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Explore and Conquer: How to Colonize in EU4

How to colonize in EU4. Now that’s a complicated topic. Europa Universalis 4 is a grand strategy game from Paradox Interactive. And like all of the games that Paradox makes, EU4 is a master class in complexity. However, there are some basic things you need to know if you want to start expanding the reach of your nation, so let’s take a look.

Explorers and Conquistadors

Before you can even start thinking about colonizing foreign lands, you’ll need a “Quest for the New World” style idea. These come in a couple of varieties depending on your home nation, but until that idea is active, you won’t be able to do much. From there, make sure you have a Conquistador if you want to explore land-based territories, or an Explorer if you want to cross bodies of water and lay claim to lands on the far side of the world. Once you have all three, you can begin your global expansion.

Let's look at how to colonize in EU4


To create a colony in a distant land, you’ll need a Colonist. See, while Conquistadors and Explorers handle the dirty work of discovering the New World, it’s the Colonists who actually have to tame the land. Once you’ve found a new location, a colonist will begin a colony, which will automatically gain a population of 10.

Colonists are bound by two stats: Colonial Range and Travel Time. These two data points determine how far a colonist will go to set up a settlement, and how long it will take them to get there. It’s important to be aware of where you want to set up their homestead before embarking on a journey. Because if a Colonist exceeds its max distance, they will not be able to colonize. It’s also possible that the Travel Time is prohibitively long to gain much from the many benefits colonies have to offer.

Settlements and Natives

As mentioned before, once you establish a settlement, it has a default population of ten. That value increases based on several factors, but your goal is to get the population up to 1000. It’s at this point that a colony becomes a full city, and you will unlock several bonuses.

One of your biggest obstacles while developing a colony will be Natives. Depending on the rules you start a game with, Natives can be extremely hostile. You’ll need to take a variety of actions to combat their attacks and aggression. Ultimately, if you’re not careful, your colony could have its population reduced to zero which removes it from the map.

This guide is just the start of how to colonize in EU4. But it will give you a good idea of the complexities of the system. And given that EU4 is all about colonization and imperial expansion, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is one of the most robust mechanics in the game. And as always, don’t forget to check out some of our other helpful guides about Europa Universalis 4.

Written By

In a previous life, Eric was a video game developer. He helped create many games over the course of more than a decade. These days you can find him huddled in front of his laptop, consuming far more caffeine than is healthy, writing whatever it is someone needs him to write. And he couldn't be happier!

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