Victoria 3: Complete Guide To Colonization

Quick Links

  • How To Enable Colonization
  • How To Establish A Colony
  • Managing A Colony

While colonization is usually seen as more a part of Europa Universalis within the Paradox lineup of grand strategies, it's also a possible playstyle in Victoria 3, letting you expand your territory overseas and gain access to new, extremely valuable resources.

That's not to say that this method of play is easy, though – colonization requires quite a bit of investment. If you don't keep a watchful eye on the well-being of your overseas charges, you could very easily end up with an uprising on your hands, and something like that can deal a strong blow to your economic and political power.

How To Enable Colonization

If you want to become a colonial nation and don't already have the ability unlocked, you will first have to enact a law enabling the Colonial Affairs Institution. This will either be Colonial Resettlement or Colonial Exploitation.

  • If you have Colonial Resettlement, you'll get a large bonus to Migration Attraction in unincorporated states. This will help you move people to your colonies and also help when conquering land in traditional wars.
  • If you have Colonial Exploitation, your colonies will be cheaper to maintain and give you more throughput in buildings in unincorporated states.

Overall, you're likely to have a better time in the long run with Colonial Resettlement.

How To Establish A Colony

As long as you have Colonial Affairs unlocked, you will be able to start colonizing – targets for colonization must be decentralized nations. The list of decentralized nations is set at the beginning of the game – once they are all colonized, there will be no more ways to establish a colony.

Establishing a colony is a simple task of clicking the Establish Colony button from the Diplomatic Lens at the bottom of the screen. A menu will show up, showing you all the possible targets for colonization available to you. Click one to begin colonizing, immediately getting a single province in the region. Slowly but surely, the rest of the region will start to get colonized, with the rate dictated by your colonial growth, which can be increased by leveling up your Colonial Affairs Institution.

You can increase your maximum Colonial Affairs Institution level with Technologies – Colonization, Quinine, Civilizing Mission, and Malaria Prevention.

You can only colonize in regions that you have declared an interest in. After declaring an interest, it will take a short while before it activates, thereby allowing you to finally colonize in the region.

Managing A Colony

There are a few things to keep in mind when playing a colonial nation:

  • Your colonies grow province by province until they have colonized the entire state. This means the state spends a ton of time unincorporated. This impacts its infrastructure and its ability to contribute conscriptable battalions, so you shouldn't be trying to rely on these states before fully colonized.
  • That said, many colonies will have precious raw materials to exploit. After raising infrastructure with Ports and Railways (if necessary), prioritize these buildings.
    • Constructing Ports and Railways is also crucial for connecting colonies to your national market – this will allow you start discovering the hidden resources there. These resources cannot be discovered if the state is isolated.
  • If you change your mind, you can remove a colony using the Establish Colony button.
  • Sparsely populated regions will populate quite quickly thanks to a very big, short-term Migration Attraction effect, but this will run out over time. You'll want to keep an eye on Migration Attraction and consider using the Greener Grass Decree to boost numbers.
  • Tension is something you'll have to keep track of. Tension is a measure of how strained relationships between Colonizers and nearby decentralized nations are, and rises whenever a province is taken over. If Tension raises too high, you might end up with a violent uprising on your hands.
    • Colonial Exploitation raises Tension higher than Colonial Resettlement – try using the latter if you have problems with the former.
    • Some colony target states have the Malaria or Severe Malaria traits, which makes them almost impossible (or incredibly time-consuming) to colonize. You will need to research Quinine and later on, Malaria Prevention to reduce and then eradicate the negative effects of these traits.
    • The following nations are good candidates for colonization:

      • East Africa has an absolute boatload of great resources, including tea, sugar, tobacco, dye, and cotton. It's also a low-priority target for colonization from other countries, so you won't have much competition.
      • Oceania is also a low-priority colonization target. Most of Australia already belongs to the British, and Western Australia is available at the start of the game – as are many of the surrounding islands. These are great for adding Ports to your economy, helping trade along.
      • The southern tip of South America is also great – Selk'nam specifically has access to Gold Fields and Sulfur Mines, which are great to snag and develop early.

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