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The Jaffa are a fictional alien race, in the television series Stargate SG-1. They are a mutation of humanity, descended from genetically modified people from Earth who were kidnapped by the Goa'uld using the Stargate during antiquity. They were kidnapped and modified to serve as warriors and incubators for larval Goa'uld.


Jaffa live on several different planets, depending on which Goa'uld they serve, so they have no one "homeworld" (as they were originally human slaves from Earth). However, planets with large concentrations of Jaffa include Chulak, Dakara, and Delmak; with Dakara claimed as the site of the original genetic modification.

The main function of the Jaffa is to serve their gods, the Goa'uld, as warriors and incubators for Goa'uld larvae. The Jaffa are genetically engineered so that their immune system will fail when they reach puberty (which they call the age of prata), so they will die if they do not receive a symbiote. An immature Goa'uld larva is then implanted in a marsupial-like pouch in the Jaffa abdomen, in which it grows to maturity before implantation in a host.

The presence of the larva replaces the Jaffa's immune system, and after receiving a Goa'uld larva a Jaffa is unable to live for long without one. Additionally, the Jaffa needs to engage in a form of meditation known as Kel no'reem on regular intervals in order to synchronise with the symbiote. If Kel no'reem is not performed, the Jaffa might become seriously ill. Kel no'reem effectively replaces sleep for a Jaffa. In exchange, the Goa'uld offers strength, health, and a long life (120-150 years). Following the discovery of Egeria, the drug Tretonin was developed to allow the former Jaffa host to survive without a larva.

All Jaffa formerly in service to the System Lords have a brand on their foreheads bearing the insignia of the Goa'uld they serve. In most cases it is just a black tattoo, but in the case of each System Lord's First Prime (chief warrior and commander), it is a raised mark, made with a special knife and filled with pure molten gold in what even Teal'c says is a very painful process.

A faction of the Jaffa that identified the Goa'uld as false gods went into hiding thousands of years ago, and became known as the Legendary Sodan. These Jaffa do not bear any mark, but retain the symbiote pouch; they steal larval Goa'uld in raids and kill them once they have reached maturity.

Supposedly, married male Jaffa must shave their heads soon after their wedding. However, in his current spirit of rebellion against the old ways, Teal'c later grows a small afro.

Teal'c (portrayed by Christopher Judge), a Jaffa who chooses to join the SG-1 team and fight for freedom, starts out as a lone traitor, but gradually and with the aid of his former Jaffa mentor, Bra'tac, Teal'c is able to rally an increasing number of other Jaffa to his cause of freedom.
By season six, the Jaffa Resistance has been formed; an organized rebellion against the Goa'uld of which Teal'c is a prominent leader. At the end of season eight, Teal'c achieves his goal and finally helps liberate the Jaffa from the Goa'uld; the Goa'uld have long weakened one another by continuous civil war amongst the System Lords, and were then decimated by an invasion of our galaxy by the Replicators.

Soon after, forces of the Tau'ri are able to defeat the Replicators. The Jaffa see the Goa'uld's inability to save themselves from the Replicators as proof that they are false Gods, especially when System Lord Ba'al makes a cowardly escape from the Jaffa Resistance, after which the Jaffa turn against the Goa'uld en masse.

In season nine, the Free Jaffa Nation is being set up; it appears that High Council representation will be based on the military strength of the coalitions, against Teal'c's wishes; Teal'c himself advocates new ways, supposedly adopted from the Tau'ri. He hints to General Hank Landry that he wants a democratic system.

Gerak becomes leader of the Jaffa High Council despite the efforts of Teal'c and the Tau'ri. He even strengthens his position by capturing Ba'al and executing him before the Council's eyes. The interest he shows in the religion of the Ori - Origin - after having seen "the show" by the Prior is disconcerting, especially now that he has won the hearts and minds of the Council.

A threat of civil war begins to brew as Gerak advocates that all Jaffa should follow the Ori and even adopt a law to that effect. When prompted by a Prior to wipe out the unbelievers he is too fainthearted. He is taken to Celestis - the City of the Gods - and transformed into a Prior himself.

When Teal'c addresses the Council to convince them not to follow the Ori, Gerak enters and declares that it is the destiny of all Jaffa to follow... Origin! However, after Gerak's change of heart (apostasy, in the eyes of the Ori), the Jaffa now stand firm against the Ori.

After the death of Gerak, Teal'c, Bra'tac, and their supporters in the Jaffa High Council were able to change the government of the Jaffa Nation and form a democracy.

A year later, the newest military leader, Se'tak, used the Dakara Weapon to attack an Ori-controlled planet to takeover the landed battlecruiser to turn the tide against the Ori. The Tau'ri were angry with using the genocide weapon but Se'tak claimed that desperate measures had to be taken and they will no longer rely on another race. However, the Orici, Adria, had survived and found out the location of Dakara and destroyed the weapon, devestating the Jaffa Nation and killing much of its leadership. With the destruction of Dakara and its superweapon, nothing remained to unite the Jaffa and the Free Jaffa Nation is now in turmoil.