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This article is accurate for the latest versions of EU3, Napoleon's Ambition, and In Nomine v 3.2.
Please help update this page to include information on the HTTT and DW expansions.

Colonies are created by sending colonists to provinces that are currently not owned by any country. Once a colony reaches 1000 inhabitants, be it by natural population increase and/or additional colonists, all natives in the province turn into productive citizens and the colony becomes a full-fledged city. The colony will also become a core national province 50 years after the first successful colonization attempt on that province, provided continuous ownership is maintained (i.e., if the colony is destroyed by natives or seized by an opponent in the interim, the clock resets to zero).



Terra incognita means "unknown territory" and refers to the part of the world not known to the player, represented in-game by a white blank. Explorers and conquistadors are the only ones who can explore into terra incognita, and are available after a nation selects the Quest for the New World National Idea. Exploring improves Naval Tradition and adds points to prestige. In IN, armies may move into unknown territory so long as it is owned by a nation the player is at war with.

Permanent terra incognita in EU3/NA/IN is shown in grey.
Terra incognita provinces on national borders will be automatically revealed over time without requiring exploration. Meanwhile, once a nation explores a province, over time other nations will randomly learn about that province: every discovery is shown to all the members of the same tech group after 50 years. Some provinces can never be discovered and are known as Permanent Terra Incognita (PTI) due to technological limitations of the time period. Good examples of places you can't reach: everything inside Africa, tropical jungles in South America, Himalayas, etc.

In Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind, the Permanent Terra Incognita is replaced by Wastelands, which can be discovered but remain uncolonisable and untraversable, so basically it is a visual change only.


Colonists are the agents you need to build colonies. Each successful colonist increases the population of a colony by 100. Each country can have up to five colonists "in stock", but can not keep any more in reserve. The number of colonists you get each year depends on several factors:

  • Religion
  • The Colonial Ventures national idea, which increase the probability of colonist events
  • Colonial governors being employed as advisors
  • In IN and DW, owning a coastal Center Of Trade
  • In EU3 and NA, the Domestic policy sliders Mercantilism vs. Free Trade and Innovative vs. Narrowminded sliders. ( In IN, policy sliders do not affect the number of colonists you receive, instead they change the growth rate of colonies.)

In EU3 and NA, some nations are hardcoded to never be able to colonize. In In Nomine, while many countries start without the ability to generate colonists, all countries can earn colonists by adopting the Colonial Ventures national idea and/or by building/conquering coastal Centers of Trade. In In Nomine and Divine Wind, each coastal Center Of Trade gives 0.1 colonists per year.

Colonist placement chance

The base chance of success is 35%, which is modified by:

  • +5% per Monarch administrative skill level (5 to 45%)
  • +4% per Colony level (0 to 40%)
  • +2% per Pioneer advisor star (2 to 12%)
  • +0.2% per Production efficiency point
  • +0.1% per point of Prestige (-10 to 10%)
  • -3% per Native aggressiveness level (0 to -27%)
  • -5% if no adjacent province controlled
  • -10% for Tropical provinces

Also, Lucky AI nations get an additional 10% placement chance.

Colonist cost

  • Base cost: 20 ducats
  • Very easy and easy difficulty modes: -50% and -25% respectively
  • Colony level multiplied by -2 (0% to -20%)
  • Non-coastal province: +10%
  • Tropical province: +20%
  • Not controlling any adjacent provinces: +15%
  • Inflation


Colony growth and range

  • In IN, the colony growth percentage is per year determined by the colonial maintenance slider. Thus, a colony with just 100 people will growth to province size in 18 years. In EU3 and NA, the colony growth percentage is growth per decade, thus 10% growth rate is actually 1% growth per year.
  • In IN and HTTT, only core provinces can be the origin for colonial range.
  • In IN and HTTT, the National Idea Land of Opportunities gives an extra 20 colonists/year of growth.

Colony Benefits

  • In IN, tariffs are the main overseas income. Tariff efficiency is determined by the sum of 'big ships' and 'small ships' under your command. In EU3 and NA, colonies provide production income.
  • In IN, trade goods in empty provinces are unknown before they contain a colony of a certain size, at which time their trade good is determined by event.
  • A nation's capital can be moved overseas so long as it is not adjacent to another owned province


  • Natives have a chance of revolting if troops enter a province by land, if a colonist fails, and, lastly, there is a small chance they will simply revolt without any trigger. All three chances are based on their Aggressiveness (on a scale of 0 to 9).
  • If natives revolt in a province without troops, or if you lose a battle against them, they will kill a number of colonists roughly equal to their number divided by 10. For example, if 600 natives successfully revolt, your colony population will decrease by about 60. (Ferocity has an impact on this equation that has not yet been determined.)

Provincial decision: Colonial Assimilation

See also: Assimilate colony

Don't worry if you notice another European country colonized in what you consider your sphere of influence. Let them! After they grow a full city you can steal it from them in a war and then assimilate into your culture via a simple provincial decision! How? See here:

You can assimilate:

  • Provinces outside of the following regions: Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.
  • Those provinces need to have less than 10 000 inhabitants (in IN) and don't need to be your cores.
  • Those provinces need to be of one of European cultures. You can't launch this decision to switch from Japanese to Portuguese but on the other hand for example English are perfectly able to get assimilated.
  • You need at least 0 Stability.
  • You need to have one Colonist.

When you assimilate:

  • Culture of the province changes to yours
  • You lose one Colonist.

The whole thing is defined in the \Europa Universalis III\decisions\colonial_takeover.txt file so if you want to edit the numbers, go there.

Note however that if a newly acquired province is still considered a colony (less than 1000 people), simply sending a colonist will change the culture, and may be better in the long run because it will allow the colony to become self-sufficient faster, allowing you to colonize other places without having the burden of paying for that particular province every month until it reaches a population of 1000.

See also

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