Equestria

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Equestria
Stylized map of a long continent surrounded by water on both sides. The continent features blue mountains, green forests and fields, and a hot desert to the south. To the left of the image is a cartoon compass.
The original map of Equestria, which has since been updated and expanded.
A light blue flag depicting two winged unicorns, one dark blue and the other white, flying around the sun and moon. A field of stars surrounds them.
Flag of Equestria, as depicted in season 2 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Created byLauren Faust
GenreFantasy, steampunk
Information
TypeMonarchical nation
RulerHeads of State
Ethnic group(s)Ponies
Demonym(s): Equestrian
Race(s)
Locations
List of locations
  • Capital Region:
    • Canterlot (Capital)
    • Ponyville (Main Setting)
    • Everfree Forest
    • Winnyiapolis
    • Neighagara Falls
    Frozen North:
    • Crystal Empire
    • Crystal Mountains
    • Yaket Mountain Range
    Celestial Coast:
    • Baltimare
    • Manehattan
    • Fillydelphia
    • Sire's Hollow
    • Hollow Shades
    • Seaward Shoals
    • Haysead Swamps
    Lunar Coast:
    • Vanhoover
    • Tall Tale
    • San Franciscolt
    • Las Pegasus
    • Applewood
    • Califoalnia
    Mysterious South:
    • San Palomino Desert
    • Dodge Junction
    • Appleloosa
    • Sonambula
    • Sea of Clouds
Characters
Senior civil government
and military high command
Main settingPonyville
Federal capitalCanterlot
National languagePonish
CurrencyBit
Enemies
List
  • Current:
    • Windigos
    Historically (currently allies):
    • Changeling Hive
    • Griffonia
    • Dragonlands
    • Storm Empire
    • Yakyakistan
    • Discord

Equestria[1] (/ɛˈkwɛstriə/) is the fictional setting of the fourth and upcoming fifth generation of the My Little Pony toyline and media franchise, including the animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and My Little Pony: Pony Life.[2][3][4][5] Created by Lauren Faust, the setting incorporates many elements of fantasy, including European and Greek mythology.

Equestria serves as the backdrop for the adventures of Twilight Sparkle, the main character of Friendship is Magic, and her friends, collectively referred to as the Mane Six. Equestria is shown to be located on a terrestrial planet, similar to Earth.[1] Equestria hosts many intelligent and sapient creatures; the majority being ponies. Equestria's foundation is described as the result of the cooperation of unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies.[6]

The "Bit" is the national currency of Equestria and its territories.[7] The official language of Equestria is called "Ponish".[8][failed verification] Throughout the series, Equestria is ruled by princesses.[7]

Although shown to be generally peaceful, Equestria engages in wars with various magical and supernatural threats over the course of the series.

Development[edit]

Photo of a smiling woman with medium length red hair and a purple shirt.
Lauren Faust, the creator of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, developed Equestria to be the backdrop for the show.

Two years were spent on creating the foundation of the series.[9] Pennsylvania Dutch design, steampunk fantasy art, European fairy tales, and Bavarian folk art served as influences for the original pony world.[10] In some cases, Hasbro requested that the show include certain settings but allowed Faust and her team to create its visual style and Hasbro then based the toy set on it; an example is the Ponyville schoolhouse.[11]

History[edit]

The history of Equestria, as depicted in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, began at the end of the "Age of Eternal Winter". Before founding Equestria, the three major pony types - Earth Ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi - were separate tribes. This period is described as a chaotic time, when the horse-like windigos brought freezing temperatures and eternal darkness to the world, and other monsters terrorized the populace.[12] The three tribes separately emigrated to the continent of Equus, where they began feuding with each other, which fueled the strength of the windigos. Eventually the tribes set aside their squabbles to unify as the nation of Equestria and defeat the windigos. The foundation of Equestria is celebrated during the annual Hearth's Warming Day festival - which is depicted as being similar to the Christmas or Yule celebrations.[6]

Equestria initially struggled with the task of ensuring that the sun and moon set at the proper times, which drained the powers of Equestria's most powerful sorcerers. The birth of future princesses Celestia and Luna, alicorn sisters who could raise and lower the celestial bodies at will, ushered in an era of prosperity. The sisters were crowned as the rulers of Equestria, and were trained in the use of their powers by the legendary wizard Star Swirl the Bearded.[13][14]

Under Princess Celestia and Luna, Equestria was able to focus greater magic and resources on its development, despite the emergence of threats like the evil Lord Tirek,[15] Discord, and wars between ponies and the Changeling Hive.[16] Under the princesses, Equestria was transformed from a feudal kingdom into a superpower with an advanced economy. Six legendary ponies wielded the Elements of Harmony to defend Equestria from these threats, and planted the Tree of Harmony so other generations would be able to do the same.[17] The status quo remained unchanged until the corruption of Princess Luna, who transformed into Nightmare Moon with the intent of plunging Equestria into eternal night.[18][19] This culminated in the one thousand-year exile of Nightmare Moon, who later returned as Princess Luna.[20]

In Equestria's early history, the northern Crystal Empire was ruled by Princes Amore. Later the tyrannical King Sombra took over the kingdom, and enslaved the Crystal Ponies. After Sombra was defeated by Celestia and Luna with the magical Crystal Heart, he cursed the Crystal Empire to disappear, which it did for one thousand years. The Crystal Empire later reappeared, and was ruled by Princess Cadence and her husband Shining Armor.

