[Top 5] Europa Universalis IV Best African Nations That Are Powerful

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The home and origin of Man!

Many nations exist in EU4, most of which, as the name suggests are in Europe. After all, many of the countries there shaped the world as we know it today. But what about the rest of the planet though?

Well, here are some of the best and most powerful nations found in Africa, the home of Mankind!


1. Kongo ( Best for colonization, playing tall )

Starting off the list is the Central African power of Kongo.

It’s a solid pick, starting off with two extra vassals who share the same national ideas as you, though the ideas themselves are only the high-end of mediocre. That being said, the Central African region is a fairly small one, so you’ll be able to consolidate it fairly easily even with the less than fantastic ideas you start off with. True, the land is also not very good with the provinces rarely having more than 10 development.

Now, if you’re thinking that Kongo doesn’t sound very good, you’d be very wrong because even if it doesn’t start very well, the country certainly has good bonuses for the later stages of the campaign!

Namely, Kongo starts off with the Fetishist faith, just like all of its neighbors. However, Kongo has a unique event chain that allows it to convert to Catholicism completely free of cost, so long as you’re discovered by Portugal. And considering that Portugal is a colonial power, this is all but guaranteed to happen.

Now, why is this useful? Well, for starters, the Fetishist faith isn’t particularly good, and unlike both East and West African Fetishist countries, you’ll have a much harder time getting all of the cults the religion has to offer. That being said, if being Catholic doesn’t suit your fancy, you can always also flip to Reformed or Protestant, giving you plenty of bonuses.

Be warned though, if you do stay Catholic, despite being able to convert any wrong religion land you take very quickly, Papal Influence will be a difficult resource to accumulate. The reason for this is that the Holy See mechanic only spawns Cardinals on the same continent that the Holy See itself is located on. On the other hand, if you’re in a multiplayer game and have a friend play as the Pope, this shouldn’t be that much of an issue.

That being said, once you’ve consolidated your starting region and picked your religion of choice, what then? Well, you have a few options open to you. You can just play tall while waiting for the colonizers to come to you, and then kick them out of Africa, or, more interestingly you can become a colonizer yourself.

Regardless if you decide to settle in Africa or South America, the Ivory Coast trade node is one of the most valuable ones in the later stages of the game. What this means is that, regardless of which direction you choose to go in, you’ll end up making tons of money off of trade. Beware though, going further into Africa will bring you closer to the other African powers in East and West Africa, while in South America you’ll have to contend with the Iberians, which, if you manage to succeed against all of them, do provide some fantastic bonuses.

What Kongo Excels In:

  • Easy to consolidate starting region
  • Solid position for colonization
  • Good missions

Pick This Nation If You Like:

  • Playing as a Christian in Africa
  • Kicking the colonizers out

Nationa Overall Power Score: 32/100


2. Mamluks ( Best for versatility )

Unlike Kongo or any of the other nations on this list, the Mamluks start off as a Great Power at the start of the game. In fact, not only do they start off as a Great Power, they start off as the 2nd Great Power in the entire world!

And honestly? The position very much suits them, considering that they start the game controlling the rich Egyptian and Syrian lands. Beyond that, the Mamluk armies are large and of solid quality.

In fact, one of the best things that the Mamluks have going for them is the fact that they start the game stretched all over the place. Namely, playing as the Mamluks, you’ll be able to expand your borders across the Maghreb, all the way to Iberia and Italy. Or, you could instead go south or east, into the Horn of Africa and Arabia respectively.

And of course, you could also go north. Beware though, the Mamluks had historically not had a great time fighting the Ottomans, and while you do start off stronger than them on paper, they’ll still manage to put up quite a fight if you just go after them without any forethought. That being said, pure conquest isn’t the only way to play the Mamluks.

In fact, if you so choose, you could go full Memeluks and try your hand at colonization. Believe it or not, they’re actually not in a bad position to do so, considering that if you manage to conquer your way down Arabia or the Horn, you’ll have enough colonial range to settle the various Indian Ocean islands. And from there, Australia, the Pacific, and the West coast of America are within easy reach.

