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Uruguayan Supremacy

In Victoria: an Empire Under the Sun, around 10 nations are powerful enough to compete for superpower status and world domination. Without major player influence to derail the course of history, that is. But one nation has a special place, as it has the ability to rise from the depth of history and become a major player with barely any work. I'm talking about the glorious and respectable nation of Uruguay.

Uruguay at the start

This small south-american nation benefits from an interesting combination of factors. One: Victoria does not feature scripted events to represent its challenges and struggles during the time period covered by the game. Two: its political parties and the structure of its population make it easy to manipulate. Three: it benefits from the american immigration bonus. Finally, it can remain safely away from the major political turmoil in Europe and North America.

Starting Situation in 1836

Here is our glorious nation in 1836

Uruguay at the start

This land of plenty is home to 127.000 proud "Platineans" (whatever), of which less than 13.000 are literate. Everyone gladly obeys a conservative dictator, the population is 99.9% rural and lives hand to mouth. A small army eats up the entire national budget and then some, we are as prestigious as the uncivilized and our technology tree is comparable to Moldova.

A few interesting points are immediately visible: a small population is easily swayed. A homogeneous population prevents having to deal with resentful minorities. A small territory is easily defendable.
A few inconvenients balance these: a small population is unproductive. A homogeneous population means no easily sacrificed minority, sent on the frontline to die for the greater good of the national majority (this happens in the XIXth century, human rights had not been discovered by scientists yet). A small territory is also easily swallowed by a larger and agressive neighbour. Thankfully, we only share borders with two backwards and peaceful nations

Obviously, a nation cannot become a superpower without extensive manpower from which to draft troops and hire factory workers. With only 127.000 peasants, Uruguay seems to be a lost cause and we can't rely on people's religious duty to have children to multiply our population a thousandfold (which is our goal and easily achievable). Since we can't just hope for population increase and seing as screaming at people from the sideline doesn't work, we'll have to find people elsewhere. Our sparsely populated and vastly more powerful neighbours, Argentine and Brazil, are not ripe for invasion.

So now, we have to abuse the migration system in Victoria.

First, remember that migrants are usually fleeing oppressive societies, countries at war and tired nations, and they are after the opposite. Democracies are prefered, with a premium for countries with social reforms in place (the more the better, and more extreme reforms are prefered to minimal ones). But there's a catch: not all nations are created equal. The New World is a land of wonder where anything is possible. Migrants will tend to cross the Atlantic (for Europeans and Africans) or the Pacific (for Asians) to settle in America. Among all nations, none is as attractive as the United States, which receives a bonus to its attractivity. Furthermore, a bonus is given to the state of California, making it the single most desirable destination in the world for immigrants.

Obviously, Uruguay is not the USA and California is not in Uruguay. Moreover, Uruguay is not a democracy and has no social reforms.

BUT

As a young nation on the American continent, it is welcoming in a specific way: all its parties (except for the reactionary faction) have full citizenship for immigrants in their political platform. This is attractive to newcomers and comes with two advantages: first, immigrants will assimilate faster to the natives and will not preserve their own culture as strongly if they come en masse. Second: you will be able to promote, demote or enlist them as if they were natives, which is not possible with less generous citizenship.

That's all well and good, but first, we need to become a progressive democracy. More importantly, we need to remain a democracy once the people can have a say, which is an issue when the population is almost entirely rural and conservative at best (as farmers and such naturally gravitate towards conservative policies).

So now, we have to abuse the political system in Victoria.

How to Become Huge

We are going to become a liberal democracy, whether the people like it or not. This will make Uruguay a premium destination for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. For this, we will use our dictatorial powers, but we have to make sure we proceed in order, otherwise we might be stuck in a costly loop of coups. The first step is going to be selling all our reserves to earn a few pounds (this being 1836, the dollar does not reign supreme yet), except for the few goods we are going to need later on: keep wine, clothes, all the goods necessary to promote workers to clerks and later on to full-blown capitalists. Then, enact all possible social reforms at max level. Do not worry for the cost: with less than 150.000 citizens, enacting these reforms takes only pocket money. The cost of running these social programs would be prohibitive, but we're not actually going to fund them. Leave only the maximum working hours to their default "no limit", as we want to squeeze every single possible penny from our pool of workers when our industry picks up.

As for the budget, we need to fund everything at maximum capacity. Indeed, we will need the people to be literate for later scientific development, we will need crime to be kept to a minimum to keep our economy free of parasites (except of course for the ruling class), and we need to fund the army to be able to demobilize it fully (what?). We also need to put tariffs as high as humanly possible because we will rely entirely on them to keep the country afloat for a while. And finally, we need to defund our social programs, because eh.

With all this bean-counting done (we are speaking of sums in the tens of pounds, this is not the british imperial budget we're talking about), and with all the reforms in place, our dictatorial powers are no longer needed. Only now can we become a liberal democracy (becoming free first would have prevented our governement from enacting our social reforms). Let's topple the dictatorship. This will take one month.