By the end of Friendship is Magic, rule of Equestria passed down to Princess Twilight Sparkle.[21] The reign of Twilight Sparkle brought about increases of peace, prosperity, hope and love, as Princess Twilight continued her scientific research and made her diplomatic mission to spread the friendship to every creature in need. Throughout Equestria's history, it remains distant but mostly friendly relations with the other nations like the Zebras and Yaks.

The period after the return of Princess Luna through the ascendancy of Twilight Sparkle is the era most detailed by the main comics, television series, and video games. It is therefore fully canonical, according to the show writers.[22][23]

Alternate continuity timelines[edit]

Time magic is featured in the franchise on several occasions. In the series, time magic was discovered and/or invented by Starswirl, which allowed him to manipulate time and remain ageless. Celestia later outlawed time magic due to the risks of irresponsible time travel, and all knowledge pertaining to it was stored within Starswirl the Bearded Wing of the Canterlot Archives.[24]

In "The Cutie Re-Mark", several alternate versions of Equestria are depicted as a result of Starlight Glimmer changing history. In the first alternate timeline shown, King Sombra expands the Crystal Empire's borders to cover half of Equestria and the Griffon Kingdom. In the second, Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings have conquered Canterlot and forced many ponies into hiding. In the third, Nightmare Moon rules Equestria in eternal night after banishing Celestia to the moon. Further alternate realities include one ruled by Discord, one in which Tirek ravages the land, one in which Flim and Flam bulldoze the Everfree Forest for development, and one in which Equestria is reduced to a barren wasteland. These alternate realities are later undone by Twilight Sparkle.[citation needed]

Inhabitants[edit]

Ponies[edit]

Development and design[edit]

Faust imagined the three different ponies—unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies—having different cultures and living in various places. She pictured the unicorns in the mountains, pegasi in the clouds, and earth ponies, similar to real horses, on the ground.[25] According to Faust, the entirety of Friendship Is Magic is influenced by the fantasy genre. The team borrowed from mythology; the unicorns are part of European mythology and the pegasi are part of Greek mythology.

In addition, Faust envisioned the ponies as realistic horses who ate hay, lived in barns, pulled carts, wore saddles, and used their mouths to pick up things—qualities which were formerly avoided.[9] After an idea from fellow animator Paul Rudish, many ideas of how the ponies' world was special came to Faust; she imagined the ponies as the stewards of their world who made their weather happen, flowers grow, and animals thrive.[26]

Initially, Faust's designs were similar to the original ponies'. However, they "just didn't feel right" with upturned noses, straight faces, large heads and small bodies.[27] After drawing a doodle of a random pony, Faust decided to use that design. When creating ponies, the artists needed to be attentive to shape and proportion. Their bodies were similar to the shape of beans, head to a ball, and legs to curved triangles. Often, the ponies were the height of three heads, divided into three parts: the head, the largest and longest; the body, which is approximately half the head's height but the same width; and the legs, which are slightly shorter than the head. Other prominent body parts include the neck, which is half the head's width, and the eye, a central element to the ponies' design in placement, size, and shape. While many eyes differ in details, the placement and shape are normally unvarying.[28] Throughout the later seasons of Friendship Is Magic, body types have varied, being designed to embody diverse characteristics, including age and personality.[29]

Earth Ponies[edit]

Earth ponies possess an underlying connection to the earth, nature, and the environment that encourages the growth of plant life and a connection with wild animals. Earth pony based technology is purely mechanical and often is intended to replicate things they cannot do themselves. Earth ponies form the backbone of Equestria's economy, operating within most industries sectors involving natural resources, construction or extraction. Their natural talents in agriculture, forestry, and mining extends from plants to rock farms. Compared to pegasi and unicorns, earth ponies exhibit supernatural strength, endurance, stamina, fortitude, and durability.[citation needed]

Pegasi[edit]

Orange-red vase painting of a man with a spear fighting a chimera while riding a pegasus
Painting of a white unicorn sitting in a circular wooden pen within a forest clearing
Faust stated that she borrowed from Greek and European mythology when designing creatures, like the pegasus and chimera pictured on this ancient Greek vase, or the Medieval unicorn.

