The Zaloriis Imperial Military Academy (ZIMA) was the oldest and most revered of all the galactic government sponsored military schools. It was originally founded in 1802, very early on during the Old Republic. It was called "Imperial" because it was built on the site of an old Rakatan Infinite Empire military base. Over the millenia, ZIMA established itself as the premier institution for the training and development of leaders that served in various capacities throughout the Galaxy. Graduates include 23 Supreme Chancellors, scores of Galactic Senators, hundreds of famous military leaders, and innumerable captains of industry. There were also many idiots that graduated there, but that's not important right now. Various galactic governments siezed power throughout history, but they all basically left ZIMA intact.
Early Years and InsurrectionDuring the early years, ZIMA was kind of a mess. Although established as a military academy meant to train officers to serve in the Republic military, most of the early applicants were there to pick up chicks. Considering women were not allowed to attend ZIMA at the time, this wasn't a very good strategy. Instead, they turned to knitting. ZIMA's first graduate was Blimp Zeppelin, who became a famous needlepointer. For years, ZIMA was known as the Embroidery Capital of the Galaxy. Republic officials realized this wasn't exactly what they wanted, so they organized a Senate committee to analyze ZIMA's curriculum. After months of investigation, they realized there was no curriculum, and they found this disturbing. They recommended the appointment of Tim Flippance as ZIMA's first official Superintendent, who immediately made some reforms. The first and most important of these reforms was to make the cadets wear standardized uniforms, and the first ZIMA uniform was designed by Zeppelin. This raised some eyebrows in the Senate, and an investigation revealed that Zeppelin's contract was awarded improperly. The scandal that followed nearly toppled the Republic. Supreme Chancellor Flick was given a vote of no confidence, and the resulting turmoil was known as The Embroidery Rebellion of 1816. Zeppelin wanted to create a new calendar and start over at year 0, but he was quickly killed during riots on Coruscant. In the end, Flick regained his chancellorship. While the original uniform contract was voided, the cadets kept the style, and other vendors decided to mimic them. The uniforms have remained unchanged for over 23,000 years.
More Reforms of Various Degrees of ImportanceIn 1817, a Senate committee analyzed ZIMA's admissions standards. After months of investigation, they realized there were none, and they found this disconcerting. The application process required hopeful candidates to pass a simple test, which was to spell "cat". Terry Bradshaw was the only candidate to ever fail this test. At one point, a frustrated admissions official even spotted Bradshaw the C and the T as a hint. Bradshaw left in disgrace, but went on to an excellent career as a professional football player. Anyway, every other candidate was readily accepted. The Senate recommended the appointment of Ming Spandex (winner of 13 consecutive awards for Best Facial Hair in the Republic) as the next Superintendent. He immediately reformed the admissions process, making it much more difficult to gain acceptance. The standards required candidates to have excellent grades, have been in positions of leadership, be athletically capable, and have a long series of recommendations from community leaders. The process was grueling, and in the end, the acceptance rate settled down to about 10%. This made ZIMA very prestigious.
Since picking up chicks and knitting were right out, cadets adopted sports as their next initiative. ZIMA became a hotbed for the galaxy's top athletes. Despite the athletic prowess of the student body, the Republic still wasn't convinced that the investment into ZIMA was working as planned. In 1831, another Senate Committee analyzed the rate at which graduates were being commissioned as officers into the Republic Army. After months of investigation, they realized the rate was zero percent. They found this unacceptable, and recommended the appointment of Grumbly FitzFizzle as the next Superintendent. FitzFizzle also had a fabulous beard, and won a major award 6 times. Immediately, he brought results. Every graduate of ZIMA that year was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Big-Ass Army of the Republic (BAR). They weren't very happy about this, because they just wanted to play sports.
In 1833, shortly after FitzFizzle's accomplishment, the previously impressive BAR was soundly defeated in a conflict against a small number of retarded womprats. An investigation proved that it was the inexperience of the brand new officers from ZIMA that directly led to the BAR disgrace. A Senate Committee investigation revealed months later that there was actually no military training going on at ZIMA. They found this alarming, and recommended the appointment of Shitsky Flanksteak as the next superintendent, who, subsequently won 11 Facial Hair Awards. In 1835, Flanksteak immediately instituted a difficult and demanding military training program, which would prepare graduates for the rigors of combat, and prepare them to be leaders in the BAR. He installed commissioned and non-commissioned officers from the BAR as instructors throughout the Academy. He requisitioned military manuals and textbooks, along with large amounts of military hardware for the cadets to get hands-on training. The cadets thought this was cool as hell, but then Flanksteak also implemented a rigorous academic program of advanced engineering, sprinkled with a fair amount of liberal arts. He then re-organzed the school's athletics program, keeping it important, but makeing it part of his 3-pronged curriculum, which he cleverly called "The 3-Pronged Curriculum". Then, he created the Honor Code, which stated "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do, unless there's something sexy involved." Finally, he organized the cadet student body into a quasi-military structure, giving all the cadets their own in-school ranks and other cool stuff. Underclassmen were routinely beaten senseless by upperclassmen, and everyone enjoyed this.
