|Religion||Counterreform Catholic or Catholic|
|Enemies||France (before War of Spanish Succession), Aztec_Empire, Ottoman_Empire, Inca_Empire, Netherlands, England, Muslims|
|Allies||Portugal, Russia (not natural, but potential), Austria(before War of Spanish Succession), or none|
The unification of the kingdoms of Aragón, Castile, León, and Navarre laid the basis for modern Spain and the Spanish Empire. Spain became Europe's leading power throughout the 16th century and most of the 17th century, a position later reinforced by trade and wealth from colonial possessions. Spain reached its apogee during the reigns of the first two Spanish Habsburgs (Charles I (1516-1556) and Philip II (1556-1598)). Included in this period are the Italian Wars, the Dutch revolt, clashes with the Ottomans, the Anglo-Spanish war and war with France.
The Spanish Empire expanded to include nearly all of South and Central America, Mexico, southern and western portions of today's United States, the Philippines, Guam and the Mariana Islands in Eastern Asia, the Iberian peninsula (including the Portuguese empire (from 1580 to 1630)), southern Italy, Sicily, cities in Northern Africa, as well as parts of modern Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It was the second empire about which it was said that the sun did not set (The Portuguese Empire was the first). This was an age of discovery, with daring explorations by sea and by land, the opening up of new trade routes across oceans, conquests and the beginning of European colonial exploitation (that is, if we don't count the Portuguese Empire, they did it all first). Along with the arrival of precious metals, spices, luxuries, and new agricultural plants, Spanish explorers and others brought back knowledge, playing a leading part in transforming the European understanding of the world.
In the 16th and 17th centuries Spain was confronted by unrelenting challenges from all sides. In the early 16th century Barbary pirates under the aegis of the rapidly growing Ottoman empire, disrupted life in many coastal areas through their slave raids and renewed the threat of an Islamic invasion. This at a time when Spain was often at war with France in Italy and elsewhere. Later the Protestant Reformation schism from the Catholic Church dragged the kingdom ever more into the mire of religiously charged wars. The result was a country forced into ever expanding military efforts across Europe and in the Mediterranean.
By the middle decades of a war-ridden mid-17th century Europe, the effects of the strain began to show. The Spanish Habsburgs had enmeshed the country in the continent wide religious-political conflicts. These conflicts drained it of resources and undermined the European economy generally. Spain managed to hold on to the majority of the scattered Habsburg empire, and help the Imperial forces of the Holy Roman Empire reverse a large part of the advances made by Protestant forces, but it was finally forced to recognise the independence of Portugal - with its empire - and the Netherlands, and eventually began to surrender territories to France after the immensely destructive, Europe-wide Thirty Years War.
From the 1640s Spain went into a gradual but seemingly irreversible decline for the remainder of the century, however it was able to maintain and enlarge its vast overseas empire which remained intact until the 19th century.
Controversy over succession to the throne consumed the first years of the 18th century. The War of Spanish Succession (1701-1714), a wide ranging international conflict combined with a civil war, cost Spain its European possessions and its position as one of the leading powers on the Continent (although it retained its overseas territories).
During this war, a new dynasty—the French Bourbons—was installed. Long united only by the Crown, a true Spanish state was established when the first Bourbon king Philip V of Spain united Castile and Aragon into a single state, abolishing many of the regional privileges (fueros).
The 18th century saw a gradual recovery and some increase in prosperity through much of the empire. The new Bourbon monarchy drew on the French system of modernising the administration and the economy. Enlightenment ideas began to gain ground among some of the kingdom's elite and monarchy. Towards the end of the century trade finally began growing strongly. Military assistance for the rebellious British colonies in the American War of Independence improved Spain's international standing.
Strategy in MyMAP/AGCEEP
Colonization and Conquest Era
Historically, Spain was a great colonial power, and colonial expansion is an ideal strategy for the early phases of the game (sixteenth century). Remember to remain outside the Portuguese sphere of influence after Tordesillas in areas where you do not have large defensive armies. It is a good idea to ally with Portugal. Do not waste your conquistadors or explorers; though it seems your supply is unlimited now, later they become increasingly rare. Ideally you should have explored all of South and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as most of North America, by 1600. Of course, the wars with the Aztecs and Inca (as well as any other surviving American states) are during this time period. Take Tenochtitlan when fighting the Aztecs-this results in automatic annexation of the Aztec_Empire through an event. It is not a bad idea to wait until 1532 or 1533 to conquer the Inca, as waiting will result in a gain of 10000 gold (event-Atahuallpa's Ransom)! Destroy the Inca utterly. Do not take provinces; overrun them and annex them! Also remember to crush the Maya. What about the Zapotec? You should have an event that makes them your vassal, and they should convert to Catholicism. Unfortunately for the Zapotec, Catholics in the Spanish sphere of influence don't last long... After crushing the American states, continue colonization until a certain point. When you arrive at this point, you will recognize it-only about one in every thrity or so colonization attempts will be successful.
