This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.
- +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
Castile in 1444 is the largest 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 in EU4.
- Main article: Spanish missions
Castile's missions focus on completing the Reconquista and expanding into the New World.
- Main article: Spanish events
Between 1450 and 1500, if neither Castile nor Aragon are vassals and the leader of one of them is male and the leader of the other is female, then every month there is a one in twelve chance (8.33%) of this event happening. After it 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 civil war will be generated. Castile will have to choose between supporting the advisor 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 Castille and France own provinces in Italy between 1490 and 1590. they are able to claim each other's lands, reflecting the Italian Wars that consumed the attention of these two rivals in this period. This event type will lead to worsened relations between the nations and a greater likelihood of war.
Castille's only non-generic decisions involve forming Spain. Spain can be formed either militarily, by conquering and coring most of Aragon, or diplomatically, by integrating Aragon if it is a vassal or junior personal union partner.
Global expansion in newly discovered areas and the establishment of colonies is transforming Spain into one of the most powerful and wealthiest nations of our time. Spanish explorers are constantly moving into new territories and extending our borders. Immense amounts of gold and silver are being brought back to our motherland, filling the coffers of our state Treasury.
Global expansion in newly discovered areas and the establishment of colonies is transforming Spain into one of the most powerful and wealthiest nations of our time. Spanish explorers are constantly moving into new territories and extending our borders. Immense amounts of gold and silver are being brought back to our motherland, filling the coffers of our state treasury.
Castile starts (in 1444) as one of the largest and wealthiest nations, however, both the current ruler (Juan II, 1/1/2) and his heir Enrique (0/0/0) leave room for improvement, especially Enrique, so one of your starting moves should be making your heir general, and with any luck, he'll have an early death. If Enrique is replaced by a better looking prospect (can't be worse), you can repeat this with Juan to speed up succession. Depending on your playstyle, your opening moves will be very different. If you are looking for easy expansion, allying with Portugal and France, reconquering Granada, and then waging wars against Aragon should help you become a colonial power and enable you to form Spain after a couple decades. However, if you wish to expand into the heart of Europe, and take full advantage of Castilian/Spanish events, there is only one possible path: crush France. Hit them hard, and from the very start, because the longer you wait, the stronger they are. This strategy revolves around a few key points:
- Juan II's poor stats means the best way to take terrain from enemies is forming vassals, not coring provinces.
- 10% of the time, Aragon does NOT pick you as a rival, and therefore, you can enlist their help in crushing France.
- Allying Burgundy is a MUST. If they somehow pick you as a rival, restart.
- You can pull this off even if Aragon is your rival, but it is harder, not only because they don't help you, but also because you will be exposed when crushing France.
- You will NOT, i repeat, NOT take provinces from Aragon. You will form Spain diplomatically, either claiming the Aragonese throne when they have succession problems, or waiting for the Iberian wedding to happen. Both ways will result in Aragon becoming your junior partner in a PU, and hopefully Naples too!
For the first year, you have nothing that requires immediate attention, so start sealing a few alliances (Burgundy, Portugal, hopefully Aragon, and Austria if they are rivals with France, don't count on it though) and decide how you wish to integrate navarra: by means of conquest (will take 45ADM points with the claim) or vassalizing them (which means waiting for around 20 years, plus the diplomatic relations spot). Either way, as soon as your alliances are set, you must forge a claim on France (Poitou), you want to get a CB against them early on. As soon as you have a valid cause for war, try to push your army to the forcelimit, or even 1-2 past that, and DoW. To cross into France, you must go through navarra (using transport ships is a big no-no) so you are either at war with navarra or have asked for military access.
This first war against France serves two purposes: 1) Release Guyenne 2) Set back France militarly.