Pegasi have the unique ability to fly and magically control the weather. This ability is powered by a pair of feathered wings, which is the distinguishing anatomical feature of pegasi compared to other pony races. Pegasi make up the majority of ponies responsible for the postal service, patrolling Equestria's airspace, and controlling Equestria's weather. Pegasi are the only pony able to naturally interact with clouds as if they were tangible; this allows them to walk on and move clouds and, by extension, control the weather (although other pony types are able to due this through artificial means using magic).[citation needed] In the episode "Hurricane Fluttershy", a coordinated team of one hundred pegasi demonstrate their ability to generate hurricane-force winds to funnel water from a lake.[30]

A quality Faust borrowed from her childhood with the pegasi was a cold shower fountain that made her believe pegasi live in the clouds. She credited Paul Rudish for the inspiration of the pegasus ponies controlling the weather when he was drawing a pegasus pony running across clouds and creating rain.[25]

Unicorn Ponies[edit]

Unicorns can directly absorb, wield, channel, create and manipulate magic; this ability is powered by a horn of variable length, texture, and color on their forehead. However, a unicorn's horn can be destroyed, taking away most of their magical capabilities.[7] Unicorns are amongst the most educated and scholarly of Equestria's citizens.[7] While other ponies' innate magical talents are "intuitive or instinctive", unicorns require decades of higher education to master any spell beyond the most basic fundamentals.[8] Many spells and abilities are open to all unicorns, but many unicorns specialize in areas like teleportation, transfiguration, or medicine. Generally, unicorns have a collection of various spells relating to their specialty, one being vastly more effective than the rest.[8]

As Hasbro created a castle that Faust put up on her dresser, she believed unicorns would live in the mountains.[25]

Other ponies[edit]

Other types of ponies include Crystal ponies, who have a connection with crystals; Thestral ponies have bat-like wings, and slit-pupil eyes as well as abilities of pegasus ponies, night vision, and echolocation; and alicorns, who have the distinguishing features of the other pony races: the horn of a unicorn, the wings of a pegasus, and the fortitude of an earth pony and are rulers of Equestria.

Other inhabitants[edit]

The world of Equestria is shown to be inhabited by various magical creatures besides ponies. Faust considered the previous My Little Pony series to be "more focussed on cupcakes and tea parties and it was getting disconnected from its fantasy roots".[31] As a result of this and the fact ponies were based on mythology, she based many of the creatures and villains on mythology. These were modified and redesigned to fit Friendship Is Magic's world and demographic.[32]

Zebras[edit]

Zebras, such as Zecora, are distinguishable by their body patterns, thinner legs, and thicker stripes though they have similar shapes. Since real-life zebras are native to Africa, the tribal culture of the aforementioned continent serves as an influence to patterns, masks, colours, and homes.[33]

Deer[edit]

Deer are depicted as mysterious residents of the Everfree Forest who share a connection to the forestry and surrounding wilderness.

Dragons[edit]

Dragons inhabit the aptly named Dragonlands In the My Little Pony series, typical dragons breathe fire, eat gemstones, and are shown to be aggressive. Though the dragons are based upon traditional designs, they have exaggerated noses and large heads with thin necks to invoke humour. The initial dragon design was more elegant and had resemblance to the ponies.[34]

Changelings[edit]

Changelings are insection equine creatures, similar to ponies. They are the children of the hive mother Queen Chrysalis, and are capable of shapeshifting through dark magic. They are shown to feed off of powerful emotions.

Draconequus are beings of immense power, powerful enough to alter reality at a whim. Discord is the only example of a Draconequus portrayed in the main television series; however, he and others reference Draconequui as being a species, implying that there are more than one.[citation needed] The species is a dragon-like chimera made from the body parts of different animals.[citation needed]

Government[edit]

Equestria is originally depicted as a semi-constitutional coregency, principality, eventually becoming a singular monarchy with the abdication of Princesses Celestia and Luna in favor of Princess Twilight Sparkle.[citation needed] Equestrian government, as described in depth by the comic and video game series, has a legislative branch, an executive branch, headed by four monarchs, and a judiciary branch, with judges appointed by region by the monarchs.[citation needed] The main television series, however, rarely delves into political detail on the government of Equestria—despite many principal characters being government officials—beyond its executive branch and the various political officials of the Ponyville and Canterlot townships.[citation needed]

Governance within Equestria's principalities demonstrate an exceptionally high level of stability, organisation and communication, even across so sprawling a continent-size domain through the use of extensive ships, railroads and highways, and a postal system of quick supply storehouses, rest stops, and relay stations.[citation needed]

Princesses of Equestria[edit]

The government of Equestria is depicted in Friendship is Magic as a matriarchical monarchy. By the series finale, a concentration of sovereignty resides with the current sovereign princess Twilight Sparkle. Royal linage has been showed to be gained in both meritocratic and hereditary means, whereby some princesses have earned their position through "alicorn ascendency" (such as Twilight Sparkle), which is only achievable via an act of unprecedented heroism, or the creation of "new magic".[citation needed] Other princesses however have been shown to inherit royal status from parents (such as Flurry Heart).[citation needed] Celestia and Luna act as the Heads of State and Government.[citation needed] The exact extent of the Princesses' powers and influence is unknown—other than constitutional limitations Celestia placed upon herself—as the separation of powers distribution between the government branches are never specified.[35][36]

