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See also: Technology
See also: Institution events

Institutions.png Institutions are fundamental advances in civilization and are the primary determinant of Technology cost.png technology cost. Institutions, if not embraced by a country, will cause an increasing tech penalty on the country by +1% per year up to a maximum of +50% per institution. Embracing an institution requires that institution to be fully present in provinces containing at least 10% of a country's Development.png development (modified by Local autonomy.png local autonomy), after which it requires an amount of Gold Icon.png ducats dependent on the remaining development in provinces where the institution is not fully present. New World natives cannot embrace institutions until they reform their governments (for natives in the North American technology group North American and South American technology group South American technology groups) or religions (for natives in the Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican and Andean technology group Andean technology groups), but receive all the institutions of their advanced neighbor when they do so.

There are a total of 7 different institutions that appear throughout the game (except for the first which is present at the beginning of the game in 1444), at roughly 50-year intervals starting in 1450 and ending in 1700.

Institution spread.png Spread modifiers

The spread of institutions is modified on both a global and a provincial level. Global modifiers affect the spread of institutions in all provinces in a nation, local modifiers affect the spread of institutions in a specific province.

Institution spread.png Global modifiers Local modifiers
+15%.0 At 3 Icon stability.png stability (scaling modifier)
+5%.0 Trading in Coffee.png coffee
–2.5% Government tribal.png Native council, tribal kingdom, or tribal democracy government
–5%.0 Government tribal.png Tribal despotism or tribal federation government
–33%.0 Looting speed.png Fully looted (scaling modifier)
–50%.0 Scorched earth.png scorched earth

Several ideas and policies also affect spread rate:

Institution spread.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Innovative idea 5: Print Culture
  • Utrecht idea 6: Cultural Resilience
  • West Indies idea 2: Blue Mountain Coffee
  • Humanist-Trade: Exchange of Ideas
  • Brunswicker idea 6: Leibnitz and Lessing
  • Neapolitan traditions
  • Yemeni traditions
  • Ajuuraan idea 7: Ottoman Assistance
  • Ashanti idea 2: The Slave Forts
  • Bengali idea 7: The Bengal Renaissance
  • Brazilian idea 2: Research of John of Nassau
  • Castilian idea 6: School of Salamanca
  • Cebu idea 6: Befriend the Europeans
  • Dahomey idea 6: The Yovogan
  • Dalmatian idea 4: Center of Art and Literature
  • Ferraran idea 2: Center of Culture
  • Flemish idea 4: Flemish Innovation
  • Frankfurter idea 1: Establish the Buchmesse
  • Granada idea 3: Beacon of Learning
  • Hausan idea 7: Borno Refugees
  • Japanese idea 3: Modernization
  • Jaunpuri idea 2: Shiraz-i Hind
  • Javan idea 2: Indianization
  • Lan Xang idea 7: Renaissance of Lan Xang
  • Liège idea 6: Société Littéraire
  • Münster idea 7: Support the Schools
  • Otomo idea 6: Tensho Embassy
  • Pagarruyung idea 5: High Education
  • Québécois idea 5: The College of Quebec
  • Rothenburg idea 2: The Beautiful City
  • Semien idea 7: Haskalah
  • Sistani idea 7: Scholars of Sistan
  • Songhai idea 4: Sankore Madrassah
  • Sulawesi idea 5: Encourage Diffusion of Ideas
  • Urbinate idea 7: The Light of Italy
  • Full Plutocracy
  • Cherokee ambition
  • Golden Horde ambition
  • Hatakeyama ambition
  • Hosokawa ambition
  • Isshiki ambition
  • Takeda ambition
  • Tapuian ambition
  • Teutonic ambition
  • Humanist-Plutocratic: Cultural Recognition Act
  • Influence-Quality: The Integrated Administration Act
  • Corsican idea 7: True Home of the Revolution
  • Manchu idea 3: Manchu Alphabet
  • Navarran idea 5: Cross-Pyrenean Trade

Effects of development

Developing a province gives that province an immediate increase in the oldest non-present institution equal to 16.66% of the new development of the province. The development required to bring an institution with 0% presence to 100% presence is of 601 cumulative development points, because for 600 points (reaching 36 dev starting from 11) you get 99.96%. The required development within a province of a given starting development is summarized in the table below.

