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Empire rankEthiopia
Primary culture
Amhara (Cushitic)

Capital province
Gonder (1224)

Negusa Nagast Monarchy Government monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
East AfricanEast African technology group
Ethiopian ideas
Ambox outdated info.png Please help with verifying or updating this infobox. It was last verified for version 1.33.

Traditions.png Traditions:

−10% Land attrition
−0.05 Monthly autonomy change

Yearly prestige.png Solomonid Claim

+1 Yearly prestige

Chance of new heir.png Negusa Negast

+50% Chance of new heir
+1 Yearly legitimacy

Fort defense.png Hostile Borders

+20% Fort defense
−0.03 Monthly war exhaustion

Diplomatic reputation.png Diplomatic Demeanor

+1 Diplomatic reputation

Missionaries.png The Ark of the Covenant

+1 Missionary

Core-creation cost.png Expansionist Policy

−10% Core-creation cost

Army tradition.png Reformed Armies

+0.5 Yearly army tradition

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+5% Discipline

Ethiopia is a medium-sized country in eastern Africa, just north of the Horn of Africa. In 1444, it shares a border with its vassals, Flag of Damot Damot and Flag of Hadiya Hadiya, and with Flag of Alodia Alodia, Flag of Beja Beja, Flag of Medri Bahri Medri Bahri, Flag of Adal Adal, and Flag of Janjiro Janjiro. Starting with an Empire-rank government and control of a Coptic holy site, Ethiopia has the potential to be not just a contender for African superiority but to challenge for control of the Arabian peninsula and the Middle East.

Ethiopian Government[edit | edit source]

The Ethiopian government starts with a unique Tier 1 reform called Negusa Nagast Monarchy. It gives the following benefits:

  • National unrest.png -1 National Unrest
  • Stability.png -10% Stability Cost
  • -75% Move Capital Cost
  • Has Itinerant Capital
  • Allows recruiting Cawa

It triggers the event The Itinerant Capital of Ethiopia which provides a monthly autonomy change of +0.20 for the rest of the game called Decentralized State. To balance this out the area the capital is located receives the following benefits:

  • Local unrest.png -2 Local Unrest
  • Minimum local autonomy -15 Minimum Local Autonomy
  • Autonomy.png -0.25 Month Autonomy Change
  • Devastation.png -0.25 Monthly Devastation
  • Prosperity icon m.png +0.003 Local Prosperity Growth

Moving the capital provides the country modifier of Capital Reorganization of +1000% Move Capital Cost for 5 years. Completing the mission Centralize the State will allow you to unlock the Solomonic Empire reform which can replace the Negusa Nagast Monarchy reform.

Missions[edit | edit source]

Main article: Ethiopian missions

After the Songhai 1.32 patch, the new mission chains for Ethiopia are primarily focused around the liberation of the copts in the Middle East, the legacy of the Empire of Flag of Aksum Aksum and the contact with the Europeans.

Events[edit | edit source]

Main article: Ethiopian events

Ethiopia's events focus on imperial traditions. There are also two event chains regarding relations with Flag of Portugal Portugal and the Flag of Mamluks Mamluks.

Reformation[edit | edit source]


Execute decision.pngRestore Solomonid's Legacy

The empire of Ethiopia is the spiritual successor of the Aksumite Empire, the home of the son of the legendary king Solomon and the queen of Sheba and the defender of the Coptic faith. Their fall has been a tragedy for the Ethiopian Coptic faith, but the spirit of Ethiopia still lives on - waiting to be revived by a worthy successor like us!

Potential requirements

The country:

If the country is AI-controlled then it:

Playing with normal or historical nations


Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia does not exist.
The country:


The country:

  • becomes Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia.
  • gains Yearly prestige.png 25 prestige.
  • gets new Mission.png missions if Origins.png 'Origins' DLC is active
  • becomes an Empire rank Empire
  • moves the Capital.png capital to Gonder (1224)
  • gets the Msg event.png event ‘New Traditions & Ambitions’, unless it has custom or Ethiopian ideas
  • removes all provinces from the Holy Roman Empire, if it is a member and not an elector or the emperor.
  • gains a permanent claim on:
    • Tigray area
    • Central Ethiopia area
    • Kaffa area
    • Damot area
    • Shewa area
  • gets “Increased Centralization” for Time Icon.png 20 years, giving:
    • Autonomy.png −0.05 monthly autonomy change,
    • National unrest.png +1 national unrest.

  • AI will always take this decision.
  • AI gives "high priority" (400) to this decision

Strategy[edit | edit source]

Strategy The below is one of many player suggested strategies for Ethiopia. Bear in mind, due to the dynamic nature of the game, it may unfold differently for other players.

