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As EU4 starts during the age of discovery, Colonization is an important feature available. Nations can explore and colonize the continents of the Americas (or a Random New World with Conquest of Paradise.png Conquest of Paradise enabled), Asia, Africa and Australia, as well as Siberia and islands in the Pacific.

Objectives and prerequisites

The main benefit of colonialism is to improve the income generation and military logistics of the colonizing country. This is because colonized territories overseas can provide large boosts in trade income to the colonizing nation, as well as provide staging points for naval and land warfare around the world.

This is accomplished primarily by creating colonial nations, which are AI-controlled subject nations that will produce their own military and navy but will provide trade power and other benefits to the colonizer, and creating trade companies, which are semi-autonomous provinces that provide substantial trade bonuses in trade nodes that the colonizer can control. The type of subject nation created depends on its location in the world.

Any nation can benefit fully from overseas territories, even very distant ones, if they choose to make that territory into a state. However, provinces in overseas colonial regions should not be made into states, as the provinces are eventually ceded to the new colonial nation. Western technology nations will most likely prefer to make trade company provinces if possible instead of creating new overseas states, due to the bonus trade power and the ability to ignore religious differences. However, for many other nations, overseas states can sometimes be very profitable.

In order to colonize a nation must have:

It is recommended that a nation have:

  • Gold Icon.png Ducats to cover maintenance of the colony (which rises quadratically if the number of colonies exceeds the number of colonists)
  • a means of pacifying the natives (troops to guard it, or policies to lower their aggressiveness)


Although some uncolonized provinces may be visible at the beginning of the game, much of both land and water is covered by terra incognita. Discovering these areas is essential to finding provinces to colonize.

How a nation goes about exploring depends on whether El Dorado.png El Dorado is enabled or not. That said, the following factors are true regardless of DLC:

  • A Conquistador conquistador is required to explore on land (unless the country is at war; see below), and an Explorer explorer is required to explore at sea. These are special military leaders that are given pips as though the country had 80% as much tradition as it really does, in exchange for being able to explore.
  • The “Quest for the New World” Idea bonus.png idea, the first idea in the Exploration idea group.png Exploration idea group, is required to hire explorers and conquistadors. A handful of countries (notably Flag of Portugal Portugal) have an explorer in 1444 despite not having the idea; these leaders cannot explore in ocean provinces until Quest for the New World is unlocked.
  • Flag of Norway Norway, Flag of Iceland Iceland, Flag of Samoa Samoa and Flag of Tonga Tonga have national idea allowing to recruit explorers and conquistadors and allows them to explore without taking Exploration idea group.png Exploration ideas.
  • While at war, armies can enter all enemy provinces, even those hidden by terra incognita, assuming movement isn't blocked by forts or blockades. This can be done by clicking to move the army into a suspected province within the terra incognita; the army will begin to move regardless of whether they are able to complete the move. Movement into the province takes just as long as if it was being explored with a conquistador. When the move completes, the army either enters the province, or discovers that movement is blocked and stops moving; either way, the province is revealed.
  • Conquistadors with high army tradition have a chance to discover adjacent provinces.
  • Undiscovered land provinces have a chance per month to be discovered by owners of adjacent provinces (typically taking 3–5 years). Flag of Russia Russia, colonial nations, and potentially custom nations have national ideas that make this discovery instant.
  • Discovery of individual provinces will occur based on contact with other nations. In general, a province will be revealed to a country if:
    • The country in question explored any adjacent province at least 25 years ago
    • Any country that owns provinces undiscovered by the original country discovered the capital province of the original country at least 30 years ago.
    • Any neighbouring country, in the same culture or religious group as the original country, explored a province at least 75 years ago.

As well, exploration can now be accomplished via the diplomatic action to Share Maps, which will reveal entire regions to the requesting nation at the cost of Yearly prestige.png prestige if the nation being asked to Share Maps has already explored that region, and the nation requesting the maps has units in an adjacent region.

Additionally, the diplomatic action Steal Maps (unlocked at Dip Tech 6 and which requires a spy network of 50 on that country) can be used to reveal regions in the same manner, but without the prestige cost.

