EU4: How To Become a Pirate Republic

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Pirate republics are a unique republic-type government. They can raid coasts (like the Maghrebi nations do) regardless of their targets’ faith. They also have a unique faction system (like the merchant republic) comprised by the Buccaneers, the Smugglers, and the Captains.

There are multiple ways to play as such a republic.

The simplest way is starting as the nations of Palembang or So, which immediately get events to turn into Pirate republics. Another option is to colonize the Caribbean and manually trigger the pirate events by privateering there.

Note: in the scenario of colonizing the Caribbean, you will change TAG into a new nation with a single province. Wherever in the world you want to scratch your itching for a piratical life in the golden age of piracy, there is a choice for you!


Becoming a Pirate Republic Without Changing TAG

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Desmond with the decision available from the get-go. All coastal Irish minors are good candidates for going the piracy route.

If you want to become a pirate republic as a specific nation, you will have to do it through a special decision. This decision appears only under very specific circumstances. These are:

  • Be independent
  • Not playing as the Papal State
  • Not the HRE emperor
  • Not a revolutionary country
  • Does not have some special government form (Elective monarchy, Shogunate, Veche republic)
  • Have less than 7 cities
  • Own only coastal provinces
  • Own only provinces that are on islands or in the Maghreb region

EU4’s Definition of an “Island”

The game uses various definitions of “Island”.

In this case, “on islands” includes all provinces not on the mainland of Eurasia, Africa, Australia of the Americas. You can also think it as all provinces without a land connection (even through wasteland) to Constantinople, Panama, or Eora (Sydney).

This means that for example London, Venice, Viti Levu, and all provinces in Sumatra are “on islands”.

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All provinces that are considered on islands / Source

Enacting the Decision

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Enacting the decision as Desmond.

The decision has additional requirements before you can enact it and hoist the black flag. These requirements are:

  • Stability at least +2
  • Navy at least at 90% of the force limit
  • Do not have any subjects
  • At least 10% of the trade power in the home node as privateers
  • Not bankrupt
  • At peace

These are not hard to fulfill. For example, any Irish minor with 5 coastal provinces and light ships close to their force limit can achieve the privateering requirement. Indonesia and Madagascar are also lucrative positions for piracy to flourish.


Changing Government by Event

There are several nations in the game that get events to change into a Pirate republic. These are:

  • Rügen
  • Cornwall
  • Pattani
  • Palembang
  • So

Out of all of those, Cornwall and Rügen do not exist at game start, and Pattani’s event can only happen after 1563.

Palembang and So are selectable at game start and get their event to flip within the game’s first year.

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The Palembang event, giving you the chance to turn into a Pirate republic right at the game’s start

Becoming a Pirate Republic by Changing TAG


Releasable Nations without Colonizing

The nations of Salé and Tétouan can be released in their respective provinces by their Muslim overlord if Granada has fallen to the Christians. Tétouan only between the dates 1515 and 1542.

Libertatia is another releasable TAG. It can be released in the province of Maroantsera (in Madagascar) by nations with their capital in Africa if Europeans own any land in the Kongo, India, or the East Indies.

The event “The Golden Age of Piracy” needs to have triggered. Details for the event are discussed below.


Pirates of the Caribbean

Ah, the emblematic Pirates of the Caribbean. If you want to recreate the exploits of Benjamin Hornigold, Blackbeard, and Henry Morgan, this is the option for you.

The following steps should help you achieve that dream.

Step 1: Pick a colonizing nation

You want to colonize the Caribbean as soon as possible. A nation able to do that without much hustle is ideal.

Portugal, England, and Castille are the best choices.

Portugal can reach the Caribbeans very early and colonize provinces very fast. England is the option that will give your nation the more “historical” culture.

Step 2: Pick exploration and expansion ideas

You want to conserve as much monarch points as possible. You will not be playing as the current nation anyway. There is no need to expand and fight your neighbors unless you are bored.

Focus on keeping up with technology and unlocking exploration and expansion ideas the soonest.

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The idea groups unlocked as England in 1480. With the 3rd idea from exploration and tech 7 you can reach the Caribbean without colonizing anything else.

