Equestria is the main setting of the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic franchise. Equestria is inhabited by magical ponies and other talking creatures, such as griffons and dragons. Other animals and creatures also live in Equestria. Equestria is called a kingdom in the first episode of the show and in other media, though it does contain other "kingdoms" within it such as the Crystal Empire; the show and other media take place in many locations and their exact affiliation with Equestria is not explored. Equestria was co-ruled by Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, who resided in a palace in the city of Canterlot until The Last Problem, when they retire with Twilight Sparkle taking their place. The name "Equestria" is derived from the word "equestrian", which denotes a relation to horseback riding. Consequently, it also has an origin in equus, the Latin word for "horse."
Lauren Faust wrote in a comment on her DeviantArt page that the Everfree Forest is west of Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres is southwest, and Fluttershy's cottage and meadow are located north of the farm, presumably between Ponyville and the forest. Canterlot is northeast of Ponyville. However, in subsequent interviews, both Faust and Jayson Thiessen mentioned that the geography and continuity of the show are loosely defined and may change as necessary, and a layout artist stated on December 10, 2011 that the production team had no official map of Equestria at their disposal.
The English word most similar to the placename Equestria is equestrian, "of or relating to horse riding", from the Latin equester, "belonging to a horseman", from equus, "horse", which is also the origin of equine. In this sense, "Equestria" would translate as "land of the horsemen" instead of "land of horses."
Depiction in the series
- See also: Fictional chronology
According to Lord Tirek in The Beginning of the End - Part 1, the land that would eventually become Equestria was originally a collection of farms and pastures until Grogar declared himself emperor of everything. He created various monsters to seize what they wanted and destroy everything else. A unicorn named Gusty the Great eventually rose up against Grogar and banished him.
The founding of Equestria
The episode's most prominent feature is a play about the founding of Equestria, narrated by Spike. He explains: "Each of the three tribes, the Pegasi, the unicorns, and the Earth ponies, cared not for what befell the other tribes, but only for their own welfare. In those troubled times, as now, the Pegasi were the stewards of the weather, but they demanded something in return: food that could only be grown by the Earth Ponies. The unicorns demanded the same, in return for magically bringing forth day and night. And so, mistrust between the tribes festered, until one fateful day, it came to a boil. And what prompted the ponies to clash? It was a mysterious blizzard that overtook the land, and toppled the tribes' precarious peace."
The blizzard led to famine, at which the three tribal leaders eventually agreed to meet for a summit and decide what to do about the snow, but this only devolved into arguing and blaming each other. The leaders of each tribe then decided to journey to a new land. They all arrived at the same place, and soon began fighting over it, and the blizzard quickly followed. "And so the paradise that the ponies had found was soon lost, buried beneath a thick blanket of snow and hard feelings." Eventually, the leaders' assistants find out windigos are causing the storm by feeding off of hate. The assistants' friendship creates the magical Fire of Friendship which does away with the windigos and the snowstorm.
The three leaders then decide to join forces and found a country shared by all three tribes, and name it Equestria.
Discord's reign of chaos
The series starts off with a prologue with narration about the princesses ruling Equestria, raising the sun and moon and maintaining harmony. Only in The Return of Harmony Part 1 is the time before their rule mentioned in the series. Princess Celestia tells Twilight Sparkle and her friends that before Princess Luna and herself stood up to Discord, he ruled over Equestria, keeping it in a state of unrest and unhappiness. Celestia goes on to describe that, seeing how miserable life was for Earth ponies, unicorns, and Pegasi alike, she and Luna discovered the Elements of Harmony and rose up against Discord, turning him to stone. Discord's seal is later broken because, as Celestia explains, "Luna and [herself] are no longer connected to the elements", so Twilight and her friends use the Elements of Harmony to encase Discord in stone again.
The regal Alicorn sisters
The princesses are introduced in the prologue of the first episode, depicted in a series of medieval-like drawings with a narration that explains that "Two regal sisters who ruled together and created harmony for all the land", and that "the eldest used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn. The younger brought out the moon to begin the night."
The narration continues: their subjects, the ponies, played in the day but "shunned" the night and slept through it, which made the younger unicorn grow bitter, eventually refusing to lower the moon to make way for the dawn. Her bitterness transformed her into a "wicked mare of darkness", Nightmare Moon. The elder sister reluctantly harnessed the power of the Elements of Harmony and banished her to the moon, taking responsibility for both sun and moon, maintaining harmony in Equestria. The events of the first and second episodes take place a thousand years after Nightmare Moon's imprisonment, upon which she is freed, but defeated again through the magic of the Elements of Harmony, only this time she is transformed back to her former self and returns to rule Equestria with her sister. In Testing Testing 1, 2, 3, these events are referred to as "The Great Celestia/Luna Rift."
In The Cutie Re-Mark - Part 1 and Part 2, several alternate versions of present day 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. In the second, Queen Chrysalis and the changelings have conquered Canterlot and forced many ponies into hiding. In the third, Nightmare Moon rules Equestria after banishing Celestia to the moon. Further alternate realities include one ruled by Discord, one in which Lord Tirek ravages the land, one in which Flim and Flam bulldoze whole forests, and one in which Equestria is reduced to a barren wasteland. Through Twilight Sparkle's actions, these alternate realities are undone.
