One of the most remote and lifeless planets in the known galaxy, Hoth was of no real interest to the Republic until it became the site of a devastating military defeat. At the height of the Great War, Republic and Imperial fleets clashed in the Hoth system in a decisive battle which saw the destruction of some of the most advanced and powerful starships in the galaxy.
In the aftermath of the battle, the icy planet of Hoth became a massive starship graveyard, littered with the wreckage of hundreds of warships from both sides, including several prototype ships the Republic had deployed in the hope of turning the tide of the war. As the war raged on, though, neither the Republic nor the Empire had the time and resources to mount a recovery operation.
Upon learning of the wealth of technology abandoned on Hoth, an ambitious pirate confederation started their own salvage operation. They brought an army of droids and mercenaries and began looting all useful remnants from the wreckage in an effort to piece together their own battle cruisers and create a pirate armada.
In the wake of the Treaty of Coruscant, however, both Republic and Empire have returned to reclaim what's left of their war machines, and Hoth has become a point of considerable contention. Despite the peace and the planet's remote location, skirmishes have broken out often, and now both superpowers have become entrenched—committed to fighting for Hoth until the cold, bitter end.