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Kingdom rankPortugal
Primary culture
Portuguese (Iberian)

Capital province
Lisboa (227)

Feudal Monarchy Government monarchy.png

State religion

Technology group
WesternWestern technology group
Portuguese ideas
Traditions.png Traditions:
+15% Trade efficiency
+25% Colonial range

Morale hit when losing a ship.png Legacy of the Navigator

−33% Morale hit when losing a ship
+5% Ship disengagement chance

Goods produced modifier.png Afonsine Ordinance

+10% Goods produced modifier

Trade power.png Feitorias

+10% Global trade power

Global settler increase.png Land before Faith

+15 Global settler increase

Merchants.png Encourage the Bandeirantes

+1 Merchant

Construction cost.png Royal Absolutism

−15% Construction cost
+0.50 Yearly absolutism

Artillery combat ability.png Royal Academy of Fortification, Artillery and Drawing

+10% Artillery combat ability
+10% Fort defense

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+20% Global tariffs

Portugal is a kingdom located in southwestern Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula. In 1444, it borders Flag of Castile Castile to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Besides the mainland, it also owns two islands, Madeira and The Azores, which can serve as a stepping stone to the Americas, as well as an exclave in North Africa (Ceuta).

Portugal starts with a free explorer and a rather sizable fleet. Hence, Portugal is an ideal nation for players who want to explore and colonize the New World. Its national ideas are geared towards turning the country into a global trading power.


Main article: Portuguese missions

As a Tier 1 country, Portugal has a large amounts of missions and events, which are therefore listed on separate pages. Portugal's missions include the exploration and colonization of the New World, Africa and India as well as maintaining friendly relations with its neighbor Flag of Castile Castile and historical ally Flag of England England.


Main article: Portuguese events

Portugal's events are focused around colonization and expansion in the Americas, Africa and Asia, as well as its volatile relations with its colonial competitors, particularly the Dutch.

Formation of Spain

Since Portugal is in the Iberian culture group, it has the ability to form Flag of Spain Spain militarily. Note that this is even possible (again) if Spain had been formed before by Castile, and then fully annexed. The AI will never do this, however.



Execute decision.pngInstitute the Societas Jesu

His Holiness has approved a new missionary order called the Society of Jesus. However without royal support it will not thrive, shall we support the Jesuits?
Potential requirements

The country:

  • is CatholicismCatholic.
  • is Flag of Portugal Portugal or Flag of Spain Spain.
  • does not have the modifier ‘The Societas Jesu’.
  • does not have the modifier ‘Jesuits Expelled’.

The country:


The country gets the modifier ‘The Societas Jesu’ until the country:

with the following effects:

  • Missionary strength.png +1% missionary strength,
  • Papal influence.png +0.5 yearly papal influence.

Catholicism loses Catholic reform desire.png2% reform desire.


Portugal was historically a small nation that, at its peak, controlled one of the biggest and most profitable trade empires the world had ever seen due in no small part to its keen interest in exploration.

In EU4 this translates into a country that is suited to both beginners (those who wish to learn more about trade and exploration) and veterans, (those who seek to create a trade and colonial hegemony over the world).


Portugal's small size makes it early on somewhat of a weak nation militarilly compared to other European powers such as Flag of France France, Flag of Castile Castile or Flag of England England. This leads to a general recommended roadmap that can be summarized in a couple of steps:

  1. 1445-1480 Establish a power base in North Africa, in particular Flag of Morocco Morocco and possibly Flag of Tlemcen Tlemcen
  2. 1480-1600 Be the first nation in the colonial race, and grab the key provinces (Caribbean region, centers of trade along the African coast)
  3. 1550-1600 (optional) expand on the Iberian Peninsula

The dates should be regarded as general guidelines rather than fixed recommendations since their attainability can vary with the circumstances; experienced players can potentially take on Castile much earlier; more pacifistic-minded or new players can play a game without going to war in Europe at all and fully concentrate on colonization and trade.

At the start

The game favors friendly relations with Portugal's only neighbor and buffer state, Castile, due to the historical friend modifier. Beginners and veterans alike are advised to keep relations up until a self-sufficient colonial empire is developed, since they are too strong an opponent early unless one can secure a lucky alliance. The prime candidate for this job, France, is likely to drag Portugal into a war with the navally superior England near the start of the game.

Furthermore, the player is allied to England at the start of the game (one of the very few alliances that exist at this point). It should be strongly considered to break this alliance immediately for a couple of reasons: England will be of little help conquering North Africa with troops on the ground, since their only real strength lies in their navy. Also, they are likely to drag Portugal into the war with France, which participating in yields little benefit, and England is likely to lose.

Establish a power base in North Africa


At first, it is tempting to ignore all missions giving a free Casus Belli on Moroccan territory. They have national ideas which increase coring costs, and it is not always possible to convert them from Sunni early game, reducing production and making them prone to revolt.

