“If Germany is to become a colonising power, all I say is, ‘God speed her!’ She becomes our ally and partner in the execution of the great purposes of Providence for the advantage of mankind.”
Introduction to colonization
Colonies are an important part of Victoria. They were the way in which the great nations of the era expanded their hard power overseas, and those nations which sought to become great powers—Germany, Japan, the United States—did so through acquiring colonies.
The colonial system is structured around four building types:
- Missions were supposed to be a way of spreading your country’s religion to the people of the region you are colonising, but no-one has seen any evidence that it works this way.
- Trading Posts
- These were supposed to allow you to immediately begin using some of the resource in the province that contains the post, but no-one has seen any evidence that you get any resources.
- Colonial Fortresses
- These are just special types of fortifications. They can be used by your troops when defending the province, but they also increase native aggression.
- Coaling Stations
- Upon completion, a Coaling Station creates a port at which your ships may dock, something which otherwise would not occur until you had claimed the province. However, since all ships have unlimited range, the port provided by a coaling station has more use as a simpler way of unloading troops into a province.
All building types cost five thousand pounds, one leadership point, 0.5 machine part, and some other resources, different for each building. The inventions that affect cost of factories apply here as well as described in Industrial_Overview. The construction time for all colonial buildings is three years. You can build your claims only in provinces that are not currently being claimed by someone else and to which you have access (the province is coastal or borders one of your completed claims).
In Victoria, colonies can only be claimed at the state level (for distinction between a province and a state, look at section “The Map”). There are two ways to claim a colony:
Claiming when you have all buildings in a colony
First, if you have your claim buildings in every province of a state, and they have all finished construction, then you may claim the colony. In this situation, the type of building does not matter. All the buildings could be Missions, but as long as all the provinces have been secured by you, you can claim the entire colony.
Claiming when you don't have all buildings in a colony
The second form of claim is more complex. If you have constructed all four types of buildings in a colony, then it is possible for you to claim it, but only if all the other provinces in the state have been claimed by somebody. It does not matter who the other claimant is; as long as you have build a Mission, a Trading Post, a Colonial Fortress, and a Coaling Station, and as long as all the other provinces have completed colonial buildings in them, you can claim the colony for yourself. In a non-coastal colonies, you don't need the coaling station; just the other three.
This second form of claiming colonies provides several benefits to calculating players:
- You can quickly place your four buildings in a large state, wait a few decades for the others to be filled by various aspiring colonial powers, and then claim the whole thing. Or,
- You can build your four buildings for yourself, as well as several extra Missions or Trading Posts, and then sell the extras to other countries for provinces or large amounts of cash. (This is considered an exploit by some, since the AI doesn't check whether the claim you offer will do it any good.) Then, assuming you have retained the original four buildings, you can claim the colony anyway. Given the high going price of colonial buildings, you can rack up quite a fortune with this tactic.
Note that both types of colony claim require that each province in the state has a completed colony building. This often causes confusion, so it's worth repeating : You cannot claim a colony until all the provinces of the state have a colony building in them. When this is true, you can claim the colony if a) you own all the colony buildings or b) you own one of each type.
Prestige gain from claiming colonies
Claiming colonies is important mostly because it yields a high amount of prestige. The amount you get is proportional to the number of provinces of the claimed colony: the larger the colony, the more prestige it gives when claimed.
Colonies as a source for manpower
Colonies are also good sources of manpower. As you continue to industrialise, the population of your home country available to be used as soldiers becomes smaller. This can be supplemented by colonial manpower. Troops produced here have “Native” status (see section “The Military”), but this can easily be overcome by strength of numbers or talented generals.
Granting statehood to colonies
Keep in mind, though, that unlike provinces in your home country or provinces taken from other civilised countries, colonies cannot be granted statehood immediately. Only when they have been granted statehood can they be used for industry, but they can be used for military production immediately after being claimed. You can grant statehood if at least one of the coditions are met:
- the colony lies on the same continent as your capital,
- your national culture is a majority in at least one of the provinces in the colony.
The second condition can be fulfilled by migration of your national cultures to colonies. Only long range cultures can migrate further than a few provinces so countries with a short range national culture are penalized in ability to grant statehood around the world. Most long range cultures belong to european countries that made colonization historically. Short range cultures usually belong to countries that are either former colonies or uncivilized.
Curiously, if an uncivilized nation takes a region from a civilized nation, that region will lose its statehood. Uncivilized nations don't declare war, but if war is declared upon them and they win, normally with help from a civilized ally, then the uncivilized nation can seize provinces which then lose statehood.