Star Wars Glossary: Battle of Yavin

Battle of Yavin
Rebel X-wing starfighters fly past the planet Yavin on their way to battle the Death Star. Lucasfilm Ltd.

The Battle of Yavin occurred at the end of Episode IV: A New Hope, when the Rebels fought the Emperor and destroyed the first Death Star. Because of the battle's significance, fans used it as a dating system for other events in the Star Wars universe, dating them Before the Battle of Yavin (BBY) or After the Battle of Yavin (ABY). This later became an in-universe calendar system used by the New Republic.


Yavin is a gas giant planet with 26 moons. Shortly before the Battle of Yavin, the Rebel Alliance moved their base to the jungle-like moon Yavin 4. The Empire tracked the Rebels to Yavin 4 by following the escaped Milennium Falcon and prepared to destroy the Rebel base.

But Princess Leia, with the help of R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker, had secured the plans to the Death Star. The Rebels located a weak point: proton torpedoes fired through a small exhaust port could hit the main reactor and destroy the Death Star. Luke Skywalker was eventually able to fire the destructive shot with the help of the Force.

The Battle of Yavin was the first major Rebel victory of the Galactic Civil War. The Rebels had shown that they could stand up against the Empire's most destructive weapon ​and, therefore, proved themselves as a military force to be reckoned with and not just a minor political nuisance. Thousands of systems were inspired to join the Rebel cause.

However, the Rebels suffered heavy losses, with only a few Rebel pilots surviving the battle. Afterwards, they moved their base to the remote ice planet Hoth to hide from the Empire.