May explore Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Icelandic traditions
  • Exploration idea 1: Quest for the New World
  • Norwegian idea 2: The Call of our Forefathers
  • Samoan idea 7: Polynesian Triangle Trade
  • Tongan idea 7: The Oceanic Empire
  • Hawaiian ambition

Exploration without El Dorado.png El Dorado

  • An army (of any size) led by a Conquistador conquistador can be moved into land provinces covered by terra incognita, thus discovering them. If that land is owned by another country, the conquistador will merely discover the province when movement finishes instead of actually moving into it, unless that country grants military access. Conquistadors can move through primitive nations (those in New World technology groups that have not yet reformed their governments/religions) even without access.
  • A fleet (of any size) led by an Explorer explorer can be moved into sea zones covered by terra incognita, thus discovering them. Upon entering a sea zone, they also have a chance to discover coastal provinces adjacent in that zone (increased by the explorer's Maneuver skill).

Exploration with El Dorado.png El Dorado

  • Land exploration largely follows the same process as it does without El Dorado.png El Dorado, as listed above.
  • If the country's own capital is not in a colonial region, an army (of any size) led by a Conquistador conquistador in a colonial region can be sent on a mission to Hunt for the Seven Cities of Gold via the army interface. The army will then automatically move through terra incognita in the region, uncovering it as it moves, with a chance to trigger various special events. Exploring provinces owned by primitives, whether using Hunt for the Seven Cities or not, does not require military access.
  • Any fleet led by an Explorer explorer and containing at least 3 Light ship.png light and/or Heavy ship.png heavy ships can be sent on an exploration mission via the fleet interface and will do so automatically once assigned.
    • The fleet can be sent to explore 'the waters' of a region, meaning the explorer will discover open sea and coastal sea zones, but will not discover land provinces; or they can be sent to explore 'the coast' of a region, meaning the explorer will explore and reveal coastal land provinces in that region. Typically, 'the waters' of a region must be explored first before 'the coast' becomes available as a mission. While exploring open sea, the explorer will discover all sea zones in that region that are in range before returning. While exploring a coastal sea zone, they will discover all coastal provinces bordering that sea region before returning. Right-clicking on unexplored ocean will automatically start the exploration mission for the appropriate region, as long as part of it is within range.
      • Fleets on exploration missions do not suffer attrition, but only missions to regions within their country's Colonial range.png colonial range can be explored this way. Fleets on exploration missions cannot be recalled or reassigned during the mission, only disbanded, which may kill the explorer. Explorers may trigger certain random events while on missions. If the explorer dies, the fleet will automatically return home but will take attrition while doing so.
    • An explorer can also be sent to circumnavigate the globe. The fleet will take Naval attrition.png sea attrition as normal while on this mission, and may sink, killing the explorer as well. Like other exploration missions, fleets sent on missions to circumnavigate the globe cannot be recalled or reassigned during the mission; ample preparation beforehand is advised before beginning the mission. The first nation worldwide to have an explorer successfully circumnavigate the globe receives Yearly prestige.png +100 prestige. Any other nation that completes this mission afterwards receives Yearly prestige.png +10 prestige. This exploration mission can only be completed once per nation, though it can be repeated if failed.
    • While on exploration mission random Exploration events can trigger.

Colonists.png Colonists

A colonist envoy is required to start a colony.

Colonists.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Expansion idea 1: Additional Colonists
  • Expansion idea 6: General Colonization Law
  • Exploration idea 2: Colonial Ventures
  • American idea 3: Manifest Destiny
  • Andalusian idea 6: Expeditionary Sentiment
  • Asturian idea 4: Voyage to the New World
  • Australian idea 1: Outback Stations
  • Canadian idea 3: Settling the Interior
  • Carib idea 5: Carib Seafarers
  • Castilian idea 4: Inter Caetera
  • Leonese idea 3: Conquest of the New World
  • Majapahit idea 4: Nusa Tenggara Colonies
  • Nizhny Novgorod idea 5: To The East!
  • Norwegian idea 3: Pioneer Spirit
  • Russian idea 2: Siberian Frontier
  • Spanish idea 2: Inter Caetera
  • Hadramhi ambition
  • Icelandic ambition
  • Kiwi ambition
  • West Indies ambition

Mayan, Inti, and Nahuatl countries passing a religious reform may select a colonist as one of the five options. Selecting the Clan Migration Native idea, for nations with a Native Council government, also provides a colonist. Parliaments also may pass a bill granting an extra colonist for 10 years.

Native policies

An example of native policies in game

Native policies allow a nation to decide on their foreign policy regarding indigenous natives in colonizable provinces around the world. A native policy must be chosen when a nation unlocks their first colonist (from any source). The original selection is free. Changing native policies afterwards costs −1 Stability.png stability, but has no cooldown.