Initial Development
(0% institution presence)
Final Development
(100% institution presence)
3-7 35
8-10 36
11-13 37
14-16 38
17-18 39
19-20 40

Regardless of initial development, the total cost of going from 0 to 100% institution presence in a province is always about 2000 monarch points before other modifiers (such as terrain or the merchant guild estate bonus) to development cost. The amount of monarch points required to reach 100%, without any modifiers or initial presence, is summarized by the table below:

Initial Development Required Monarch Points
16 1988
18 2001
20 2012.5
22 2019.5
24 2020.5
13 2029.5
15 2047
10 2062
17 2063
19 2077.5
12 2084
7 2090
21 2090.5
27 2093.5
23 2097.5
25 2098.5
14 2104.5
9 2112
11 2137
6 2140
8 2162
26 2179.5
5 2190
4 2240
3 2290

Embracement cost.png Embracing institutions

Embracing an institution can be done from the technology tab by clicking on the Institutions.png institution symbol, then clicking on the institution desired and clicking on the button labeled “Embrace”. At least 10% of the country's autonomy-modified development must have the institution present to be able to embrace it. Once this threshold is met, it requires 2.5 Gold Icon.png ducats per remaining development to embrace the institution, after which it will rapidly spread through any remaining provinces that do not have it.

Embracement cost is affected by the following factors:

Embracement cost.png Trigger
−20% Lucky nation
  • Colonial government type
  • Great power
  • At 100 Prestige.png prestige (scaling modifier)
+10% Government monarchy.pngCelestial Empire government type

Embracement cost is also affected by the following ideas:

Embracement cost.png Traditions Ideas Bonuses Policies
  • Naval-Administrative: Harbor Administration
  • Flemish traditions
  • Innovative idea 3: Scientific Revolution
  • Farsi idea 5: Shirazi School
  • Utrecht ambition


Feudalism icon
Over time most societies develop a need for a common structure with stronger and more permanent institutions of government. After the fall of the Roman Empire this need came to be filled by a number of institutions and customs that taken together are often considered to be part of the European Feudal system. For similar reasons permanent government and societal systems have formed all over the world, some of which have roots that go far further back than Feudalism itself.
Unlike the other Institutions 'Feudalism' covers a wide range of different systems and exists from the start in all parts of the world where a strong tradition of Urbanism, Institutionalized Government and Social Stratification has reached a critical point. The institution can spread from contact with any of these cultures, or in some cases begin to grow on it's own in a society that fulfills certain criteria.

This is present from the start in almost all the Old World. Exceptions include the hordes (other than those of Manchu culture), tribal countries (the New World, sub-Saharan Africa, the upper Nile, and others scattered throughout Asia), and a few others. The start date is 1000, so all countries that don't embrace it get the full +50% technology cost penalty.

Yearly spreads per developments
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Feudalism. 5.0
Has embraced Feudalism. 2.0
Present in friendly nearby province. 0.6
Present in non-friendly neighbor province. 0.1
Capital in old world (not North or South America) while not horde, native, or tribal. 0.1
Owned by non-disloyal Noble Estate while present in neighbor province. 0.15

Bonus for Embracing: General.png +1 Leaders without upkeep.


Renaissance icon
Since the 14th century the wealthy and powerful in the Italian City states have been patronizing artists and scholars willing to explore the old Roman and Greek societies of their forefathers. As a cultural movement the Renaissance already encompasses most of the region and has had a profound impact on literature, art, philosophy and music. Humanist scholars are also analyzing the society in which they live, comparing it to the ideals of the Classical philosophers. Renaissance Humanism has grown into a more mature movement, ready to permeate all aspects of society. A new ideal for rulers as well as those who are ruled is spreading as quickly as the early Printers can distribute copies of these new ideas. A true Renaissance Humanist is an expert on everything from Politics and Philosophy to art, textual analyzis, music and architecture. The Renaissance is now ready to reshape the world to better fit its classical ideals.

This appears in the Italian region after 1450, in either a capital or a 20+ development province. It can only be embraced by nations that already have Feudalism.

Yearly spreads per developments
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Renaissance. 5.0
Has embraced Renaissance. 2.0
Province in the Flanders, Tuscany, or Venice area. 0.5
Present in friendly nearby province. 0.6
Present in non-friendly neighbor province. 0.3
European province with at least 5 development after 1500. 0.1
European province with at least 10 development. 0.05
European province with at least 20 development. 0.05
Yearly spreads
Spread reason Base percentage
Latin-cultured capital in the Italian region. 1.0

Bonus for Embracing: Development.png −5% Development cost & Construction cost.png −5% Construction cost

Birthplace of Institution gains: Development cost.png −5% Local development cost


Colonialism icon
The discovery of the New World has heralded a new era not only for the colonizers and the colonized, it has lead to a spread of materials and techniques as well as a realization of the vast size of the globe. As animals, crop types, silver and diseases spread across the Atlantic the first steps have been taken towards a truly global economy and as foreign lands and people are mapped and documented ideas as well as religious and philosophical debate has become more and more colored by what we have found in overseas societies. Great minds feel the need to question what was once truth and from Valladolid to Fatehpur Sikri the nature of the world is now up for debate.

