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The formal establishment of a Merchant Navy, that is, a fleet of dedicated trading vessels built according to the latest maritime innovations, can greatly boost a seafaring nation's wealth. Since the navy is supported by the merchants, it doesn't cost the state anything - on the contrary, it increases its wealth, alongside that of the merchants themselves! The greatest manifestation of that increase comes with the establishment of the East India Company, the nation's chief foreign trade institution, which attracts not only merchants, but also frugal engineers and even artists to its parent city.
- +1 Gold for each Harbor, Seaport, or Lighthouse.
- +4 Production and +4 Culture in the city with the East India Company.
This is the first Policy which reveals the double nature of the Exploration tree: to boost both seafaring prowess and Gold output. Another great policy, it manifests more benefits the more coastal cities with maritime buildings you have. The +3 Gold bonus per city is a considerable increase, since it is a base Gold output which is further increased by economic buildings, such as the Market.
Also, try to build the East India Company ASAP after adopting this Policy. Note that the relevant bonuses are not restricted to coastal cities - they will apply no matter where the national wonder is built.
A merchant navy is a group of merchant ships which, in times of war, can be pressed into service and carry a nation's military goods and supplies, often with protection from the nation's navy. For many years the British maintained the largest and best fleet of merchant marine vessels in world history. Implemented in 1835, the British Merchant Navy suffered huge losses in World Wars I and II. Nearly 15,000 merchant seamen lost their lives in World War I, and a staggering 30,000 died in the Second World War.