Native Coexistence Policy grants a −100% bonus to the chance to get a Native uprising chance.png native uprising, effectively reducing aggressiveness in all colonizable provinces to 0. This policy is beneficial for when a nation's armies are busy elsewhere and can't be wasted sitting on a colony, when manpower is too precarious for constant skirmishes, when a nation is too poor to maintain a garrison, or for native and Sub-Saharan nations who may actually lose battles with natives in the early game. This policy also prevents natives from attacking exploring armies led by conquistadors, negating the need to field more than one unit in an exploring army or spend ducats on maintenance for said army.

Native Trading Policy grants a −50% bonus to Native uprising chance.png native uprising chance (effectively reducing aggressiveness by half) and +50% to Native assimilation.png native assimilation.

Native assimilation means that the goods produced in a colonized province will increase by a factor equal to , rounded down, once that colony becomes a full province. The native trading policy increases this bonus by +50%. This choice could be useful if playing Flag of France France, which also has a bonus to native assimilation in their national ideas (and also receives a reduction to native uprising chance that makes it a more advantageous Native Coexistence Policy), or for any nation that can handle a few revolts and will be coring and taking full control of the province when completed, or any nation controlling a significant percentage of the generated trade value.

Native Repression Policy grants a bonus Global settler increase.png +20 global settler increase. While this policy makes for more rapid early colonization, the bonus is not overwhelming at higher technology levels. The provinces will require garrisons as Native uprising chance.png native uprising chance is not reduced.

Colonial range.png Colonial range

The range from which a nation can establish a colony from a core is called the colonial range. It is measured from that nation's nearest unoccupied core province (hence, during war, coring range may be significantly reduced until key provinces are unsieged from enemy occupation), and it expands depending on the diplomatic technology level of the nation as well as events, advisers, missions, policies, ideas, and other bonuses. Fleet basing rights from third countries do not extend this range.

This range also controls how far explorers can go on exploration missions. If a nation has no ports, they can only colonize adjacent land provinces, regardless of colonial range.

To check the range to a given province, change the map mode to "Colonial Range", and hover over the province of interest. The map will show green for in range and red for out of range.

Basic colonial range increases over time as diplomatic technology improves:

Tech Dip lvl Base 3 7 9 11 15 17 19 23 26
Colonial range.png 60 +100 +115 +50 +100 +50 +50 +50 +150 +200
Cumulative Tech 60 160 275 325 425 475 525 575 725 925

These base technology levels of colonial range can be augmented by the following bonuses and policies:

Colonial range.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Exploration idea 3: Overseas Exploration
  • Hawaiian idea 7: Legendary Voyagers
  • Norwegian idea 2: The Call of our Forefathers
  • Portuguese traditions
  • Norman idea 4: Descendants of Seafarers
  • Exploration-Plutocratic: The Colonial Companies Act
  • Couronian idea 5: Couronian Colonization
  • Iwi idea 1: Sons of Kupe
  • Fijian idea 2: Lutunasobasoba and Degel

The quickest way to temporarily increase overall range is to appoint a Navigator Diplomatic Advisor who provides a +20% colonial range bonus.

Colonist time.png Travel time

The speed at which a nation's colonists travel to claim and establish colonial territory is related to the travel time of merchants and diplomats. It is based primarily on distance from the capital but, unless the target province is directly land connected to the capital, colonists travel by sea. The actual route taken is the shortest sea distance from either the capital's port (or, if it is inland, a port that is directly connected to it) to either the target province's future port location or the port that is closest to the target province.

Example: Flag of Portugal Portugal's capital is Lisboa. In order to colonize Pipil (839), a province next to the Mayan nation of Flag of Kiche Kiche on the west coast of Central America, a colonist would first travel all the way south to Cape Horn in South America, then back north to reach Central America again. However, if Portugal colonized Chortli (2637) first, which is the province north of Pipil but on the east coast of Central America, then a Colonist subsequently travelling to Pipil would have its travel time dramatically reduced.

Colonist travel time can be difficult to predict due to their coded preferences for travel. For port provinces not directly connected to one's capital, colonists will always travel by sea to where the port will be located, even if it would be faster to travel overland from another port (or the province borders both coasts like in Central America). For inland provinces not directly connected to the capital, colonists always travel to the closest non-blockaded port to the target province even if it would be quicker to travel cross country from a port on a different coast. These unusual rules can sometimes account for extended colonist travel time.

Nations in colonial regions, especially North America, can experience unusually long travel times for colonists. Normally, this is because if a nation's capital is coastal, colonists will always prefer to travel by sea, even if travelling by land would be faster. It may be prudent to move the capital inland if this becomes an issue.

Colonists travel across open sea much faster than through land or coastal sea provinces. For example, European colonists can reach the Caribbean faster than Sub-Saharan West Africa, even though it is physically much farther away.

