|Government type||Absolute Monarchy (Typical)
|Ruling party||Ittihad (conservative)|
|Capital||Baku (ID 1102; default)
Tabriz (ID 1108; if released from Persia)
|Population||575.46k (All states with cores)|
508.08k (All Cores)
|Tech school||Traditional academia|
|Status||[[Civilized (If released from Russia)|
Uncivilized (If released from Persia)]]
- Likely to be sphered by Russia or the Ottoman Empire, keeping it safe from the stronger neighbouring Persia and the other Great Power.
- Has cores on the relatively highly populated Tabriz region in Persia.
- Likely Civilized, and bordering a large, relatively vulnerable uncivilized nation (Persia).
- Position between Russia and the Ottomans leaves Azerbaijan vulnerable in case of wars between allies of one or the other.
- Azerbaijani culture is rare outside Azerbaijan and Tabriz.
- No sea access at the start of the game.
If Released by Russia
If released in 1836, several issues are immediately present. First, a tiny population. Second, a location between three nations with superior militaries. Third, being landlocked.
However, there's one simple solution to this. Azerbaijan has cores on the Tabriz region in neighbouring Persia - a predominantly Azerbaijani and fairly highly populated region with a range of resources. By getting a good alliance with either Russia or the Ottoman Empire, Azerbaijan may be able to take the state it desperately needs. From there, Azerbaijan should be near half a million POPs, but as Tabriz is a colonial state at first, simply encourage Bureaucrats and then start getting those factories built. Make sure to keep your military budget high enough to get enough soldier POPs, too.
Unless Azerbaijan and Persia have the same Great power Ally, it's likely Persia will invade Azerbaijan to retake Tabriz as soon as the truce is over. Building up forts beforehand can help, but simply being in friendly relations (and hopefully having an alliance) with Russia and/or the Ottoman Empire should be enough for them to protect Azerbaijan in the event of invasion - unless they are attacking each other (as often happens). Hopefully, though, by that time, Azerbijan should have enough soldiers to be able to fend off a Persian attack alone.
Further targets of conquest
After securing all Azerbaijani cores, next up on the agenda is having better means to expand. Seeing as Persia by now should be a fairly equal match, taking a coastal province will be enough to ensure the small Caucasian nation can expand into far more places.
There are, of course, many possible targets for Azerbaijan. One can look east towards Afghanistan and Sindh, westwards towards Georgian and Armenian territory in the Ottoman Empire (although in that case one really does need an alliance with Russia), South towards Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula or even very far east towards nations like Korea and Johore.
Since Afghanistan has Turkish as an accepted culture, any Turkish POPs conquered from the Ottoman Empire will be unlikely to revolt, potentially allowing for Afghanistan to replace the Ottoman Empire as the predominant power in the Middle East.
As a Buffer State
Azerbaijan can also be used as a somewhat decent buffer state between the three powers in the region:
Russia can get some use out of Azerbaijan as a means of crippling Persia without suffering any potential uprisings, and as a ready-use troop source against the Ottomans' Anatolian heartland. It is recommended to release Azerbaijan before giving it land in Persia, however, as this ensures that you do not possess any of its core provinces - and besides, it would cost less infamy to simply demand Tabriz as a concession instead.
Persia would likely not want to give up over a quarter of its population lightly, however a Persian-sponsored Azerbaijan is the strongest from its release, and forms a buffer (literally) against the Russian Empire, helping defend against any interests the Russians might have in Persia (especially as a result of any potential Central Asian allies), and, if Persia happens to defeat Russia in a war, can be expanded into much of the Caucuses at Russian expense - something which would only make them stronger and a more effective buffer. It should be noted, however, that an Azerbaijan released by Persia starts uncivilised, and it might just be more efficient (if more costly in terms of Infamy) for Persia to just annex states from Russia instead, given that Persia has Azeri as an accepted culture.
By the Ottoman Empire
Azerbaijan has perhaps its best use as a nation released by the Ottoman Empire. While it will either not be a puppet or require multiple wars to fully release, an Ottoman Azerbaijan (unlike Armenia and, to a lesser extent, Georgia) has no territorial claims on any starting territory of the Empire. This makes it highly useful as a sphere member and ally in the region, and can be combined with Georgia to provide an effective buffer in the Caucuses, effectively locking Russia out of the region and providing a staging point for any further strikes into Russia, should they be required.