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- +15% Morale of armies
- +1 Missionaries
- +5% Discipline
- +2% Missionary strength
- Can fabricate claims on any overseas province
- +1 Colonists
- +2 Yearly Papal influence
- +10% Provincial trade power modifier
- +15% Global tariffs
- +10% Heavy ship combat ability
- +1 Yearly prestige
- +25 Global settler increase
The kingdom of Castile in 1444 is the largest and most influential country in the Iberian peninsula, bordering Portugal, Aragon, Navarra, Granada and (indirectly) Morocco, Tlemcen and France. It is an ideal country to start as a new player to the game.
- 1 Missions
- 2 Events
- 3 Decisions
- 4 All belongs to Spain
- 5 Recreating the historical Spanish Empire
- Main article: Spanish missions
Castile's missions focus on completing the Reconquista against the Muslim state of Granada and expanding into the New World as it did historically.
- Main article: Spanish events
Between 1450 and 1530, if neither Castile nor Aragon are vassals and the monarch of one of them is male and the monarch of the other is female, then every month there is a one in twelve chance (8.33%) of this event happening. After it fires Aragon will enter in a personal union led by Castile.
Spanish Civil War
If Castile is in a regency before 1500, then there is a chance that a special civil war disaster will be generated. Castile will have to choose between supporting the adviser Álvaro de Luna, and thereby face a noble rebellion that might be backed by neighboring Aragon or Navarra, or accept the demands to end unwanted noble influences and face a loss of stability.
If both Castile and France own provinces in Italy between 1490 and 1590, they will be able to claim each other's lands, reflecting the Italian Wars that consumed the attention of these two rivals in this period. This event will lead to worsened relations between the nations and a greater likelihood of war.
Castile's only non-generic decisions involve forming Spain. Spain can be formed either militarily, by conquering and coring most or all of Aragon, or diplomatically, by integrating Aragon if it is a vassal or junior personal union partner, which is likely due to the "Iberian Wedding" event.
All belongs to Spain
A lesser known strategy for Castile is actually to try and rush down Portugal before they can colonize. This is not easy by any means (as they start with two free explorers), but the short and long term rewards for this are far greater than simply leaving Portugal alone. It is advisable to vassalize Portugal if possible, as then it will colonize for the player.
Neighbors and countries of interest
- Castile's Sunni neighbor which stubbornly clings to Iberia. Castile has claims on all of its provinces. Castile starts with a truce with them, which lasts until the beginning of 1448, but usually starts with a mission to reconquer them. While it is tempting to attack as soon as the truce expires, it is important to note that because of its Sunni faith its territory cannot be effectively converted to Catholicism until the player has a greater national missionary strength than Castile starts with. If religious unity is prized, a decent strategy is to wait until after Castile has high stability, the inquisition, and an advisor or the +3 from Religious Ideas and then invade so that the territory may be immediately converted, thereby not impacting religious unity and maximizing financial value.
- Morocco rarely has the chance to transport troops across the Strait of Gibraltar if the player is at war with them. Morocco is commonly allied with some of the other North African nations. As Castile, one can get the mission to conquer Tangiers; however, do not take any other provinces unless one wants to deal with bothersome rebels, nigh-impossible religious conversion and the ridiculous coring cost from Berber traditions. As well, if one wants to hinder Portugal from expanding rapidly into Morocco and taking away the juicy Sevilla trade power, do not help them as an ally in offensive wars against Morocco, which they usually declare soon after England and France go to war with each other and finish it.
- One strategy is to wait for Morocco to go to war against one of the North African nations and their war exhaustion to tick up, then support Fezian Nationalists. If Fez forms, one can easily vassalize them, feed them Moroccan cores, and then integrate them once one has higher missionary strength.
- A small, weak, OPM bordering Castile. Can easily be diplomatically vassalized or conquered early on, but watch out for Aragon, as they usually have missions to vassalize and integrate them.
- Probably Castile's most bothersome neighbour at the beginning of the game. Usually, Aragon more or less immediately rivals Castile, making diplomacy impossible. To deal with this, the player can either give up on diplomacy and simply conquer Aragon, or wait for the Iberian Wedding event, which will make them a junior partner in a personal union with Castile. Keep an eye out for their liberty desire, though.
- Portugal is Castile's principal rival in colonization, with national ideas, free starting explorers, and bases in the Azores and Madeira that allow them to quickly expand into the New World. However, they also are a reliable ally, with a Historical Friend bonus making it easy to maintain good relations with them, so it may not necessarily be in Castile's best interests to outright conquer them (historical friend bonus is removed if the player attacks Portugal).