Appears after 1500 in a port province in the capital area of its owner. The province must be in Europe, Asia, or Africa, and the owner must have the Quest of the New World idea, and have discovered the new world.

Yearly spreads per developments
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Colonialism. 5.0
Has embraced Colonialism. 2.0
Present in friendly nearby province. 1.2
Port while present in non-friendly neighbor port. 0.5
Yearly spreads
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of an old world country that has colonial subjects in the New World (North or South America). 10

Bonus for Embracing: Trade power.png +10% Provincial trade power

Birthplace of Institution gains: Local trade power.png +5 Local Trade Power

Printing Press

Printing Press icon
The ability to massproduce the written word would revolutionize the spread of information and in many ways the early modern society as a whole. Pioneered by renaissance men such as Venetian Printer Aldus Manutius, the new art helped fuel the Renaissance by making the translated classics more widely avilable. Later the Reformation benefitted greatly from the ability to spread critical publications and translations of the holy scriptures.
Now that Printing has matured as a technique and spread throughout Europe editions have grown and hundreds of thousands of copies of everything from Religious and Political pamphlets to instructions in how to behave or scientific treatises are circulating the continent. With Print Shops growing evermore commonplace rulers have found it hard to contain the new technique as the comparatively easy means of production means censorship can be sidestepped by moving business across a border or even just changing the name on a title page.

This arrives after 1550, in a province in the capital area of its owner with the province being either Protestant, Reformed, or in one of the German regions.

Regardless of where Printing Press first appears, an event will immediately spread it to Venice, Rome, Paris and Augsburg.

Yearly spreads per developmentsR
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Printing Press. 5.0
Has embraced Printing Press. 2.0
Present in friendly nearby province. 0.6
Present in non-friendly neighbor province. 0.2
Owned by non-disloyal Clergy Estate while present in neighbor province. 0.1
European capital with at least 20 development. 0.05
Yearly spreads
Spread reason Base percentage
Capital whose owner has diplomatic technology 15. 1
Owner is Protestant or Reformed. 2.0
Province is Protestant or Reformed. 1.0

Bonus for Embracing: Icon stability.png -5% Stability cost modifier

Birthplace of Institution gains: Institution spread.png +10% Institution Spread

Global Trade

Global Trade icon
Goods have been moved across continents since antiquity. But where this was previously limited to a set number of routes and goods such as the manufactured goods of India and China finding their way across the Indian Ocean and along the Silk Road, all trade is now increasingly becoming part of a greater world network. With the discovery of the Americas, sea routes around Africa and the crossing of the pacific ocean, local trade networks are being connected into one world-spanning interconnected web.
Silver mined in the Andes is now being boxed and taken via Europe all the way to China and India. Iron mined and wrought in Scandinavia is being sold in West Africa by English Merchants and others are making a fortune just distributing cloth and spices within the South East Asian trade sphere. Local Indian merchants are investing in future European trade ventures. It may still be early to speak of a truly Global Economy but surely the first seeds have been sown.

This arrives after 1600, and will appear in a province owned by the strongest trade power in the most-valued trade-node. The province will be either a Center of Trade, a capital, or in the most-valued trade-node.

Yearly spreads per developments
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Global Trade. 5.0
Has embraced Global Trade. 2.0
Has a stock exchange. 1.0
Has a trade depot. 0.1
Is a Center of Trade. 0.5
Owned by non-disloyal Burgher Estate while present in neighbor province. 0.1
Has a port and present in adjacent province. 0.5
Has no port and present in neighbor province. 0.25
Yearly spreads
Spread reason Base percentage
Printing press is present. 0.5
Has at least 15 Trade Power. 0.4
Has at least 25 Trade Power. 0.8
Has at least 35 Trade Power. 0.16
Has at least 45 Trade Power. 1.4

Bonus for Embracing: Merchants.png +1 Merchant

Birthplace of Institution gains: Province trade power modifier.png +10% Local Trade Power modifier


Manufactories icon
While a number of technical innovations during the course of the 16th and 17th centuries has increased the output of production for some products such as iron or cloth to an extent the biggest improvement in the field of production has come in the form of new forms of organization. By creating Manufactories, often outside the city limits, merchant capitalists can both bypass the ancient guild laws that prevent mass production in principle as well as pioneer ways to increase production through organizing and specialization of labour in one place. The forerunners of the later Industrialization are able to increase output by facilitating access to raw materials and mass organization of labor rather than by expensive new machinery. This is in itself a huge change over the often heavily regulated methods of old however and together with later technical advances this new mode of production will come to revolutionize society.