Princess Celestia[edit]

Princess Celestia, the Princess of the Day, originally being the eldest monarch before her abdication and only monarch during a 1,000 year period after Princess Luna's deposition and banishment, often handles the affairs of state and diplomacy.[citation needed] Holds a position of seniority over the other princesses, and serves as Supreme Commander of the Equestrian armed forces in wartime.[37] Celestia despised tyranny and did not want her monarchy to resemble a Queen or an Empress, nor be referred to as one. She preferred the title "Princess" as a sign of humility, which is how equestrian sovereigns are still addressed to this day.[citation needed] Celestia is the eldest of the two Royal Sisters, the longest-lived and longest-reigning Equestrian monarch, acting as head ruler of Equestria for over one thousand years due to the timeless ageing of alicorns.[citation needed] Additionally, she is responsible for the raising and lowering the sun, working in tandem with her sister Luna to ensure a night and day cycle. She is perhaps the most beloved creature in the world, being a staunch proponent for international peace, kindness and cooperation.[citation needed] Very little of her past before Celestia's victory over Discord is known, except that she and Luna discovered the Elements of Harmony. With these artifacts and their bearers, Princess Celestia has secured millennia-long, relative peace for a nation.[38]

Princess Luna[edit]

Princess Luna, the Princess of the Night and original diarch of Equestria before her abdication, utilises her intimate knowledge of fear and the use of moon magic in her duties, monitoring the dreams of all creatures and protecting them from nightmares.[citation needed]

Princess Cadance[edit]

Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, the Princess of Love, and her husband prince consort Shining Armor jointly serve as the "Empress and Emperor of the Crystal Empire", which is a semi-autonomous territory of Equestria with its own military guard and unique culture. Cadence, young Pegasus mare and a distant relative of the lost Princess Amore, defeated a unicorn sorceress named Prismia. Her victory transported her to an unknown magical realm where she met Celestia, who adopted the newly ascended Alicorn as her niece. After the Crystal Empire returned and subsequent defeat of King Sombra, Cadence became the rightful ruler of the Empire.[citation needed]

Princess Flurry Heart[edit]

Cadence gives birth to an alicorn filly named Flurry Heart. Celestia and Luna both stated that "the birth of an alicorn, is something Equestria has never seen", and that it was "even beyond their understanding".[39]

Princess Twilight Sparkle[edit]

Princess Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship, plays a de facto role similar to that of a Foreign Minister or Secretary of State, often acting as a diplomatic figure to other nations. She had been groomed by Celestia for leadership so that she could rule after Celestia's and Luna's eventual retirement.[12] With the aid of her friends and the Tree of Harmony, Twilight has made it her life's mission to spread the magic of friendship across the known world.[citation needed]
Celestia's prized pupil, Twilight Sparkle, successfully completed a number of impressive tasks with the aid of her friends, the new wielders of the Elements of Harmony. After she redeemed Nightmare Moon, thwarted the return of Discord, and helped thwart Queen Chrysalis' takeover of Canterlot, she was tasked with helping safeguard the newly returned Crystal Empire.[citation needed] Upon her success, Celestia and Luna agreed that she was ready to face another challenge: finishing an incomplete spell of Starswirl's. After accidentally switching her friends' cutie marks, Twilight was able to restore them to normal and complete the spell. As a result, she created "new magic" and became an Alicorn, with Celestia acknowledging her as a princess.[citation needed]
Twilight establishes the joint ruleship of Equestria with the Council of Friendship—currently consisting of the Mane Six—which effectively serves as her cabinet; they gather once a moon to consult issues ranging from friendship problems to national security, while in doing so, removing the risk of having time spent apart weaken their friendship.[citation needed]

Military[edit]

Equestria is depicted as being a mostly peaceful nation that does not often engage in conflicts. Equestria is not shown to have a large professional military, aside from a small core defense force. Warfare, when it occurs, is mostly composed of human (pony) wave attacks and close quarters combat.[citation needed]

Equestria's primary standing army is the E.U.P. (Earth, Unicorn, Pegasi) Guard. The E.U.P. was formally established in response for Equestria need for a modernized gendarmerie professional standing army and law enforcement on an administrative level.[40] The Crystal Guard[41] is a subdivision of the E.U.P. that defends the Crystal Empire.[42] Under Twilight's rule the Equestrian military came to include non-ponies amongst its ranks.[citation needed]

The Princesses of Equestria are defended by a Royal Guard. In addition to their duties as protectors, the Royal Guards are often relegated to law enforcement and other mundane matters.[43] The Royal Guards of Equestria include an elite air force division of Pegasi called the Wonderbolts. They are also the official police force of the city of Cloudsdale. The Wonderbolts were established from a group of E.U.P. Pegasi after the exile of Nightmare Moon.

