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An Explanation for the “Fatal: refusing to merge unrelated histories” Error

If your development team wants to keep up with the changes in source code, you need a Version Control System (VCS). Git, which has been around since 2005, is used by virtually every development team to version and archive their source code. Meanwhile, it is common to come across some errors while you are in the middle of working on a git project, such as: “Fatal: refusing to merge unrelated histories.”

You will undoubtedly run into various error types using Git, the most common source control platform, and you’re not alone. So in this blog post, you’ll learn what this error means and how you can fix it.

What Does the Error Mean?

This error message appears when you try to merge two git repositories that have no common commit history. In other words, the two repositories are entirely unrelated.

Let’s say you’ve created a new Git repository on your computer and have started committing changes; now, you want to pull information from a remote repository. Because the local repository and the remote repository have diverged in their histories, Git is now unable to merge the two.

One more situation can be corrupt data. If the underlying data is corrupted or the repository data is removed, this error will occur during the merge process regardless of where the repository is physically located. And if you have cloned a project that contains faulty downloads, you may also encounter this problem. This issue occurs because Git lacks enough information to analyze the repository’s layout and contents properly.

How Do You Fix It? 

Way 1

There are two ways to fix this error. The first is to use the –allow-unrelated-histories flag when you run the Git merge command. For example, if you’re trying to merge the develop branch into the main branch, you would run the following command: $ Git merge –allow-unrelated-histories develop.

Way 2

The second way to fix this error is to use the rebase instead of merge. Rebase will attempt to create a new base commit that includes all of the commits from both branches. To do this, you first need to checkout the branch that you want to rebase onto another branch. For example, if you rebase the develop branch onto the main branch, you would run the following command: $ git checkout develop.

Next, you need to run the rebase command with the name of the branch that you want to rebase onto as an argument. In this example, that would be the master. So, the entire command would look like this: $ Git rebase master.

That’s it! Once that command has finished running, your branches will be merged, and you won’t get the error anymore.

Git is unquestionably a potent tool, and it’s a lot more intricate than it may at first appear. However, the Git community is fantastic, and the Internet is rife with tools that can assist you in fixing whatever problems you’re encountering. So if you’ve ever gotten the “Fatal: refusing to merge unrelated histories” error when trying to merge two git repositories, don’t worry! You now know what this error means and how you can easily fix it using either the –allow-unrelated-histories flag or by using rebase instead of merge.

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