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Drema IV was first surveyed in 2365 by the USS Enterprise-D, whose crew discovered became the first Starfleet vessel to survey the planet. It was discovered that dilithium lattices beneath the planet's crust were converting geothermal energy into seismic activity, making the planet's crust highly unstable. The Enterprise acted to disrupt these reactions by firing a series of class-1 probes fitted with harmonic resonators, thus shattering the lattices and preventing the planet from tearing itself apart. (TNG episode: "Pen Pals")
In late 2367, Drema IV was invaded by an alien race, known only as the Exiles. Using superior weaponry and technology, the Exiles forced the Dremans into servitude, forcing them to mine dilithium for the Exiles' ships. Approximately ten months later, the Dremans rebelled. Given their superior numbers, they were able to defeat the Exiles.
The Dremans' mining efforts had also unearthed the Enterprise probes. Recognizing these had come from a more benevolent alien race, and fearing the return of the Exiles, the Dremans contacted the Federation for assistance. Formal first contact was made by Ambassador Lanara Diol in late 2368, who reported to the Federation Council that, although Drema IV was still a pre-warp culture, their situation was analogous to that of Bajor following the end of the Cardassian Occupation, and thus should be granted status as a Federation protectorate. The Council voted in early 2369 in favor of this proposal, and also authorized the construction of a starbase, Drema Station, within the Drema system.