The Night Guard—consisting of "Bat Ponies" aka "Thestral Ponies" —serve as Princess Luna's guards, though they have also been seen in the company of Princess Celestia; in an alternate timeline, several Bat Ponies served as Nightmare Moon's royal guards.[citation needed]

Technology and magic[edit]

Whimsical black and white drawing of an elaborate house
Imagery from the "steampunk" genre, such as this 1883 drawing "Maison tournante aérienne", inspired the technology and visual design of Equestria.

Equestrian magic is tightly integrated with Equestrian technology, with the formal study of magic forming a fundamental scientific branch.[citation needed] Magic is treated as a natural part of the Equestrian world that may be harnessed for everyday applications. Many creatures possess inherent extraordinary or supernatural abilities that are magical in nature. Ponies in particular have been shown as having natural magic, each species has a magical trait or quality that are mostly unique to them. Magic aids the pegasi in weather modification, the Earth ponies in resource extraction and agriculture, and aids unicorns with scientific research and in creating useful items that benefit all ponies.[44] Rural or isolated communities products' are hand-crafted by specialists and therefore time-consuming to create. Metallurgy is limited to forging and blacksmiths. Electricity and internal combustion are readily available to all but the most isolated communities. Simple machines such as pulleys and levers are widely used. Commonly depicted technologies include hard fantasy/steampunk-style steam locomotive rapid transits, zeppelin airships, pegasi-powered commercial passenger aircraft, concrete-steel skyscrapers and hydroelectric dams, analog computers and electric lighting.[45] The wealthiest and most technologically advanced settlements lie on Equestria's coastlines; each with population densities numbering in the millions.

Medical technology is advanced and sanitary, with modern hospital facilities—staffed by trained medical professionals—being further supplemented with healing magic. Mass production on a large scale is available and inexpensive. Natural resources for production such as ores, lumber, textiles, petroleum and other sources, exist in abundance, with the methods of gathering and processing these resources being fast and efficient by Earth Ponies skilled in manual work. Postal service, travel, transport, and communication is relatively fast and efficient despite lacking advanced telecommunication; being limited to walking, flying, carriages, railroads, ships, and word of mouth. Teleportation, while widely known, is an advanced technique beyond most unicorns' ability to execute, and too physically exhausting to be viable. While the Princesses themselves, in effect, have access to "magical Email" (via Spike's flame) this ability is not depicted as readily available or widespread.[citation needed]

In terms of maritime technology, ships varies from oar and sail in terms of propulsion to advanced steamships with paddle-wheel or screw propellers. Depiction of navigation is done by the stars and primitive maps and other navigational equipment.[citation needed]

Equestria is depicted as being more technologically and economically advanced than most other nations depicted, such as the Dragons.[citation needed]

Geography[edit]

Equestria is the largest equine nation, stretching across a peninsula-continent that touches both the northern arctic and subarctic poles; located on an Earth-like planet which, within the Friendship is Magic television series, has not been specifically named. Equestria reaches from the western Luna Ocean to the eastern Celestia Sea, bordering the northern Crystal Empire and the southern Queendom of Changlings.[1]

The Equestrian continent's diverse geography ranges, biomes, provinces and settlements are modeled after or based on North American cities and the nearctic realm.[1] The full geography of the Equestria is currently unexplored and evolving to fit the needs of the show writers, and is currently limited to a part of the continent of Equus (the Equestrian continent), which is controlled mostly by the Equestrian nation. The Equestrian-explored portion of the continent is flanked by two vast oceans, bounded to the north by the mountainous Frozen North region and extends across the northern and southern hemispheres, ending with the Bone Dry Desert that borders the Mysterious South region. However, a map included in the Friendship Is Magic film indicates vast areas beyond these regions.[46]

Like Earth, Equestria's world has one moon, and is depicted as being part of a solar system. Questions regarding heliocentrism or geocentrism are complicated by the fact that Celestia and Luna can move the Sun and Moon, respectively, at a mere whim. Similar constellations exist; with the caveat that most of them are also dangerous monsters, such as Canis Major and Ursa Minor. In relation to the "Human World"[47] its not clear if Equestria is located in a parallel universe, or somewhere in the same universe as Earth.[citation needed]

Notable settlements, territories, dependencies and major population centers in Equestria are identified throughout the series and used as the setting for one or more episodes. Most minor locations, or vaguely referenced areas outside Equestria, both in the television series and associated media aren't specified whether these locations are part of Equestria or not. The films, television series, and other franchise media take place in many locations and their exact affiliation with Equestria is not explored.[citation needed]

As the creator of the show wrote, Lauren Faust explained on various social media pages,[48] that the Everfree Forest is west of Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres is southwest, and both Fluttershy's cottage and meadow are located north of the farm. Canterlot is northeast of Ponyville. However, in subsequent interviews, both Faust and Jayson Thiessen mentioned that the geography and continuity of the show are fluidly defined and are subject to change as necessary,[49] and that the production team had no official map of Equestria at their disposal.[50]

