20 Real-Life Historical Events In Assassin's Creed Games

20 Real-Life Historical Events In Assassin's Creed Games
VOICE OVER: Ricky Tucci WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Assassin's Creed games have given us a better history lesson than most of us got in school! In this video we're looking at 20 times the AC franchise depicted actual historical events. Our list includes The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake “Assassin's Creed Rogue” (2014), The Battle of Chippenham “Assassin's Creed Valhalla” (2020), The Borgia Papacy “Assassin's Creed II” (2009) & “Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood” (2010), The Third Crusade “Assassin's Creed” (2007), The Plague of Athens “Assassin's Creed Odyssey” (2018) and more!

20 Real-Life Events in Assassin’s Creed Games

Welcome to MojoPlays! Today, we’re looking at 20 Real-Life Events in “Assassin’s Creed” Games. How much is fact, and how much is fiction?

The Great Fire of New York

“Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)

By the time Connor arrives in New York, the city has already been ravaged by the Great Fire of 1776. While we don’t see the fire happen itself, its effects are far-reaching. Much of the lower west side of Manhattan was destroyed, making the situation for New Yorkers even worse considering they were, by this point, living under British occupation. Connor has his work cut out trying to help the people trying to live in the burned districts. Though people have theorized for hundreds of years that the fire was caused by arson, it’s still unknown, and Ubisoft didn’t decide to blame any particular side. Interestingly, you WERE supposed to see the fire happen originally, but it was too difficult for Ubisoft to pull off.

The Cult of Reason

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” (2014)

You may miss the significance of this if you’re not already a fan of French Revolutionary history, but when Arno conducts his assassination mission in Notre Dame Cathedral early on in “Unity”, the cathedral is not in possession of the church. As part of the Revolution, the Jacobin government at the time “dechristianized” France, which led to the rise of the “Cult of Reason”, an extremist, atheist religion sponsored by the National Convention that was given control of Notre Dame. The Cathedral was vandalized and occupied by the Cult, which eventually became so extreme that the government was forced to disavow it and create a new one, the Cult of the Supreme Being. Notre Dame is in this unfortunate condition during most of “Unity”.

The Seven Years’ War

“Assassin’s Creed Rogue” (2014)

This complex period in world history was covered by “Assassin’s Creed Rogue”, with Shay and his fellow Templars aligned with the British this time, primarily fighting French ships on the high seas. The huge war had ramifications for the entire planet, and is what led to the French territories in Canada eventually coming under British control. It changed the balance of power forever, and from the war, the British became the strongest imperial force on Earth, largely ending the age in which Britain, France, Spain and Portugal were all vying for control of the land and seas. And maybe Shay Cormac sinking all those French ships so he could upgrade his puckle guns was the reason the British won – this time.

The Siege of Paris

“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” (2020)

Ubisoft deemed this event so noteworthy that an entire DLC of “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” was built around it. In the year 885 AD, Vikings sailed along the River Seine to arrive at Paris, which was already a major city by this point. For nearly a year, Paris was besieged by the Viking invaders, with King Charles III – better known as Charles the Fat – leading the Franks in their defence. Whether the Vikings won or lost the siege depends on who you ask, and “Valhalla” seems to show their ultimate defeat in a different light. While they never did breach Paris truly, Charles the Fat eventually paid them off and sent them away to attack nearby Burgundy instead.

Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride

“Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)

On April 19th, 1775, the American Revolutionary War officially broke out, with British and patriot forces clashing in the Battles of Lexington and Concord. But during the previous night, the 18th, the colonial militias had been warned of the British approach by Paul Revere, who rode across Massachusetts to deliver the news. In the end, the Americans won and the war began. In “Assassin’s Creed III”, Connor is the one riding the horse through the towns, directed by Revere after the two had already met during the Boston Tea Party. Revere turned out to be an irritating backseat driver, however, with Connor doing all the hard work.

Bombing Raids

“Assassin’s Creed Syndicate” (2015)

The London Blitz during World War II is a well-known part of history, but did you know that German forces carried out bombing raids in the First World War, as well? The war broke out only 11 years after the Wright brothers’ first successful flight, which meant most of these German raids were actually carried out by Zeppelins. In “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate”, we see all this happen during the World War I side missions with Lydia Frye, who’s enlisted to help in the war effort by Winston Churchill in 1916. Among other activities, she fights off those bombing raids and defends London from aerial attack.

