Bothans are a furry humanoid species characterized by stocky builds and fur-covered faces. About 1.5 meters tall, the fur acts as an emotional indicator, as different moods trigger different rippling responses on a Bothan's fur. Hailing from Bothawui and several colonies, Bothans differ in facial structure from canine to feline to equine. The Bothans were members of the Old Republic at least from 4,000 BBY, but likely from a significantly earlier point. Through numerous conflicts the Bothans remained officially neutral, although their famed Spynet always played each side and commercial interests sought profits. The Bothans played a large role in the founding of the New Republic and in the development of its government. Bothan is also the name of the native language spoken by Bothans, where Botha is the written form.
Bothan culture is guided by the philosophy and principles set forth in the ancient text The Way by Golm Fervse’dra. In this "Bothan Way", the pursuit of power and influence was paramount. Thus, individual Bothans put their own political and economic success above all other concerns, and as a species, Bothans put their own advancement ahead of other intergalactic interests. The volume of backstabbing, subtle character assassination and political maneuvering in Bothan society was dizzying, and resulted in many species stereotyping Bothans as untrustworthy.
The Bothans are renowned for their information-gathering techniques. For over 300 years these aliens have been cultivating a vast network of operatives dedicated to gathering useful data. The Bothan Spynet remained independent during the Galactic Civil War. At least, it did so on the surface. Much of the intelligence gathered was siphoned to the Alliance, but the Galactic Empire and criminal organizations also took advantage of Bothan services.
It was the Spynet that captured plans for the second Death Star, just prior to the historic Battle of Endor. Two dozen Bothan pilots and gunners known as Blue Squad lost their lives in raiding the Imperial transport Suprosa.
The Bothan reputation for skullduggery and deception has colored many a being's perception of them. Many Bothans also follow the principals of the Bothan Way. Many openly question their involvement in the Imperial trap at Endor.
Immediate Bothans families were organized into large clans, which were the more important social unit in Bothan society; family and clan loyalty were equally important as power accumulation. Clan associate was denoted as the last component in a Bothan name. For instance, Borsk Fey'lya is of the clan Alya, as well as Peshk Vry'lya. Another prominent clan in Bothan politics is the Ilyri clan, of which Aknar Koth'lyri is a member. Family is very important to Bothans, and clan loyalty is paramount; Bothans proudly display their clan sigils. Between clans, however, it is a different matter altogether. Bothan politics is known for subtle backstabbing maneuvers. While the Bothans aren't a violent people, their skills at character assassination are unparalleled.
The Bothan Council, a representative body of selective Bothan clans, was the primary governmental body of the Bothan people. Renamed the "Combined Clans" during the New Republic era, the body was still commonly referred to as the Council. At the height of the Galactic Civil War, the council was comprised of representatives from 608 registered clans. At the head of the Council was the First Secretary, who led the council from their headquarters in Merchant's Square in the capital of Drev'starn.
Beginning with the Clone Wars and continuing after the fall of the Old Republic, the Council absorbed many of the Bothan political bodies, such as the Bothan Independent Treasury, seeing them as wasteful, corrupt and inefficient. Highly centralized, the Bothan Council governed all social, political, economic and security issues of Bothan life.
The Bothan Diplomatic Corps was one of the few government organizations to survive the culling, and was in fact expanded. The Diplomatic Corp operated as a branch of the Bothan government, and held the responsibility of furthering Bothan ideals through diplomacy. Its agents meets with the leaders of other worlds, forged treaties, and represented Bothawui in the New Republic, to ensure that Bothan ideals were met in any alliance.
Although a neutral planet during the Galactic Civil War, the Bothans maintained a small defense force to protect Bothawui, and Bothan colonies and economic interests. Bothan soldiers and officers were trained at the oft-mocked Bothan Military Academy.
After the Empire subjugated the Bothan worlds, Alliance General Bob Hudsol organized many Bothan into a resistance movement that eventually overthrew the Imperial garrison. As Bothan involvement in the New Republic increased, so did Bothan military advancement.