Capital Region[edit]

The Capital Region is Equestria's foundation and "ancestral lands", where the united cooperation between the unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies brought an end to Eternal Winter. The Capital Region represents Equestria's original sovereign borders before the dynastic reign of Princess Celestia; all outlying territories represent subsequent thousand year expansion of the nation's imperialist interests. Much of the Capital Regions are "crown lands"; i.e. they are legally considered public land and is apart from the monarch's private estate.[citation needed]

Ponyville[edit]

Ponyville is the home of the series' main characters—Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Spike. Faust aimed for a "fairy-tale kind of feel" with Ponyville. Her photo references to Dave Dunnet were German cottages.[51] His design incorporated elements which were part of real horses such as horseshoe-shaped archways, hay bales, and troughs.[52]

Ponyville is known for its agricultural produce—apples, pears, carrots, etc.—and is home of "Sweet Apple Acres", Equestria's only source of domesticated zap apple jam.[53] Ponyville has a school district, a diplomatic mission, a tourist destination and a rail center—being the first/last connecting stop between Canterlot and other principalities.[citation needed] Ponyville incorporates minor influences from traditional Americana.[51]

The town has a host of eccentric characters, and is the setting for many episodes of the Friendship is Magic series. Twilight Sparkle's first impression of Ponyville upon first arrival was "Everypony in this town is crazy!"[54]

The season 4 finale, "Twilight's Kingdom", introduces the Castle of Friendship in Ponyville as the residence of Twilight Sparkle, her assistant Spike, and her pupil Starlight Glimmer.[citation needed]

According to the book Art of Equestria, which describes the creation of Friendship is Magic, the creator of the series, Lauren Faust, originally proposed the name Fillydelphia (a pun on the city of Philadelphia) instead of Ponyville. The series later added Fillydelphia as a new, separate city.[36]

Faust wrote in a comment on her DeviantArt page that the Everfree Forest is west of Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres is southwest, Canterlot is northeast, and Fluttershy's cottage and meadow are located north of the farm.[55] However, in subsequent interviews, both Faust and the supervising director and executive producer of the series, Jayson Thiessen, mentioned that the geography and continuity of the show are loosely defined and may change as necessary,[56] and a layout artist for the series stated on December 10, 2011, that the production team had no official map of Equestria for reference.[50]

Upon the release of Art of Equestria, however, an official map was released. It suggests that the Everfree Forest is to the east of Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres to the southeast, and Fluttershy's cottage and meadow are located north of the farm.[36]

Canterlot[edit]

Detailed model of a massive terraced citadel made of white stone
Minas Tirith, a fictional citadel from The Lord of the Rings, was one of the influences behind the design of Canterlot.

Canterlot is the capital city of Equestria,[57] built on the side of the Foal Mountains. Canterlot is the setting of the royal court of Princess Celestia and Luna and the residence of Twilight Sparkle before Ponyville. Canterlot Castle is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the Equestrian people at times of national rejoicing and mourning.[citation needed] The name Canterlot is a portmanteau of Camelot and canter.[citation needed]

Faust aimed for a "European feel" with Canterlot. Her photo references to Dunnet were castle and cathedrals. Faust stated she preferred Dunnet's first instinct to his later more "cartoony" drawings of Canterlot; subsequently, he went back to the way he first drew the location.[51] The stained glass windows reflect an awareness of the world.[58] Its spires and turrets similar to the Arthurian castles of Camelot, its color pallette and mountaintop position represent royalty.[59]

One of Faust's inspirations for Canterlot, with its castle carved into the side of the mountain, was Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings.[60] Ted Anderson and Agnes Garbowska's inspiration for ancient Canterlot was ancient Rome.[61]

According to Lauren Faust, Canterlot was originally called "Canterbury", after the historical English city, and the name "Canterlot" was suggested by her husband Craig McCracken.[62]

Cloudsdale[edit]

Cloudsdale is the home of the pegasi. It is influenced by classical Greece and Rome; it has pillars and columns, which were choices based on the story. The show also references the Ancient Olympic Games, through Cloudsdale's use of tests of speed and agility.[63] Unlike other cities, Cloudsdale floats on a series of clouds, and is only accessible by winged creatures and creatures that have had a "cloud-walking spell" cast upon them. It is the largest known Pegasi settlement in the realm. Cloudsdale is said to be the original home and birthplace of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.[64]

Cloudsdale is a pun on Clydesdale, a breed of horse; according to Lauren Faust, the name "Cloudsdale" was originally suggested by her husband Craig McCracken.[62] The city is first depicted in "Sonic Rainboom". Depicted as being within central capitol region proper, relatively near to Ponyville and Canterlot.[citation needed]

Everfree Forest[edit]