Within 3 years of Flanksteak's reforms, ZIMA graduated exactly zero commissioned officers. A Senate committee investigation revealed months later that the cadets hated the spartan lifestyle and draconian punishments handed out for minor infractions. (Such as watching a Giants-Redskins Monday Night Football game when you should have been in your room, which you could have gotten away with if some jackass upperclassmen didn't get his panties all twisted and report you because he didn't get laid that weekend, and then fail to display the proper amount of remorse for your horrible transgression in front of the board appointed to hear your case prior to them sentencing you to a month of weekends marching back and forth on the "Area" while wearing full parade gear.) Anyway, word of this got out, and new applications quickly dried up. They found this appalling, and recommended Figgis Placenta as the new Superintendent. In 1841, Placenta immediately decided to make the school tuition-free. Still not getting any takers, he decided to accept women into the Academy. Still lacking any interest whatsoever and now desperate, he finally re-established the Department of Embroidery. Within days, the applications flowed. ZIMA was soon filled again, and began producing leaders of character to serve the Galaxy.
A Model InstitutionZIMA became the premiere military institution in the Galaxy.
In 1841, a group of mischievous cadets were trying to create a libation that they could use to get chicks from nearby colleges drunk and then bang them. The drink was a fruity, bubbly blend of weak-ass nonsense, but they hoped for the best. They brought their creation to the dorm of one of their girlfriends. Turns out, it was actually a big hit with some of the guys in the dorm, who happened to be seamen of the Republic Navy on shore leave. These seamen were intrigued by the ZIMA cadet uniforms and their ZIMA beverage, but professed that they didn't have what it would take to apply to the Academy. Instead, they petitioned the Republic to establish a Naval Academy, so some of the more effeminate people in the galaxy might still have a chance to serve as officers in the military. So, in 1845, the Prefsbelt IV Naval Academy was established which was based on the principles of ZIMA, while still accepting sissy people. This is generally not important. What is important is that ZIMA and Prefsbelt were bitter sports rivals.The Old Republic would establish additional academies, in order to train individuals for various aspects of service. Even private institutions would pop up from time to time, but they were all considered inferior to some degree. Two such institutions were known as the Vagina Military Institute (VMI) and the Shitadel, but they both sucked, and were populated by ZIMA rejects.
Throughout history, ZIMA experienced periods of athletic success on the galactic level. Their amateur teams were usually only marginally competitive, because let's face it, if you had talent, why waste it at a drab school with little partying, few attractive women, and a requirement to get killed in combat at a young age upon graduation? However, during times of galactic strife, many more people wished to attend 4 years of ZIMA rather than get drafted, and the Academy would temporarily become a magnet for athletic talent. Thus, coinciding with events such as the Jedi Tea Party, the Grand Bitch Insurrection, the Unmentionable Incident, and the Hundred Year Nerf Rapings, ZIMA was the Galactic Collegiate Football Champion many times during these periods.
Emperor Palpatine and the Imperial EmpireAfter Palpatine established the First Galactic Empire, people were afraid he was going to shut down ZIMA and the other academies. After all, a man who would reboot a 25,000 year-old calendar to 0 might be capable of just about any atrocity. However, Palpatine decided to merge all the academies by forming a consortium, generically called the Imperial Academy. Every young person in the galaxy wanted to attend the Imperial Academy, but sometimes they had to wait until the next moisture harvest while their friends were living the life of adventure and intrigue. Sometimes, these kids were confused by politics and dialogue errors and wanted to attend the Imperial Academy even though they hated the Empire. Whatevs.
After Mon Mothma and the Rebel Alliance overthrew Palpatine and established the New Republic, people were afraid she was going to shut down ZIMA and the other academies. After all, a woman who would reboot a 24 year old calendar just as people were getting used to missing the 25,000 year old calendar might be capable of just about any atrocity. However, she basically left the Academy structure in tact, except that she had all the signs changed.