Tau'ri is the name the Goa'uld gave to the humans of The First World, called such because it is where humans evolved into being. Therefore, the First World is Earth. All humans in the Milky Way galaxy are descended from the Tau'ri of Earth.
The humans of Earth are the ancestors of all humans in the Milky Way galaxy. They evolved on Earth after the device on Dakara was used to re-seed life in the Milky Way (8.18 "Threads").
Ten thousand years ago, Ra found Earth as he was looking for new hosts for his dying race, the parasitic Goa'uld. He found the human body to be very a suitable host, perhaps for its beauty, and also because of the ease of healing and keeping it young through use of the sarcophagus. He named those humans "Tau'ri". (Stargate: The Movie, 1.03 "The Enemy Within")
During his succeeding occupation of Earth, Ra assumed the persona of the Egyptian sun-god Ra and was worshipped by the Tau'ri in that region. Other System Lords followed suit, co-opting many Egyptian gods, from Apophis to Thoth.
As they were setting themselves up as gods on Earth, the Goa'uld also took many humans away from Earth and placed them on habitable planets throughout the galaxy. Some became hosts, some Jaffa, and the rest slaves. (1.03 "The Enemy Within")
Perhaps on Earth, or perhaps on the newly settled planets, some Goa'uld moved on to co-opting other Earth cultures. This may have been to match the cultures of the people they had taken. These Goa'uld took on the personas of mythical Mayan, Chinese, Celtic, Central American, Greek, and Slavic gods, to name a few that the SGC encountered once it began exporing through the Stargate.
In any case, the displaced humans settled on their new worlds and multiplied over the generations, perhaps branching out to still more worlds. While they no longer called themselves Tau'ri, the majority retained their original cultures. The civilizations that remained under Goa'uld rule had their development slowed severely, so that they never developed the ideas or technology that would make them a threat to their masters. These worlds include Abydos, Chulak, and Argos, to name but a few. (1.01 "Children of the Gods", 1.09 "Brief Candle", 1.10 "Thor's Hammer")
But some societies revolted against the Goa'uld, including the Egyptians of Earth. They rose up against Ra and drove him away, then buried the Stargate so that Ra could not return in that way again (Stargate: The Movie). The Goa'uld eventually forgot about Earth, and the story of the Tau'ri and their First World became a legend to the humans who had been placed on their own paths on new worlds.
The SGC learned the term Tau'ri from Teal'c, who explained the legend to them before he even realized he was on The First World (1.03 "The Enemy Within"):
There is a tale of a primitive world the Goa'uld discovered millennia ago. The Tau'ri. The First World where forms of this type evolved. It is said the Goa'uld harvested among the primitives, some became Goa'uld hosts, others became Jaffa; the rest were taken as slaves and seeded among the stars to serve them. But that world has been lost for centuries.
There were other alien influences on Earth in early human history. The Ancients returned to Earth at about the same time Ra did (6.04 "Frozen"). They spread the legend of Atlantis to the Greeks as well as influencing the Romans via development of the Latin language. There is no evidence that the Ancients interacted with the Goa'uld, however.
The Asgard also were involved early on in human development. They took on the personas of Norse gods, though it is not clear if this was done on Earth or only in other settlements where humans had been placed, such as Cimmeria (1.10 "Thor's Hammer").
Later, the Ancient Merlin wielded great influence in Britain when he took human form and went on to impact that culture through all of the events we now call Arthurian Legend. He went a step further, setting up midieval societies throughout the galaxy, no doubt using a seed population from Earth. Presumably these were on planets unknown to the Goa'uld. (10.11 "The Quest Part 2")
- Stargate Movie Highlights
- 1.03 "The Enemy Within"
- 1.09 "Brief Candle"
- 1.10 "Thor's Hammer"
- 6.04 "Frozen"
- 8.18 "Threads"
- 10.11 "The Quest Part 2"
- Argos (P3X-8596)
- Cimmeria (P3X-974)
- Goa'uld Language
- Gods and Goddesses
- Stargate Command (SGC)
- Weapon On Dakara
--Michelle 13:35, 26 May 2007 (PDT)