All modifiers to Envoy travel time.png envoy travel time also change the travel time for colonists. Colonists return instantly the day after either the colony becomes a city or they are recalled.

As soon as any nation chooses to send a colonist to a province, no other nation can send a colonist to that province unless the colony is later destroyed before completion, even if the colonist will actually arrive two years later. Two nations cannot 'race' and see which colonist will arrive first to the province.

Envoy travel time.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Spanish idea 5: Casa de Contratación
  • Brazilian traditions
  • Influence idea 6: Postal Service
  • Ajami idea 4: Persian Language and Court Culture
  • Ilkhanid idea 4: The Yam
  • Kamilaroi ide 4: Dhulu
  • Kongo idea 4: Diplomacy With European Monarchs
  • Mongolian idea 5: Yams of the Great Khan
  • Sulu idea 3: Across the Sulu Sea
  • West African idea 6: The Great River
  • Exploration idea 5: Viceroys
  • Planes Native idea 7: Horse Riders
  • Great Yuan idea 5: A Thousand Miles as if at Home


Once a colonist arrives in an unowned province the population starts at 10. Colony populations grow at a base rate depending on the nation's Global settler increase.png global settler increase value, which is largely dependent on Diplomatic technology.png diplomatic technology level but also by some ideas and other modifiers.

In addition, as long as a colonist remains in a colony, they have a chance each month (modified by Settler chance.png colonist chance) of bringing in 25 additional population, speeding growth greatly. Once a colony reaches a population of 400, it will be randomly assigned a trade good based on a weighted list of goods available in that geographical region. This list can be seen via hovering over the large Unknown question mark icon in the uncolonized province screen. A colony becomes a full city when its population reaches 1000, and is destroyed if its population reaches 0; this can happen due to attacks by natives, events and colonies being destroyed by other countries in a war. Resending a colonist is required to restart these colonies.

Colonists can be sent and recalled to other colonies in progress as many times as is warranted. Colonists can even be sent to colonies of enemy nations that have been seized by using the Seize colony.png “Seize Colony” army option (which costs Military power.png 25 military power). A captured colony retains the culture and religion of its original owner but is instantly converted to those of its new owner once a colonist arrives.

Global settler increase

Colonies grow by a flat number of settlers each month. This number is the nation's Global settler increase.png global settler increase, which is the number of additional colonists added to a colony per year. For example, if the country's global settler increase plus the province's local settler increase is 15 per year, the colony will get one settler most months but two settlers every fourth month, for a total of 15 for the year. Diplomatic technology provides additional global settler increase:

Diplomatic technology Global settler increase
1 10
3 25
10 35
15 50
23 75
26 100
32 150

Global settler increase is further improved by the following bonuses:

Global settler increase.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
+30 yearly
  • Central Algonquian idea 7: Land of the Dawn
  • Eastern Algonquian idea 7: Back Before Spring
  • Federation idea 7: Sunrise Invasion
  • Iroquoian Federation idea 7: The Grand Council
  • Muskogean Federation idea 7: Meritocratic Leadership
  • Siouan Federation idea 7: Across the Land
+25 yearly
  • Australian traditions
  • Alaskan idea 2: The Hard Push East
  • Kiwi idea 5: The New Zealand Company
  • Native idea 7: Great Winter Hunts
  • Castilian ambition
+20 yearly
  • Expansion idea 3: Faster Colonists
  • Acehnese idea 7: Settle the Islands
  • Balinese idea 1: Island Settlers
  • British idea 2: City Upon a Hill
  • Bruneian idea 5: Settle the Islands
  • Colonial idea 6: New Frontiers
  • Japanese idea 6: Kaitakudan
  • Malayan idea 1: Settle the Islands
  • Malayan sultanate idea 7: Settle the Islands
  • Moluccan idea 5: Dominance over the Outer Islands
  • Navarran idea 3: Intrepid Pioneers
  • Northeastern Woodlands idea 7: Crane Clan
  • Siberian idea 7: Hunting Expansion
  • Hawaiian ambition
  • Expansion-Exploration: Colonial Expansion
+15 yearly
  • Mexican traditions
  • Cham idea 4: Cham Migrations
  • Munster idea 5: Fairer Shores
  • Portuguese idea 4: Land Before Faith
  • Thomondian idea 7: Thomond's Overseas Ambition
  • Tongan idea 7: The Oceanic Empire
  • Ando ambition
+10 yearly
  • Exploration idea 4: Land of Opportunity
  • Administrative-Exploration: The Colonial Administration Act
  • Exploration-Plutocratic: The Colonial Companies Act
  • Humanist-Exploration: Native Assimilation Act
  • Quantity-Expansion: Colonial Garrisons

and the following static modifiers:

Global settler increase.png Modifier
−X to +X yearly Colonial maintenance [1]
−5 yearly No adjacent province controlled
−10 yearly Arctic.png Arctic
−10 yearly Arid.png Arid
−10 yearly Tropical.png Tropical
+10 yearly Treaty of Tordesillas (CatholicismCatholic country settling a colonial region assigned to them by the Pope)
−20 yearly Violation of Treaty of Tordesillas (CatholicismCatholic country settling a colonial region assigned to a different mother country by the Pope)
+20 yearly Trading in Cotton.png Cotton
+10 yearly “Grant New World Charter” Burghers.png Burghers estate interaction
+15 yearly “Heretics Deported” Protestantism Protestant Aspect of Faith
+10 yearly TengriTengri nation with OrthodoxyOrthodox syncretic faith
+20 yearly “Charter Colonies” Parliament issue
+20 yearly “Native Repression” native policy
+50 yearly Portuguese “Colonial Growth” Monthly splendor.png splendor ability during the Age of Discovery (Flag of Portugal Portugal only, requires Mandate of Heaven.png Mandate of Heaven)

Settler chance.png Settler chance

If a colonist is in a colony there is some probability that 25 settlers reach the colony at the beginning of each month. Each 1% of probability is on average equivalent to 3.0 settlers per year (0.01 chance/month × 12 month/year × 25 settlers). The chance of a colonist attracting new settlers is determined by the following:

Modifier Chance Mean settlers/year
Base + Base Value 10% 30
Same continent 5% 15
Per 100 population ("colony level")[2] −1% −3
Per percentage point production efficiency[3] 0.2% 0.6
Per point native aggressiveness[4] −0.5% −1.5
Same religion 1% 3
Same culture 1% 3
Same culture group 1% 3

There are a few policies that can increase the chance of new settlers.

Settler chance.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Expansion idea 6: General Colonization Law
  • Administrative-Exploration: The Colonial Administration Act
  • Exploration-Innovative: Benign Neglect
  • Exploration-Horde: Steppe Nomad Migrations
  • Offensive-Expansion: The Pioneer Policy
Settler chance.png Conditions
+5% with "Grant New World Charters" Burghers estate privilege
+0.1% per home province development when expelling minorities

Important modifiers to colony growth


The location and climate of a potential colony will affect the rate of growth of the colony. Colonies in arid, tropical or arctic locations will receive a Global settler increase.png −10 global settler increase penalty, and a colony with no adjacent colonies of that nation will receive a further Global settler increase.png −5 penalty.

If controlling an area ahead of other colonizers is a concern, a nation can prefer to colonize locations with favorable terrain, but other major factors such as the number of hostile natives and the presence of a Center of Trade need to be considered as well.


Main articles: Exploration idea group events, Expansion idea group events

The Exploration and Expansion idea groups unlock several events that can trigger to modify colony growth rate or size directly, and can be either beneficial or detrimential. The events Colonist Rush and Colonial Enthusiasm give the following powerful, but temporary, modifiers to colony growth:

  • Gain “Colonial Enthusiasm” modifier for 10 years:
    • +5% Settler chance.png Colonist chance
    • +25 Global settler increase.png Global settler increase

Some nations that were historical colonizers, notably Flag of Spain Spain and Flag of Portugal Portugal, have unique missions or events that will improve settler growth.

Treaty of Tordesillas

With El Dorado DLC, the first nation to form a Catholic colonial nation (that is, to core 5 provinces in a colonial region, assuming its own capital is not within a colonial region) while the Papal State's opinion of them is positive will be assigned that region. That nation and their associated colonial nation will receive a Global settler increase.png +10 increase to settler growth within the region. A single nation can have any number of colonial regions assigned to them by the Pope.

If another Catholic nation (even one with its capital in a colonial region) starts colonizing a province in that region, they will receive a severe penalty for having "Violated the Treaty of Tordesillas". This include a Global settler increase.png −20 Local Settler Increase penalty when colonizing that colonial region, as well as a Papal influence.png −10 yearly papal influence penalty and a Icon diplomacy relations.png −50 modifier to the Papal State's opinion of that nation. Also, nation that has the claim receive Icon diplomacy relations.png -200 modifier to the opinion of them, with yearly decay of +1. Colonies that are in progress when the Pope assigns a colonial region to another nation do not count as having violated the Treaty of Tordesillas, only colonies started after a colonial region has been assigned.

