3

When a new city is founded, it is limited to two trade routes. Eventually, the game allows that city to have three trade routes. Further on in the game, the city is allowed to have four trade routes (the maximum possible in the game).

What determines the maximum number of trade routes a city can have at any given moment?

3

Good question; I've had to look this up several times in the past few weeks, and found it in the NEWS file:

MAJOR CHANGES FROM 2.4.x to 2.5.0

[...]

 * The maximum number of trade routes per city is now
   ruleset-dependent. In the classic and (of as RC1) experimental
   rulesets, the limit on trade routes now depends on what technology
   you have. You start with 2 per city, and can add one more with each
   of 'Magnetism' and 'The Corporation'.

The in-game Help should really explain this, but I don't think it supports ruleset-specific information yet.

To be sure, check the effects.ruleset of the ruleset you're playing with. For instance, data/classic/effects.ruleset has:

[effect_trade_routes_base]
type    = "Max_Trade_Routes"
value   = 2

[effect_trade_routes_magnetism]
type    = "Max_Trade_Routes"
value   = 1
reqs    =
    { "type", "name", "range"
      "Tech", "Magnetism", "Player"
    }

[effect_trade_routes_corporation]
type    = "Max_Trade_Routes"
value   = 1
reqs    =
    { "type", "name", "range"
      "Tech", "The Corporation", "Player"
    }

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