France has a huge army, but is in the midst of the 100 years war, so I suggest you divide your troops in 2, and use those two armies to siege bordering provinces. If one of those scary French armies comes your way, simply detach siege (leave minimum units to continue siege) and collapse two regiments in the same province. More often than not, the French will stop and avoid the possibility of running into your 28-men army. If the Burgundians engage the French in a large battle, and your troops are the key to tip the odds, by all means, detach siege and join them. If executed correctly, after 2 years of war, the French will no longer be able to put together a 30-regiment army, will have a few provinces occupied by you, and ready to cave in. Bear in mind that the truce will last 5 years, so you must hurt them so much it will take longer for them to recover.
In the peace deal, you will ask for provinces that have a core for Guyenne, either Bearn, Limousin, Perigord... just one is enough to release Guyenne, however, if you have warscore to spare, go ahead, but WATCH OUT FOR AGRESSIVE EXPANSION. You don't want Aragon, France and England ganging up on you. Once you get the Aquitaine provinces, release Guyenne as vassal.
You now have 5 years to wait until you can attack the French again (with Juan's 'amazing' skills, you can't afford the stability loss of breaking truces) so you should reconquer Granada. Not only is it about recovering what's yours, but also, if you pick the mission "The Reconquista", you lose some of the war exhaustion you suffered against the French. It should be easy enough beating just Granada, however, if they are allied with Morocco it will take some help from Portugal and good timing (wait until they are fighting Algiers).
With Guyenne released, you can take provinces from France without using ADM or getting AE. So your number 1 priority in the continuous wars against France (you should either be at war or have a truce, unless you are fending off Aragon or something of the sort) should be completing Guyenne, forcing France to return cores in peace deals, and then, once you have annexed Guyenne, ask them to release plenty of small vassals: Dauphine, Orleannais, Normandy*...
- Normandy and the western part of Guyenne belong to England at the start. France tends to reconquer those provinces, but if they haven't yet, don't take them from England (you can't rack up warscore against them), wait for France to take them (and NEVER free them from French occupation, you want France to win those sieges).
Following this strategy, by 1470 you should have France at your feet, so your options multiply: Release Scotland if England has managed to absorb them (and repeat what you did with Guyenne), expand towards the HRE (this will mean ending your fruitful relationship with Burgundy, but world domination takes priority here), or unifying the Trastámara realms, claiming the thrones of Aragon and/or Naples and forcing a personal union.
By 1480 you should reach tech level 7, even if you had the incompetent Juan and Enrique ruling your country in succession. It is then that you should take Exploration ideas, taking them as your first idea group is not of much use (you can only colonize poor and very hostile African provinces). Once you have laid the foundation for your colonial expansion, just keep expanding in America and Europe to establish "an empire on which the sun never sets"
Neighbors and countries of interest
- Castile's Sunni neighbor which stubbornly clings to Iberia. 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 converted to Catholicism until the player has a greater national 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 and Algiers
- They usually do not cross the channel with their armies. As long as the player doesn't try invading them, Castile's fair land should have little to worry about. Both countries are often warring each another backed with their smaller allies (Morocco with Tunis and Algiers with Tripoli).
- As an option for expansion into Northern Africa, you can wait until the Fezian nationalist will arise in Morocco (this is only the matter of time) which make some Fez cores. Then you can crush and make Morocco to release Fez state, afterwards vassalize Fez and feed them with some more Sunni provinces taken from Morocco, Algiers or Portugal in a set of wars. There are several valuable sunni provinces from your trade node Sevilla (Tangiers, Ceuta, or Mellila). With this strategy you can make a big vassal in Northwestern/Northern Africa which can be annexed once you have enough and strong missionaries (best to have Religious idea) to convert these provinces easily and quickly.
- Small, weak, OPM bordering Castile. Can easily be diplomatically vassalized or conquered early on, but watch out for Aragon, as they 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
- Portugal is your principal rival in colonization, with national ideas, starting explorers, and bases in the Azores and Madeira that allow them to quickly expand to 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.
- 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 you have their colonies, you can start improving relations and make Portugal an ally.
