The Galactic Dark Age (or Dark Ages, Years of Chaos, Black Times, Silent Era, and The Collapse) is a period of approximately three decades from 2788 to 2821 in which the majority of nations in the galaxy were suddenly engulfed in political and environmental turmoil, with most governments collapsing.
The exact origins of the Dark Ages are uncertain, and little is known about the events due to records from that time being difficult to comprehend.
Another theory for the Dark Age is a large-scale disaster of some sort. What sort of disaster could cause such a wide-ranging collapse is unknown, though some theorize that a plague or the emergence of an unknown race are the most plausible.
A plague that affected all species and was particularly devastating to the Uplifters would explain their rapid abandonment of their vassals and withdrawal from the galaxy, as well as providing a reason for the humans who colonized Akanda to not seeking to maintain constant contact with their homeworld. This would coincide with the Plague of the Prideful in Rakashian history. While many claim this would provide a reason for the abandonment of the galaxy by the Uplifters, opponents continue to counter with the inability of a plague to have destroyed all records.
The sudden appearance of a powerful nation of conquerers who took on the might of the galaxy and defeated the Uplifters, or at the very least beat them back into the unknown regions of space, are another theorized explanation for the Dark Ages. This would explain the lack of records from this time period, as widespread and constant assault with electromagnetic pulses would destroy or corrupt data. The appearance of an unknown invading alien race to Ras Utiku lends credence to this theory, while critics cite that this requires that an invading superpower had somehow been defeated with no record left.
Likewise, a combination of a plague and invading nation is also theorized, as it would coincide with two known galactic events from Rakashian history. The unlikely - but not impossible - invasion of the galaxy by a race of conquerors just as the galaxy was suffering the effects of a plague would explain the defeat of the Uplifters and the lack of records.
The Earth Federation and Centauri Confederacy ended their conflict, the 100 Years War, two years prior to the Dark Ages. With the two Great Powers in the galaxy - both of whom had spent a Century pushing Mythril technology and applications to their limits - no longer at war, and the Confederacy collapsed, it is possible that an unknown effect of Federation researchers combining the Mythril-based technologies of the Centauri to their own caused unforeseen consequences which reacted negatively with galactic technology.
Another theory is that Centauri remnants detonated a Mythril superweapon of unparalleled power intending to destroy the entirety of Federation technology, accidentally causing the Collapse rather than the destruction they sought.
The disappearance of the unknown alien race controlling the Sirian vassal army coincides with the start of the Dark Ages. Outdated historical models claim that the Uplifters were the source of the Dark Age, waging their war for an indeterminate goal and disappearing when it was accomplished, triggering galactic collapse after pushing the nations of the galaxy to their limits for so many years.
However, many scholars insist that the cause and effect are inverted, with the Dark Ages being responsible for the disappearance of the Uplifters. Claiming that they were somehow capable of foreseeing the impending events, it is theorized that they hurriedly abandoned their conquests and disappeared in order to shield themselves from the approaching disaster.
The circumstances surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Hakim III and the Regency of Grand Marshal Attallah one year prior to the Dark Ages is repeatedly cited by conspiracy theorists as proof that the Zehir were responsible for the Dark Ages, claiming that they control galactic society and are responsible for all the wars in the galaxy. Specifically, while all of the governments that had already established contact with them collapsed during the Dark Ages (with the exception of the Uplifters and their vassals), the Zehir themselves closed off their borders with their government remaining intact during that time.