The Pazzi Conspiracy

“Assassin’s Creed II” (2009)

In the 15th century, Italy still hadn’t been unified. Instead, the peninsula was made up of large, independent states and cities, including Florence, the heart of the Renaissance, which was controlled by the Medici family. The Medicis are always allied with the Auditores in “Assassin’s Creed”, though the latter didn’t actually exist, to the extent that Ezio seeks revenge against the Pazzis for conspiring to depose the Medicis. That, and the fact that the Pazzi Conspirators were also to blame for the deaths of Ezio’s father and brothers. In reality, the Pazzi Conspirators were banished and practically erased from history after trying to publicly assassinate Lorenzo de’ Medici.

The 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet

“Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” (2013)

In 1715, a huge Treasure Fleet left the Americas to send vast amounts of gold and silver to Spain. And loaded onto one of those ships, having been taken prisoner, was notorious pirate Edward Kenway and his future Quartermaster Adewalé. The fleet was struck by a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea, with all the ships except one destroyed in the storm. In reality, this was a French ship, “Le Grifon”, while in “Black Flag”, the surviving ship is the one that becomes the Jackdaw. Edward later returns to the site of the wreckage to go diving. The remains of the treasure fleet are still some of the most valuable shipwrecks in the world, centuries later.

The Thermidorian Reaction

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” (2014)

The French Revolution brought big changes, including restructuring the months of the year and hours of the day to all be in multiples of ten. That’s what gives the Thermidorian Reaction its name, it was named after the new month it happened in, “Thermidor”, when Maximilien Robespierre was violently deposed. The Hôtel de Ville was stormed and somebody shot Robespierre in the jaw – Élise de la Serre, according to Ubisoft. He was then taken away and promptly executed, bringing the Revolution into a new era, where the original Reign of Terror was replaced with the White Terror, and the Jacobin revolutionaries were now the targets of state violence instead of the perpetrators.

The Battle of Thermopylae

“Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” (2018)

Kassandra and Alexios are descendants of the great Spartan King Leonidas I, who famously led an army of 300 Spartans to defend Greece against the invading Persian army, led by Xerxes. The Greeks were defeated by the Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae in the year 480 BC, with a few thousand Greek soldiers left - it wasn’t actually 300. They retreated and Leonidas stayed to defend them, eventually losing the battle. It’s this battle that “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” opens with, and you actually play as Leonidas holding back Xerxes before you meet Kassandra or Alexios. Decades later and they still wield Leonidas’ broken spear.

The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake

“Assassin’s Creed Rogue” (2014)

Portugal’s capital city was practically destroyed by a debilitating earthquake in 1755, in a natural disaster that caused up to 50,000 deaths at the highest estimates. You experience the quake first-hand near the beginning of “Assassin’s Creed Rogue”; it’s triggered by Shay taking a Piece of Eden from a vault beneath the city, and is the inciting incident that causes Shay to leave the Assassins. He decides that no organization that allows so many lives to be lost just for the sake of another Isu relic is worth his time, and defects to the Templars. The Lisbon earthquake broke the streets apart and destroyed thousands of buildings, and is recreated in one of the franchise’s best – and most tragic – platforming sections.

The Battle of Chippenham

“Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” (2020)

One of the major antagonists of “AC Valhalla” is Alfred of Wessex, better known as Alfred the Great, one of England’s most famous kings. Though history generally remembers Alfred the Great positively, hence the name, “Valhalla” took a different perspective, and that shows particularly in its version of the Battle of Chippenham. This was a major battle between the Anglo-Saxons and the invading Vikings, one which the Vikings ended up winning, seizing control of the entire region for some time. Eivor and the Raven Clan join forces with the Great Heathen Army – which was the real army involved in the conflict – and take Wessex, though it was only set to be theirs for a few months.

The Borgia Papacy

“Assassin’s Creed II” (2009) & “Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood” (2010)

One of the most notorious noble families to ever live, the Borgias have certainly been painted as villains by history – including when they appear during the “Ezio Trilogy”. Cesare Borgia is the main antagonist of “Brotherhood”, while his father Rodrigo takes control of the Vatican, becoming Pope Alexander VI. Today, it’s not clear how much about the Borgias is true and how much was slander invented by their rivals in European high society, but they did exist and also had control of Italy for a time. Being Spanish, they weren’t particularly popular in Italy, and that’s definitely something the games get right since Ezio spends his time trying to oust them from power.

