|Government type||HM Government (Absolute Monarchy if rebel wins)|
|Ruling party||Partido Moderado (Conservative)|
|Capital||Madrid (ID 487)|
|Accepted cultures||Catalan, Basque|
|Tech school||Traditional academia|
”We have a great country, we are a great nation - let us trust in it.” - Felipe VI of Spain
In 1836, Spain starts as a Great Power with a relatively good Army (although nothing compared to its neighbor France), a good technological base and the Philippines and Cuba as colonial states. With a workforce of about four million men Spain is able to maintain a large Army, but suffers from a very low literacy rate that makes it difficult to keep up with the technological race of the other Great Powers. With no factories on startup, it will take some time for Spain to industrialize, which might lead to a loss of the Great Power status to a rival Secondary Power early at the game. Politically, Spain is a very democratic European Nation for its time, with very liberal voting and party laws. The Conservatives are strong at the beginning, but the Liberals will most likely dominate Spain after a few years. There is a way to change that though, as there is a civil war going on right at game start.
Spain has two unique decisions:
- Confiscations of Mendizabal which gives 25.000 ducats at the cost of worse relations with Papal States and increased militancy.
- La Guardia Civil which increases tax rate by 1 %
First Carlist War
The north east of the country is controlled by Carlist Rebels, a right-wing counter-revolutionary movement that supports Carlos of Spain in his ambitions on the Spanish Throne.
Theoretically, these rebels can easily be defeated by the Spanish Army, but one might consider the possibilities first. If the Carlists control Madrid for a full year, the liberal Constitutional Monarchy will be overthrown to form an absolute monarchy without voting rights, a ruling-party only Upper House and all other political reforms removed. So, its up to the player to decide whether the Rebels should be crushed or not. If you decide to go with an Absolute Monarchy, just follow the Rebels and free the Regions that they have occupied without actually attacking them. Wait for them to take the capital, then destroy their forces. Free all regions that are under the Rebels occupation but keep Madrid in their hands. After a year, the new King and government will be in power. This offers some advantages:
As Spain is an Absolute Monarchy with a ruling-party only Upper House, it can keep the reactionaries and their state capitalism to build up your Industry, but if the people are getting restless for reforms, you can just switch to the Liberals at December 31, wait for the new year (so that a new Upper House is formed), change back to the reactionaries and do whatever political reforms you wish (as the Upper House is now 100% liberal).
How to control the upper house
A liberal ruling party will randomly change the policy back to an appointed upper house. This can however be overruled. First get a reactionary upper house. On the 1. January change to the liberal party. There will go 1 year before one can change party again even in a absolute monarchy. When the liberal ruling party change the upper house back to appointed the reactionary upper house can change it back. At the next 1. January one will have a 100% liberal upper house and then can change the ruling party to the reactionary (or fascist or Communist).
This way it is possible to make 4 reforms every 2 years. Be aware though, that the reforms have a cooldown of 3 months, so if one doesn't make a reform on 1st of January, then one can only make 3 reforms pr. year
Another benefit is that one can choose what ever dictatorship one wishes. First enact the "Harrassed parties" and later "Gerrymanding" in voters rights reform and voting to "only landed". Then the government type will change to HM's government and all parties will be available. Next year one can choose whatever radical party one wishes(Anarcho-Liberal, Communist, Reactionary, Fascist) and remove the "only landed" voting and the appropriate dictatorship will be a reality.
As long as Portugal is not allied with anyone, it might be a good idea to conquer the two border states, as they are full of people who are just waiting to work for you. Portuguese Mozambique and Angola might also be good colonies to add to your own. If you do this early on, you can use the time you need to reduce your infamy to industrialize and do some research. The Netherlands is also a good target. They have very good colonies in South-East Asia and if you attack them after their little war with Belgium(that they usually lose)they will have a small army or no army in Europe and all you then have to do is occupy their home land and Indonesia will be under a Spanish flag. You should try to keep good relations to France however, as they might be too tough to defeat early on.
Otherwise the Italian states Sardinia-Piedmont and Two Sicilies can be good targets. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily taken be the target of a casus belli and one can use the superior Spanish armada to block off the armies. One can beat both nations if the troops should end in combat, but it is too costly especially considering the ease of blocking them off and wait for the warscore to tick up. In addition to adding land to Spain it also weakens a potential future rival Italy.
The old empire
One should concentrate either on South America or Africa/Asia and build up a new colonial empire. The South American nations are easy targets, as they are usually never allied to other Great Powers - except Brazil, which usually allies with France. So, try to keep the Great Powers out of Brazil and conquer the nation step by step, or choose another South American country to start with, but keep an eye on your infamy. South America is very rewarding, as the states are usually full of good resources and are usually flooded with immigrants later on. A well-timed attack against Mexico can also be effective. One can try to attack at the same time as USA.
Another good strategy is to create a great SOI on those countries. Spain has already very good relations with most of them and Portugal at the beginning of the game, so you can get them in your SOI is easy and fast at very low cost in diplomacy points. These initial good relations are lost if carlist rebels take power.
The conquest of Asia and the African Colonization
If one like to colonize Africa one can attack uncivilized nations like Morocco or Sokoto, then colonize the neighboring states. But be aware that the colonization of Africa needs certain technologies to be researched first. A very interesting move is the conquest of Japan or China, but in order to achieve this one will need a very large army. But once these Nations are under control, manpower or income will not be a problem again. The smaller far east Asian nations ( Brunei, Johore, Luang Prabang) are also fine additions to the Spanish colonies.
If one intends to colonize inland Africa, one needs a lot of navies and ports. The Spanish decision Confiscations of Mendizabal gives a fine cash injection which can be invested in naval ports in mainland Spain.
The Spanish Armada
Building, maintaining, and keeping the Spanish Navy ahead technologically can be very useful since Spain is one of the three countries that start out in 1836 with a global empire(The others being Great Britain and France). A good Spanish navy can prevent "the disaster of 1898," help you colonize around the globe, and bring wars to an end using a massive blockade (especially when one is attacking South American or Asian/African nations). It might even help Spain take back its former empire in the Americas.