Merchant Republics have a new ability to form Trade Leagues (like the Hanseatic League). Countries which are invited into the same Trade League will not usually compete with each other, and they will tend to conduct all their trade through the League Center of Trade so they can make enormous profits through their internal systems. Only a Merchant Republic may invite a country into their League. In the Trade Mapmode, tooltips and crosshatching indicate whether a country is in a Trade League, and which one. League membership can also be revoked, if the Merchant Republic or the member desires.
Benefits of being in a trade league
- Mercantilism-Free TradePolicy slider
- Infamy + Non-core CoT penalties
- Total of everything else (Prestige, Stability, ruler ADM stat, National Ideas, Trade Efficiency, etc.)
A trade league leader can also ask for trade rights of goods from other nations. This is particularly useful in Divine Wind where trading more than 33% of a good gives a Strategic Resource Bonus. This can also significantly increase the value of the league's Centres of Trade.
Trade Leagues in 1399
At the start of the Grand Campaign, the following Leagues exist:
- The Hansa (with their CoT in Lübeck)
Demise of the Trade Leagues
Trade Leagues are dissolved if the leading Merchant Republic is annexed or switches to another form of government. While initially a League can become very rich by increasing its range and its number of members, at some point in mid-game it becomes more lucrative to create a monopoly and keep all the profits to themselves.
This mirrors the historical transfer of economic power from the merchant city-states of the Renaissance to the large centralized nations in the colonial era.