When Primus first created the Transformers, a race of living robots with the ability to transform their bodies into the forms of machines, weaponry, and vehicles, they were all Autobots, and he perceived that they were excellent. The visage of the Last Autobot, the dozing protector that Primus departed on the day his schemes materialized, served as the inspiration for the Autobot insignia, also known as the Autobrand.
Only 13 Autobots existed at beginning, but as they developed, their species grew to encompass the whole planet. The Transformers lost all memory of the procedure when a mechanism was activated and the appropriate population level was attained. Although the dark religion of Unicron would not yield fruit for a long time, at some point in these early days Unicron was able to reach through the mental link he shared with Primus and sow the seeds of corruption in a few Autobots.
After ages of rather calm eons. Autobot civilization developed its own customs, organizations, nation-states, and political systems. This society seemed to humans like that of classical Rome. Overlords dominated above all else, while senators and emirates either wisely or corruptly controlled, priests worshipped Primus and handed his sacred Matrix to the selected bearer (the lineage: Prima to Prime Nova, Prime Nova to Sentinel Prime).
War split the populace and the terms “Autobot” and “Transformer” ceased to be required synonyms only with the arrival of Megatron at the end of the Golden Age, which coincided with the passing of the last hereditary Overlord and the subsequent emergence of the Decepticons.
The Decepticon war machine outclassed the Autobots in the early stages of the conflict. They kept falling back, and it seemed like the conflict would end soon. However, a young warrior emerged from among them and inspired the soldiers to fight back. After establishing his reputation by preventing Megatron from entering the Underbase, he quickly advanced to become the head of the Autobots’ elite air corps and, eventually, was given complete leadership of all Autobot forces. After turning the tide, Optimus Prime led the Autobots in a counteroffensive that eventually rendered Megatron’s war machine immobile.
The conflict continued until Autobot scientists realized their planet would soon travel through a lethal belt of asteroids. They focused on planetary salvation and built the Ark, putting the global struggle on hold for the time being.
Optimus sent the Ark into space with a few of his finest troops, paving the way for the world to pass through the asteroid field. Unfortunately, Megatron and his Decepticons ambushed them once their energy from that heroic mission was exhausted. Both ships’ crews perished and were lost to history.
With Megatron and Prime gone, the fight moved much more slowly. Fighting persisted even so, as both sides dug in for a protracted, terrible war. Emirate Xaaron commanded the Autobot armies in their battle to reclaim their homeworld while Prime was away.
As is often the case, the following four million years went by swiftly and without any significant changes to the environment—just a general deterioration. Cybertron finally received word that Optimus Prime and his army had survived! The fact that a new front in the conflict was opened meant that this news came at a heavy price. While Xaaron and his Wreckers continued the battle for Cybertron, Optimus Prime and his soldiers engaged the Decepticons on the far-off planet of Earth.
Even though Prime was committed to defending Earth, there was tension between the Autobots and Humans. All Transformers were seen as dangers by humanity, and they attacked any that they came across, regardless of faction. The government organization tasked with opposing the Transformers, the Intelligence and Information Institute, was either unable or unwilling to distinguish between factions, despite industrialist G.B. Blackrock’s attempts to tell the public that there were two factions, with the Autobots being the benign faction.
Shortly after his survival was confirmed, Optimus Prime met his demise on Earth due to a tragic event. Grimlock, the Dinobot commander, assumed command of Prime’s army, but he preferred to forsake Earth in favor of Cybertron once more.
Approximately concurrently, the formidable Autobot fighter Fortress Maximus arrived at a crucial conclusion. He was done with the conflict and would leave it behind if he could not put an end to it. He gathered a sizable group of soldiers who shared his outlook on life and departed Cybertron for the planet Nebulos in search of a fresh start and harmony. It was not meant to be. Maximus was followed by Decepticons, who created a third front in the conflict. Ultimately, both sides left Nebulos, and Maximus guided them to Earth so they could join forces with Optimus Prime’s army.
But when they got there, they found Grimlock to be less than hospitable and Prime dead. A catastrophic Decepticon onslaught halted Grimlock and Maximus’s effort to install a single Autobot leader through trial by fight. The silver lining of it all was that they managed to set aside their disagreements and Optimus Prime was soon resurrected to assume command of the Earth-based forces once more.
The Autobots discovered that the legends they had heard about Primus were true and that Unicron was now pursuing them. Optimus Prime offered the Autobots’ unconditional surrender to the Decepticons, reasoning that the loss and corruption of the Creation Matrix would force the two factions to unite against the impending threat. It succeeded, and in time to prevent Unicron, the Matrix was recovered and cleansed. In the fight, Grimlock once again became the Autobot commander, this time over all Autobots, as Optimus Prime and Emirate Xaaron were both dead.