Faction Overview Spain in Rise of Chivalry Spain in Renovatio Europam
The Spanish have the power of Discovery.
Faction Type: Catholic
National Bonuses:
  • Begins game with map explored
  • Starts with extra scout unit, two in revealed map games
  • Receives a free Heavy warship whenever a dock is built during the Castle Age and later
  • Gains 30+(26*science level) resources instead of 20 from Ruins
Spanish Flag

Unique Units:


  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Apostolic Palace
  • Sagres Point

Available Unique Techs:

  • Centralisation

Suggestions and spoilers

  • Strengths: Strong army and skirmishing cavalry.
  • Weaknesses: Poor mid-game army, economic difficulties.

The Spanish seem better suited on sea maps than land maps where they can use their free ship advantage, and have time to take advantage of the science bonuses with exploring ruins. The map advantage also seems to have greater advantage at sea to allow the Spanish player to seize islands that contain important resources before other players.

Spain begins the game with the map fully explored and with an extra scout or two. This will be instrumental in allowing the Spanish player to plan out their nation's expansion paths, as well as its attack and defensive perimeters way ahead of others. This will help the Spanish to place their cities optimally to take advantage of key and rare resources, and can also help in placing static defenses and military forces in key locations to conduct the nation's attack and defensive actions.

The land is also filled with ruins where a one-time bonus of free resources can be gained by passing one of your units over them. The Spanish player also gains extra resources above those gained by other civilisations. With an extra scout that also has extra line of sight, the Spanish player will be able to collect some huge bonuses early in the game. This advantage should be capitalised upon since the Spanish doesn't receive any other economic bonuses. The gains from the ruins are directly in proportion the science level attained, so it would serve the Spanish player well to research science as their first and maybe even second research buy, since ruins don't tend to stay around long after the game is in full swing when one's science research is beyond the first few levels. However, one must be careful of being attacked early, so don't overdo the science at the expense of a military.

Like Portugal, Spain's land army doesn't get interesting well until the Castle Age, although it gets the Feudal Retinue (thanks to its Germanic heritage) and, like Burgundy, two mercenary units instead of one in the Dark Ages (but it only has one in the Imperial Era). At the beginning, there is the Jinetes line, shared with the Moors and the Portuguese. Unlike the Portuguese who can get upgrade them fairly quick in a normal game, or the Moors who can create lots of them in the Dark Age, Spain is nearly defenceless as it gets no technological or productive bonuses for this unit. It is however in subsequent ages that Spain begins to shine: you are able to recruit almogavar mercenaries, which are anti-cavalry ranged units. These are soon joined up by Spain's all-overwhelming infantry line: the tercios, which are hard to train, but equally hard to kill.

The Spanish shine at sea, being able to build caravels and gain a free heavy warship for every dock built. Early control of the seas will allow the Spanish player free access to the resources at sea, and likely help it retain control of it through out the rest of the game. Docks are available after the first level of Commerce, so as soon as one hits the Castle Age, one should go heavy on wood on sea maps to create as many docks as possible to prevent an invasion, and to keep the enemy pinned down on their own islands. This will also make it next to impossible for anyone else to land a sizable invasion force on sea maps, if one follows this advice, since transports are easily sunk by armed naval vessels. Then when the Spanish economy is humming probably around the Imperial Era, the Spanish can send an invasion force of Tercios with impunity, supported with fleets of carracks and caravels to screen the enemy coastline.

So, Spain remains a very complex but rewarding faction to play as it isn't that predictable. During the Dark Age, scouts should be sent to collect resources from ruins to fund a rush for the Castle Age. In the Castle Age, the Spanish then have to decide whether to attack with its almogavars and horse javelins, or continue teching up to receive the extremely powerful infantry army that made Spain famous in the 16th century.

