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"I am Dom João, by the grace of God, King of Portugal and of Algarves, and of lands overseas, in Africa, lord of Guinea, and lord of the conquest and exploration of, and trade with, Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India."
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João III (7 June 1502 – 11 June 1557), nicknamed the Pious, was king of Portugal from 1521 until his death. Known for his expansion of the Portuguese Empire, he started the the colonization of Brazil and secured control of the Maluku Islands, ensuring Portuguese monopoly over the spice trade. He leads the Portuguese in Civilization VI.

Portugal seeks to explore the map to set the stage for a sea-based trade empire, taking advantage of its advantages in coastal resources and nautical exploration.


João III, you stand firm in your beliefs and guide others to them. As you spread your religion and your trade networks beyond your shores, bring prosperity back to your people, so that they may experience new ways of being unlike any seen before.


João III's unique agenda is Navigator's Legacy. He will focus on exploration, likes civilizations who have the same priority, and dislikes those who do not leave their home.

His leader ability is Porta do Cerco. All his units receive +1 Sight Sight, and he has Open Borders with all city-states. He also gains +1 Trade Route Trade Route capacity every time he meets a new civilization.

Detailed Approach[]

A successful Portuguese victory will depend upon building vast trade networks and exploiting coastal tiles. Bear in mind that, for Portugal, international Trade Route Trade Routes are limited to those that pass over water, so João will want to build his cities along the coast to maximize potential trading spots. Further, coastal cities can take full advantage of the Navigation School, giving extra Production Production towards naval units, extra Science Science for coast and lake tiles, and extra Great Admiral Great Admiral points. Portugal will want to explore the map early to find future sites for Portugal’s Unique Infrastructure, the Feitoria, built by Portugal’s Unique Unit, the Nau. Portugal can use its trading profits to fuel any kind of win – steer clear of wars, though; those ports need to stay open for business!


João III is voiced by Alberto Novo. He speaks very formal European Portuguese, using archaic words and syntax seen only in literature and the pluralis majestatis to refer to himself.


Codename Quote (English translation) Quote (European Portuguese) Notes
Agenda-based Approval Ah, yes. You and I both know the sweet melancholy of the sea. (lit. "Ah, yes. We both know the sweet melancholic humor of the sea.") Ah, sim. Nós ambos conhecemos o doce humor merencório do mar.
Agenda-based Disapproval How can you stand to sit on your own shores and not look beyond? (lit. "How can you stand still on your own land and not look further beyond?") Como podes ficar quedo da vossa própria terra e não olhar mais além? The voice actor mispronounces some words here. The correct phrasing is podeis (formal "you"), not podes (informal "you"); and quedo na ("stand still in"), not quedo da.
Attacked What have I done to offend you so? Oh well, it is too late to fix this mistake. How regrettable, that we must go to war. (lit. "What have we done that we have so greatly offended thee? Well, it is too late to fix this mistake. We regret it, but it is necessary to make war.") Que havemos feito que estejais tão ofendido? Ora, é tarde para corrigir este erro. Lamentamos, mas é mestres fazer a guerra. The voice actor mispronounces some words here. The correct phrase is é mester (a very formal and archaic way to say "it is necessary") and not é mestres.
Declares War I have declared war against you. I did not want to do this, but I don't want you around anymore, either. (lit. "We have declared war against thee. Although it pains us to do so, we do not want to endure thy presence.") Havemos declarado guerra contra vós. Posto que nós pese fazer esto, não queremos sofrer a vossa presença. The voice actor mispronounces some words here. The correct phrase is posto que nos pese (a formal way to say "although it pains us") and not posto que nós pese.
Defeated I am told that you are the conqueror of Portugal. That may be the reality, but I will never recognize your victory. Begone! (lit. "We were made aware that thou art the conqueror of Portugal. Notwithstanding, we shall never comply with thy victory. Begone!") Fizeram-nos saber que sois o conquistador de Portugal. Sem embargo, nós nunca acataremos a vossa vitória. Ide-vos!
Greeting By grace of God, I am João, King of Portugal. I bid you welcome. (lit. "By the grace of God, we are João, King of Portugal. We bid thee welcome.") Pela graça de Deus, nós somos João, Rei de Portugal. Bem-vindos sejais.
Quote from Civilopedia I am Dom João, by the grace of God, King of Portugal and of Algarves, and of lands overseas, in Africa, lord of Guinea, and lord of the conquest and exploration of, and trade with, Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India. Dom João, per graça de Deus Rei de Portugal e dos Algarves, d'Aquém e d'Além-Mar em África, Senhor de Guiné e da Conquista, Navegação e Comércio de Etiópia, Arábia, Pérsia e da Índia. This title is in the style used by Portuguese sovereigns (including João III) from the time of Vasco da Gama's return from India in 1499 to the beginning of the House of Habsburg's reign.[1][2]


Delegation: The empire of the seas brings you spices from the Indies, silks from China, and gold from Africa. And a little bacalao from home.

