What was seen as an evil empire by the Galactic Republic was involved in a galactic war against the Republic and the Jedi Order circa 1,022 BBY. The empire controlled a significant portion of the Outer Rim Territories prior to the empire’s collapse. After the war, the Hutt Cartel gained influence over the former Imperial territories in the Outer Rim, as the former imperial worlds were left in disarray by the empire's collapse.
Despite the Republic's belief that the empire had completely collapsed and would not return, one of the empire's dark lords survived and continued to plot the destruction of the Republic. Nevertheless, the belief that the empire was gone forever led to the Ruusan Reformation by the Republic.