The Everfree Forest is a large, enchanted forest grove in the boundaries adjacent of the Ponyville township; it is usually referred to simply as "the Forest". The Everfree Forest is home to Zecora and many wild creatures.[65] As it is intended to be wild and untamed, its color palette is the opposite of Ponyville's and also has messier shapes. In its earlier development sketches, the creative team experimented with different palettes.[66]

The forest is considered to be extremely dangerous, and travel through it is prohibited. The forest is considered uninhabitable by all but the native Everfree Deers who inhabit it. It is the location of the Castle of Two Sisters, the Mirror Pool, and other enchanted phenomena. Due to the forest's rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, Zecora frequently travels into the Forest for various reasons; she built her hut within to more easily harvest ingredients for her potions.[67]

Frozen North[edit]

The Frozen North is dominated by the Yaket Mountain Range, north of Equestria, and characterized by an alpine climate, subarctic montane ecosystems, and polar climate.[36] It is a setting in the IDW comic My Little Pony: Friends Forever issue 36. It has short cool summers and long cold winters, and biomes consisting of taiga, treeless tundra, glaciers, exotic medicinal plants,[68] and permanent ice sheets.

Crystal Empire[edit]

The Crystal Empire is introduced in season three's premiere episode. It was founded by Princess Amore, a female unicorn who appears in the IDW comics' "My Little Pony: FIENDship is Magic Issue #1" and whose name appears in Little, Brown and Company's "The Journal of the Two Sisters".[38] Celestia addresses the Crystal Empire as a sister nation that is part of Equestria, and the crystal ponies refer to themselves as Equestrian. In "The Ballad of the Crystal Empire", Twilight Sparkle mentions the Crystal Kingdom as part of the Crystal Ponies' history. It is also home to the Crystal Ponies. The book "Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell" names the Crystal Empire as part of Equestria.[69]

The Crystal Empire is a non-sovereign monarchy and technically the oldest of Equestria's principalities; its existence predates it by centuries. After the conflict instigated by King Sombra, the capital vanished from existence and the empire was annexed by Equestria.[citation needed] The Crystal Heart is the empire's most sacred magical artifact, which possesses the power to absorb, magnify, and deflect emotions. The crystal ponies used it in peacetime to exponentially amplify the power of love and project hope and love across Equestria.[70] In times of conflict, it can be used as a weapon to demoralise the armies of would be aggressors.[citation needed]

Celestial Coast[edit]

The Celestia Sea is located east of Equestria, and is analogous to the real world Atlantic Ocean. The region's biomes, climate, and geographic terrain are equally analogous to Eastern Canada and Eastern United States. The coastline is an emerging megaregion and the most heavily urbanised agglomeration of Equestria. Across the sea, to the far east lies the Griffon Continent; notable nations include Griffonstone, the Griffish Isles, Bug Bear Territory, the Lands of the Hippogriffs, and the Lands of the Dragon.[citation needed]

Manehattan[edit]

Photo of the Statue of Liberty, a giant green copper statue of a woman holding a torch
The fictional city of "Manehattan" features numerous references based on famous New York City landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty (pictured).

Manehattan is based on the archipelago of Manhattan and Long Island, portrayed as a large port metropolis, with many landmarks resembling those from New York City.[71] A mirror of the Statue of Liberty, the "Mare Statue," is located on Friendship Island.[72] The design and architecture of Manehattan is based on the 20th century and includes historical references. Phil Caesar of DHX Media stated he tried to avoid the use of modern technology within the city.[73] Manehattan usually had things on top of its buildings.[74]

It is first depicted in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" and featured prominently in "Rarity Takes Manehattan". The city is characterised by 20th century technologies; including tall buildings and skyscrapers with asphalt streets decorated with electric jumbotrons, neon signs, and lampposts.[75] Ponies' primary form of transportation are pony-drawn taxi carriages and underground metro railway system. Manhattan is the most densely populated and ethnically diverse city in Equestria, hosting all manner of races and species, and is a major commercial, financial and cultural center.

Starlight's Village, also called Our Town, is a community in the Manhattan region and is characterised by a semi-arid climate.[citation needed]

Hollow Shades[edit]

Hollow Shades was first mentioned in "Apple Family Reunion".[citation needed] The town first physically appeared in the Map of Equestria, a hand-drawn piece of artwork that lays out the canonical layout of Equestria, located east of Canterlot, tucked underneath a forest canopy, and hidden behind Foal Mountain.[citation needed]

Seaward Shoals[edit]

Seaward Shoals is portrayed as a small rocky coastal port town, similar to those of the New England region of the United States. Also called Silver Shoals or Rocky Shoals, the community is the setting of the episode "P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)".[76] The former Princesses, Luna and Celestia, retired to this region upon abdicating the throne.[77]

Griffish Isles[edit]

