The Great Merchant is a type of Great Person in Civilization VI dedicated to wealth, luxuries, and trade. Each Great Merchant has a unique ability which may be activated at least once, granting its owner a potentially game-changing bonus. Activation is accomplished usually in a Commercial Hub district.
In Monopolies and Corporations game mode it has 1 Build charge and can build Corporation improvements (which expends the Great Merchant). So in this mode, a Great Merchant can be either used for its normal activated ability OR to build a Corporation improvement, but not both (Note: for Great Merchants that have multiple activated charges (e.g. Marcus Licinius Crassus) that limitation still applies, using any of their normal activated charges means that Merchant will be ineligible to establish a Corporation).
Earning Great Merchants
Great Merchants may be claimed by any player who has earned enough Great Merchant points. Commercial Hubs and Sugubas generate +1 Great Merchant point per turn, +2 more if the city has built the Oracle, and provide an additional point for each building completed in that district. (For example, a Commercial Hub with a Market, Bank, and Stock Exchange would generate +4 Great Merchant points per turn.) In Secret Societies mode, the Gilded Vault, the Owls of Minerva's unique replacement for the Bank, adds +2 Great Merchant points instead of 1, and the Alchemical Society, the University replacement of the Hermetic Order, also provides +1 Great Merchant point. In Monopolies and Corporations Mode, the Industry improvement generates +1 Great Merchant point as well. Further points may also be earned by completing the Commercial Hub Investment project in a city with a Commercial Hub. Players who do not have enough points may patronize a Merchant by paying the difference using Faith or Gold.
Several wonders also provide Great Merchant points. The Great Zimbabwe provides +2 Great Merchant points per turn, and the Casa de Contratación and Big Ben wonders each provide +3 Great Merchant points per turn.
Players can also increase their Great Merchant point yields by using the Traveling Merchants policy card, which generates +2 Great Merchant points per turn. Once the player completes the Capitalism civic, the Traveling Merchants card is replaced with the Laissez-Faire policy card, which generates +4 Great Merchant points per turn. In Gathering Storm, this card instead provides +2 Great Merchant points for every Bank owned, and +4 for every Stock Exchange owned. It also provides bonus Great Admiral points.
The Stockholm Suzerain bonus (or Bologna in Gathering Storm) increases the number of Great Merchant points generated from each Commercial Hub district by +1. (Note that in Rise and Fall, this bonus is only active if the Commercial Hub has a completed Market building.)
|Colaeus||Classical||Gain 100 Faith. Grants 1 free copy of the Luxury resource on this tile to your Capital city.|
|Marcus Licinius Crassus||Classical||Gain 60 Gold. Your nearest city annexes this tile into its territory. (3 charges)|
|Zhang Qian||Classical||Increases Trade Route capacity by 1. Foreign Trade Routes to this city provide +2 Gold to both cities.|
|Ibn Fadlan||Medieval||Increases Trade Route capacity by 1. Your Trade Routes to City-states now grant you +2 Faith.|
|Irene of Athens||Medieval||Increase Trade Route capacity by 1. Grants 1 free copy of the Luxury resource on this tile to your Capital city.
Grants 1 Governor Title or recruit a new Governor.
|Marco Polo||Medieval||Grants a free Trader unit in this city, and increases Trade Route capacity by 1. Foreign Trade Routes to this city provides +2 Gold to both cities.|
|Piero de' Bardi||Medieval||Gain 200 Gold and 1 Envoy.|
|Zhou Daguan||Renaissance||Grants 3 Envoys at this City-state.|
|Giovanni de' Medici||Renaissance||Instantly builds a Market and a Bank in a Commercial Hub district. The Bank gains 2 Great Work slots which can be filled by anything.|
|Jakob Fugger||Renaissance||Gain 200 Gold and 2 Envoys.|
|Raja Todar Mal||Renaissance||Gain an Envoy. Domestic Trade Routes gain +0.5 Gold per district at the destination.|
|Adam Smith||Industrial||Adds +1 Economic Policy slot to your government.
Gain 500 Gold. Grant 1 Governor Title or recruit a new Governor.
|John Jacob Astor||Industrial||Gain 500 Gold. Gain 2 Envoys.|
|John Spilsbury||Industrial||Creates one copy of Toys, which provides +4 Amenities.|
|Stamford Raffles||Modern||Absorbs this City-state into your empire. Grants you +10 Loyalty per turn in the city.|
|John Rockefeller||Modern||Grants 1 Oil. Your Trade Routes gain +2 Gold for each Strategic resource improved by the destination city.|
|Sarah Breedlove||Modern||+25% Tourism rate towards other civilizations you have a Trade Route to.|
|Mary Katherine Goddard||Modern||Gain +1 Diplomatic visibility with other civs.|
|Helena Rubinstein||Atomic||Creates two copies of Cosmetics, which provide +4 Amenities each.|
|Levi Strauss||Atomic||Creates two copies of Jeans, which provide +4 Amenities each.|
|Melitta Bentz||Atomic||Increases Trade Route capacity by 1. +25% Tourism to other civilizations you have a Trade Route to.|
|Estée Lauder||Information||Creates two copies of Perfume, which provide +6 Amenities each.|
|Jamsetji Tata||Information||Campus districts provide +10 Tourism.|
|Masaru Ibuka||Information||Industrial Zone districts provide +10 Tourism.|
- Available with the Babylon Pack DLC.
Scenario-specific Great Merchants
The Great Merchants' abilities help commerce, as usual. However, they do it in vastly different ways! Some grant instant Gold sums; others grant increased Trade Route capacity; others grant free Luxury Resources. Some Merchants also help to influence City-states. Endgame Merchants are even able to turn District into tourist attractions, thus helping you to achieve a Cultural Victory.
In Monopolies and Corporations mode, it is crucial to attract Great Merchants since they are the only way to establish Corporations. At the same time, be careful who is used to establish a Corporation, since the Great Merchant will disappear once they establish a Corporation.
Of the four things that determine the course of civilization, greed is probably the most pervasive. Once folk settled and started farming and mining, there was always someone who found that others wanted what they had in plenty, and were willing to pay for it. And so merchants fanned out across the globe, trading in everything from grain to gold, hemp to human beings. The most adventurous among these were always seeking new markets, and hence were explorers who brought back knowledge of distant peoples and customs. Some of the greatest discoveries were the product of the greed of these adventurers. Their travels also enriched their nations in more material ways, for the taxes and profits from their trips funded great works of engineering, education, colonization, art, and war. Without the great merchants, civilization would have been much poorer.