These modifiers can only affect Catholic nations; nations of other religions can receive neither the bonuses nor the penalties.

If the nation owning a colonial region is completely annexed, the colonial region will revert to no nation having a colonial claim, and a new nation can be assigned the region by creating a colonial nation or owning a current colonial nation in the region.

The Treaty of Tordesillas mechanic attempts to represent the historical treaty made between Portugal and Spain which assigned lands east or west of a certain longitude to Portugal or Spain, respectively.

Native policies

With The Cossacks expansion, a nation must select a native policy that represents how that nation will interact with native peoples around the world. This only refers to the uncivilized indigenous native populations in uncolonized provinces, not to any Native American, African or Indonesian nations.

If a nation selects Repression, they will receive a bonus Global settler increase.png +20 global settler increase, at the cost of more uprisings by the natives. The other two policies do not affect settler increase.

“Natives Encountering our Colonies”

Main article: Natives events

Without The Cossacks, when a Christian state establishes a colony in the New World with at least 300 natives, it triggers the “Natives Encountering our Colonies” event. All three options enable events that can lead to temporary boosts to Global settler increase.png global settler increase and Settler chance.png colonist chance, and will unlock other events related to the decision chosen. Non-Christian nations cannot receive any of these events.


Colonial maintenance is the money that a nation spends in maintaining its colonies, and can be adjusted through a slider in the Economy tab. At 100% maintenance, the cost of the -th active colony per year is given by

As shown above, a country can support a number of colonies equal to its number of colonists at the base maintenance cost. After this the marginal maintenance cost starts rising quadratically:

Colony over cap Cost multiplier for that colony
1st 2x
2nd 5x
3rd 10x
4th 17x

Note that unlike force limit, this is applied to each colony individually in the order that they were founded, so the more recent colonies will be saddled with the higher cost multipliers. No idea or policy decreases colonial maintenance.

Cumulative cost for colonization maintenance by virtue of colonists and colonies :

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
2 6 4 4 4 4 4 4
3 16 8 6 6 6 6 6
4 36 18 10 8 8 8 8
5 70 38 20 12 10 10 10
6 122 72 40 22 14 12 12
7 196 124 74 42 24 16 14
8 296 198 126 76 44 26 18
9 426 298 200 128 78 46 28
10 590 428 300 202 130 80 48
11 792 592 430 302 204 132 82
12 1036 794 594 432 304 206 134
13 1326 1038 796 596 434 306 208
14 1666 1328 1040 798 598 436 308
15 2060 1668 1330 1042 800 600 438
16 2512 2062 1670 1332 1044 802 602
17 3026 2514 2064 1672 1334 1046 804
18 3606 3028 2516 2066 1674 1336 1048
19 4256 3608 3030 2518 2068 1676 1338
20 4980 4258 3610 3032 2520 2070 1678


Colonizable provinces are usually occupied by natives, who may attack a colony there, depending on several factors. Natives are also very likely to attack land units passing through their province, regardless of whether the province is colonized. However, these attacks depend on Aggressiveness, so taking the “Coexistence” Native Policy disables these random attacks and taking the “Trading” Native Policy reduces the chance of an attack occurring by half. This can be very important for North or South American natives who may have to cross uncolonized territory to attack a war target, especially since North or South American Native nations begin at military technology 1 and so can actually lose battles, or at least significant amounts of manpower, in battles with the local native population in a province.


Native population in 1444.

The size of the native population determines how many native regiments attack at a time. The native population in a province can be reduced permanently using the Attack natives.png Attack Natives military action, which costs a small amount of Military power.png military power proportional to the population, Native aggressiveness aggressiveness, and Ferocity.png ferocity of the natives. The action may need to be performed multiple times in order to completely drive out the local population, as native regiments that break from combat due to low morale are not killed and so return to the 'population' of the colony.

Native assimilation.png Native assimilation

When a colony becomes a full city, it will gain a bonus to Goods produced.png goods produced called the “native assimilation bonus,” which depends on the remaining native population. This bonus is given by:

So a colony with 1400 natives in the province should gain goods produced when the colony completes. A population of 4000 natives would give +0.2 goods produced, equivalent to one level of production Development.png development. Because of this, it is usually beneficial to leave the native population alone if the colony can be protected by an army.

Taking the Native Trading Policy increases the assimilation bonus by +50%, effectively increasing the goods produced in the completed colony by half of what it normally would have been due to native population. So a colony with 1400 natives in the province would gain 0.105 Goods produced.png goods produced when the colony completes (e.g., ).