Religion[edit | edit source]

Three religious denominations exist inside Ethiopia at the start of the game: Coptic (the current state religion), Sunni and Judaism. While a Jewish Ethiopia may offer an appealing challenge for experienced players, a Coptic or Sunni Ethiopia provides the best opportunity for success.

Coptic Ethiopia[edit | edit source]

As a Coptic nation, Ethiopia can make early use of the unique holy sites mechanic thanks to the site in Aksum. The ability to give a boost to military (through manpower recovery (+10%) or discipline (+2.5%)), religion (through missionary strength (+1.5%)), or other aspects of the nation (through increased yearly legitimacy (+0.5) or reduced core creation cost (-10%) which is arguably one of the strongest points of the Coptic faith) based on the chosen holy site bonus allows Coptic Ethiopia to proliferate at a rapid pace, either through absorbing lesser countries or converting held provinces. Should nearby Flag of Makuria Makuria convert the holy site in Qasr Ibrim from Sunni to Coptic, Ethiopia (as well as all other Coptic nations) will unlock a second Coptic bonus, further increasing Ethiopia's potential power. The conquest of Alexandria from the Flag of Mamluks Mamluks (which will be a short-term goal after domination over the horn of Africa is achieved, as to not let the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans seize control over the area, which will make the conquest of the holy site much more difficult) will unlock another Coptic blessing at your disposal.

When conquering Egypt, it is best to take entire states in a single go. This is because there are a number of events that can grant +2 missionary strength for the whole state, for 10 years, upon taking a specific province in the state. Conversion is thus much easier getting these bonuses, and having it apply to the whole state and not be wasted.

Sunni Ethiopia[edit | edit source]

As a Sunni nation, Ethiopia is less starved for decent allies in the early game. Muslim nations in the Arabia and Persia regions such as Flag of Yemen Yemen, Flag of Hejaz Hejaz, Flag of Persia Persia and Flag of Qara Qoyunlu Qara Qoyunlu -- to say nothing of the mighty Flag of Ottomans Ottomans -- will find becoming friendly with another Sunni nation far more appealing than a Coptic one. As the game progresses, Sunni Ethiopia's expansion will be much smoother than its Coptic counterpart as it will not need to convert Sunni provinces taken through conquest.

Diplomacy[edit | edit source]

Starting as Coptic in a Sunni-dominated area of the world, religious differences can make finding good allies for Ethiopia difficult. Even if Ethiopia converts, there are still Fetishist nations in Africa that will reject alliances unless the player has grown to a formidable size.

Regardless of state religion, Alodia and Makuria are prime targets for early alliances. Their positioning and size means they can provide decent military support while not blocking Ethiopian expansion to the north, east or south. There's even enough space to hand one or both nations a province or two from Beja or the Mamluks to keep the alliance strong.

When seeking larger allies later in the game, the safest strategy is to look for matching religious interests. If Coptic, Christian nations that rival expansionist-leaning powers like Portugal, Flag of Spain Spain, Flag of France France and Flag of England England can make for key assets during territorial wars. If Sunni, the Ottomans, Persia and Flag of Morocco Morocco are excellent candidates, with Morocco having the added perk of also being eager to take Iberian territory from Portugal and/or Spain.

Technology[edit | edit source]

Ethiopia begins with the feudalism institution and the 6/5/5 ruler Zara Yaqob. Nevertheless, your moment of technological parity with Europe and North Africa will quickly start to vanish once the Renaissance begins in 1450.

Speeding up institutions[edit | edit source]

Though not an absolutely necessary strategy, forcing institutions to arise in your lands instead of waiting for them to spread from without provides an excellent return on the investment of monarch points: with a little luck and risk management, you will spend hundreds of monarch points on developing provinces to save thousands of points in increased technology costs in the future, and you won't have to constantly fight wars at a significant technological deficit.

Note that Ethiopia's terrain poses an added challenge to this strategy, though. Without dramatic early territorial expansion, you'll only have rough and arid provinces with significant penalties to development costs to work with. On top of that, the low overall development of your provinces will greatly slow the rate of institution spread.

The least costly provinces to develop within easy reach are two dryland provinces in your east and three dryland provinces initially under Flag of Alodia Alodia's control but often easily acquired. Arid drylands have a 20% development cost penalty, but you can completely offset it by fully unlocking economic ideas and making sure you adopt the encourage development state edict. If you elect for this strategy, it's advisable to set your technology's national focus to administrative technology: should Zara Yaqob live a reasonably long time or his successor have a respectable administration skill, you have a strong chance to finish economic ideas long before the colonialism institution arises.

