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The Holy Roman Empire is the largest sovereign state in Europe, and the self-proclaimed successor to the Roman Empire. It is the strongest military power of Europe, and has one of the largest economies.
Since the Start of the Game
At the beginning of the 14th Century the empire was facing something of a crisis. There was no current emperor, and the political situation of Europe, and even the empire, was in turmoil.
By the end of the year, though, a dark horse candidate, Otto Hohenstaufen, came to the attention of the electors. Using his family history and nobility he secured the Imperial Throne.
Over the next four years, Otto V set about to unify the Empire into something much more stronger than the confederation that preceded it. First he occupied the Duchy of Burgundy under the pretense of preventing a French invasion. He further organized the empire by having all states sign the Unification Treaty, which centralized more power in the federal government's hands without jeopardizing that of the states'. Although the Treaty of Zaragoza somewhat weakened Imperial Authority over Italy, the empire was stronger than it was a decade ago.
The collapse of France offered the potential of territorial expansion for the Empire. Under Otto V, the Imperial Army invaded the French successor states. Much land was gained, and the empire was at its height of territorial expansion. A peasant uprising in Holstein was put down, and relations with many other states in Europe were established, leading to new allies.
The absolute authority and head of state is the Emperor, who is elected for life by a council of leaders of the states of the Empire. The only thing the Emperor cannot do is dissolve parliament or suspend the Imperial Constitution.
The states make up the vast majority of the nation, with Imperial lands only comprising a small amount of the country. Each state has the right to its own militia, laws, government, and representation in the federal government.