That being said, another way to play them would be to consolidate only a few regions and then simply play tall. The Mamluk government is a surprisingly good and versatile one, allowing you to accept many cultures, which you’ll be heavily encouraged to do because of how succession works. In fact, playing as the Mamluks will allow you to maintain +3 stability throughout the entire game, since, unlike normal monarchies, the Mamluks never suffer from a stability penalty when your ruler dies!

Really, there are only two problems that the Mamluks have. Being so close to the Ottomans, who will be your main rival alongside whoever wins in Persia. And a lack of good missions.

The Mamluk missions are primarily the generic ones that every country gets, though they do get some extra claims in Arabia and Anatolia. Beyond that, the Mamluks are able to form both Egypt, the only nation that can do so without culture-shifting, and Arabia. Unfortunately, neither of these nations have particularly good ideas, so it might be a better choice not to form them.

What The Mamluks Excel In:

  • Strongest starting nation in Africa
  • Strong government reform

Pick This Nation If You Like:

  • A strong start
  • Being able to expand in any direction
  • Having a flexible nation

Nationa Overall Power Score: 50/100


3. Songhai ( Best for war, colonizing )

Whenever you think about the preeminent military power in the world, the first thing that comes to mind is Prussia. Well, believe it or not, each continent has a similar equivalent, though perhaps not as powerful. And Africa is no exception to this, which is where Songhai and Zulu come into play.

Now, this place could’ve honestly gone to either of them, but Songhai is in my opinion the better option. Why? Well, availability.

The Zulu might be the more militarily powerful nation of the two, but they take a very long time to spawn, and by the time you do, you’re not really in much of a position to achieve much anymore. Songhai on the other hand, you can play as from the start, and not only can you do that, but you also have a much better position than the Zulu.

Namely, the region of West Africa is a very large region as well as one that is easily connected to the other regions of Africa. That being said, there are also several gold mines to pump your economy up with that are within easy reach. Yet, there is also another path that you can take as Songhai.

Rather, West Africa is in a fantastic position to colonize the New World, being by far the closest area to the coast of modern-day Brazil. Of course, if you do decide to contest the New World you’ll come into contact with the Iberians far quicker than normal.

Another reason why Songhai is a fantastic nation is its mission tree. It was historically the empire that succeeded the Mali Empire and the mission tree reflects that ascendance well. Granting permanent claims to most of the region, as well as being able to colonize the unclaimed corridors between the Sahel and the Maghreb.

As for the faith of the nation, Songhai starts off as Sunni, however, it does have the option to convert back to Fetishist for anyone who wants to remember the Old Ways. Overall, flexing on your neighbors by evaporating their armies is always a fun thing to do, so Songhai will always be a fun pick. And even if that’s not something you find interesting, there are always other things you could try.

What Songhai Excels In:

  • Powerful military
  • Relatively quick access to North Africa and Europe
  • Easy access to gold mines

Pick This Nation If You Like:

  • Stackwiping enemy armies
  • Stacking military bonuses

Nationa Overall Power Score: 71/100


4. Mutapa ( Best for playing tall )

The nation of Kilwa, which Mutapa borders, was often called the Venice of East Africa. But, unlike the supposedly wealthy nation of Kilwa, Mutapa is where all the gold is. Literally.

Africa as a whole has an incredible amount of gold-producing provinces, and East Africa, specifically the region where Mutapa starts in, has the most of these provinces. In fact, Mutapa starts off with 2 gold provinces and borders another two, one of which belongs to their vassal, Butua. Beyond that, Mutapa also has inflation reduction bonuses within its ideas, which are fairly decent, as well as development cost and a goods-produced modifier.

The end result of this is the fact that Mutapa will be able to develop their goldmines sky-high, as well as not have to suffer from too much inflation, which is the only real downside of producing gold. Of course, gold isn’t the only valuable trade good in the area, and once you manage to conquer a decent amount of land, you’ll be able to make tons of money off of trade and production. Now, what about that conquest, for which you have several options available.