Converting the provinces requires the hiring of an Inquisitor advisor (+2% missionary strength) and getting the Clergy Estate to 60% loyalty who must then be given control of the provinces that are to be converted (local +2% missionary strength).

Despite the revolt risks, expanding in North Africa is nevertheless advised, since it will be very beneficial long-term due to a variety of reasons:

  • Trade: Tangiers and Melilla share Portugal's main collection trade node, Sevilla, and a lot of trade comes through the other provinces' node, Safi. Especially Tangiers needs to be conquered as it is a center of trade. There is a mission, often available at game start, that gives 200 Administrative power.png administrative power, more than it costs to core it.
  • Accepted Culture: Moroccan, and possibly Berber after taking Humanism later, can become accepted cultures in Portugal very early, yielding significant bonuses throughout the remainder of the campaign.
  • Non-overseas cores: Although the Moroccan provinces lie on a different continent, they are not considered overseas due to the 150 distance from capital modifier. This means that local autonomy can be lowered below 75%, and income and more importantly manpower will not suffer the penalties that provinces acquired in Africa or Asia do, which the player will want to turn over to trade companies anyway.

Recommended allies

In fighting Morocco, one or two strong allies will be very helpful, since Morocco's army is about on par with Portugal's in the early stages, and fighting them one-on-one will be very costly in terms of manpower. Castile is the player's prime ally in this phase, all others depend on the state of the alliance at the start.

Usually, most Northern African nations will have rivaled Portugal (in particular Morocco and Tunis), but sometimes the player can ally Tlemcen which will add to their military strength. The player should be cautious when dealing with Flag of Tunis Tunis in particular, they will often ally the Flag of Ottomans Ottomans, which can be very dangerous when dragged into a war as an ally on the opposing side.

Modus operandi

The first recommended targets are Flag of Granada Granada and/or Flag of Morocco Morocco. Previous to Common Sense.png Common Sense, it was very risky to conquer Granada, since Castile has a mission that gives them Claims on Granadian territory. This requires a bit of luck, since Castile's truce with Granada is a year shorter. If war is declared without calling Portugal in, the player is out of luck. However, often it is possible to fabricate claims and declare on Granada. It is strongly advised to give Castile exactly one of the three Granadan provinces (Almeria for example), this will be sufficient to keep the alliance. If all three provinces are taken, it is virtually certain that Castile will break the alliance and go hostile due to the "Not given claims or cores in peace deal" modifier.

Sometimes the player will go to war with Morocco and Granada at the same time (if they are allied) - otherwise, Morocco should be the next target. Secure a strong ally and make sure the player's alliance will have superior forces, fighting 1v1 or 1v2 is not recommended early since it will be a great strain on manpower and income, using Castille against a possible first war against Morroco is very recommended, altough the player will have to wait to build up favors.

In particular, it is highly recommended not to take Tangiers and Gharb in a single peace deal, since these are two separate missions giving Administrative power.png 200 and Administrative power.png 50 respectively. Thus, fulfilling both mission triggers should be stretched over the course of two separate wars in order not to waste admin power, a reward comparable to no other in the early stages.

A note on timing: If Castile takes the mission mentioned above that gives them claims on (among others) Tangiers, but one conquers Tangiers before they complete it, there will likely be a tense period when they can turn hostile and break their alliance, so it is recommended for the player to improve relations as much as possible with Castille. If even so this happens, find another strong ally to discourage them, preferably a neutral one - Flag of Austria Austria is ideal - and have a diplomat maintain positive opinion. Since attacking their royal marriage partner would destabilize them, they are far more likely to complete the mission by attacking Morocco or Tlemcen instead. Once they core the conquered province(s) and complete the mission, they lose the claims the mission gave them and one can renew the alliance.

Vanguard in the colonial race

The player is also fortunate enough to start with one explorer and a handful of ships; however, the Quest for the New World idea is still required to explore across the ocean. To this end, admin tech 5 is required, which will take a couple of decades.

Portugal has a couple of missions that will give the colonial enthusiasm modifier or similar when one explores certain regions (Brazil, India). It can be helpful to not explore these before getting the appropriate mission, but only if the Americas can be discovered by other means ( Either trough the United State's region or trough the Carribean ), so that the player can spawn the Colonialism institution.

Lastly, one should remember to colonize provinces along a route whenever possible to avoid large amounts of attrition. Attrition at sea can be a big impediment to further exploration, so having high maneuvering explorers is recommended to mitigate the negative effects (unless one has El Dorado.png El Dorado, in which case exploring fleets don't take attrition usually). Acquiring fleet basing rights from indigenous natives can also be a nice alternative to reduce attrition (outside the Americas, as primitives cannot build ships and thus cannot offer fleet basing rights), but these are ultimately worse since each takes one diplomatic relation slot to maintain as well as some of the monthly income.

