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The Nau is a unique naval melee unit of the Portuguese civilization in Civilization VI. It replaces the Caravel.

  • Common abilities:
  • Special abilities:
    • Starts with one free Promotion Promotion.
    • Has 2 Build charges (Civ6).png build charges.
    • Can construct a Feitoria (Consumes a Build charges (Civ6).png build charge).
  • Special traits:
    • Lower Gold Gold maintenance cost (2 vs. 4).


The Nau is a decent upgrade to the Caravel, since it adds extra flavors to a unit that is otherwise utterly underwhelming and underused (read more here).

The Nau has no stronger combat statistics when compared to the standard Caravel, which is a step in the right direction, since extra Strength Combat Strength will easily go to waste on a unit that is not meant for fighting. Instead, each Nau has 2 Build charges (Civ6).png build charges to construct Feitorias in foreign cities, special shipping ports that boost Gold Gold and Production Production for every Portuguese Trade Route Trade Route that ends in those cities. Since the main strength of this unit is the Feitoria, your main goal as Portugal is to crank out as many Naus as possible to scout out potential positions for Feitorias. The Nau's low maintenance cost and the Navigation School make the goal a lot easier to achieve. The Venetian Arsenal can be thrown into the mix to amplify this power spike even more, although it is not always compulsory, since the Feitoria has a restrictive placement rule, so having a lot of Naus without suitable places for Feitorias is useless.

The Nau, just like the unit it replaces, has a very short period of relevance, since its upgrade, the Ironclad, is unlocked with Steam Power, only one era later. You can make it last a little bit longer by 2 methods, each has its own downside:

  1. Delay researching Steam Power for as long as possible. However, Steam Power leads to Electricity, which unlocks Seaport, a powerful Harbor building for any naval civilization.
  2. Research Steam Power and Electricity like normal, but deplete your Coal Coal stockpile. Without Coal Coal, you can build Naus like normal even though Ironclads are unlocked. However, the absence of Coal Coal compromises the Production Production output in your cities.

After expending both Build charges (Civ6).png build charges, the Nau basically reverts back to being a Caravel, which is not very useful and will drain your treasury away. Even when Portugal is guaranteed a generous Gold Gold income, there is just not much reason to keep these units around when they have clearly outlived their usefulness. You can delete them, and maybe keep some Helmsman-Promotion Promoted Naus around for exploration. (And yes, Naus start with a free Promotion Promotion, even ones upgraded from Galleys, but considering how often they will be used for any reason other than exploring and Feitoria-building, Helmsman is the standard choice.)

Similar to other unique units with Build charges (Civ6).png build charges, Naus can clear and repair improvements for free (as long as they have at least 1 remaining Build charges (Civ6).png build charge), and they can also clear nuclear fallout (which costs 1 Build charges (Civ6).png build charge).

Civilopedia entry[]

During the 1300s to the 1500s, the Portuguese dominated the seas. Trade networks linked Lisbon and ports across Asia, Africa, and the New World, and reshaped how we see the world today. For instance, without the Portuguese introduction of New World chili peppers to Asia, we would not have spicy Thai food, and without the Portuguese presence in Japan, we would not have tempura (from the Latin quatuor anni tempora – a time of eating no meat). But it was not all spices: nau transported gold, Catholic missionaries… and enslaved persons.

The nau was a larger version of the caravel, with square sails in the front, and triangular sails on the mizzenmast. Their heavy build allowed them to navigate stormier seas, especially around the southern tips of Africa and South America, and to reach farther than the caravel or cog.


Civilization VI Units [edit]
Civilian SettlerBuilderTraderArchaeologistSpyNaturalistRock Band GS-Only.png
Land military AT CrewArcher (Hul'che1Pítati Archer1) • ArtilleryBarbarian Horse ArcherBombardCatapultCavalry (CossackHuszár GS-Only.pngLlanero1) • Courser GS-Only.png (Black Army GS-Only.pngOromo Cavalry1) • Crossbowman (Voi Chiến1) • Crouching TigerCuirassier GS-Only.png (Rough RiderWinged Hussar1) • Field Cannon (Hwacha R&F-Only.png) • Giant Death Robot GS-Only.pngHeavy ChariotHelicopterHorseman (Barbarian HorsemanHetairoi1) • Infantry (Digger1) • Keshig R&F-Only.pngKnight (Mandekalu Cavalry GS-Only.pngMamlukTagma1) • Line Infantry (Garde ImpérialeRedcoat) • Machine GunMalón Raider R&F-Only.pngMan-At-Arms (Khevsur R&F-Only.pngBerserkerSamurai) • Maryannu Chariot ArcherMechanized InfantryModern ATModern ArmorMountie GS-Only.pngMusketman (ConquistadorJanissary GS-Only.png) • Nihang1Pike and Shot (Carolean GS-Only.png) • Pikeman (Impi R&F-Only.png) • Questing Knight4Ranger (Highlander R&F-Only.png) • Rocket ArtillerySabum Kibittum1Saka Horse ArcherScout (Okihtcitaw R&F-Only.png) • Skirmisher GS-Only.png (Warak'aq GS-Only.png) • SlingerSpearman (Hoplite) • Spec Ops R&F-Only.pngSwordsman (Hypaspist1Immortal1LegionNgao MbebaToa GS-Only.png) • TankTrebuchet (Domrey1) • Vampire3VaruWar-CartWarrior MonkWarrior (Eagle WarriorGaesatae1) • Zombie5
Naval military Aircraft CarrierBattleship (Minas Geraes) • Caravel (Nau1) • DestroyerFrigate (De Zeven Provinciën R&F-Only.pngJong1) • Galley (Bireme GS-Only.pngViking Longship) • IroncladMissile CruiserNuclear SubmarinePrivateer (Barbary Corsair GS-Only.pngSea Dog) • Quadrireme (Dromon1) • Submarine (U-Boat)
Aircraft BiplaneBomberFighter (P-51 Mustang) • Jet BomberJet Fighter
Support Anti-Air GunBattering RamCultist3Drone R&F-Only.pngMedicMilitary EngineerMobile SAMObservation BalloonSiege TowerSoothsayer2Supply Convoy R&F-Only.png
Religious ApostleGuruInquisitorMissionary
See also Great PeopleHeroes
1 Requires a DLC2 Apocalypse mode only • 3 Secret Societies mode only • 4 Heroes & Legends mode only • 5 Zombie Defense mode only

R&F-Only.png Added in the Rise and Fall expansion pack.
GS-Only.png Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.