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[Blog] The Early Americas: New York

New York City has a rich and long history since the early colonial period as featured in Assassin’s Creed III. While the precursors of the game were all set in Europe and the Middle East, Assassin’s Creed III went overseas and into the unexplored regions of the early America’s. Cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia were still small and closer to towns than the cities with millions of inhabitants we know today. New York City will have the focus in this blog and is one of the locations that is featured in two Assassin’s Creed games.

The frontier was once a location where no western man had ever set foot. Only the natives had ever walked those dangerous regions.
The frontier was once a location where no western man had ever set foot. Only the natives had ever walked those dangerous regions.

The period:

The early Americas are a grim region, where disease and murder is killing off half the population. While on the other hand, we see nature in all of it’s glory. Huge regions of unexplored woods were still very common. And in those woods, animals and predators roamed freely. On most of the locations humanity hadn’t even set foot yet. Still under the influence of the British Crown, the United States did not even exist. But all of that is due to change as the Revolutionaries, with the support of France, will soon be taking matters in their own hands whom rebel against the British Crown.

In the early days of America, the different regions were all part of European countries. The Dutch for example ruled over New Amsterdam (New York), while the British had huge parts of the East Coast. France ruled over cities like La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans), while Spain and Portugal were busy fighting in the Mid- and Southern Americas against the natives. Hold on, because all of these countries were also fighting huge wars between each other, yeah all in all a great time to be alive.

New Amsterdam was a colony founded by the Dutch Republic back in 1614 and renamed to New York in 1674
New Amsterdam was a colony founded by the Dutch Republic back in 1614 and renamed as New York in 1674

New York City:

The city of New York wasn’t always called that way, back in the 17th century, the city was called New Amsterdam. In the early days New Amsterdam was only a small colony founded by the Dutch Republic in 1614, but the location made trading booming business. The colony got city rights on the 2nd of February 1653 as it grew quickly in inhabitants. Only one century after it was founded, it was already one of the largest cities of the continent (and still is to this day!). About 50 years after New Amsterdam was founded, the city was given to the British Empire in 1667 after a peace treat between the Dutch Republic and British Empire.

The two world powers traded regions and cities between the both of them and New Amsterdam came under British control. In 1674 the city was officially renamed to New York, a name it has kept till this day. In the Assassin’s Creed series, New York was a location of multiple games and is mentioned in even more. Within the franchise, players have seen New York both during peace as in war time.

New York quickly grew to become one of the largest cities on the continent
New York quickly grew to become one of the largest cities on the continent

Assassin’s Creed III:

In the game Assassin’s Creed III we enter New York city while the war has already started. The city is now under the control of the Revolutionaries. The protagonist and assassin Connor Kenway is imprisoned in one of the infamous jails, Bridewell Prison. After being found guilty of a crime he did not commit, he is sentenced to death by hanging. Luck may have it that he is actually freed by his father Haytham Kenway (Grandmaster of the Templar Order) and the assassins, who stop his execution just in time. Not long after, the city was greatly damaged during the “Great Fire” of 1776. In early 1777 New York was regained by the British Empire.

The battle for new york was a long battle, in which both armies gained and lost their respective footholds
The battle for New York was a long battle, in which both armies gained and lost their respective footholds

The Battle for New York was fought in the years 1776 and 1777. It was a battle between the Revolutionaries and the British Empire. During the battle New York fell in the hands of the British while the city of New Jersey was conquered by the Revolutionaries. The British held control of New York until 1783, when the last of the British forces were withdrawn by orders from London. The Revolutionary War had ended and the United States of America were now in charge of New York.

Assassin’s Creed Rogue:

In this game New York City is smaller and different in terms of height. Because the game is set a few decades earlier than Assassin’s Creed III this is a logical explanation. In the colonial period cities grew with a tremendous speed. During the time period of Assassin’s Creed Rogue, the city was still under the rule of the British Empire. A fact which should not be forgotten and there were no talks about a revolution. A revolution that would shred the country and city in two, in the near future.
The next blog in this series will tell about the history of Boston and what impact that location had on the Assassin’s Creed franchise.