Goblins have existed in Warcraft lore since ancient times. The earliest record of their existence was during the War of the Ancients. Neltharion (who would be later known as Deathwing) had enlisted many Goblins to help him create the Dragon Soul/Demon Soul. At the time, Goblins were thought of as little more than rodents. They were thought of as intelligent beings, but tricky and evil. Later in the war, Deathwing's body erupted in molten magma from using the Demon Soul, and he enlisted the Goblins to help him create Adamantium plates to hold his body together. After the war and the Sundering, Goblins spread to many places in Azeroth, but seemed to find a home on the island of Kezan.
Trolls occupied most of Kezan at the time, using Goblins to mine kaja'mite for their voodoo. The more the Goblins were exposed to the ore, the more intelligent they became. They sensed that the ore found in the tunnels of Mount Kajaro had some special enchantments to it, and kept much of it for themselves. Their increasing intelligence caused them to make armor and weapons that were more advanced than other races, and started developing technology. The Goblins then claimed the tunnels they dug out within Kajaro as their capital city, naming it the Undermine.
After the Undermine was established, Goblins created technology that was more advanced than technology today. They sold it in openly, and words of their numerous inventions spread. However, kaja'mite soon started to dwindle, and with it, the intelligence of the Goblin race. Soon enough, Goblin technology became more crude and other races didn't trust their technology, as it was likely to explode. Instead, Goblins started to become interested in trade, and made the first Trade Fleets, exploring the world. rumors have it they were also looking for more kaja'mite.
Goblins started to see that war was a good time to make lots of money, and built their trading empire during the first war. They established cartels run by Trade Princes. By the time of the second war, their empire was well-known around the world. Many Goblins remained neutral, but one Trade Prince and his cartel joined the Horde, feeling they would win. Other Goblins felt remaining neutral would gain them more money. Such activities have remained until now. The only real known cartels are the Steamwheedle Cartel and the Bilgewater Cartel. However,t here are many other Goblin factions, such as Smokywood Pastures, the Blackwater Raiders, the Trade Coalition, etc.
The Steamwheedle Cartel has remained slightly neutral in the war between the Horde and the Alliance. They seem to keep more toward Horde territory, but will openly trade with the Alliance as well. Any fighting within a Steamwheedle city is quickly ended by a Bruiser, who keeps the peace and neutrality within the city's walls. The Leader of Steamwheedle is Trade Prince Steamwheedle, and his lieutenants are Gazlowe, Baron Revilgaz, and Marin Noggenfogger, to name a few. This cartel is one of the largest.
The Bilgewater Cartel has had a more involved story in recent times. They owned the northern shore of Kezan, known as Bilgewater Port. In comparisson to other places int he world, perhaps in Gnomeregan, it is "futuristic", with technology that most other races could never imagine. Around the same time as the Cataclysm, a new leader for the Bilgewater Cartel was being considered, and during a game of footbomb, Deathwing appeared, yelling about the Hour of Twilight. Mount Kajaro started to erupt, and the Goblins left Kezan, spending their life savings for refuge on Trade Prince Gallywix's ship...Little did they know, it was a slave ship.
On their way off Kezan to Azshara, a naval battle between an Alliance fleet and a single Horde ship was discovered. The Alliance fired at the Goblin slave ship, and what remained of the Bilgewater Cartel was stranded on the Lost Isles. Through the events on the islands, they discovered kaja'mite, pygmies, the pygmy turtle god, the Alliance soldiers, and the Horde. They found a friend within the Horde by rescuing Thrall from the Alliance fleet. Trade Prince Gallywix was brought to justice for his actions by Thrall, who commanded him to join the Horde, and lead his people well. Gallywix agreed, but perhaps didn't keep up to his promise. The Bilgewater joined the Horde, establishing a new port on the shores of Azshara, and reshaping Azshara to look like the Horde symbol.
The fate of Kezan and the Undermine are unknown, but if anyone could figure out a way to keep the Undermine going, it's the Goblins.
Trade Prince Steamwheedle - Leader of the Steamwheedle Cartel
Baron Revilgaz - Leader of Booty Bay and the Blackwater Raiders
Engineer Gazlowe - Leader of Ratchet
Marin Noggenfogger - Leader of Gadgetzan
The Great Pisani - Mayor of Fuselight-by-the-Sea
Trade Baron Silversnap - Leader of Bogpaddle
Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix - Leader of the Bilgewater Cartel
Trade Prince Donais - Associate of Gallywix
Boss Mida - Gallywix's Second-in-Command
Sassy Hardwrench - Leader of Hardwrench Hideaway
Kryll - Served Deathwing during the Second and Third wars
Landro Longshot - Trading Card Game reward vendor
Mogul Razdunk - Leader of the Venture company
Booty Bay, Stranglethorn Vale
Ratchet, Northern Barrens
Bogpaddle, Swamp of Sorrows
Mudsprocket, Dustwallow Marsh
Bilgewater Port, Kezan
Town-in-a-Box, Lost Isles
Bilgewater Lumber Yard, Lost Isles
Bilgewater Harbor, Azshara
Gallywix's Pleasure Palace, Azshara
The Secret Lab, Azshara
Goblin Slums, Orgrimmar
Area 52, Netherstorm
K3, Storm Peaks
Trade Coalition/Trade Fleets
Venture Trading Company
Kajaro Trading Company (KTC)
Braintrust of Orbital Operations and Mechanics (B.O.O.M.)
Notable Goblin Inventions:
For more information, please visit: http://www.wowpedia.org/Goblin