- "Breaking rocks in the hot sun! I fought the law and the law won!"
- ―Opening lyrics to a Rebel Alliance song
The Rebel Alliance was a broad multi-tendency revolutionary alliance of forces in rebellion against the Galactic Empire. The Alliance was a group that used any means including violence to achieve their political aims: namely the overthrow of the Galactic Emperor (AKA "The Man") and his evil Galactic Empire (AKA "The Power"), and the restoration of the Republic. Its was also known as the Alliance to Restore the Republic, the United Galactic People's Democratic Revolutionary Liberation Alliance to Restore the Republic and Freedom to the Galaxy (UGPDRLFARRFG or Usk-Grek-Peth-Dorn-Resh-Leth--Aurek-Resh-Resh-Forn-Grek), and Rebel scum. It formally operated from around 2 BBY, when the Corellian Treaty was signed, to 4 ABY after the Imperial defeat at Endor, though anti-Imperial resistance had begun in the early days of the Empire.
Some of the Alliance's founding leaders were disaffected Imperial senators, including Mon Mothra of Chandrila who became the leader of the Alliance, Bail Organa of Alderaan and his daughter Leia Organa, and Garm Bel Iblis of Corellia. Others in the fight against the Man included
stolen liberated Imperial slaves like Alliance Admiral Ackbar, and ex-Imperial and Republic military personnel like Jan Dodonna.
The Rebel Alliance's first landmark victory was the destruction of the Death Star at Yavin, which became a dating epoch in the galaxy, thus the usage BBY: Before the Battle of Yavin, and ABY: After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin also marked the debut as a group of the "heroes of Yavin": Leia Organa, already a major figure in the rebellion, Luke Skywalker, farmboy and future Jedi, Han Solo, smuggler and scoundrel, Chewbacca, co-smuggler with the previous, and C-3PO and R2-D2, gay robots. These six would go on to become major figures in the rebellion.
In 4 ABY the Alliance blew up the new Death Star and the Emperor along with it (or so they thought). In the wake of this victory, the Rebel Alliance was reorganized into the Alliance of Free Planets, which became the New Republic a month later. The Rebellion's goal of restoring the Republic was achieved, but the Empire lived on as the Imperial Remnant.
The BTL Y-wing and T-65 X-wing, and later the RZ-1 A-wing and B-wing were mainstays of the Alliance Starfighter Corps. These would go on to be primary fighters in the New Republic Starfighter Corps as well.