Obviously, you’ll be able to unite the Zambezi region of East Africa fairly easily, with it not being terribly large or populated. Afterward, the greatest rival you’ll have is Kilwa, which will often ally with the other Muslim powers of the Horn of Africa. Beyond that, across a channel is Madagascar, which, again, is not terribly difficult to unite, though the land isn’t particularly valuable at the start of the game.

Speaking of uniting the region, once you manage to do so, you’ll be well on your way to reforming Zimbabwe, an old trade empire that used to dominate the region prior to the start of the game.

Of course, pure conquest isn’t the only way to expand as Mutapa. In fact, you start off surrounded by wastelands. To your south is the Cape of South Africa, which, if colonized, will help slow European colonization in the Indian Ocean. To the West, beyond the wastelands, are the nations of Central Africa in the Congo and the Great Lakes regions.

And finally, towards the north, which admittedly, you can get to just by conquering the countries along the coast, is mountainous Ethiopia. That being said, if you do decide to start claiming unclaimed land, you’ll also be able to expand throughout the Indian Ocean, allowing you to steer trade all the way from Indonesia. Basically, what this means is that you’ll end up swimming in money, provided of course, you don’t drown in all the gold you’ll be mining.

Finally, a solid mission tree is just a cheery on top of an already good cake.

What Mutapa Excels In:

  • Extremely powerful economy
  • Very good mission tree

Pick This Nation If You Like:

  • Buckets of ducats
  • Gold
  • Reforming the African equivalent of the Roman Empire

Nationa Overall Power Score: 84/100


5. Ethiopia ( Best for conquest )

Did you know that the Ethiopian dynasty used to be one of the oldest dynasties in the world? In fact, they were the oldest verifiable monarchy, with only the Japanese one being older, though the veracity of its claim is somewhat in question.

Regardless of all of that, playing as Ethiopia gives you several interesting options. For starters, you’re going to be playing as the minor Coptic faith, a Christian denomination almost entirely unique to the Horn of Africa, with only a few provinces around the Caucasus outside of the region. But, that’s not all.

In fact, Ethiopia has access to the only Jewish provinces in the game, allowing you to convert to the oldest Abrahamic faith in the world. Doing so will allow you to play with unique mechanics, only slightly reminiscent of the Protestant and Hussite mechanics in Europe. That being said, should the Coptic faith not be to your liking, converting to either Sunni or Shia Islam isn’t very difficult either, so you’ll be able to play with whatever religion you deem best.

When it comes to playing itself, the Horn of Africa region is a bit of a Thunderdome. Rather, your immediate rival as Ethiopia is Adal, which, once you manage to defeat, will lead you to be exposed to whoever wins out in Somalia, Yemen, and finally, the Mamluks. That being said, of these new rivals, only the Mamluks pose a significant threat.

The reason for this is mainly because of the ideas Ethiopia has. Namely, they are fairly good, allowing you to quickly conquer and stabilize whatever land you need to take to strengthen yourself. Beyond that, once you’ve secured the Horn and surpassed the older Aksumite Empire by conquering land in Arabia, you’ll be able to reform said older empire.

Aksum itself is a general upgrade, though some ideas do feel more like a sidegrade than an upgrade. The rest though? They are more than enough to bring the fight to the Mamluks, especially if you manage to catch them unawares while they’re at war with the Ottomans.

Overall, playing as Ethiopia is moderately challenging, while still giving you a solid and fun campaign to play through. Especially if you decide to go for a bit more non-standard campaign as a Jewish nation for example.

What Ethiopia Excels In:

  • Great mission tree
  • Great all-round ideas

Pick This Nation If You Like:

  • Having the option to play as either a rare sect of Christianity or as the only Jewish country
  • Being the underdog that punches way above its weight class

Nationa Overall Power Score: 90/100

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Be it heroic or gritty face-to-face battles or a general's war table, I've seen it all. No bullet was left uncounted in my wake, nor was any soldier left behind (well, mostly anyways).
Gamer Since: 2008
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