of a Maquis cell. Shortly after they did, the ship was pulled into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker. Stranded with the Starfleet crew, the Maquis resistance fighters chose to become members of the crew to help get the ship home.
The Real-Life Maquis
According to “The Next Generation Companion,” the writers and producers of the “Star Trek” shows based the Trekverse Maquis on a real-life anti-fascist group of the same name. The original Maquis was a French resistance group that fought the Nazis.
When the Nazis occupied France during World War II, small resistance groups began to form in secret. According to The Archive, in cities like Paris and Lyon, the resistance groups were highly organized and had strong leadership. The resistance groups that formed in the country were the exact opposite. They rarely worked together and there was no formal leadership. These bands of resistance fighters were often small groups of farmers and working-class men and women who decided to fight the Nazis on their own.
Eventually, the resistance groups in the city heard about the groups popping up in the countryside. Agents visited these groups and discovered that the French countryside was the perfect place to hide from German soldiers. So, the city resistance groups joined forces with the groups called The Maquis, which was French for “underbrush,” a reference to the landscapes in which they would hide.
The goal of the Maquis was to disrupt the German occupation in whatever way they could. They often attacked German encampments in the countryside, causing as much chaos as possible. Though the Maquis never managed any major tactical victories over the Germans, they fought nonetheless. More importantly, the existence of the Maquis brought hope to the French citizens who were suffering under the Nazi occupation.
The decision to name the Trek Maquis after the real-life anti-fascist group was a nod to the brave men and women who opposed the Nazi occupation, just like the Federation colonists opposing the Cardassian occupation.
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