To speed up institution spreading, if and when you have some spare monarch points, you can spread them evenly developing a line of provinces -- which should include Gondar -- between the two dryland areas and then along a second line from Gondar south to Shewa. The two named provinces start as Ethiopia's most developed provinces and pick up new institutions relatively quickly. The thin smear of added development in the other provinces will make a difference in their adoption speeds and hence institution spread through the core of your territory. Always remember to select the encourage development state edict before spending on development: the -10% savings may seem slight, but the monarch points you save will add up over time.

It's also advisable as Ethiopia to force an institution to spawn as early as is feasible. You can only speed up the slow institutional spread in Ethiopia by so much, and thus an early spawn gives an institution more time to spread before the current technology penalty goes from annoying to onerous.

With the Origins expansion there's another possible way to speed up the adoptations while lowering the cost of instititutions. The unique Ethiopian government reform gives a 75% discount to moving the capital. Once Ethiopia has gains some Europeans allies, these allies will probaly offer to share knowledge. By moving the capital just before the current capital state reaches 100% to another state the knowledge sharing agreement will stay active. Moving the capital is also beneficial for developing the costly to develop Ethiopian heartland by pillaging enemy capital and concentrating development from vassal and unstated territories.

Idea groups[edit | edit source]

Most of the idea groups can well benefit Ethiopia depending on your overall strategies. The below picks merely make use of Ethiopia's particular situation:

As mentioned before, economic ideas helps the institution spawning strategy when fully invested, but its other benefits also directly or indirectly boost income, one of Ethiopia's main weaknesses in the early game. Though income from trade ideas can greatly outstrip income from economic ideas, it's much more the long term investment since it requires Ethiopia to conquer many provinces in several different trade areas before it can overtake economy ideas' income potential.

Innovative ideas can't fully offset technology cost penalties if you choose to let institutions spread to Ethiopia passively. Nevertheless, it's probably the easiest way to improve your monarch point economy, which will take a beating from lagging technology and/or spawning institutions.

Whether going with Sunni or Coptic, Ethiopia can convert other provinces reasonably well without picking up religious ideas. However, the added ease from religious ideas, besides its other nice bonuses, means quicker conversions with fewer frills. Since heretic provinces have a hefty production penalty, rapid conversions will also do much to turn around Ethiopia's economy. Furthermore, stranded in a sea of Islam and Fetishism, a Coptic Ethiopia can get enormous use out of the deus vult idea.

Ethiopia begins with two vassals, can vassalize several neighbors in due time, and can even maneuver into an early personal union with its northern neighbor. Therefore, influence ideas could be a natural fit.

Defensive ideas are always a popular pick to, ironically, improve your armies' offense. However, Ethiopia gets added defensive bang for its buck: the defensive mentality idea stacks its fort defensiveness bonus with Ethiopia's hostile borders national idea for +40% total. When placed among Ethiopia's copious highland and mountain terrains, forts therefore become hideously more difficult for even technologically ahead armies to deal with. And while attrition levels seldom cripple armies, defensive ideas eventually stacks an extra point of attrition on all enemy armies in your territory, most of which already imposes low supply limits, so the viability of delay and a scorched earth defense against a superior enemy significantly improves.

Ethiopia does have viable options for a colonization game as explained below. If you have the urge to colonize the Indian Ocean islands and beyond, you'll need exploration ideas. Even if you have little desire to colonize in Africa, it's hard to pass up all the virtually free provinces for the taking once you expand beyond the Horn of Africa or towards the Sahara, in which case you'd likely want expansion ideas down the line. Keep in mind that it's hard to compete with EU4's big four colonizing countries for lands beyond East Africa once their explorers reach the Indian and Pacific Oceans, so if you take exploration ideas, do so early (perhaps your second group pick) and probably avoid taking expansion ideas later since its colonizing advantages over exploration ideas will be shorter lived.

Expansion[edit | edit source]

Starting as an Empire, Ethiopia should try to unify the horn of Africa as its first objective. Its cultural union makes converting the land much easier, have low unrest, and gives a boost to tax income. Furthermore, the Gulf of Aden trade node is better than the Ethiopia trade node, so moving the capital/trade capital to there can also increase income.

To the north[edit | edit source]

Making noise near the Ottoman Empire -- one of EU4's most dominating presences -- is a risky gambit at the best of times. To lessen the chance of fatal overextension, being on the Ottomans' good side either through an alliance or other arrangement is crucial. Should the Ottoman threat be temporarily pacified, the Flag of Mamluks Mamluks and all connected African territory beyond are ripe for the plundering -- especially if the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans have decided to take a piece out of the Flag of Mamluks Mamluks for themselves.