Step 3: Explore and start colonizing the Caribbean

With Portugal, this can be achieved effortlessly. Castile shouldn’t have a hard time either. England, unless going extremely out of your way and conquering Portugal’s Atlantic islands, will need to wait until diplomatic tech 7.

This is not really a problem as you need administrative tech 7 as soon as possible for the second idea group anyway. In general, your colonial range can be easily increased by the following:

  • Diplomatic technology, first increase at DIP tech 7 (+115)
  • Exploration idea 3 (+50%)
  • Navigator advisors (+20%)

Step 4: Colonize aggressively

Do not be afraid to recall your colonists and start more colonies.

Despite losing vast amounts of money, you don’t really need to care, as you will be switching nations soon. Just be sure not to go bankrupt while still having unfinished colonies, since they will suffer a massive penalty to their settler increase.

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10 simultaneous colonies, colonizing all of Cuba at once.

Step 5: Allow others to colonize the area as well

You want as many colonial nations in the area as possible. Therefore, England is a very good choice.

There is a good chance Portugal will colonize the region by themselves, helping you later by giving your future nation targets to conquer.

Step 6: Start privateering

Now you must fire the “The Golden Age of Piracy” event. To do that you need to:

  • Have a subject with its capital in the Caribbeans or have 5% power from privateers in the Caribbeans node
  • Have a truce with a country that: has a subject with its capital in the Caribbeans or has 5% power from privateers in the Caribbeans node
  • Have privateers active anywhere in the world
  • Or simply have 25% privateering trade power in the Caribbeans node. This condition is easier to fulfill and more reliable.
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The event in question. You can see 30% privateering trade power in the bottom left.

Step 7: Keep privateering

After the event has fired, the nations of New Providence (Bahamas), Port Royal (Jamaica), and Tortuga (Tortuga) are able to be released via event.

All you need to do is keep privateering, ensuring you have enough power in the node with your privateers (5%, 10%, and 1% for each nation respectively).

Additionally, Tortuga needs the province to be Reformed, Protestant, Anglican, or Hussite.

The events for each nation will trigger within a couple years and you can choose to play as any one of them.

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The event to play as New Providence.
Conquering the Caribbeans

After releasing the nation and choosing to play as them, you will start in your single province with some troops and a good number of ships.

Your navy is sufficiently strong to destroy any other colonial nation I the area.

Important: Attacking colonial nations does not call their overlord into the war. That is why you wanted to colonize a lot before triggering the event and switching nations.

Note that you will have a 5-year truce with your former nation and its subjects. Not with other colonial nations though, that is why we wanted other ones to form as well.

Either fabricate claims on the colonial nations or get some from your mission tree. You can also get the “war against the world” reform as a pirate republic which works exactly like the “imperialism” casus belli. You can attack ANYONE with it.

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The “War Against the World” CB.

Simply let the colonizers colonize enough provinces for a colonial nation to form. When the Caribbean is completely colonized by two or three nations you can sweep in and annex all of it with ease.

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The caribbeans fully colonized by France and England. Bermuda was conquered from Portugal in this campaign.

Important: The island of Bermuda is also part of the Caribbean region and is needed for the unique achievement, which requires owning the entirety of the Caribbeans as New Providence.

This province will NOT become part of a colonial nation, forcing you to go to war against a European colonizer which might be hard. Simply build up your navy and you will be fine. You need to only occupy Bermuda and let the warscore tick in your favor. Eventually you will be able to demand it from them.

An alternative method is unlocking expansion ideas and simply colonizing it yourself before anyone else does.

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Bermuda in the north and Aruba in the south, circled in red. Both are needed for the unique achievement.

Provinces in colonial region are very cheap to demand and everyone is far away, so aggressive expansion is a non-factor.

You can annex these nations in a single war even if they control the entire region.

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Conquering English West Indies to finish the conquest of the region.
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The “Yarr Harr a Pirate’s Life For Me” achievement done.
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G. Tsechilidis

Born and raised Greek citizen. His love of history, geography, and all things map-related, are certainly a contrast to his pursuit of a master in civil engineering. An avid gamer from a very young age, he found the perfect match in Grand Strategy Games. If not for a good chess match or a round of carambole billiards, you'll certainly catch him firing up EU4 or a Total War game to spend the evening.