How Do You Get More Merchants in Europa Universalis IV?

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A merchant in Europa Universalis IV is a special envoy that’s used to increase your trade income. Specifically, they can do Trade Steering (steer trade to the downstream trade node you want) and Collect From Trade (convert the trade power in the node to ducats).

To increase the number of merchants you have, you can do any of the following:

  1. National Ideas
  2. Idea Groups and Policies
  3. Government Reforms
  4. Special Decisions
  5. Trade Companies
  6. Colonial Nations
  7. Parliament Debate
  8. Syncretic Faith
  9. Sunni Scholar
  10. Fetishist Cult

Below we’ll go into more detail explaining what to do for each of these methods.


National Ideas

Dutch National Ideas in EU4

One way to get more merchants is to simply pick countries that have additional merchants in their national ideas.

Usually, these are the countries with a significant historical record of trading with other countries, such as:

  • Holland and Portugal in Europe
  • Oman and Hormuz in the Middle East
  • Java and Malaya in Asia
  • Mogadishu and Mali in Africa

However, there are more countries that also have additional merchants in their national ideas aside from the examples given.

The full list of countries can be found in the EU4 wiki, or by just reading the national ideas of a potential country at the country selection menu.


Idea Groups and Policies

Trade Idea Groups in EU4

Another way to get more merchants is to take Idea Groups that has an additional merchant in their ideas.

These Idea Groups are:

  • Expansion (+1 Merchant)
  • Plutocratic (+1 Merchant)
  • Trade (+3 Merchants)

If you have fully unlocked a pair of Idea Groups, you can activate a policy that is corresponding to that pair of idea groups.

Finishing Aristocratic and Trade, Defensive and Trade, and Plutocratic and Trade has an additional merchant to its policy.


Government Reforms

Government Reform Tab in EU4

This is a simple way to snag an additional merchant:

Get a tier 1 government reform of either Plutocracy or Venetian Government.

These can be done in the Government Reforms Tab, and it costs 100 reform progress.

It’s important to note here that the Venetian Government reform is a special reform for Venice only, and it’s available from the start of the game.

For other countries, Plutocracy is the only way.


Decisions For Merchants

For this method you’ll want to enact two special decisions.

Thalassocracy Decision in EU4

The first decision is to “Confirm Thalassocracy”. As the name means (thalassocracy = “rule by sea”), it requires the country to fully unlock the Maritime Idea Group and be the dominant trade power in all the trades nodes in:

  • The Mediterranean Sea (the Genoa, Venice, Tunis, Ragusa and Alexandria trade nodes)
  • Or in the Atlantic Ocean (the Lubeck, Baltic Sea, English Channel, North Sea and Novgorod trade nodes)
  • Or in the Pacific Ocean (the Goa, Gulf of Aden, Indus, Ceylon, Bengal and Mallacca trade nodes)

If you unlock this decision, you’ll get:

  • +0.25 navy experience
  • -10% light ship cost
  • +1 merchant
  • -5% diplomatic technology cost

These bonuses will significantly aid your trading through the sea.

Indian Trade Company Decision Screen in EU4

The second decision is to “Found Indian Trade Company”.

This decision requires that the country embrace the Global Trade institution, and owns at least one coastal province in China, India, the East Indies, or Japan.

If you unlock this decision, you’ll get:

  • 200 ducats
  • -10% light ship cost
  • +1 merchant
  • +5% global trade power

However, you will lose these benefits if you lose all coastal provinces that you have in China, India, the East Indies, or Japan.

So it’s important to defend these provinces to maintain the benefits.


Trade Company

Trade Company List Screenshot in EU4

If you have the Wealth of Nations DLC or Dharma DLC, then one more way to get additional merchants is to make trading companies.

Represented by a wooden box insignia in the vassal screen, a trade company is a group of provinces from the same trading node that you manually assign.

These provinces have higher autonomy, lower tax output, lower production income, and lower manpower, but with a significant increase in trade power.

Note that these provinces can only be made to a trade company from any trade nodes that are not part of the same superregion as your capital.

If your trade company in a certain trade node controls 51% of all trade power from all provinces in that node, it will grant +1 merchant.

If your trade power becomes less that 51%, you’ll lose the additional merchant bonus.

This is one of the ways to get a significant amount of merchants, because there are a lot of possible trade nodes to make a trading company.


Colonial Nation

Colonial Nation List Screenshot in EU4

If you have the Conquest of Paradise DLC, then you can alternatively make colonial nations.

Represented by a blue insignia with a wooden house in the vassal screen, a colonial nation is a special country that can be formed by having at colonizing or conquering, then coring at least five provinces in a certain colonial region.

Colonial regions can only be found in North America, South America, and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).

If the colonial nation has at least 10 provinces, then the overlord will get:

  • +5% global trade power
  • +5 land force limit
  • +10 naval force limit
  • +1 additional merchant

If you can conquer most of North and South America, you can get a significant number of merchants, because each colonial region can give one additional merchant.

However, it will be very difficult to maintain because each colonial nation increases the liberty desire of all colonial nations.


Parliament Debate

'Start Debate' in Parliament Tab in EU4

If you have the Common Sense DLC then here’s another way to snag some merchants:

Start and succeed in the passing of the “Charter Trade Company” debate when you have Parliament government reform.

This debate would appear if the country has finished the Trade Idea Group, and has a diplomatic technology of at least 10.

When implemented, this debate will give you:

  • +20% trade range
  • +5% trade power abroad
  • And an additional merchant for 10 years

This can be repeated indefinitely as long as it’s available & always successfully passed every time.


Syncretic Faith

Tengri Religion Tab in EU4

If you have the Cossacks DLC then you can be Tengri and have Zoroastrian as a syncretic faith.

This is a very difficult task to achieve, because Zoroastrian is a religion that has almost been wiped out at the beginning of the game, with only a few provinces in the Persian region left having it as a majority religion.


Sunni Scholar

Sunni Religion Tab with Scholar List in EU4

Now if you have the Cradle of Civilization DLC, then you can have an Islamic religion (Sunni, Shia or Ibadi) and have the Shafi’i school of Islamic Law in your country.

You can get this in two ways:

  1. The country you’re playing has the Shafi’i school by default
  2. Or you pay 50 administrative points to hire the Shafi’i scholar to get the benefit for 20 years

It’s important to note that you must have either be an ally, overlord, or subject of a nation with that Shafi’i school as a default, and they should have +150 opinion of you, and -50 piety if you’re Shia or Ibadi.


Fetishist Cult

Fetishist Religion Tab with No Cult Selected in EU4

If you have the Rights of Man DLC then you can have Fetishist as a religion and interact with a country with a nation with Zoroastrian religion.

This will unlock the Mazdayasna cult which will give you two additional merchants.

But much like the syncretic faith method, this is a very difficult task to achieve because Zoroastrian is a religion that has almost been wiped out, with only a few provinces in the Persian region left having it as a majority religion.

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