Native assimilation.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Cascadian idea 2: Chinook Jargon
  • French idea 4: Native Trading Principles
  • Vermont idea 3: American Frontier
  • Humanist-Exploration: Native Assimilation Act
  • The British mission “Colonize the Caribbean” gives Native assimilation.png+25% native assimilation for 15 years.

Native uprising

When colonizing a province there is a chance for the native population to rise up aggressively in an attempt to destroy the colony and expel the foreign invaders. If a native uprising happens, native regiments equal to the native population in the province (rounded to the nearest thousand) will appear and attack any military units in the province, or begin a siege of the province if there are no military units stationed in it. If the siege is finished (which will take one month), the settler population in the colony is reduced by −100 per regiment of natives, which can destroy the colony completely. After the siege is finished the native regiments will disband, regardless of whether or not the colony survived. After an uprising (whether successful or not), there is a one-year cool-down period during which there is no chance of another native uprising from the province. After this period the chance of an uprising returns to what it was before.

Native uprising chance.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Cascadian idea 2: Chinook Jargon
  • French idea 4: Native Trading Principles
  • Vermont idea 3: American Frontier
  • Expansion-Exploration: Colonial Expansion
  • Exploration-Horde: Steppe Nomad Migrations


Native aggressiveness in 1444.

Aggressiveness.pngAggressiveness ranges from 0 to 10 and determines how likely the natives are to attack a colony. Each point of aggressiveness gives a 1% chance of a native uprising happening per month. Taking the Native Trading Policy applies −50% to the chance of uprising, effectively halving aggressiveness. Taking the Native Coexistence Policy will apply −100% to the chance of uprising, effectively removing native aggressiveness and the chance of an uprising in all provinces.


Ferocity.png Ferocity ranges from 0 to 10 and is independent of aggressiveness. Natives regiments in the province get a +5% damage bonus per point of ferocity. This does not affect the number of settlers killed by a successful uprising.


Natives use low-tech units:

Area Name Off. Morale of armies.png Def. Morale of armies.png Off. Icon fire.png Def. Icon fire.png Off. Icon shock.png Def. Icon shock.png Total pips
Americas Native American Archer 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 2
Africa African Spearman 1 pip 1 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 3
Asia East Asian Spearman 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 2
Arctic Archer Cavalry 1 pip 1 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 0 pips 0 1 pip 1 1 pip 1 3


During a war, a colony can be occupied like any province. The development of a colony through normal growth will continue unabated, but a Colonist present in the province will be sent back to the colony's owner. An army standing in an occupied colony will have the option to Seize Colony for 25 Military power.png military points. The colony ownership will transfer to the nation that used the action. The colony will keep the culture and religion of the previous owner until a colonist from the new owner reaches the colony. The colony will cost its new owner money the same as if it had been colonized by them, including the increasing costs of holding more colonies than the number of colonists.

An alternative option is the Military Action Burn Colony for 5 Military power.png military points. The colony is completely destroyed and the province becomes, once again, an uncolonized province.

Since a colony keeps growing under occupation, it is possible that it will become a full colonial province while being occupied. Unless the 'Seize Colony' option was used earlier, the 'finished' province will belong to the original owner. This can be used to steal growing colonies to save war score for another actions in peace treaty or by non-colonizer nations to gain colonial foothold.

Colonial provinces

Once colonization is finished, a colony becomes a full-fledged province. A newly colonized province will be part of a territory until the owner chooses to upgrade that territory into a state. This means that the minimum autonomy in the province will be 90%. The province will not be considered for the calculation of parliament seats or estates percentage of controlled land. However, the owner will still be able to build buildings, recruit troops, build ships, and improve the province's development level, and the nation will now be able to trace coring and colonial range from this province.

If the area is made into a state, the colony will become, for all intents and purposes, a regular province. The autonomy floor will be 0%, and the province can also be assigned to an estate or given a parliament seat. Both of these groups will count the province as part of the nation's total development for percentage of controlled land.

If the finished colony is in a colonial region, the colonizing nation will retain control of the province until a total of 5 provinces are colonized (or conquered and cored) by that nation in the same colonial region. All provinces will then be ceded to a newly formed colonial nation, with the most developed province becoming capital. Any further provinces that are conquered (even if not cored) or colonized in that colonial region will be ceded to the colonial nation after one day, replacing cores of the overlord with those of the colonial nation.

