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Primary culture
Swahili (African)

Capital province
Kilwa (1196)

Tribal KingdomGovernment tribal.png

State religion

Technology group
East AfricanEast African technology group
Swahili ideas

For countries with Swahili as primary culture.

Traditions.png Traditions:

+25% Trade range
−20% Light ship cost

Trade efficiency.png Indian Ocean Trade

+10% Trade efficiency
−10% Sailor maintenance

Naval leader maneuver.png Monsoon Season

+1 Naval leader maneuver

Tolerance own.png Great Mosque of Kilwa

+1 Tolerance of true faith

Idea cost.png Indian Ocean Melting Pot

−5% Idea costs

Mercenary maintenance.png Recruit the Unbelievers

−25% Mercenary maintenance

Production efficiency.png Ivory Trade

+10% Production efficiency

Diplomatic reputation.png Familiar Presence Abroad

+1 Diplomatic reputation
+1 Diplomatic relations

Idea bonus.png Ambition:

+10% Global trade power

Kilwa is an East African state. The country is stretched out along the Swahili coast and is the most powerful state in the region. There are two states south of Kilwa, directly south of them lies their vassal, Sofala, and Mutapa is located further inland. North of Kilwa are the small states of Mombasa, Malindi and Pate.


Main article: Kilwan events

The Kilwan events mostly center on the Shirazi Islam and on Kilwa's period of instability.


Early years[edit]

While Kilwa is a Sunni state, it has a few Fetishist and Ibadi provinces which can be easily converted. Culturally, the primary culture is Swahili, but several provinces are culturally Bantu, which is in the same culture group and is an accepted culture in the beginning of the game. Kilwa can forward trade from Gulf of Aden to its capital node in Zanzibar. Kilwa begins with a tribal government, meaning they need to reform the government if they want to switch to an advanced government type.

One of the first goals, however, would be to conquer the rich gold and ivory provinces of Mutapa. But Kilwa can't immediately fabricate claims on Mutapa, they will first need to integrate their vassal Sofala or mark provinces of vital interest to induce Sofala to fabricate claims if the player chooses to feed them. In the meantime Kilwa should be able to conquer the small states to their north. Keep in mind that Kilwa will get a coup event chain when their first monarch dies, resulting in at least a -2 stability hit and most likely some pretender rebels. It can be wise to keep some administrative points and some manpower around.

When Sofala is integrated, Kilwa can go to war with Mutapa. While it is easy to fund superior numbers, the terrain penalties and low supply limit in their provinces will make it difficult to defeat them. If Kilwa keeps their armies combined they will lose a lot of manpower to attrition. If Kilwa's armies are spread out too much, they can be an easy target for Mutapa's armies. The trick is to keep the armies close together. Mutapa can be annexed in one war but watch out for the peasant's war when Kilwa's manpower is under 25%. Mutapa's provinces are fetishist, but they can be easily converted after annexation.

Middle years[edit]

As a side note, Kilwa must be mindful of inflation. East-Africa has a lot of gold provinces, and the reliance of gold will be difficult to curve down. It will be helpful to take economic idea group as an idea group both to reduce inflation and reform the government, but be prepared to spend a lot of administrative points to reduce inflation. A Master of Mint advisor can assist by way of yearly inflation reduction.

The exploration idea group should be the first idea group. While it can take a long time for Kilwa to reach Administrative Technology 4, the European colonizers will most likely go for the New World first and will still be far away. It is advantageous for Kilwa to block off the South-African coast. If the Europeans can't colonise in South-Africa, they will not have enough colonial range to reach Indonesia for a long time, meaning Kilwa can colonise most of South-East Asia and make a lot of money from trade. It is advantageous to colonise the rich Cape province quickly and make it Kilwa's new trade capital, because it is located further downstream. Don't forget to core the colonies that are in Africa. Colonization of Diego Garcia can allow the player to fabricate claims on Maldives, and from there, Ceylon if the player seeks to expand in India sooner rather than later.

Later years[edit]

When a solid base is created in Africa, Kilwa can expand in multiple distinct directions. They can expand, through conquest, into Kongo and West-Africa as well as towards the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Colonisation of the New World and Southeast-Asia is also viable. Colonising the latter region can help to generate a lot of trade income, especially if the player has blocked access of the Western Nations, as outlined above. Coring these provinces will, however, be expensive because of the distance to your capital. Therefore, to gain manpower, land force and income it is useful to mix conquest in Africa with colonisation in Southeast-Asia. Kongo and West-Africa may be easy targets if the player manages to westernise early. North of Kilwa are the Somali states. They have Muslim tech and units, so their armies probably fight better than the Kilwan armies until the player westernises. When Somalia is conquered, Kilwa can fabricate claims on the Arabic states and Flag of Ethiopia Ethiopia. After Kilwa conquers Flag of Oman Oman they can fabricate claims on Flag of Baluchistan Baluchistan to get a foothold in India. If Kilwa expands further into India and conquers North-Konkan, Kilwa will get the Queen of Mercury achievement.

When Kilwa gets more trade power in more trade nodes it is important to protect trade. Important trade nodes for Kilwa are the Gulf of Aden and the Indus trade node. Other nations can steer trade in different directions than Kilwa's capital in these trade nodes. Another important trade node is Malacca, Malacca can steer straight towards Zanzibar so the Indian and Arabic nations can no longer steal Kilwan trade coming from East-Asia. It can be helpful to take the trade idea group. If Kilwa has westernised they can create trade companies. These help to reduce unrest which otherwise can slow expansion as large armies are needed to deal with revolts in the high development regions of South-East Asia.


Queen of Mercury icon
As Kilwa, own and have cores on Zanzibar and Bombay (North Konkan).
Country guides

Central African technology group Central African.png Mutapa.png Mutapa
East African technology group East African.png Kilwa.png Kilwa
Muslim technology group Muslim.png The Mamluks.png MamluksTunis.png Tunis
West African technology group West African.png Mali.png Mali Mossi.png Mossi

Eastern technology group Eastern.png Jerusalem.png Jerusalem
Muslim technology group Muslim.png Arabia.png Arabia Hejaz.png Hejaz Khiva.png Khiva Mughals.png Mughals Oman.png Oman Persia.png Persia Shammar.png Shammar
Indian technology group Indian.png Assam.png Assam Bahmanis.png Bahmanis Bengal.png Bengal Ceylon.png Ceylon Gujarat.png Gujarat Jaunpur.png Jaunpur Orissa.png Orissa Vijayanagar.png Vijayanagar
Chinese technology group Chinese.png Bali.png Bali Brunei.png Brunei Dai Viet.png Dai Viet Japan.png Japan Khmer.png Khmer Korea.png Korea Lan Xang.png Lan Xang Majapahit.png Majapahit Malaya.png Malaya Pagarruyung.png Pagarruyung Pasai.png Pasai Qing.png Qing Sulu.png Sulu Sunda.png Sunda
Nomadic technology group Nomadic.png Jianzhou.png Jianzhou Manchu.png Manchu Qara Qoyunlu.png Qara Qoyunlu Timurids.png Timurids Uzbek.png Uzbek

Western technology group Western.png United States.png United States
Mesoamerican technology group Mesoamerican.png Maya.png Maya
North American technology group North American.png Cherokee.png Cherokee Creek.png Creek Huron.png Huron Iroquois.png Iroquois Pueblo.png Pueblo

Andean technology group Andean.png Cusco.png Cusco Muisca.png Muisca
South American technology group South American.png Mapuche.png Mapuche