In early 1998 two of the three, long-lived anticyclonic, jovian white ovals merged. In 2000 the two remaining white ovals merged into one. Here we examine that behavior, as well as the dynamics of three earlier epochs: the Formation Epoch (1939-1941), during which a nearly axisymmetric band broke apart to form the vortices; the Kármán Vortex Street Epoch (1941-1994), during which the white ovals made up the southern half of two rows of vortices, and their locations oscillated in longitude such that the white ovals often closely approached each other but did not merge; and the Pre-merger Epoch (1994-1997), during which the three white ovals traveled together with intervening cyclones from the northern row of the Kármán vortex street in a closely spaced group with little longitudinal oscillation. We use a quasi-geostrophic model and large-scale numerical simulation to explain the dynamics. Our models and simulations are consistent with the observations, but none of the observed behavior is even qualitatively possible without assuming that there are long-lived, coherent cyclones longitudinally interspersed with the white ovals. Without them, the white ovals approach each other and merge on a fast, advective timescale (4 months). A necessary ingredient that allows the vortices to travel together in a small packet without spreading apart is that the strong, eastward-flowing jetstream south of the white ovals is coincident with a sharp gradient in background potential vorticity. The jet forms a Rossby wave and a trough of the wave traps the white ovals. In our simulations, the three white ovals were trapped before they merged. Without being trapped, the amount of energy needed to perturb two white ovals so that they merge exceeds the atmosphere's turbulent energy (which corresponds to velocities of ˜1 m s -1) by a factor of ˜100. The mergers of the white ovals BC and DE were not observed directly, so there is ambiguity in labeling the surviving vortices and identifying which vortices might have exchanged locations. The simulation and modeling make the identifications clear. They also predict the fate of the surviving white oval and of the other prominent jovian vortex chains.