Accepts Delegation from Player: Your delegation was well received. We drank green wine and listened to the mournful fadistas sing of the sea.

Rejects Delegation from Player: You are sending gifts to an over-saturated market. We don't want any.

Accepts Player's Declaration of Friendship: It will bring me joy to see your sails on the horizon.

Rejects Player's Declaration of Friendship: It pains me to say no to your friendship, but I must.

Requests Declaration of Friendship: The sea is vast and empty. Shall we be friends?

Player Accepts Declaration of Friendship: Excellent!

Player Rejects Declaration of Friendship: You make me sad.

Accepts Deal: Done! Deals such as these will allow both of us to flourish.

Denounced by Player: Were you sent by the devil to torment me? Why do you sow such discord wherever you go?

Denounces Player: Why must you be such a blight on the world? Your words are lies, your actions offensive, and your claims are, frankly, excessive.

Invitation to Capital: We have a feast of olive oil and codfish, grilled sardines and castella! Will you come and listen to the fado with me?

Invitation to City: Let us exchange stories about our travels, and of our homes.

Civilopedia entry[]

João III, called “the Colonizer” or perhaps more kindly the “Pious,” was King of Portugal and the Algarves from 1521 to 1556. He was the oldest son of King Manuel I and Maria of Aragon. From birth, his family sought to set him on a course toward excellence – he was given scholars who taught him astronomy, astrology, theology, law, and the humanities, and he was given his own house to manage at the age of twelve. With a few years of practical work under his belt, he started helping his father with real royal duties.

João was set to marry at sixteen and would have married his first cousin Eleanor of Austria, but his father Manuel stepped in and decided he wanted Eleanor for himself. João was understandably offended, and more than a little upset about the whole ordeal. However, following João’s succession in 1521, he made a strategic marriage to Catherine of Austria, who happened to be the younger sister of his ex-fiancé, Eleanor.

Burned in love, he threw himself into his religion. Significantly, João sponsored humanistic approaches to religion such as the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits. Perhaps less nobly, it was under João that the Inquisition finally arrived in Portugal, with predictable results both in suppressing free inquiry (but also ensuring that Portugal would have no Protestant movement). The Inquisition was designed to punish what the church considered to be problematic or blasphemous, including anything related to witchcraft, bigamy (recall João’s contemporary in England, Henry VIII, and his struggles with the church over his complicated love life), literature that went against the church, and sexual deviancy. João (with the Pope’s permission) appointed his brother Cardinal Henry as his Grand Inquisitor and established branches across Portuguese territories. The Inquisition’s influence bled into other parts of Portuguese culture and daily life. These moves earned João the name “the Pious.”

Rather than conquest through battle, João often used diplomacy and arranged advantageous marriages. His sister Isabella was married to Charles V, the King of Spain and the Holy Roman Emperor, and he married his daughter Maria Manuela to King Philip II of Spain. His son Prince João Manuel married Joan of Spain and their son went onto become King Sebastian I. The common trend here – Portugal securing an independent but closely-allied place in Iberia – should be clear.

João found that the Portuguese’s expansive empire was inefficient, fraught with debt and corruption. Initially, he tried to patch the problems by appointing new governors, thinking that better men would yield better results, but the problem was systemic. Also, sometimes the “fired” governors just didn’t leave.

The real impact of João’s reign was in the expansion of his trade networks. Fortified Portuguese trading camps – feitorias – were established in Mombasa, Mozambique, and other parts of Africa, and Portugal acquired Timor and the Maluku Islands in Southeast Asia, Goa and Sri Lanka in South Asia, and a trade outpost in Nagasaki and Macau in East Asia. Further, Portuguese Brazil was, under João, to become a significant colony. These networks were to move spices, sugar, gold, fragrances, and silk across the world. Less nobly, João also trafficked in enslaved people, prompting the Congolese king Mvemba a Nzinga to write João a scathing letter about the activities of Portuguese slave traders.

Towards the end of João’s reign, he had trouble naming an heir. Of his nine children (born to Catherine), only two survived past childhood, and both died before their father. The throne was ultimately left to his grandson, Sebastian, upon his death in 1557.





Civilization VI - First Look- João III - Civilization VI New Frontier Pass

First Look: Portugal

Related achievements[]

The Spice Must Flow
The Spice Must Flow
Win a regular game as João III.
A quote from The Road to Dune.
Ultramar Português
Ultramar Português
As Portugal, have a Trading Post in cities belonging to Brazil, India, and Japan.
The term for the overseas territories of Portugal. In reality, Porugal had various degrees of control over all three of these nations.


External links[]

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