- In addition, if you focus also on reaching Exploration idea (colonist and explorer/conquistador ideas) and colonisation of Cape Verde and the three provinces southern to Morocco, you will set Portugal significantly back in colonisation of the New World. Soon you 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, or France can follow.
- As an alternative to making Portugal an ally, you can use aggressive strategy and take also 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 you 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 may be still leading the personal union with Naples) - this coalition would be most probably able to destroy your navy if in war with you at once, however on land you should be superior to them. If you are able to crush Portugal, you will get rid of your biggest colonisation rival.
- Alternative approach to Portugal: Felipe II's way
- If you maintain good relations with them, however, you 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 or better relations, there is a chance for an 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 war with France and poor 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"). 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.
- Aztecs and Inca
- The two wealthiest native American states, Castile gets missions to conquer them for money. Be aware, however, that attempting to conquer an entire native state in one fell swoop will produce massive overextension penalties and severely endanger even a powerful Spanish state, while coring will be slow (though relatively cheap). A more gradual approach, first annexing enough provinces to create the relevant colonial nation, then expanding it bit by bit, is better to maintain stability and cash flow.
- Burgundian Succession
- Castile is one of the possible successors, if the King of Burgundy dies. See Events Burgundy. But the chance to be the hier of Burgundy is very small. Only France, the Emperor of HRE, countries in the HRE with a RM and Castille 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 Castille 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 Castille 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 you might imagine, this is really unlikely - but it can happen, which is why Paradox threw it in.
- To manage your chances, you have 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 Burgund. Win and vassallise the Electors. Get 100 % Warscore to release Styria.
- Voila, you have good chances to become the next Emperor.
- Dismantling the HRE:
- RM and Ally with Burgund. Ally with all Electors in the HRE, which are not allied to Austria. This will bring you up to 7-8 Diplomatic relations.
- Begin the war with Austria. Don´t call the Electors to the war.
- To dismantle the HRE you need to contol:
- 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. Since Seville is an end trade node no trade can be steered away from it once there. So if Castile can control all provinces in the trade node no ships or trade buildings are needed in order to receive more cash from it, since no one will compete in an end trade node unless they have provinces there. This frees up a lot of ships for the Western Europe trade node instead. 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 your colonial range anymore, so if the player would like to colonise around Africa, here is one possible strategy. After colonizing Cape Verde, use your explorer to find Fernando Po, a small island in nowadays Gulf of Guinea. The big advantage of this island is that is neither tropical nor arid, which means you can colonise it without any malus. Once Fernando Po is yours, aim for the Cape (of Good Hope). Not only has this province a high basetax and is a center of trade, but also is it easy to colonise. The next island you may want to hop on is Mahe, just one or two sea provinces north-east of Madagascar. Again, no malus while colonising but great improvement of colonial range. From there on, you 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 you a CB on all coastal provinces - you can start expanding in India too. A great, but far choice is Taiwan. I would highly recommend colonising it so you can expand into Chinese or Korean territory as well. You might also want to cut off Russia's access to the Pacific ocean, 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 you have 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, I would recommend you to colonise the easternmost province of Brazil first and then aim for one of the islands. Taking the majority of it will not only grant you a powerful colonial nation, but also a stable income. You 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. You are better off collecting in the Caribbean and sucking up the malus you get there.
Late game thoughts
If you have steadily expanded through the first 250-300 years, you 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. I would highly recommend allying at least one of these superpowers, because sooner or later there will be war between one of them and you. Make sure to stay ahead of military tech to be prepared. As Castile - or hopefully Spain - I would advise you to focus on trade and production starting by latest around 1700. You are able to build impressive upgrades in your provinces, so be sure to do that. You should not have any monetary problems thanks to trade and production; I was able to keep an income well over 50 ducats quite easily. Again, combined with the correct buildings, 100 ducats per month are no problem. If you feel strong enough, you can also try to encounter the Ottomans or France, but you should carefully plan such a costly and long-lasting world war. However, enjoy an easy last century of EU4 with no real difficulties.