The Ansata originated in 2296, when the Rutian government denied the western continent independence. Since then, they have committed numerous terrorist acts in pursuit of their cause. The Rutian government responded with mass arrests and prison brutality, leading to an escalating cycle of violence that embittered and radicalized both sides.
In 2366, the Ansata were led by Kyril Finn and were based in an underground facility on the southern tip of the eastern continent. At this time, Rutian authorities thought that the group numbered only 200 actual members, though there were over 5,000 sympathizers who provided weapons and supplies and participated in pro-Ansata rallies, general strikes, and riots.
During this year, the Ansata developed a folded-space transport technology called an inverter that allowed them to transport themselves instantly and undetectably to any location, greatly increasing the threat they posed. However, the use of the inverter eventually caused debilitating, irreversible damage to the Ansata members' DNA.
When the USS Enterprise-D visited Rutia IV to deliver medical supplies, Finn saw an opportunity to draw the Federation into the conflict. Taking advantage of the inverter, he had Doctor Beverly Crusher and Captain Jean-Luc Picard abducted, and held them in order to demand that the Federation impose a blockade on the planet until the Rutian government agreed to Federation-mediated talks. Enterprise personnel were able to track the inverter, allowing them and the Rutian police to raid the Ansata base and rescue the hostages. In the process, Finn was killed by Rutian police officer Alexana Devos, who hoped his death would temporarily alleviate the violence. (TNG: "The High Ground")