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Build near Native settlements or Trade Routes. Provides experience points and other benefits.
—In-game description

The Trading Post is an economic/military building in Age of Empires III that replaces the trade system of carts, boats, and caravans in the previous games. Unlike most buildings, Trading Posts can only be built on site sockets found along Trade Routes and in minor civilization settlements. It periodically grants experience or resources if built on Trade Routes or allows access to native warriors and native technologies if built on those settlements.

The Native American and Asian civilizations do not benefit from the Stagecoach Line of Sight; only European ones do.

The Incas build Tambos instead, which is identical in function with the Trading Posts; but with the difference is that the Tambos have a weak ranged attack and its attack can be strengthened if garrisoned with Villagers as well as receive Home City shipments, and supports 5 population.

Special abilities[]

  • Shotgun Messengers (automatically activated when an enemy is in range or 8 (or when attacking and the enemy is in a range of 8 with the "Advanced Trading Post" Home City Card) with a cooldown of 7 seconds, requires the "Shotgun Messengers" card): The Trading Post attacks with a powerful shotgun fire that does 115 damage (173 against Cavalry, 150 against Shock Infantry, 58 against Siege Unit) with an AOE of 2.
  • Lighthouse (only if the Trading Post is built on a Somali settlement; Requires Somali Lighthouses): Reveals a radius of 8 around enemy ships, Trading Posts/Tambos, Docks/Ports, and defensive buildings for 10 seconds. 60 seconds cooldown (shared across all Trading Posts built on Somali settlements).

Minor civilizations[]

Main article: Minor civilization


Main article: Native warrior


For each native tribe or religious community's technologies, please see their respective articles.


Age Upgrade Cost Effect
Age I tech tree aoe3.png
Levy Trading Post Rickshaw Free Spawns 6 Trading Post Rickshaws; United States only, requires the "Chinese Immigrants" Home City Card
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Stagecoach icon.png Stagecoach
Trade cart icon.png Trade Cart
200 food,
200 wood
Upgrades the Trade Route where the Trading Post is built to use a stagecoach (trade cart in The Asian Dynasties maps) which can deliver resources, moves faster, and has greater LOS
Age IV tech tree aoe 3.png
Iron Horse.png Iron Horse 300 wood,
400 coin
Upgrades the Trade Route where the Trading Post is built to use a train which moves faster and has greater LOS; requires Stagecoach/Trade Cart
Levy Trading Post Rickshaw can be researched repeatedly but has a global (shared across all Trading Posts) cooldown of 160 seconds between each research.

Further statistics[]

Building strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Nothing (short-ranged units with Advanced Trading Post Home City Card)
Weak vs. Everything, especially siege infantry, artillery, and Monitors
Hit points Flying Buttress.png Flying Buttress (+20%)
Resource generation Ottoman Home City 1 (Silk Road).png Nanban Trade (+25%)
Attack Heated Shot.png Heated Shot (+1.5× multiplier vs. ships)
Sight Gas Lighting.png Gas Lighting (+4, European civilizations only)
Construction cost Cree Textile Craftsmanship.png Cree Textile Craftsmanship (-25% wood)
Tupi Forest Burning.png Tupi Forest Burning (-20% wood)
Penalties Code Napoleon.png Code Napoleon (+50% cost, French only)
Counter Infantry Rifling.png Customized Merc Weapons (+30% cost, John Black's Mercenaries only)

Home City Cards[]

Click for a list of Home City Cards related to the Trading Post
Green: TEAM Shipment that is sent to each player in a team


Card Description Age HC level
Spanish Home City 3 (Native Lore).png Native Lore Native improvements cost no coin
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Spanish Home City 3 (Native Treaties).png Native Treaties Each different allied native tribe sends a shipment of their respective native warriors
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Spanish Home City 3 (Advanced Trading Post).png Advanced Trading Post Trading Posts get a ranged attack and +50% hit points, and cost -40%
Age I tech tree aoe3.png
Spanish Home City 3 (Improved Buildings).png Improved Buildings Buildings get +40% hit points
Age I tech tree aoe3.png
The Native Lore, Native Treaties, and Advanced Trading Post cards are available to European and Native American civilizations.
For information about how many units shipped by Native Treaties, please see the respective native warrior's articles.
The Improved Buildings card is available at a level 1 Home City for the Lakota.
The Indians have the TEAM Improved Buildings card instead of Improved Buildings.


Card Description Age HC level
Japanese Home City 3 (Native Learning).png Native Learning Native improvements cost -50% (also +1 Villager for the Indians)
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Japanese Home City 3 (Native Crafts).png Native Crafts Each different allied native tribe sends a shipment of 300 export (also +1 Villager for the Indians)
Age III tech tree aoe3.png
Japanese Home City 3 (Trade Empire).png Trade Empire Ships 1 Trading Post Rickshaw and Trading Posts get +33% hit points and cost -25% (also +1 Villager for the Indians)
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Team improved buildings.png TEAM Improved Buildings Buildings get +25% hit points
Age II tech tree aoe3.png
Mughal architecture.png Mughal Architecture Buildings except wonders cost -20% wood and build time -50% +1 Villager
Age II tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Ottoman Home City 1 (Silk Road).png Silk Road Crates and Trade Routes contain +25% resources
Age I tech tree aoe3.png
Ottoman Home City 3 (Cheap Trading Post).png TEAM Cheap Trading Posts Trading Posts cost -40%
Age I tech tree aoe3.png


Card Description Age HC level
Portuguese Home City 4 (House of Braganca).png House of Braganca Trade Route upgrades are free
Age III tech tree aoe3.png


Age of Empires III[]

  • Trading Posts cost 250 wood and have 3,000 hit points.

The Asian Dynasties[]

  • With patch 1.02, Trading Posts cost 200 wood and have 2,500 hit points.


  • It is sometimes possible for Trading Post sites to be generated on broken terrain, which means that players cannot construct a Trading Post on these sites. Most notably this can occur on the New England and Amazonia maps. This problem has been addressed in patches, occurring with less frequency.
    • A similar bug occurs when it is not possible to build the Trading Post because the Trading Post site is near a cliff. It has been observed that this happens very often in the California map. It can also happen in the Yukon map, when it is very close to the river.
  • Another common glitch is units getting stuck within the perimeter of a Trading Post as a result of trying to pass through it and not being able to get out. This most notably happens with Native Trading Posts. It is possible to destroy the units inside the confines of the Trading Post, but if an Explorer/Monk/War Chief get stuck inside, there is no way of removing them unless they can be ransomed.
  • If the player gets any building HP improvement such as the Improved Buildings or Advanced Trading Posts Home City Cards, already built Trading Posts remaining HP will stay the same as before the upgrade (e.g. 2,500/2,500 before, 2500/2875 after).


Trading posts were established by early explorers of the New World as places to stop, barter, rest, and engage in commercial activities in support of their efforts to find wealth for their patrons, usually kings and queens, who sponsored their voyages.

Wealthy and powerful trading companies between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries competed viciously as they drove exploration of the New World in search of pelts (chiefly beaver), to market in Europe. They dotted the landscape with trading posts and continued driving west in search of new sources of pelts. The fur trade and the need for the trading posts declined as fashions in Europe changed and the demand for pelts collapsed. Many trading posts developed into proper settlements over time.