- However, if conquest is desired, their alliance with England can be used to devastating effect against their land forces early in the game. If the Hundred Years War ends without France gaining control of all of England's French possessions, they will likely launch a second war a few years later, dragging Portugal along. Allowing military access from France will permit its armies to travel through and destroy Portugal's, permitting Castile to easily conquer the latter afterwards. It is good to have a claim on one of the Portuguese provinces by this point, so that Castile may go to war with Portugal and demand the Azores and Madeira in the treaty. Portugal tends not to be aggressive unless provoked or in a coalition against Castile. It even has a 'historical friend' bonus to relations, which makes them less likely to attack their Iberian neighbor than to attack other nations. Once one has their colonies, one can start improving relations and make Portugal an ally.
- In addition, if one focuses also on reaching Exploration idea (colonist and explorer/conquistador ideas) and colonisation of Cape Verde and Arguin, the province in the southern portion of Morocco, one will set Portugal significantly back in colonization of the New World. Soon one can have 4 colonists (2 from Exploration, 1 from Expansion and 1 from national idea) and a highly advantageous position to reach Brazil and from there the Caribbean and La Plata, long before Portugal, England, Aragon/Leon, or France can follow.
- As an alternative to making Portugal an ally, one can use aggressive strategy and also take their home provinces in a set of wars. The culture is the same culture group, so these provinces would be definitely helpful. However, this will cost administration power points for cores as most of the provinces are higher-value. Also be aware of Portugal's allies - England since the beginning and later probably Aragon as well (which is likely to still be leading a personal union over Naples) - this coalition would be most probably able to destroy Castile's navy if in war against the player, however on land one should be superior to them. If one is able to crush Portugal, one will get rid of Castile's biggest colonisation rival.
- An alternative approach to Portugal: Felipe II's way
- If one maintains good relations with them, however, one may be rewarded all the same. If between 1550 and 1650 Portugal is suffering from a regency council and Castile has a royal marriage and 100+ relations, there is a very small chance for the event "The Portugese Crown" to fire, allowing the player to inherit or vassalize Portugal.
- England is another colonization rival, and the main naval threat to Castile outside of the Mediterranean Sea. While early on the game they are weak due to their imminent war with France and bad-stat king, over time they become much stronger from the value of the British Isles and the beginning of colonization. A strong navy is needed to fight them, along with plenty of transports for expeditionary forces to seize any overseas territory they might hold or even land in the British Isles themselves.
- After Aragon is gone, it is usually Castile's biggest military threat, as it is one of the most powerful countries in-game (nicknamed the "Big Blue Blob" by players). Unless they border Castile directly, they won't bother the Iberian country too much. Eventually, if Castile manages to grow, France will see them as a competing major power and probably rival them, making diplomacy more difficult. If the player wishes to avoid conflict with France entirely, it is best to stay out of Italy and the Low Countries. Eventually, though, France will become a major colonial rival to Castile, making at least a certain degree of conflict inevitable. An alliance with Austria can be a good counterweight to French manpower and military strength if war comes, forcing them to divide their forces between two strong fronts.
- The Aztecs and Incas
- The two wealthiest Native American states, Castile gets missions to conquer them for money. Be aware, however, that attempting to conquer either the Aztecs or Incas in one fell swoop will produce massive overextension penalties, due to the sheer number of gold mines in the Andes and Mesoamerica, and severely endanger even a powerful Spanish state, while coring will be slow (though relatively cheap). A more gradual approach is first annexing enough provinces to create a relevant colonial nation, then expanding it bit by bit, as it is better to maintain stability and cash flow.
- Burgundian Succession
- Castile is one of the possible successors to the lands of Burgundy if its king dies. See Events Burgundy. But the chance to be the heir of Burgundy is very small. Only France, the Emperor of HRE, countries in the HRE with a RM and Castile with a RM qualify.
- The succession Event:
- 1. All French-culture provinces in the "France" region that aren't part of the Holy Roman Empire are given to the King of France.
- 2. All other provinces are given to the Holy Roman Emperor, if he isn't currently at war with Burgundy, and if he has at least 8 provinces (6 for Austria). 'At war' means, the HRE Emperor must be the War leader. Allying Burgundy as Castile and begin a war with Austria doesn´t count.
- 3. If the Holy Roman Emperor doesn't inherit for some reason, then an imperial state with at least 3 provinces and that borders Burgundy and that has a royal marriage with Burgundy may inherit their remaining provinces.
- 4. If #2 and #3 don't happen, then any imperial state with at least 3 provinces and have a royal marriage with Burgundy may inherit their remaining provinces.
- 5. If #2, 3 and 4 don't happen, then Castile or Spain may inherit their remaining provinces, assuming they are independent and have a royal marriage with Burgundy.
