"In the seventy-five years since the Dark Days—when 13 was said to have been obliterated in the war between the Capitol and the districts—almost all new construction has been beneath the earth's surface. There was already a substantial underground facility here, developed over centuries to be either a clandestine refuge for government leaders in time of war or a last resort for humanity if life above became unlivable. Most important for the people of 13, it was the center of the Capitol's nuclear weapons development program. During the Dark Days, the rebels in 13 wrested control from the government forces, trained their nuclear missiles on the Capitol, and then struck a bargain: they would play dead in exchange for being left alone. The Capitol had another nuclear arsenal out west, but couldn't attack 13 without certain retaliation. It was forced to accept 13's deal. The Capitol demolished the visible remains of the district and cut off all access from the outside. Perhaps the Capitol's leaders thought that, without help, 13 would die off on its own. It almost did a few times, but it always managed to pull through due to strict sharing of resources, strenuous discipline, and constant vigilance against any further attacks from the Capitol."
―Katniss Everdeen[src]
"After all, it was 13 that started the rebellion that led to the Dark Days, and then abandoned the rest of the districts when the tide turned against it."
―President Snow[src]

The Dark Days is a term commonly used to describe the collapse of the First Rebellion in Panem, which occurred 74 years prior to the beginning of the series.

When the rebellion started going badly, District 13 abandoned the other districts to win freedom. Rebel forces in District 13 wrestled control of the Capitol's nuclear missiles away and trained them on the Capitol, hoping to destroy the Capitol even if the result was mutually assured destruction.

Ceasefire Deal

However, District 13 set up a secret ceasefire deal with the Capitol: they would withdraw their forces from the war and present the illusion that Capitol bombers equipped with toxic bombs destroyed District 13. District 13 withdrew and rebuilt their district underground.

  • The Capitol's bombers destroyed the district on the surface using toxic bombs. Without District 13's aid, the remaining rebel forces were defeated by the Capitol. 
  • Despite the agreement, it is revealed in Catching Fire District 13 citizens continued to function in an underground facility with technology on par with that of the Capitol's, and helped the remaining twelve districts win the Second Rebellion and their freedom.

After the War

After the Capitol defeated the districts in the first rebellion, the Treaty of Treason was put into effect. This founded the Hunger Games event as a reminder of the first rebellion and stated that each district had to select one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 by a lottery system each year. The children selected were to fight to the death in an arena until only one remained.

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