The Third Crusade

“Assassin’s Creed” (2007)

Both the Assassin Brotherhood and the Knights Templar have their origins in the Crusades, despite both groups having existed for far longer according to the lore of later games – becoming the “Hidden Ones” and the “Order of Ancients”. But the very first game tackled the Crusades and their atrocities head-on, pitting Altaïr against many of the Holy Land’s most important figures, such as Richard the Lionheart. And when you’re not eavesdropping on conversations in one of the three main cities, you’ll be riding through war-torn no man’s land, just trying to get from one side to another without being taken out by a bloodthirsty Crusader.

The Plague of Athens

“Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” (2018)

In the year 430 BC and for a few years subsequently, Athens was struck by a devastating plague that killed tens of thousands of people. In “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey”, you witness the horrors of the plague outbreak – complete with a grey color filter on your screen – including the death of the Athenian leader Pericles. But “Assassin’s Creed” still can’t shed light on one of history’s biggest mysteries: what was the disease that caused the devastating plague? It may have been the Black Death, but it’s also been theorized to have been everything else from measles to Ebola, and some medical evidence suggests it might have even been typhoid.

Blackbeard’s Death

“Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” (2013)

You’ll encounter many of history’s most notorious pirates throughout “Black Flag”, including Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Black Bart, and of course, Blackbeard himself – perhaps the most infamous of all. But just like in real life, Blackbeard meets an untimely and grisly end. He was killed during a surprise attack planned by Robert Maynard of the Royal Navy, who pursued him relentlessly for some time; upon his death, Blackbeard had his head cut off and taken as a trophy by Maynard, who planned to use it to claim a bounty. He’s given more of a hero’s death in “Black Flag” since he’s one of Kenway’s allies, but it’s still relatively true to life.

The Ides of March

“Assassin’s Creed Origins” (2017)

Another high-profile death that aimed to recreate history to the letter came in “Assassin’s Creed Origins”, where Julius Caesar is murdered by his fellow Roman senators for trying to make himself the Emperor of Rome. Roman Emperors did exist, of course, but not until after Caesar had been and gone, which is why the other politicians didn’t take kindly to him becoming a dictator. You’ve already had plenty of encounters with Caesar by this point, including witnessing his affair with Cleopatra, but it was certainly a dramatic moment to see his demise. He was brutally stabbed to death by a dozen men in broad daylight, who were supposedly members of the Assassins in-game.

Storming of the Bastille

“Assassin’s Creed Unity” (2014)

The French Revolution officially began on July 14th, 1789, still celebrated as Bastille Day every year in modern France. The Bastille, a large and oppressive prison in Paris, had stood for hundreds of years, starting life as a fortress. But while it was capable of repelling British invasions, it eventually fell to the Revolutionaries, who stormed the prison and broke the prisoners out – and one of those prisoners was, of course, Arno Dorian, soon-to-be Assassin. Arno didn’t really exist, but the Bastille’s storming remains one of the most important political moments in French history, leading to the establishment of the First French Republic and the advent of the Revolution.

The Boston Tea Party

“Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)

In 1773, American radicals launched a protest against the British colonial rulers, who had imposed higher taxes on tea that wasn’t sold by the East India Company. Outraged by British taxation, the Sons of Liberty took large amounts of the East India Company’s tea and dumped it in the Boston Harbor. In “Assassin’s Creed III”, this has the secondary aim of financially damaging the Templars, which is why it’s Connor who has the honor of carrying the tea and tossing it into the ocean. It’s still a huge part of Boston’s history and one of the first incidents in the successful American Revolution. Connor really hit the British where it hurts: right in the teabags.

Jack the Ripper’s Killing Spree

“Assassin’s Creed Syndicate” (2015)

The most notorious serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper was famously never caught or held responsible for his violent crimes. “Syndicate” mostly takes place in the 1860s, which left room for an entire DLC set in the unforgiving winter of 1888 when the Ripper was at large; Evie Frye returns from abroad and is tasked with unmasking the Ripper by Abberline when everybody believes her brother Jacob is responsible. Of course, you couldn’t set a game in Victorian London without getting Jack the Ripper in there somewhere, and dedicating a whole expansion gave these ghastly crimes the weight they deserve – saving them from becoming another of “Syndicate’s” penny dreadful side missions.