Enact all political reforms: universal suffrage, censored press (we cannot have free press yet, as a dictatorship), trade unions allowed, all parties allowed. Now, we know we are going to become a democracy at the beginning of next months, when the constitution is changed. However, we don't want to become a democracy with our conservative party in power, we need to be liberal to make sure immigrants are attracted to Uruguay like space dust sucked into a black hole. Since we're still a dictatorship for 29 days, let's just declare the Colorados, our liberal faction, the ruling party.

The Colorados are great because they're a liberal party with full citizenship for immigrants as their minority policy. However, as they are liberal, they limit some of our fiscal policies: tarrifs will max out very low, reducing our income. Fortunately, they also allow us to divert exactly 0 towards our social programs.

Good, now pick an industrial technology to research and unpause the game.

Uruguay becomes free

As soon as democracy is proclaimed, free press can be implemented.

Already, a small influx of foreigners should trickle into Uruguay:

The first foreigners are coming

We're slowly bleeding money, so our time is limited and we have stuff to do. The first thing is make sure any future election will not remove the Colorados from power in favour of a conservative faction, discouraging immigrants from joining us. This is a problem because the people are not liberal at all.

The people are free but their choices are wrong

Being a democracy, we need to respect the choices made by voters, but our population has wrong opinions. The solution is to make sure the population does not take part in the voting process. This is a very natural conclusion and allows the formal process of democracy to coexist with utter disregard and contempt for the whishes of the common man. For this, we need to make sure we have no rich class (which is the case for Uruguay at the start of the game) and no middle class. Thanks to our liberal pluralist governement, this can be achieved by demoting our few clergymen and sending the priests back to toiling fields and being actual shepherds instead of figurative ones.

Now, since all of our population is poor, the easy solution to our voting problem is to make sure only the wealthy can vote. "But wait", you exclaim springing up, "if everyone is poor and only the rich can vote, who actually votes?" That's the beauty of it: nobody does.

An obedient nation

With nobody to cast votes against the ruling party, the mandate of the Colorados is automatically renewed each time an "election" is "held".

We have now strongly cemented Uruguay as a liberal democracy with no way for the people to have any say in the way the country is run. A few other democracies might send diplomatic overtures in your direction. One of these is Texas, which you should be wary of as it would put you at war with Mexico. With no consequence, of course, as the Mexicans have no fleet. But Uruguay would start accumulating a war exhaustion rating, which is unadvisable.

We lose money every single day and a nation in debt attracts less foreigners. We need to kickstart the economy. That means losing a lot of cash and being deep in debt for a while.

First, demote as many soldiers as possible and keep the army funded at maximum until you have 0 soldier left. Then erase the military budget from existence.

Now the road to success is straightforward: import the goods necessary to promote one POP (part of population) to clerks and then to capitalists. Be careful and take your time: Uruguay's measly resources mean brankrupcy is easy to achieve. This would send the nation's prestige far into the negative, which is also bad for immigration. You would also lose all your stocks, but at this point, you shouldn't have any. Take the time to pay at least part of your debt after each big purchase or promotion. The whole process will take several thousand pounds. Tax everything and everyone as far as the sliders will go to get change.

After 10 years, Uruguay's population is around 8 times bigger and nears a million people.

An obedient nation

Now What?

With a capitalist class in place, you now have an electoral body whose only political goal is to keep the liberals in power. Once your debt is paid, the game can be left on autopilot. Literally millions of migrants will come your way over the course of a century, disregarding the United States, whose history will thus be very different as its growth will be stunted by a chronic lack of manpower.
Capitalists should build railways and industrialise on their own, building factories and opening jobs, thus attracting more immigrants. Even though these should assimilate at the speed of light, it is very probable the influx will be so overwhelming one or two foreign POP will be too large to assimilate. You could very well end up with a sizeable russian, irish, french of german minority. Every european war will increase the incoming flux of migrants from the belligerent countries.

As democratic leader elected by nobody, the player's role is limited to making sure there are enough jobs for everyone, making sure the workforce is well distributed among all industries and throughout the three provinces of Uruguay, and keeping an eye on the revolt risk. With only 3 provinces and no army, a revolution replacing your liberal democracy with a conservative dictatorship or a monarchy can happen in the blink of an eye. After a few years, when money stops being a problem, setting up a few divisions to perform some police duty is advisable.

At this point, the game plays itself.

At the turn of the century, Uruguay should have well over a hundred million citizens. You may choose to become a military power and sattelite all nations in the Americas, or even beyond. You may take part in the scramble for Africa with France and Britain. You may even do the unspeakable and fund your social reforms to acceptable level. You can do whatever you want, the world is your oyster. Why not invade China or scuttle the Royal Navy to pass the time? What about making Russia or the US small regional powers by burning down their capital city and burying their armies?

The End

In 1936, the glorious nation of Uruguay should stand as one of the most powerful countries on Earth and have a respectable population rivaling continent-wide colonial empires. With a little governement intervention, it could be the main producer and seller of every type of manufactured goods and have its own empire.

If you take a hands off approach, Uruguay should still be able to achieve top 3 by itself.

Uruguay top 3 in 1936

Excuse the fascist USA. Also Russia is being weird again.

Population growth will consistently get you around 200 million citizens on the territory of Uruguay, a population density comparable to present-day Bangladesh.

With a little work on the player's part, total supremacy should be achievable.

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