- 6. If #2, 3, 4 and 5 don't happen, then the Holy Roman Emperor simply inherits the rest, regardless of status (e.g. can be at war with Burgundy at the time, can be a 1 province minor).
- In other words, for Spain to inherit ANYTHING from Burgundy, the Holy Roman Emperor needs to be very small or at war with Burgundy AND Burgundy can't have any royal marriages with medium-sized HRE states. As one might imagine, this is really unlikely - but it can happen, which is why Paradox threw it in.
- To manage chances, one has to become Emperor of the HRE or to dismantle the HRE, because #2,3,4 only fire if the HRE exists.
- Become Emperor:
- RM and Ally with Burgundy.
- In 1444 Austria normally allies with 2-3 Electors. Begin a war with Austria (-2 Stab hit!).
- Call Burgundy. Win and vassalise the Electors. Get 100% warscore to release Styria.
- Voila, the player will have good chances to become the next Emperor.
- Dismantling the HRE:
- RM and Ally with Burgundy. Ally with all Electors in the HRE, which are not allied to Austria. This will bring the player up to 7-8 Diplomatic relations.
- Begin the war with Austria. Don´t call the Electors to the war.
- To dismantle the HRE the player needs to control:
- The Capital of the Emperor, this is Wien.
- To control the capitals of all non-allied Electors.
Dominating the Seville trade node is a great way to earn a lot of money. The important provinces to grab are Lisboa and Porto from Portugal, Oran from Algiers and Tangiers from Morocco. Lisboa will probably be the last province to fall in Castilian hands, but Porto could be the first, after Azores and Madeira that is. Oran and Tangiers could be grabbed early, before Portugal or any other power may get a chance to take them.
Generally speaking, a simple and solid strategy for Castile is to merely colonize. It is in a powerful position to also stymie the rest of Europe from attempting to do so themselves. If the player wishes to pursue this, there are a few good locations to go after.
- Cape Verde
- Cape Verde is off of the West African Coast, and is key to early exploration of South America. Note that if the first African colony after Morocco is taken, it will also slow down Portugal as the small country must wait to expand their colonial range.
- Africa and Asia
- Since Patch 1.5, fleet basing rights don't expand colonial range anymore, so if the player would like to colonise around Africa, there is one possible strategy. After colonizing Cape Verde, use the explorer to find Fernando Po, a small island in the present-day Gulf of Guinea. The big advantage of this island is that it is neither tropical nor arid, allowing colonisation without any malus. Once Fernando Po is colonized, aim for the Cape (of Good Hope). Not only does this province have a center of trade and a high base tax (as well as valuable resources), it is also easy to colonise. A good (but slightly cheesy) strategy is to keep recalling the colonist until the Cape has gold as a trade good. At 10 BT, this is a LOT of gold, especially early on. The next island the player may want to hop on is Mahe, just one or two sea provinces north-east of Madagascar. Again, no malus while colonising but it provides a great improvement of colonial range. From there on, one can easily access the spice islands (e.g. Banten), the Southern Coast of India (Ceylon is a great foothold) or the southern part of the Arabic peninsula. Especially with the mission to set a foothold in India - which gives a CB on all coastal provinces - one can start expanding in India too. A great but far choice is Taiwan. It is highly recommended to colonize it so one can expand into Chinese or Korean territory as well if desired. One might also want to cut off Russia's access to the Pacific ocean with the infamous "Iberian Siberia," since they then can't start building up a fleet.
- In Mali, there are some gold mines that can be lucrative for Castile. The player should avoid getting them until at least 3 missionary strength is acquired, but afterwards, it could be very beneficial to take the gold mines. Despite that, keep in mind that there is now a 'Financial Ruin' event caused by inflation from the gold. It fires when one has more than one gold province, and results in -1000 gold and -3 stability, so make sure that Castile will have enough loans to cover it. After recovery has occurred, the event will not happen again.
- The Caribbean
- The Caribbean Islands have many things to offer, including high base taxes and a remarkable trade income. To access them, colonise the easternmost province of Brazil first and then aim for one of the islands. Taking the majority of it will not only grant a powerful colonial nation but also a stable income. One might even want to place a merchant there. The reason for this is simple. The Caribbean trade node feeds (not only) to the Western Europe trade node, where the competition is big. One is better off collecting in the Caribbean and sucking up the maluses there.