Once the first colonist is acquired, the options for colonies will be limited by colonial range. The obvious first choice is Cape Verde. Afterwards, the player should be able to reach the Caribbean, which has very high development provinces, leading to considerable income through tariffs, as well as allowing to steer trade towards the Sevilla node instead of Bordeaux. Due to its proximity in terms of closer colonial range, the player should be able to colonize most of the Caribbean before any of the other colonizers even shows up.

The only province in West Africa that is worth colonizing at first is Gold Coast as it has a center of trade that allows the player to direct trade from East Asia, Brazil and West Africa to Sevilla later in the game. All other provinces aren't particularly useful, but consider colonizing at least Sao Tome as it keeps the rival colonizers out. Once it is in colonial range, colonizing Cape is the next priority (virtually guaranteeing a bonus trader when playing with Wealth of Nations.png Wealth of Nations) and then continue the expansion along the East African coast towards India.

While it is possible to both colonize the Americas and begin the slow crawl around Africa to reach the far East, it might be necessary to focus on one or the other. Each has its own perks. The Caribbean is easy to colonize and usually rich in trade goods. Brazil and the rest of South America have lots of tropical provinces, which will make colonization slower.

North American trade from the East Coast cannot be transferred to the Sevilla trade node, so it is fairly useless for Portugal. The only consideration is to "box out" other countries by expanding quickly enough. As the patch 1.8 added lots of provinces to the Americas and removed much from Africa, this is barely possible and one should concentrate on the provinces that are actually useful. Portugal should thus focus more on America than Africa.

Obvious first idea groups are Exploration (which enables explorers and conquistadors, but also gives the Colonial Conquest CB for use against the primitives that can be found in the Americas) and Expansion (great for colonization and trade, also gives Portugal a CB on African and Indian nations). After this, the following make sense for Portugal:

  • Humanism: makes non-Christian conquests easier to handle. Less interesting with Wealth of Nations.png Wealth of Nations, since giving provinces to trade companies gets rid of their impact on unrest and religious unity.
  • Religious: will make it possible to convert those stubborn Muslims, and also gives a CB on most countries in the world outside Europe once borders are established
  • Trade: together with the colonial empire and trade-oriented national ideas this should net Portugal oodles of cash
  • Quantity: helps Portugal garrison all their colonies; otherwise, since their opportunities for expansion on the home continent are limited, their base manpower will be mediocre throughout the game
  • Offensive and/or Quality: to make the most of Portugal's small number of troops

Expand on the Iberian Peninsula

After both the monetary and the manpower resources have been secured in a successful initial colonization phase, the player can eye the Iberian Peninsula in order to further extend its power base at home. The same benefits apply that have been mentioned in Motivation: all of the provinces are in the Iberian culture group and thus automatically accepted, and as an added bonus in contrast to North Africa, Catholic.

The natural allies for this operation are Flag of Aragon Aragon, if it still exists and is independent, whose relations with Castile usually worsen considerably, as well as Flag of France France, who will often have resolved its conflicts with England at this stage and will be free to spare resources in assisting Portugal. Early on, the player needs to be careful when taking provinces in order not to overextend. The primary first target province should be Sevilla, the namesake of its tradenode counterpart. It is an estuary as well as an important center of trade and will have a big impact on provincial trade power in Portugal's end node.

With clever diplomacy and timing, the player can functionally eliminate all Iberian rivals from play within the first fifty years of the game. The player should ally Castile immediately, then drag it into a war with Morocco. When Morocco is completely occupied, declare war on Granada without calling in Castile, taking it for Portugal and denying core territory to Castile. This will enrage Castile, likely forcing the player to rely on a French alliance for survival. The player should then expand into Morocco and Aragon. With the lion's share of the Iberian Peninsula and some French favors saved, Portugal can begin nibbling at the coastal provinces of Spain until it is totally cut off from the sea. This may not occur fast enough to keep Castile from entering the colonial race, but should be sufficient to wipe them out within a hundred years or so of concerted effort. Note that this strategy is somewhat "cheesy," and is not recommended for players looking for an authentic historical experience.

In the later stages, the Nationalism casus belli will allow the player to take much larger chunks at a time in wars with Castile/Spain at a reasonable aggressive expansion penalty.


Main article: Not so sad a state...
Not so sad a state... icon
As Portugal, have a colony in Brazil and in Africa.

This achievement is easily done within the first 50 years by following these steps: Get Exploration ideas, discover Africa and South America, colonize or conquer a province in Africa and South America. The achievement should then unlock.

External resources

  1. Portugal, an empire under the sun (EU4 forum)
  2. Tac Team Portugal - EU4 Multiplayer (Youtube Playlist)
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