Griffish Isles, an Equestrian archipelago commonwealth, located in the Celestia Sea off the north-western coast of continental "Griffon continent", and is analogous to the real world British Isles. On the official map,[46] it is also very close to the Bug Bear Territory. Equestrian settlements include Buckingham, Manechester, and Trottingham (a portmanteau of 'Nottingham', an English city, and 'trot', a jogging speed for horses) the regional capitol city of Griffish Isles. The Griffish Isles is first mentioned in "Stare Master"—where Rarity is making 20 gold-lined gowns for ponies there—and later mentioned in "Luna Eclipsed",[78] "Simple Ways",[79] and "Crusaders of the Lost Mark".Trottingham itself is said to be based on the British city of Birmingham and the ponies that inhabit it wear clothing inspired by British culture and have Cockney accents. Notable residents of Griffish Isles include Pipsqueak before a move, and Sassy Saddles before moving to the Equestrian mainland.[citation needed]

Luna Coast[edit]

Las Pegasus[edit]

Las Pegasus is depicted as a floating cloud city, like Cloudsdale. Based on the cities of Las Vegas and Paradise, Nevada, Las Pegasus is portrayed as "one big party", with many hotels, resorts, nightlife, amusement parks, restaurants, arcades, and casinos. Las Pegasus was the setting of the episode "Viva Las Pegasus".[80] Las Pegasus actively competes with Applewood and Manehatten for the title of "entertainment capitol of the world".[citation needed]

Mysterious South[edit]

This region is known for its arid deserts, temperate prairies and tropical rainforest biomes.[citation needed]

Appleloosa

Appleloosa is the most populous settlement in the region. Dodge Junction is based on the cities of the American Wild West, and is portrayed as a bustling township that mainly revolves around a cherry farm run by the earth pony Cherry Jubilee. Similar to Dodge Junction, Appleloosa, a pun of the Appaloosa horse breed, is a setting based on the cities of the American Wild West and mainly revolves around an apple orchard that is home to members of the "Apple Family".[19] Appleloosa is depicted as bordering on the buffalo lands, home of the indigenous buffalo tribes.[19]

The Badlands[edit]

The Badlands are in the remote desert backcountry, and are known to be populated by terrifying creatures, such as diamond dogs, giant worms, and rogue dragons.[citation needed]

Somnambula[edit]

Somnambula, roughly based on Egypt and North Africa, has an arid, desert climate, excluding a few oases.[81] It is notable as a city that the pony adventurer Daring Do has saved twice. Somnambula, a heroic pegasus who rescued the prince of the Kingdom from a sphinx, is the city's namesake.[81] The city is noted as once being ruled over by pharaohs,[81] and is first mentioned in the episode "Stranger than Fan Fiction",[82][83] and shown again in the episode "Daring Done?".[81]

Other locations[edit]

Hope Hollow[edit]

Hope Hollow is a township located in an unspecified region of Equestria. It was primarily lead by the Skies family, who served as the mayors for at least three generations. Petunia Petals runs at least two businesses in the town, and assists the Mayor in fulfilling seven government jobs in total, making her arguably the most important pony in the town.[84]

Mentioned locations[edit]

The setting of San Franciscolt is based on the city of San Francisco, and is mentioned in the book Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell.[69]

In episodes throughout the series and in promotional material, other locations are mentioned, but not used as settings. A partial list includes Baltimare, based on the city of Baltimore;[24] Fillydelphia, which is based on the city of Philadelphia and was the original name for Ponyville when the show was in development;[36] and Vanhoover, which is based on Vancouver, Canada and is described as the former home of "Grand Pear", Applejack's grandfather.[85]

Lands beyond Equestria[edit]

In the My Little Pony universe, Equestria is just one continent on its planet. There are numerous other named and unnamed lands which maintain relations with Equestria.[7] In the Season 8 premier, Equestria's allied leadership sent their children to Princess Twilight's School of Friendship as part of a cultural exchange program; when the children went missing, their parents were prepared to declare war on Equestria. After the defeat of the Storm King, at the request of Twilight Sparkle, Equestria initiated economic assistance to help rebuild war-torn regions, remove trade barriers, modernise industry, and improve the prosperity of nations devastated by the Storm Empire.

Allied Nations of Equestria[edit]

Other allied nations and neighboring countries are shown in the television series and in spin-off works. Many of these are named after real world countries, such as Abyssinia, a powerful kingdom in the Mysterious South inhabited by cat-like creatures,[86] and the pony kingdoms of Saddle Arabia (Saudi Arabia), Maretonia and Yakyakistan, which is inhabited by sentient yaks.

The Hippogriff Kingdom of Seaquestria and the Dragonlands are located to the South of Equestria, near the Badlands. The desert settlement of Klugetown is located near Abyssinia.

Appearances[edit]

Fourth generation of My Little Pony franchise[edit]

Equestria first appeared in the fourth incarnation of the My Little Pony toyline and media franchise. It is the setting of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic television series, and its associated media including comics, films, and video games.

Fifth generation of My Little Pony franchise[edit]

Equestria will be the setting of the upcoming computer animated film My Little Pony: A New Generation (2021), which will launch the fifth incarnation of the My Little Pony franchise.[87]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]