Mandalorians are a group of warriors in the Star Wars universe. The name usually refers to the native human population of the planet Mandalore; however, some humans from other worlds as well as members of different species occupy their ranks. They commonly act as mercenaries or bounty hunters. One Mandalorian, Tarre Vizsla, became the first of his people to join the Jedi. His Darksaber, a rare, black-bladed lightsaber variant, became the symbol of the ruling house of Mandalore, passing down from leader to leader through successive generations after it was taken from the Jedi Temple until Darth Maul became ruler of Mandalore after defeating and killing Pre Vizsla, its previous wielder. The weapon was eventually recovered by Sabine Wren of House Vizsla, who would use it as a symbol to unite the Mandalorians under her banner. Mandalorians were once common in the galaxy, but roughly five years after the Battle of Endor, they were almost on the verge of extinction due to the Galactic Empire committing genocide against them in an event known as The Great Purge that killed off most of the people on their planet and resulted in most of their precious beskar armor being melted down as spoils of war. Only a few tribes, such as that of Din Djarin, survived by hiding in secrecy.
Mandalorians began as a clan-based ethnic group that consisted of multiple species that lived on Manadalore itself. Combat was the cornerstone of their culture, and they had a strong sense of honor. When that honor was threatened, they would engage in single combat to settle disputes, usually to the death. Even leadership could be settled through single combat. During the reign of Duchess Satine Kryze, the Mandalorians became more pacifistic, and mostly had abandoned these ways, but took up the old ways again after Pre Vizsla and later Darth Maul took over Mandalore.
Clan structure for Mandalorians was like a pyramid, with the ruler, or Mand'alor, ruling over all the clans, served by the Protectors, who enforced their leader's will. Beneath them ruled the Houses, which were political factions formed from Clans. A perfect example of this were Clan Wren and Clan Vizsla, which were part of House Vizsla. The martial ways of the ancient Mandalorians were abandoned by Duchess Satine, who instead utilized a police force that were armed with shields, blasters and electropoles.
Mandalorians are extremely fond of combat and consider dying in battle to be the greatest honor. This has caused many of them to become mercenaries and bounty hunters when no conflict was happening. When in battle they are very brutal, often showing no mercy to their foes, occasionally including civilians. However, the Mandalorian creed does hold a soft spot for children. It states that any orphaned child found by a Mandalorian whether during a mission or otherwise must be protected and trained as a foundling. When the child is of age he/she can decide whether to become a full-fledged Mandalorian or leave to find his/her own path. Mandalorians are also shown to have no gender bias in their society, having both men and women with equal status. And while Mandalorians are most often thought of as humans, many non-humans have been inducted into their way of life, often as foundlings. These alien members are treated no-differently than the human members.
However, Mandalorian culture and society are far from unified. There existed several different individual tribes, clans, and houses throughout the galaxy, each one following the basic ways of Mandalorian culture but with their own respective interpretations to those beliefs. Among these denominations of Mandalorian culture were the Protectors of Concord Dawn, who were descended from Mandalorian colonists that settled on the planet. Another was the Children of the Watch, a tribe that sought to restore the ancient way of the Mandalore, which caused them to be regarded as religious zealots by mainstream mandalorians.
Mandalorians utilized a mixture of hand-to-hand combat as well as utilizing the gadgets in their bracers and their blasters. Artistically, they were very fond of Cubism during the era of the Clone Wars. Their armor usually had a honeycomb le motif or angled lines and shapes, and was retrofitted mainly to combat the abilities of Jedi, often having megnetized boots, flamethrowers, snares, hidden blades and sonic repulsors. Mandalorians traditionally had T-shaped visors on their helmets to make them more menacing.
War dominated Mandalorian culture from its infancy. The Mandalorians also rode Mythosaurs (the creature that became the symbol of their people) until they went extinct. When their inter-clan wars turned into dreams of expansion to other worlds, the Mandalorians cut a vast swathe of battle across other worlds including Krownest and Concord Dawn in a series of brutal crusades in which they wielded swords. Eventually, they spread to the galaxy's inner rim as far as Ubduria, where they devastated the planet out of viewing the natives as cowards.
Eventually, the Mandalorians came into conflict with the Jedi. At first, they were taken by surprise due to the use of the Force the Jedi employed, but quickly adapted to fight them using weapons that would keep the Jedi off-balance, such as dart launchers, flamethrowers and jetpacks. Their armor and fighting styles also evolved to combat the abilities of the Jedi as well. As a result, they began winning conflicts against them, earning themselves the well-deserved reputation of being among the few warriors in the galaxy capable of matching Jedi in battle. This conflict continued for generations, even remembered thousands of years later.
In spite of this, Mandalorians did not always war with Jedi. Tarre Viszla, member of House Viszla, was the first Mandalorian to ever join the Jedi Order, and created the Darksaber as his weapon. Sometime during his life, Tarre Viszla became the ruler of Mandalore, using it to unite the warring clans of his people under his banner. Tarre Viszla was later honored with a statue after he died, and his Darksaber was stolen back from the Jedi by House Viszla during an attack by the Mandalorians on Coruscant. They then used it to unite their clans and rule supreme over their planet.
Mandalorian armor is also known as beskar'gam (iron skin) in the Mandalorian language, and is worn exclusively by warriors. It is worn by both men and women, and while it gives excellent protection, it also creates a common appearance regardless of species or gender. The highest quality sets are made by lightsaber-resistant beskar (Mandalorian Iron), but the exceptionally high cost and rarity of beskar has led to the use of durasteel, alum, and duraplast in armor production. Mandalorian metalsmiths have traditionally kept the methods for working beskar into an alloy a highly guarded secret, but the element could be mixed with other metals such as ciridium to create a highly dense and almost indestructible set of armor.
The armor had become somewhat of a rare site in the times leading up to the Clone Wars. The armor became popular once again among Mandalorians after the fall of the New Mandalorians in 20 BBY. Five years after the Battle of Endor, Mandalorian armor became rare again after the near-extinction of the Mandalorian people at the hands of the Galactic Empire. Most of the armor and the Beskar'gam it was made from harvested by the Galactic Empire during this time was relegated to the smelting pits as spoils of war.