7 Largest & Most Powerful De Jure Kingdoms in CK3This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The map in CKIII is split into a multitude of de jure kingdoms. Each kingdom has several de jure duchies under it, while it is also part of a larger de jure empire.
“De jure” is a Latin term that means “lawfully” or “according to the law”. While the de jure setup is fixed at the game’s start, controlling a duchy for a large period can drift it towards your main kingdom title.
Our ranking here will list the most powerful kingdom titles, mainly considering the de jure borders at the 1066 starting date. The differences between 1066 and 867 are not too impactful, and the list stands true for both dates.
What I’m mostly looking in a kingdom when judging its power is its size (number of holdings), and how that size is distributed among the various duchies.
Essentially gauging the potential power of the king and how easy it is to keep the realm in check.
Imagine each duchy as a vassal of yours, and you as the king. You wouldn’t want anyone too powerful under you, while you also want at least a couple strong duchies to hold yourself.
A powerful domain is always more important than having several unruly vassals!
Arabia is one of the largest kingdoms, and one of only two that make this list situated outside Europe.
It has a total of 144 holdings split between 11 duchies. The total number of counties is 43.
The Arabian duchies have a big variation between the number of counties each control. This works towards the king’s favor.
You, as the king, can directly control the most valuable ones while the rest of the land is split between weaker vassals.
My recommended setup playing as Arabia is to control the duchies of Mecca and Medina yourself. They’re the most developed ones, have a nice number of 9 counties between them, and a very strong unique building in Mecca.
Minimal investment in stewardship is needed to hold these counties!
The other 2 strong duchies are Shammar and Najd.
Najd can be powerful later in the game, but it starts as tribal and completely undeveloped. Regarding Shammar, you can always try keeping it as your heir’s domain.
Bavaria comes with 136 holdings split between 10 duchies.
And a total of 43 counties makes it a very similar case to Arabia.
Unlike Arabia, Bavaria is fully feudal in 1066, with average development across its counties. The only considerably larger duchy in the kingdom is the capital one, which you will be holding for yourself.
This situation is a double-edged sword for the king.
As you know, you ideally want 2 duchies with 10 or so counties between them for your personal domain. This takes full advantage of duchy buildings without giving you maluses from “too many held duchies”.
In Bavaria, the capital duchy has 9 counties, many of which have a below average number of holdings.
There’s also a goldmine in the southernmost duchy of Tirol that you also want to hold yourself.
In this case, I recommend controlling these 2 duchies partially in the early game.
Ideally you’ll give the weaker counties to your heir if possible.
While it’s a strong kingdom, I rarely find myself playing as Bavaria.
If you find yourself playing in that area, I recommend trying to form the Archduchy of Austria. It’s a very satisfying campaign!
The Hungarian kingdom in 1066 finds itself with 170 holdings split among 11 duchies. The total amount of counties is 51.
For reference, in 867 it misses the duchies of Nyitra and Syrmia, losing out on 32 counties.
Hungary has 3 very strong duchies in Nyitra, Transylvania, and Bihar, while the capital duchy of Visegrad is nothing exceptional.
However, Nyitra and Transylvania have 9 and 7 counties respectively, making it a pain to hold them yourself.
Nyitra, however, has a goldmine.
My recommendation is the following:
Hold Bihar and the capital duchy fully yourself. Give Nyitra to your heir while controlling the goldmine county directly.
Another solution is making sure the duchy of Nyitra is never created. Keep that land split between vassal counts!
The rest of the duchies are on the weaker side and should pose no problems as vassals.
All in all, Hungary is a nice kingdom to play as if you want to lay back and relax.
It also offers some nice lessons regarding vassal management and keeping your domain intact.
England is one of the most played regions in the game.
I would wager that the kingdom of England is the most created kingdom-tier title in the game even.
We also covered the best English duchies in another article, so check that out if you’re curious.
England has 145 holdings split between 10 duchies. It numbers 40 counties in total. This is less holdings overall than Hungary.
But England makes up for it with a better duchy setup, and a far more powerful domain for the king to hold.
The absolute best setup is for you to hold the duchies of Middlesex and York personally, while ideally also controlling the county of Wiltshire where Stonehenge is located.
All other duchies have no more than 4 counties and no important special buildings, with one exception: the duchy of Mercia, which has 28 holdings between 9 counties.
The duke of Mercia can be a powerful vassal.
You can always make sure the ducal title doesn’t exist and keep the land split.
A king of England with London and York built up can be a very powerful character.
Across CK3, this realm is one of the stabler ones as well. I would recommend the area for newer players in a heartbeat!
The kingdom of France (West Francia if you are playing as a Karling) brings us up towards the top of this raning.
France has 50 counties in total, 158 holdings split between 9 duchies.
Remember, the southern part of the French region is a different de jure kingdom, that of Aquitaine. Aquitaine barely didn’t make it into the list, so the power of the French king at the game’s start cannot be underestimated!
The northern part of the realm, de jure France, can be a great power base if you can keep the powerful dukes in check.
The capital duchy is one of the best in the game: high development, a unique building, good terrain, and 27 holdings between 7 counties.
Honestly, even holding the capital duchy of Valois can be good enough in the early game.
Later, when you get access to a bigger domain limit, grabbing one of the smaller duchies is a good idea.
Note that your larger vassals can be a problem, especially during a succession crisis. Take advantage of the existing bishoprics and empower them when your character is pious and virtuous. The clerical vassals will love you and remain loyal.
In a list dominated by European kingdoms, Persia clutches the second.
A well-deserved position for sure.
Persia has 143 counties split between only 36 counties! It has 9 de jure duchies in total. Having only 36 counties means that you can realistically control a third of the kingdom directly yourself with some investment in stewardship.
My recommended setup is fully controlling the duchies of Fars and Isfahan.
Isfahan, the capital duchy, also has a special religious building for Muslims and Zoroastrians. 46 holdings between only 11 counties are far above average!
If the malus to vassal opinion doesn’t bother you, holding Yazd and Kirman instead of Fars is also an option.
Whatever religion you choose to play as, the heartland of the Persian empire is always an excellent choice to build up your power.
If you prefer staying as a king, it should be easy to de jure drift the bordering duchies to your north. This gives you nice borders and an even stronger kingdom.
Germany (East Francia if you play as a Karling) takes the top spot without a contest.
The kingdom is simply gigantic compared to the rest of the competition.
It has a whopping 247 holdings split between 14 duchies. A total of 71 counties in the 1066 starting date.
In the 867 date, it misses the duchies of Meissen and Lausitz, which amounts to a loss of 36 holdings. Still ends up far above the competition.
What Germany lacks is unique buildings. The only one is the Rammelsberg mine in Thüringia. Cologne and Aachen with their unique buildings are situated in the kingdom of Lotharingia!
There are multiple choices for your personal domain inside the kingdom, and there are many large duchies that can become powerful vassals as well.
My recommended setup is to include Thüringia in your domain for the mining settlement. The de jure capital of West Franconia has 9 counties, but some of them are well developed and already built up.
You can have most of them while leaving the rest to your heir.
Germany is closer to an empire than a kingdom in terms of size.
On top of that, the AI will never create the title if the Holy Roman Empire exists. Controlling all of Germany, you might as well go the extra step and claim the imperial title as well.