New Player? Create your FREE Empires of History account today!
The Republic of Venice
Starting Resource: 21
-- From Land: 12
-- From Trade: 9
Capital Territory: Venice
Nation Class: Medium
Total Starting Military
Ships of the Line: 0
Click on the map to view your nation's position and starting troops
The city was founded as a result of the influx of refugees into the marshes of the Po estuary
following the invasion of northern Italy by the Lombards in 568. In the mid-8th century, the
Venetians resisted the empire-building efforts of Pepin III and remained subject to the
Byzantine Empire, at least theoretically. As the community continued to develop and as
Byzantine power waned, an increasingly anti-Eastern character emerged, leading to the growth
of autonomy and eventual independence under the rulership of elected doges. Venice was a city
state (an Italian thalassocracy or Repubblica Marinara, the other three being Genoa, Pisa, and
Amalfi). Its strategic position at head of the Adriatic made Venetian naval and commercial
power almost invulnerable; the city gave her name to the surrounding region, Venetia. The city
became a center of the trade between Western Europe and the rest of the world.
In the 12th century the essentials for the power of Venice were laid: the Venetian Arsenal was
under construction in 1104; Venice wrested control of the Brenner pass from Verona in 1178,
opening a lifeline to silver from Germany; the last autocratic doge, Vitale Michiele, died in
1172. The Republic of Venice seized the eastern shores of the Adriatic before 1200, mostly for
commercial reasons, because pirates based there were a menace to trade. The Doge already
carried the titles of Duke of Dalmatia and Duke of Istria. Later mainland possessions, which
extended across Lake Garda as far west as the Adda River, were known as "Terraferma", and were
acquired partly as a buffer against belligerent neighbours, partly to guarantee Alpine trade
routes, and partly to ensure the supply of mainland wheat, on which the city depended. In
building its maritime commercial empire, the Republic acquired control of most of the islands
in the Aegean, including Cyprus and Crete, and became a major power-broker in the Near East.
By the standards of the time, Venice's stewardship of its mainland territories was relatively
enlightened and the citizens of such towns as Bergamo, Brescia, and Verona rallied to the
defence of Venetian sovereignty when it was threatened by invaders.
Venice begins the game witha fair army on its only city, Venice itself, and the world's largest
navy. Its powerful navy, strong trade, and fortified position in Italy gives Venice a lot of
bargainning power, but it remains a relatively small nation. It must worry about The Holy Roman
Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Hungary, and perhaps even France and Spain.