|Government type||Absolute Monarchy|
|Ruling party||Royal Faction (conservative)|
|Tech school||Traditional Academia|
Crete starts as a part of Egypt. Historically it was placed under Egyptian rule after the Greek War of Independence, where the Ottoman Sultan promised the island to Muhammad Ali of Egypt if Egypt helped the Ottoman Empire to defeat the Greek revolutionaries. The island was later given to him for the sum of 20 million Kuruş. Crete, Egypt, and Greece all have cores on the island of Crete.
An independent Crete cannot afford an army at all, so getting a powerful ally is the number 1 priority. Getting into a sphere is the easiest way to do it. Both Greece and Egypt will try to take the lands for their own so Crete will experience a lot of difficult wars if they stand on its own.
With a heavy focus on prestige and some luck, you can become a Great Power by around 1860. In addition to everything that can possibly grant prestige (note that some of the Aesthetics inventions require other Culture techs to have a positive chance of discovery), work on the Market Functionality chain to improve your diplomatic potential once you attain GP status.
Your new stature opens up two possibilities. You can sphere some middling European power (Two Sicilies and Spain are good options), form an alliance (you will likely need to boost relations for them to accept), then use their support to conquer an uncivilized nation and give you enough of an economic and population base to raise an army. But success will turn you into a serious European contender - from now on, you can follow a typical Sweden strategy, except with more armies and allies.