Victoria 3: Complete Guide To Colonization

Victoria 3: Complete Guide To Colonization

Colonization is a huge part of getting your economy growing in Victoria 3. A lot of luxury goods and military hardware require rare resources like Sugar, Sulfur and Coffee. These can be huge money spinners early in the game, and even help stave off shortages in late-game as your population grows. Expanding your territory overseas is a costly endeavor for a few reasons. You need a lot of basic resources and manpower to spare to fuel your colonies, not all minor nations have these resources in abundance. And getting more resources is the main goal of colonization. Just be careful not to bankrupt your economy by trying to expand too quickly.

You also need to have enough of a military backbone to support fleets and armies. Having a large amount of cash to import Artillery, Small Arms and Ammunition can work in the short term, but you need your own industry later in the game. That alone takes a ton of effort and time to set up.

Not only is the price of entry high, but you also need the laws and political will to get it done. That’s where your government and Interest Groups can be a real pain.

Unlocking Colonization

To build a colony in Victoria 3, you need to enable the ability to do so, and there are a few steps to doing that.

First, you need to unlock the Colonization technology. That’s usually one of the first techs you should grab if you plan to take this playstyle. Then, you need to spend as much time as you can get your government on your side. The Interest Group mechanic in Victoria 3 is the way the game reflects the character of your population. Not all IGs will support colonization. Some won’t even allow you to change your laws. If you find yourself in a situation where the Colonization laws are greyed out despite having the necessary tech, use the Reform Government button to put an IG into your government that supports your desired law.

How to get a colony in Victoria 3

You then need to get them support to actually pass the law. The fastest way to do this is to use the Bolster and Suppress commands. Bolstering a political group will slowly increase its Clout, while the opposite is true for Suppress. Push the law for colonization that you desire, then work on building Clout for the groups that support it. There are also bonuses from other laws that help when suppressing or bolstering a group. Laws like Dedicated Police Force can help in this regard.

You could also use Victoria 3 console commands to speed this up. The command add_clout (interest group) (amount) is the one you want. You need to know the interest group tag for the group you wish to boost. these usually start with “ig_”. For example, the tag for a landowner clique is “ig_landowners”. That might be too cheaty for some players though. Give clout to the group that supports your colonization law, and it will pass much faster.

Choosing a law that works for your nation can be tricky, there are two methods you can pick from:

  • If you have Colonial Resettlement, you’ll get a large bonus to Migration Attraction in unincorporated states. This can help move overpopulated states into a more balanced state by pushing people to colonies where there are more opportunities.
  • If you have Colonial Exploitation, your colonies will be cheaper to maintain, as well as give you more economic output.

Also, if you’re trying to colonize a zone that has active Malaria, you need to research the Quinine technology, which also requires multiple other technologies. Later techs such as Civilizing Mission, and Malaria Prevention can help as well. These areas are often highly prized due to their abundant resources, and should be classified as late-game colonization targets. The trouble is, you will have to race much more powerful nations to them, which isn’t always viable. Focus on the lesser areas first if you’re playing a weaker nation.

This can take years, so you’re in for the long haul. If your goal is to get colonies off the ground ASAP, you need to rush the requisite technology and politics right from the start of the game.

How to Establish a Colony

Any targets for colonization must be decentralized nations. These have a colored border on the overview map, instead of a fully filled-in color. You can only colonize in regions that you have declared an interest in. You do that via the Diplomatic Lens, same as Establish Colony.

How to use colonization in Victoria 3

Once you establish your colony, you need to wait for it to develop. Your colonies grow province by province until they have colonized the entire state. This means they take an infrastructure and throughput penalty. Also, Malaria can be a huge hindrance to your colony development. You can end up taking a 95% penalty to growth in some cases. So if you’re deadset on colonizing an with Severe Malaria (Red mosquito marker on Information tab), you need the requisite techs to reduce that penalty.

When your colony grows, you need to maintain it. Focus on getting people to it through maximizing Migration Attraction. Having open jobs and available resources is key. New colonies also get a bonus for a bit to help encourage migration.  Constructing Ports and Railways is also crucial for connecting colonies to your national market—which will enable throughput to reach the wider world—so firms in your colony can turn a profit.

One thing to be aware of is your laws, as some nations have Closed Borders on by default. You will need to change that to a less restrictive migration policy in order to move pops around your empire.

Where to Colonize

The targets you pick for colonization will depend a lot on the location you’re in, as well as the relative power of your nation. As mentioned above, Malaria and other problems take late-game technology research to deal with, so put those off until later.

  • Africa is the target that most European nations scramble for by mid-game, so you will want to move quickly if you plan to compete her for resources, especially as a minor power. Many vital resources like tea, sugar, tobacco, dye, and cotton can be found here in abundance.
  • The southern tip of South America is also great as it has plenty of Gold and Sulfur that can be mined.
  • Certain Oceanic areas like Papua have great options too, like Sulfur and various other basic resources. When you’ve exhausted other options later in the game, try grabbing some of these if you can.

The products below are affiliate links, we get a commission for any purchases made. If you want to help support ISKMogul at no additional cost, we really appreciate it.