Of course, the Americas are not the only scene of expansion and war in the sixteenth century. As your empire expands in America you must struggle to retain and expand your European possessions. If you haven't done so already (though by this time you probably should have), destroy Granada. Around 1512 you should inherit Burgundy providing that the union of house Habsburg and Burgundy occurred in 1477. A war with France to connect your Burgundian possessions to Spain is not a bad idea, even if you have a large enough navy to transport large quantities of troops between your possessions. This will greatly help during the time of the Dutch revolts. By this time you will gain Utrecht in the Netherlands. Do whatever you can to crush the Dutch revolts. If the Netherlands declares independence you will be forced to cede provinces, and the Dutch fortresses will increase, apparently due to the Dutch flooding your attacking armies. Also remember that you will lose your cot in Antwerp if the Dutch declare independence. Therefore it is in your best interests to prevent the Netherlands from ever existing. DO NOT UPGRADE FORTRESSES IN THE NETHERLANDS UNTIL THE REVOLTS END! Keep in mind that rebels can take your fortresses without siege, and it is far more difficult to retake a city with a level 3 or 4 fortress than it is to take one with fortress level 1 or 2. When rebels take your cities, do not hesitate to assault your owh fortresses. The Netherlands can declare independence very fast. If this occurs, take as many provinces as you can from them. Attack quickly as their armies begin with 0 morale, giving you a huge initial advantage even though their force in the area may be far larger than yours. It should not be difficult to take three or four of your provinces back.
Maintain your alliance with Portugal through this time period, and add Austria to your alliance as soon as you see that they are without allies-they will be of great help during wars with France. Adding Russia to your alliance is not a bad idea either. Wealth and economy should not be of concern with the amount of bullion flowing in from the newly acquired American territories. You can claim the title of sole defender of the Catholic faith. It may well be worth it before the Reformation if it gives you the Imperial title.
Conquest of Europe
Around 1580, select "One King, One Kingdom" to gain Portugal as a vassal. Eventually, you should annex them (WARNING: BADBOY MAY INCREASE BY UP TO 50 FROM THIS ANNEXATION). You may select to add Portugal to Spain as soon as 10 years have passed. Once you have acquired a great enough power ratio to perform the annexation, commence to diploannex Portugal. Alternately, wait until Portugal gains a larger colonial empire and annex them at this time. The annexation should leave you bogged down by revolts throughout your world empire for 20 to 30 years. Do everything in your power to prevent the loss of ANY provinces. Hopefully you will gain from the annexation about a quarter to a third of all African coastal provinces, much of Brazil, Macao near China, Hormuz, several Indian regions, and parts of Taiwan.
It is now time to destroy your old enemy, France. With your badboy as high as it is following annexation of Portugal, it will be very difficult to diplovassalize and therefore diploannex other nations. The game for some reason will greatly restrict your ability to colonize. It should be apparent that the most efficient way to expand your borders is through war. Declare war upon France. Sent a large force to Paris and besiege the fortress there. Meanwhile, assault territories bordering Spain. When the capital falls, DO NOT TAKE PROVINCES! Instead, forcevassalize France.
England will declare war on Spain through an event that tells them to "plunder the riches of Spain". Again, after destroying any threat posed by England on the continent, send armies to conquer the capital and nearby provinces for leverage, then forcevassalize England. Annex France.
(4) The Ottoman Empire and Prussia
Declare war upon and forcevassalize the Ottoman Empire and Brandenburg-Prussia after stabilizing from the defeat of England. The Ottoman Empire is probably the most difficult nation you have faced thus far to defeat due to its immense sprawling armies in nearly every territory. However, Spain should have a higher tech level than the Ottomans and use it to defeat them. The fortresses in Alexandria and Constaninople are especially difficult to conquer. After eliminating the Ottomans, annex England if the Edict of Tolerance has passed. Destroying Prussia will seem immensely easy after the wars with the Ottomans, France, and England.