To the east[edit | edit source]

The Arabian peninsula provides an alternate way into the Mashriq region that doesn't involve setting delicate plans in motion to deal with the Flag of Mamluks Mamluks and Flag of Ottomans Ottomans. Depending on who has allied with whom, taking territory off of Flag of Yemen Yemen and/or Flag of Oman Oman can be done in a methodical fashion to avoid a hefty aggressive expansion penalty. (Note that the island province of Socotra is, in fact, Yemeni and may accidentally be overlooked by a hasty player.) From there, eastern expansion into Persia or northern expansion to secure all of Arabia awaits, assuming the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans haven't already sealed off Arabia from Mashriq and are greedily eyeing expansion of their own.

To the south[edit | edit source]

If colonists are not available, the Horn of Africa is the only way to expand Ethiopia south towards the Cape of Good Hope. This requires going through a handful of stubborn, low development nations, many of whom will not be so keen to see foreign infidels gobbling up territory in their vicinity. The amount of coastal land available on this route makes island-hopping a far easier prospect later on, not to mention providing a deterrent of sorts against European colonization. Be warned: even a rapid expansion may not be quick enough to prevent a European power from taking the Cape and all the trade node fortunes that come with it.

To the west[edit | edit source]

If not colonized, the empty provinces to the west will birth Flag of Funj Funj by event in the early 1500s. Assuming you or a vassal border it, you can start a war of total conquest on day one of Funj's existence. It begins its life with a very weak military and no allies, so it should be an easy conquest and well worth the -2 stability hit for declaring war without a casus belli. Annex every province: you probably won't acquire enough of an aggressive expansion penalty to matter, will deny your rivals a convenient ally against you, and pick up a handful of provinces of Nubian (i.e. accepted) culture and Fetishist religion, which is easily converted to your preferred faith.

From there, the path least traveled -- the Sahel region -- requires colonists to bridge the remaining gap from Ethiopia to central and western Africa. There is no more direct way to Flag of Mali Mali, Flag of Timbuktu Timbuktu and other African powers, many of whom will be more than a little unfriendly upon your arrival to their borders. If pan-African domination is the player's goal, securing this desert route is almost a necessary step.

To the sea[edit | edit source]

An unorthodox method for Ethiopian expansion is overseas colonization. Initially, the closest feasible options are Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius -- assuming the islands are free of European influence by the time Ethiopia is within colonial range. If at least one island can be added to the empire, the stage is set for Indonesian colonization. First, in order to get within the necessary colonial range, an occupied island will need to be conquered. Using Ethiopia's new holdings as staging points (Socotra also fits nicely for this operation), either the Flag of Maldives Maldives or Flag of Ceylon Ceylon will need to be captured. Of the two, the Maldives are less problematic as they are completely disconnected from the Indian mainland and less prone to retaliation. Once cored, Ethiopia should be able to make colonial landfall somewhere on the Indonesian archipelago. Once settled, expansion opportunities abound with the Philippines, Australia, the Pacific islands and potentially even the Americas ripe for colonization.

Achievements[edit | edit source]

Ethiopia has a specific achievement, Prester John, which requires control of a vast stretch of territory stretching from the mouth of the Nile to the Black Sea while remaining Coptic. As this means Ethiopia will eventually need to take land from the Ottomans, careful military planning will be needed to avoid disaster.

Prester John icon
Starting as Ethiopia, own and have cores on Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople as a Coptic country.
A Blessed Nation icon
As a Coptic Nation, gain all 5 Blessings.
Country guides

Central African technology group Central African.png Kuba.png KubaMutapa.png Mutapa
East African technology group East African.png Ethiopia.png EthiopiaMogadishu.png Mogadishu
Muslim technology group Muslim.png The Mamluks.png MamluksMorocco.png MoroccoTlemcen.png TlemcenTunis.png Tunis
West African technology group West African.png Air.png AirMali.png Mali

Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem Karabakh.png Karabakh
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Afghanistan.png Afghanistan Ajam.png Ajam Arabia.png Arabia Ardabil.png Ardabil Hisn Kayfa.png Hisn Kayfa Hormuz.png Hormuz Oman.png Oman Mushasha.png Mushasha Timurids.png Timurids Qara Qoyunlu.png Qara Qoyunlu
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Orissa.png Orissa
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Majapahit.png Majapahit Malaya.png Malaya Pagarruyung.png Pagarruyung Pasai.png Pasai Sunda.png Sunda
Nomadic technology group Nomadic.png Jianzhou.png Jianzhou Uzbek.png Uzbek Mongolia.png Mongolia

Western technology group Western.png United States.png United States
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Caddo.png Caddo Cherokee.png Cherokee Iroquois.png Iroquois

Andean technology group Andean.png Chachapoya.png Chachapoya Cusco.png Cusco Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Mapuche.png Mapuche