This arrives after 1650 in a province that:

Yearly spreads per developments
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Manufactories. 5.0
Has embraced Manufactories. 2.0
Has a manufactory. 1.0
Present in friendly nearby province. 0.35
Present in non-friendly neighbor province. 0.05

Bonus for embracing: Goods produced modifier.png +10% Goods produced modifier

Birthplace of Institution gains: Local goods produced +0.5 Local goods produced


Enlightenment icon
The last century has seen Rationalism and Empiricism gaining an ever increasing popularity among the great minds of the age. In letters, publications or coffee houses kings, scientists, philosophers and litterateurs are discussing the merits of tolerance, the scientific method and the spreading of enlightenment ideals to all humanity. From universities or courts of enlightened monarchs expeditions are being sent to measure, catalogue, weigh and map the world so that we can better understand the laws that govern the things around us. Others discuss the laws that govern society and try to reach an understanding of the Rights of Men.
Great projects such as the colossal undertaking of creating a complete encyclopedia of all knowledge or a complete index of all plants, animals and fungi in the world are being pursued for the greater good of humanity. The Light of Reason has been lit and many will not rest until it has been brought to all corners of the earth.

Arrives after 1700 in a province in the capital area of its owner, that has either a seat in Parliament, a University, or at least 20 development in Europe while owned by a monarch with at least 5 in all stats.

Yearly spreads per developments
Spread reason Base percentage
Port or Capital of a Colonial nation whose overlord has embraced Enlightenment. 5.0
Has embraced Enlightenment. 2.0
Present in friendly nearby province. 0.1
Present in non-friendly neighbor province. 0.1
Yearly spreads
Spread reason Base percentage
Has a seat in Parliament. 5.0
Has a University. 5.0
Is a capital whose owner has diplomatic technology 20 and employs a Natural Scientist. 3.0
Is a capital whose owner has diplomatic technology 20 and employs a Philosopher. 1.5
Is a capital whose owner has completed innovative ideas. 5.0

Bonus for Embracing: Culture conversion cost.png −25% Culture conversion cost

Birthplace of Institution gains: Local autonomy.png −0.05 Monthly autonomy change


Most institutions are weighted to appear and spread more easily in Europe. Non-European nations will need to decide how best to obtain them., particularly if they are far from Europe - North Africa may only lag by a few decades due to the adjacency bonus, but it can take more than a century for institutions to reach China.

Jump-starting an institution by developing it to 100% presence in a province is often the best bet. A single rich province will typically be enough for a small or medium country to adopt the institution, while a large one may need to wait a decade or two for it to spread to neighboring provinces. Note that the spread will only start once the initial province has been boosted to 100% presence. It is often best to boost a province surrounded by other easily developed provinces as this will allow a core of high development provinces to make the adoption of later institutions easier.

This strategy is particularly important for Renaissance, which will always appear in Italy and can only spread outside of Europe by adjacency, and Colonialism, unless playing an Asian colonizer. Note that you must discover tiles in the New World to be eligible to have the institution first appear in your country; Old World exploration does not count. To get the institution to spread if it has spawned somewhere else, you must additionally control a New World colonial nation (an Australian colonial nation doesn't work).

A more direct way to get an institution is to conquer provinces that already have it. This is particularly useful for hordes in the early game that don't start with Feudalism.

The friendly nearby province from which an institution spreads can be either a province in the same country or a province in a foreign nation with positive relations. The province may either be adjacent or one sea province away. Keeping good relations with at least one advanced neighbor will encourage spread. Note that the "non-friendly neighbor province" spread will never stack with the "friendly nearby" spread -- you get one or the other, and "non-friendly neighbor" only considers adjacent provinces, not those separated by a sea province.


Westernisation was removed with Patch 1.18 and replaced by institutions. A description of the westernisation mechanic can be found here.