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An Empires
of History

The Republic of Venice

Starting Resource: 21
-- From Land: 12
-- From Trade: 9

Capital Territory: Venice
Nation Class: Medium

Total Starting Military
Infantry: 13
Cavalry: 5
Knights: 0
Artillery: 0
Generals: 1
Merchantmen: 1
Frigates: 1
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.

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