Faction summary

  • Highly complex faction that focuses on a combined-arms approach to warfare.
  • Well-Balanced Diet — Wealth is a vital resource used for enhancing the ability of your explorers to claim resources from ruins, recruiting mercenaries, and is also fundamental to creating your all-powerful Tercio gunnersgunpowder units require knowledge, which in turn is derived from the creation of scholars, which need wealth.
  • Miden agan — Balance the creation of an army and the enhancement of economic strength wisely, since you have no access to any economic purposes whatsoever save what your scouts can drag in from ruins. If you are planning on a naval rush, get out lots of wood and food for docks and light ships, while you place your metal into increasing your population cap for free roundships and cogs. If you are going for a land army, calibrate resources towards extraction of metal, knowledge, and food to create Tercio units.
  • Plus Ultra — Tercios are powerful infantry units. The gunners can boost troops around them, while the pike units are dangerous enough. Follow the old Spanish tradition of sorting them in "squares" that can be called up or put aside in the heat of battle.
  • It's Always Darkest Before Dawn — As you do not get your bonuses until the Castle Age, you should concentrate on a defensive Dark Age game meant to hold off the enemy until you can start bringing out your Castle Age units and bonuses.
  • Befrienders — Make alliances with other factions with economic bonuses. The best allies for Spain are the Moors (with their ability to gather lots of food and wealth); Burgundy (with the ability to speed boom); France (which will be seeking someone who can spare infantry); and Sicily (which can feed you and act as a "banker" for you, given its lower costs of trading).

Settlements: Burgos; Leon; Vigo; Oviedo; Valladolid; Toledo; Compostela; Valencia; Malaga; Salamanca; Valladolid; Cadiz; Sevilla; Girona; Zaragoza; Barcelona; Pamplona; Murcia; Santander; Aranjuez; Almanza; Alicante; Osuna; Algeciras; Almeria; Coruña; Madrid; Bilbao; Segovia; Badajoz; Talavera; Vitoria; Jerez; Gijon

Leaders: Alfonso the Astrologer, Sancho, Isabella II of Castille, Raymond Berenguer IV, John II, Alfonso the Brave, Urraca the Empress, Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar


Modern Spain was first formed when the Romans took over the Iberian Peninsula, ejecting Carthaginian occupiers in the south and culturally assimilating the various tribes scattered throughout that country. The Visigoths who then took over from the Romans continued to retain the cultural and administrative legacy of the Romans, before falling into anarchy and being overthrown by Muslim Berbers who took most of the country. Although some of the Visigothic nobility survived and their children would come to expel the Muslims and inerhit the land, the many conflicts and interactions that characterised the Middle Ages in Spain led to a curious blending of Germanic Roman and Muslim cultures that has survived even to our day.


The Romans in Iberia

Despite the long presence of indigenous cultures in Iberia, it was not until after the Second Punic War that Iberia and its people would begin to make their presence felt on a global level. The Romans would extend their control over the region beyond the Carthaginian colonies into the rest of the Iberian peninsula over the next two hundred years, finally managing to pacify the Peninsula by 27BCE once and for all. Iberia was subsequently divided into three provinces: Tarraconense and Baetica (present-day Spain) and Lusitania (roughly present-day Portugal). An aggressive process of Romanisation took place, helped along by the liquidation of hostile tribes, and by the 1st century CE Iberia was effectively a Roman province with a culture that was wholly Roman in nature.

The Goths and Spain

Barbarian incursions became more and more prevailent as Roman authority sputtered out over the course of the Dark Ages, but it was the Visigoths who would eventually take over Spanish society, forming a warrior elite ruling the overwhelming majority of the native Hispano-Romans and established Toledo as capital.

Over eighty years later, the Visigoth king Leovigild expelled the imperial civil servants and attempted to unify the Peninsula from the Pyrenees to Gibraltar, which formed natural barriers from which Spain would hold as its borders to this day. They were more or less successful in their unification efforts, except in the north, where the Basques, Cantabrians and Asturians managed to hold out against them.

Despite being Germanic in nature and culture, the Goths chose to retain the Roman culture of Iberia, albeit with a few German embellishments here and there. Trade with the Byzantine Empire allowed Visigothic Spain to maintain its urban culture and its commercial and cultural connections within the Mediterranean domain, against the tide of fragmentation and chaos of Dark Age Europe.

Christianity, originally little more than an obscure religious sect during Roman rule, soon became ensconced as the religion of the Visigothic rulers. By the 7th century, however, the Visigothic Kingdom was only nominally united. Their system of elected Kings created rival factions which encouraged foreign intervention by the Greeks, the Franks, and, finally, the Muslims in internal disputes and royal elections.

