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This is accomplished primarily by creating [[colonial nation]]s, 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 node]]s 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 [[Territories and states|territory]] into a [[Territories and states|state]]. However, provinces in overseas colonial regions should not be made into [[Territories and states|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 [[Territories and states|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:
== Discovery ==
Although some uncolonized provinces may be visible at the beginning of the game, much of both land and water is covered by [[Map#Terra Incognita|terra incognita]]. Discovering these areas is essential to finding provinces to colonize.
How a nation goes about exploring depends on whether {{icon|ed}} [[El Dorado]] is enabled or not. That said, the following factors are true regardless of DLC:
Once colonization is finished, a colony becomes a full-fledged province. A newly colonized province will be part of a [[Territories and states|territory]] until the owner chooses to upgrade that territory into a state. This means that the minimum [[autonomy]] in the province will be 75%. 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 range|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.
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