Taking over existing towns

I'm running a wilderness hex crawl over on rpg.net -- it was sold as ACKS meets Oregon Trail -- and right now the players are all around level 6 and want to assume authority in a small, four 6-mile hex domain that's been relatively isolated from civilization.  The domain lacks a centralized ruler and instead has two small villages, each governed by a Council of Elders.  For a variety of reasons there isn't really a militarized presence in either village and the PCs have just marched up with a small army of mercenaries at their heels.

How do I go about running this?  I've made some reaction rolls and have already determined that the residents aren't particulary interested in being ruled by somebody else (it's kind of set up as a bucolic self- governing agrarian society), but they also aren't going to, like, die for their freedom or something.  Most everybody is pretty happy with the status quo.

Advice or input would be welcome.

Domains at War: Campaigns pages 63-65.

In summary, yeah, there’s a pretty good chance the PCs just got themselves a domain; who’s gonna stop them?

Exactly those pages in that book.

Occupy first, and if there's really no garrison, and morale rolls don't indicate resistance, the conquering is probably pretty instant. That season or that month, depending.

What's the link to the game, if it's public? I feel like I have known this game before, been a while.

First IC thread is here: https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?765089-IC-ACKS-The-Wilderlands-of-Absalom

Wiki is here: https://wiki.rpg.net/index.php/The_Wilderlands_of_Absalom

Kibbitzing is welcome in the OOC thread.  Right now we're at 6 full PCs, 15 henchmen and 6 henches of henches.  It's . . . a lot to keep track of.  Using the wiki helps immensely.

I still wish i could have gotten into this game.