Provinces colonized in a Colonial Region by a nation will receive the same religion and culture as the parent nation, as will colonies in Trade Company Regions that have no native population. Provinces in Trade Company Regions are an exception; these provinces will keep their religion and culture unless the native population was zero to start, or was removed by Attack natives action. If so then sending or resending a colonist will turn the culture and religion to the same as the colonizer. A colony in a Trade Company Region, once finished, will be converted to the religion of the parent nation if a colonist is present. [verify]

Colonized provinces do not cause overextension in the parent nation, even if left un-cored. This applies even if the parent nation conquered land from another nation that had previously colonized it; as long as the province had ever been a colony in the past, it will cause no overextension, though it may still have unrest.

Colonial subject nations

Main article: Colonial nation
Main article: Trade company

Colonial nations and trade companies are specialized subject nations that can be formed via colonization (or conquest of the appropriate regions). Understanding both types of colonial subject nations is key to benefitting from the colonization process.

Using colonial nations or trade companies to produce and control trade value in nodes, as well as utilizing them to gain free merchants or military control of overseas territories, are some of the benefits these subjects can provide a parent nation.

With Wealth of Nations.png Wealth of Nations, a country gains Merchants.png+1 merchant for each trade company that controls the majority (>51%) of the provincial trade power in that region. (Non-trade company provinces in that region and sources of trade power other than directly from the provinces are not considered).

Apart from the 50% trade power they normally transfer to their overlord, each Colonial Nation comprising 10 or more provinces will provide their overlord with +10 Naval forcelimit.png naval force limit, +5 Land forcelimit.png land force limit, +5% Trade power.png global trade power, and an extra Merchants.png merchant.

Accordingly large colonial nation subjects add significant military power to their overlord and are therefore a potent weapon especially for smaller nations assuming such overlords maintain a sufficiently large fleet to control their subjects and manage their liberty desire.

Seven Cities of Gold and the Fountain of Youth

Main article: Seven Cities events

With El Dorado.png El Dorado, using a Conquistador conquistador to explore terra incognita in a colonial region will sometimes trigger events based upon the search (and sometimes discovery!) of mythical locations in the New World. These events can provide monarch points, Gold Icon.png ducats or Yearly prestige.png prestige and add flavor and occasionally material benefit to the exploration of the New World.

Discovering a city gives a permanent province modifier with various local effects(except Cibola which gives Yearly tax income.png +5 Yearly tax income), Gold Icon.png 800 ducats (Gold Icon.png 400 ducats for the medium outcome) and adds Base tax.png 4 base tax, Production.png 4 base production and Manpower.png 4 base manpower to the province (Base tax.png 2, Production.png 2, Manpower.png 2 for the medium outcome).

Siberian frontier

Siberian frontier is a unique colonization system for Flag of Russia Russia to model its rapid expansion into Siberia. Once a united Russia unlocks its second national idea, it may establish a Siberian Frontier colony in any empty province with a direct land connection to its capital passing through non-colony provinces. Establishing a frontier costs 20 Diplomatic power.png diplomatic points. Frontier provinces do not count towards the colony limit or require monthly maintenance. They grow at a varying rate of +5 - 15 Local settler increase.png settlers per month, but since many Siberian Frontiers can be established at the same time, Flag of Russia Russia can reach the Pacific Ocean fairly quickly.

Expel minorities

A nation can choose to expel minorities from a home province to a colony. This will give the colony home province's culture and religion. In addition the colony will gain bonus development and an increased Settler Chance based on the development of the home province. Note, however, that the home province will lose the same amount of development given as bonus to the colony.

Minorities cannot be expelled from a province with separatism or the Religious Zeal modifier. Once expulsion has begun, the colonist cannot be recalled until the colony is finished, though the colony can be abandoned instead.

Maintenance cost for these colonies can be reduced by following:

Expel minorities cost.png Conditions
−25% with Dragonnades French mission
−30% with Exile Colonial Companies government reform
−100% with Exploration Idea 6: Free Colonies

See also


  1. the global settler increase from colonial maintenance depends on the maintenance and on the other global modifiers. At 0 maintenance it will have a value which makes all global modifiers add up to −100 (defined as COLONIAL_GROWTH_PENALTY in /Europa Universalis IV/common/defines.lua) and at 50% maintenance it will make all global modifiers add up to 0. In the presence of very high negative modifiers(e.g. from bankruptcy), lowering the maintenance can actually increase the settler increase. Local modifiers are not taken into account.
  2. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/static_modifiers/00_static_modifiers.txt (Static_modifiers#Colony level).
  3. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/static_modifiers/00_static_modifiers.txt (Static_modifiers#Production efficiency).
  4. See in /Europa Universalis IV/common/static_modifiers/00_static_modifiers.txt (Static_modifiers#Native aggressiveness).

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