Under the rule of the Arabs

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In 711, a Muslim army under Jabal Tariq ibn Ziyad (whose name Gibraltar was derived from) crossed into Spain, and killed the king of the Visigoths, who until that time had been ruling Iberia since the day they first arrived there. Ibn Ziyad would return to Morocco eventually, but in the next year Musa ibn Nusair, invaded with a force of 20,000 men. They quickly swept through Spain, aided by the vast Roman road system, and were able to defeat the entire Visigothic Kingdom relatively easily due to the political disarray of the nobility. Muslim forces spread throughout the Iberian Peninsula and eventually crossed the Pyrenees into the domain of the Franks (in modern day France), reaching as far as Poitiers by 732. Despite this, there were a number of holdouts in the North that would be able to not only resist the new invaders, but go on to create the modern states of Portugal and Spain, but their time would not come well until half a millenium or so later.

Nonetheless, the newcomers left lasting influences on Spanish and Lusitanian culture, the evidence of which can be seen to this day despite the assertions of contemporary far-right groups who want to distance themselves from their Arab roots as much as possible. It is not uncommon for casual travellers throughout Hispanic nations to discover that Arab-style tiling is often used for decoration of some houses, or that many words in modern-day Spanish and Portuguese are in fact loanwords from old Arabic. The architectural designs of the Moors were transmitted into Spain itself through Arabised Christians who were known as musta'rabeen or, in Spanish, mozarabes in later years of the Muslim occupation of Spain, and would burst forth in the Baroque style known as plateresque; or "silversmith's" style.

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The Reconquista

While the Reconquest of Spain by the Christians symbolically began even before the Muslims established themselves, with the defeat of a Muslim force at Covadonga by King Pelayo (Latin: "Pelagius") of Asturias in 718, Christian resistance was never a concerted effort or had much follow-through, until the middle of the 13th Century. Like with the Visigoths before them, increasing disunity in Islamic Spain would eventually present the Christians in the north opportunities to carve new kingdoms out from Moorish territory, while Muslim rivals from North Africa weakened the local Islamic presence from the other direction. The kings of Asturias, descended from the great Pelayo, would go on to found new kingdoms: by the time of the Almohads, there were five Christian kingdoms to the north: León; Castile; Navarre; Portugal; and Aragon.

The final blow for the Muslims came with the marriage between Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469, uniting the two most powerful Spanish Christian Kingdoms. They would take the last Muslim hold out of Granada in 1492 after a long 10 year siege. They would be known as the Catholic Monarchs, in part because of their equality as dual Monarchs, but also because of their fanatical push for Christian fundamentalism and uniformity. They would establish the Inquisition that became known in history for its unspeakable horrors inflicted upon the population to create a thoroughly Christian Spain until the civil wars of the 1800s. Ironically, Tomas de Torquemada, descended from conversos, or Jewish converts to Christianity, would become known in history as the most effective and notorious of the Inquisition's prosecutors. Thousands of Jews and Muslims who didn't want to convert to Christianity were expelled or killed during the Inquisition.

The Age of Discovery: A New World

However, the rule of Isabella and Ferdinand, also ushered in what would be known as the siglo de oro, or Golden Age for Spain. It began with the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492. This brought the exploration of the New World to the fore. It was further accentuated when Ferdinand Magellan's expedition completed the circumnavigation of the globe in 1522. Then, with the subjugation of two of the greatest civilisations in the Americas, the Aztec (in 1519, by Hernando Cortez) and the Inca (in 1533, by Francisco Pizzaro), the Spanish would acquire enough gold and silver from the new continent to sufficiently depress European demand for both of them for many centuries, leading to her downfall 200 years later.

This was Spain's Golden Age. Spanish music, art, literature, dress, and mannerisms from Spain's Golden Age were admired and imitated throughout Europe. They not only set a standard by which the rest of Europe measured its culture but also of its military power. Spain became the military and diplomatic standard-bearer of Christendom. The Spanish fleet's victory over the Turks at Lepanto in 1572 was celebrated throughout the Christian world, even among Spain's rivals. Not only did Spain have overseas colonies throughout South America, but by this time she too was feeling her way around Asia and North America, and made her influence felt in Burgundy and Sicily.