Late game thoughts
If one has steadily expanded through the first 250–300 years, one will now be able to look upon a large (if not the largest) and stable yellow empire. On this point of history, most of the originally unsettled land will be colonised, and a few nations will dominate the world. Usual participants here are France, Russia, Austria (HRE), the Ottomans and Ming (which is highly likely to explode immediately). Ally at least one of these superpowers (but not Ming), because sooner or later there will be war between one of them and the player. Make sure to stay ahead of military tech to be prepared. As Castile - or hopefully Spain - focus on trade and production starting by latest around 1700. The player is able to build impressive upgrades in your provinces, so be sure to do that. One should not have any monetary problems thanks to trade and production; the player is able to keep an income well over 50 ducats quite easily. Again, combined with the correct buildings, 100 ducats per month are no problem, along with a few level 3 advisors if one's doing extremely well. One can also try to encounter the Ottomans or France, but one should carefully plan such a costly and long-lasting world war. However, enjoy an easy last century of EU4 with no real difficulties.
Recreating the historical Spanish Empire
First of all one has to know that it's almost totally impossible. The mechanics of EU4 simply don't allow the player to, for example, conquer the Aztec and Inca empires like the historical Spanish "conquistadors" did. But keeping that in mind, one can try it. If the player explores the historical maps he/she will soon understand that to create such an impressive colonial empire in a few decades is quite difficult. That empire was so powerful that Paradox hasn't even implemented Charles I's empire for game balancing.
The first 50 years, or what to do before the colonisation
Face it. The king and heir sucks (especially the heir), and the player needs points. One can try to kill them, but it's risky. One will have to not loose the Trastamara family in order to be able to later claim the Naples throne if Aragon loses it. And if there is a regency there will be a civil war. Being in a corner of Europe, the player will have to face multiple scenarios, trying to concentrate his/her forces on one front at a time. Knowing how to switch between them is crucial.
- In Spain
- Ignore Portugal, need each diplo point.
- Marry, ally, vassalize and annex Navarre
- Attack and annex Granada
- Counter Aragonese peninsular ambitions. Defend Castile and Navarre from Aragonese aggression, but try to not destroy Aragonese prestige (in order to let them maintain their dynastic union with Naples), to not conquer Aragonese provinces etc. Give them white peace when possible, or better, concede defeat to them.
- Accept the Iberian wedding of course and form Spain when you can (surely after you have begun to colonize). If the event doesn't trigger before 1530, you have lost, I'm sorry. You will eventually succeed to form Spain militarily, but not the Historical Spanish Empire, you wil lack of time and admin points.
- In Africa
- Obtain Tangiers and Melilla, and if Portugal loses it, Ceuta.
- Create and vassalize, or vassalize an existing, Berber nation. Feed it with Morocco and Tunis provinces. That vassal, being of course ahistorical, is very important on terms of gameplay in order to allow him to protect your African historical enclaves, avoiding petty management and of course, to divide your forces.
- Take important provinces if you have enough points, like important commercial enclaves or coastal bases, as you can. Remember that to core Berber provinces cost +100% admin points.
- In Europe
- Declare war on the Emperor when he's already in another war.
- Vassalize a sufficient number of Electors (Watch your diplo points, be moderate) - you may need to vassalize most of them, as once you have one or two, you'll get a large malus against you for vassalizing electors.
- Liberate Styria from Austria, to cripple them completely.
- Inherit Burgundy. This entails sitting on Burgundy until the Burgundian Inheritance event fires.
1500-1550, Beginning the colonization
So at this point you have to have annexed Navarre, have a personal union with Aragon and Naples (if Aragon lost his PU with Naples and you have a Trastamara king marriage Naples and claim his throne when possible). And be of course the Emperor, until you have inherited Burgundy.
- In Spain
- Form Spain at technology admin 10.
- Don't forget that you aren't France. Use the mountains to secure your mainland when fighting.
- In Africa
- You and Portugal have all of the Seville trade node's provinces, and your vassal is able to defend himself and your African provinces from hostile Berbers.
- Continue to feed your vassal and take coastal enclaves as you need and can. Think about that your vassal is the unique Berber that will not give military access to the Turks, and in case of war with that powerful empire, you want to keep your homeland east coast secure.
- In Europe
- Give up on vassalizing the electors and instead try a more diplomatic approach, to stop the painful loss of diplomatic points, if you can.
- Attack and vassalize Milan.
- In America
- You will surely start to colonize after 1492, but as you can see you have been really busy, and lacking monarch and diplomatic points.
- Create the pertinent colonial nations and feed them with Mesoamerican and South American provinces. (Don't annex the entire Aztec empire at once - New Spain won't be able to cope with 200% OE.)
- Continue to colonize the coasts and islands to prevent rivals, and the worrisome Portuguese enthusiasm.
- Enjoy the reformation and the Flemish rebels.
- Colonise the Philippines.
- Marry Portugal and maintain relations better than 100 to inherit it if it is ruled by a regency council between 1550 and 1650.
- Colonize, along with Portugal, all the coasts of South America.
- Progress to North America.