Small nations colonizing?

I was wondering; What's the possibility of a small nation, perhaps something like one of the HRE states, being able to colonize? Not necessarily on a large-scale like France or England or Spain or Portugal, but something like trading posts in Africa and Asia or a small colony in the Americas?

I know Denmark had the Virgin Islands, but what else is possible besides that?
 
I was wondering; What's the possibility of a small nation, perhaps something like one of the HRE states, being able to colonize? Not necessarily on a large-scale like France or England or Spain or Portugal, but something like trading posts in Africa and Asia or a small colony in the Americas?

I know Denmark had the Virgin Islands, but what else is possible besides that?
they did, just most of the ones in the americas got swallowed up by the bigger colonists. the germans i believe had small colonies in what is now virginia and pennsylvania.
 
Courland did, so it's very possible.
This. It's really just interest in colonization that allows it to be possible, though keep in mind that most colonial empires actually resulted in a net loss of money for the rulers. A small nation would only be able to support as much as it could pay for.
 
In Victoria Two only Secondary and Great Powers can colonize, and the smallest country I have ever seen colonize in EUIII was a powerful Savoy.

Point has been invalidated.
But I was talking about the original game. And as for EUIII, is that before or after the expansions?

Check. Mate. :p
 
Relatively minor nations had many colonies historically; mostly these were small, but Spain held Cuba and the Philippines until 1998, Belgium held Kongo until 1960, Netherlands held Indonesia until 1949, Portugal held Angola and Mozambique into the Seventies. Denmark possesses Greenland today.

The main reasons small nations didn't bother much with making new colonies are because 1. They didn't have much manpower and 2. Colonies were mostly a moneypit.
 
A more ancient example would be the Greek city-states, which set up colonies all over the place. However, the relationship between the colony and the metropolis was a bit different from the relationship between colony and mother-country in more recent history, I think.
 
Relatively minor nations had many colonies historically; mostly these were small, but Spain held Cuba and the Philippines until 1998, Belgium held Kongo until 1960, Netherlands held Indonesia until 1949, Portugal held Angola and Mozambique into the Seventies. Denmark possesses Greenland today.

The main reasons small nations didn't bother much with making new colonies are because 1. They didn't have much manpower and 2. Colonies were mostly a moneypit.
Spain, the Netherlands, and Portugal were not minor when they acquired the colonies.
 
I was wondering; What's the possibility of a small nation, perhaps something like one of the HRE states, being able to colonize? Not necessarily on a large-scale like France or England or Spain or Portugal, but something like trading posts in Africa and Asia or a small colony in the Americas?
America and Asia would be a difficult prospect for a "small" nation, because if the upper limit of your ship-building industry is something akin to the Santa Maria or the Mayflower then you more-or-less can't get a colony going anyway, whereas if you can build something the size of the Peter Pomegranate or Mary Rose then building a second is not going be nearly as big a stretch as building one for the first time, and thus you'll probably be able to support a fair-sized colony.
 
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Relatively minor nations had many colonies historically; mostly these were small, but Spain held Cuba and the Philippines until 1998, Belgium held Kongo until 1960, Netherlands held Indonesia until 1949, Portugal held Angola and Mozambique into the Seventies. Denmark possesses Greenland today.

The main reasons small nations didn't bother much with making new colonies are because 1. They didn't have much manpower and 2. Colonies were mostly a moneypit.
As has already been stated Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands were Great Powers when they acquired colonies.

Belgian Congo was something of a fluke growing out of the geopolitical environment of the time.

Slightly off-topic, but does anyone else feel like there's been a rash of threads opened recently about events that did happen in OTL? Has AH.com explored so many TLs that its starting to regurgitate old history exams? :p
 
The Netherlands indeed wasn't big geographically, so maybe the question should be, how small can a country to be to be a successful colonizer (in this case meaning able to colonize something and hold that colony).

This kind of threads have been around before, and it already has become clear that to be a successful colonizer it is not as much the populationsize that matters, but the composition of that population. A country like that needs to have access to people that can be sent away for colonizing. this usually means a comparatively high amount of urban population.
 
so maybe the question should be, how small can a country to be to be a successful colonizer (in this case meaning able to colonize something and hold that colony).
Monaco small.
I'd say that any sovereign with a couple of home sq kms and subjects but tons of money can set up and keep a modest colony. OTL VOC relied heavily on foreign mercenaries and look for how long it lasted and how big it got (even with the backing of the United Provinces).
 
People are overlooking the chartered companies - the Dutch, Danish etc did so well in India because they chartered a company, and thus ran colonisation on a commercial basis. The best example for this is of course Britain with the EIC, which had its own government, its own ships and its own army

Best Regards
Grey Wolf
 
they did, just most of the ones in the americas got swallowed up by the bigger colonists. the germans i believe had small colonies in what is now virginia and pennsylvania.
They were settlements populated by Germans, but they weren't under the umbrella of any German authority (being ruled over by the English).

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What about a fur corporation with a pan-German investment base? It could (nominally) be governed by as small a state as we want, without having too little capital for viability.
 
I think we need to untangle three things to get to good answers. There are separate questioons here:

- Could small states colonise?

- Could HRE states colonise

- Could German states colonise?

Well, I would say the question about small states is pretty unequivocally answered. Denmark may be a fluke in terms of the scale of its empire, but it does show the possibility. Nothing stops a minor European power from acquiring colonies (as lkong as acquiring colopnies is feasible as such - I am not advocating a TL where Hesse-Cassel occupies the Ryukyu Islands) And I think we can agree that there is nothing specific about Germannes that makes German states less likely to successfully colonise. In fact, while it is possible to be more German than early modern Denmark, you can't really be a lot more German. Large parts of Denmark's most prosperous territory, many of its larger cities and a big chunk of its upper class were (Low-)German-speaking.

The problem lies in the political setup of the HRE. Courland and Prussia both successfully acquired colonies, and Austria and Prussia ran East India Companies. Part of the difficulty lay in the fact that most coastal parts of the HRE were politically poorly suited to colonisation (its best Atlantic-side ports were in the Elbe and Weser estuary, both controlled by free cities without the military force or capital depth required, and the other coastal territories were poorly placed - East Frisia, Hadelnm and Jever too small and disunited, Bremen Swedish for a long time, Schleswig, Holstein and Oldenburg Danish. Its most prosperopus cities were content to trade up the Rhine in Dutch ships. And Flanders, while it was used by the Austrian East India Company, was always thought of as a war zone more than a trading port by its rulers. The government in Vienna had other things on its mind. When prussia acquired Ostfriesland, it set up a trading company, but the results were similar. Hanover, once constituted, could have colonised, had its government been interested, but ruling in personal union with Great Britain, the Elector already had colonies. The significant powers in the HRE were all oriented elsewhere.

In addition to this, we have a problem unique to the structure of the HRE. Its smaller states were effectively independent and could not count on eacxh other's suppoort for such ventures (combining the capital of the archbishoprics with the maritime capabilities of the North Sea ports could have gotten somewhere, but coordinating it would make an EU military look simple). However, diplomatically, they were still considered a unitary entity, and every time Austria was at war with anyone else (about ervery other year), they were techincally belligerents. Mostly, they needn't have cared much, but it made any ships or overseas possessions targets for enemy privateers. One of the big problems for Hamburg, Lübeck and Bremen between 1650 and 1770 was that in each and every conflict between France and Austria (or one involving the Netherlands and Britain) meant their trade suffered. Hamburg's navy, BTW, counted coup against Jean Barth, not that it helped much in the big picture). That is a big strike against a Holy Roman state successfully acquiring colonies.
 
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