Many moons later
Several years after the final battle for Equestria depicted in The Ending of the End - Part 2, Celestia and Luna have long since retired, with Twilight as the official ruler of Equestria, Spike as her royal advisor and Gallus as the new captain of the royal guard. Equestria has become a far more diverse place, with many other species residing there.
A New Generation
The G5 film My Little Pony: A New Generation takes place "in the same world featured in Friendship is Magic and Pony Life, but [...] ahead in time." There is no mention of any locations from Generation 4—with Earth ponies, Pegasi, and unicorns living in the separate locations Maretime Bay, Zephyr Heights, and Bridlewood—but Ponyville, Canterlot, and Cloudsdale are featured on a map of ancient Equestria.
- Main article: Locations
Canterlot is the focus of a toy and merchandise line of the same name. This toy line has a logo featuring Twilight Sparkle and a description reading "CANTERLOT is the royal city in EQUESTRIA and home to PRINCESS CELESTIA. The princess lives in a magical castle. Every pony dreams of visiting CANTERLOT!"
The Crystal Empire is the focus of a toy line of the same name. This toy line has a logo featuring Princess Cadance and a description reading, "Welcome to the CRYSTAL EMPIRE, a magical place full of hidden secrets! The ponies shine and sparkle here!" Crystal Fashion Style Princess Cadance & Shining Armor, one of the toy sets included in this toy line, has an individual description reading, "PRINCESS CADANCE and SHINING ARMOR share a big responsibility! They lead the CRYSTAL EMPIRE together!" The Crystal Princess Ponies Collection, another one of the toy sets included in this toy line, has an individual description reading, "PRINCESS CELESTIA and PRINCESS LUNA believe that PRINCESS CADANCE will bring happiness to the CRYSTAL EMPIRE!" Fluttershy, a single toy to be included in this toy line, has an individual description reading, "FLUTTERSHY has a tea party to make friends with the CRYSTAL EMPIRE ponies—they seem just as shy as her!"
The online store WeLoveFine sells or formerly sold several pieces of officially-licensed fan-designed merchandise that mention Appleloosa, Canterlot, Cloudsdale, Fillydelphia (sometimes spelled as Phillydelphia), Foaledo, Hoofington, Manechester, Manehattan, Ponyville, San Franciscolt, Seaddle, Trottingham and Whinnyapolis (spelled as Whinneapolis).
Official map and other places
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A poster featuring an official map of Equestria was released on August 3, 2012. A new version of the map was published in My Little Pony: The Art of Equestria on September 7, 2015. According to the map, Equestria bears a similar geographical resemblance to North America, having several cities like Manehattan and Vanhoover located in or near the same places as their real-life counterparts.
The following places are present on the official map of Equestria but never featured in any other franchise's medium. From north to south, west to east:
- Bug Bear Territory
- Griffish Isles
- Undiscovered West; according to the Trends International My Little Pony: A New Generation Follow Your Heart poster together with a G5[specify] notebook and the official map of Equestria, Bridlewood is near Tall Tale and/or the Undiscovered West[note 1]
- Mysterious South
- Arimaspi Territory
The map is shown in Pinkie Pride during Cheese Sandwich's flashback in Cheese Confesses. A portion of the northwestern area of the map is also shown during Daring Don't. The full map appears again near the end of Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2, when the Rainbow Power is first used. Uncommon Bond.[specify]
A fuller version of the map in Gameloft's mobile game from update 4.0 onward, on The Official Movie Sourcebook pages 14-15, and in April 16, 2018 posts by the Gameloft mobile game's social media accounts identifies the following locations not yet featured in any other medium in the franchise: From north to south, west to east:
- Farthest Reaches
- Caves of Conundrum
- Nightmare Cliffs
- Black Skull Island, mentioned in My Little Pony The Movie and featured in The Official Movie Sourcebook
- Sea of Clouds, featured in The Official Movie Sourcebook
- Lost Lagoon
- Kirin Grove
- Slug Troll Swamp
- Pine Needle Barrens
- Storm King's Realm, mentioned in The Official Movie Sourcebook
- The Great Iceberg Barrier
A poll posted by The Hub's Facebook page focuses on Princess Cadance and Shining Armor choosing between Appleloosa, Galloping Gorge, Fillydelphia, Saddle Arabia and Manehattan as the location of their honeymoon.
The My Little Pony Wedding Quiz section of Hasbro's Pony Wedding microsite describes the Crystal Empire as "cultured".
In 'The Return of Queen Chrysalis Part 2', a full map of the area south of Macintosh Hills is shown at the back of the comic.
In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Issue #5, In the same issue, Rainbow Dash evokes the idea that Equestria could launch an attack of "a million ponies" on the Nightmare Forces.
The founding of Equestria is described in the iOS app Twilight Sparkle: Teacher for a Day and its Ruckus Reader version Twilight Sparkle's Special Lesson. The Pegasus, unicorn and Earth ponies did not live in harmony, their hearts were cold, and a blizzard overtook their land. Each group of ponies decided to find a new place to live, but they all arrived at the same new place, but the blizzard followed them. The ponies figured out there was only one way to get rid of the blizzard, to treat one another warmly. The unicorns used magic to build Canterlot, and once the city was finished, they invited the Pegasus and Earth ponies to a party, which became a yearly event called the Grand Galloping Gala.
In one of the comics in the German magazine, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, and Spike journey through the Everfree Forest to a land outside of Equestria, where they find a field of barley and spend the evening with a stallion they befriend. The land outside of Equestria is completely different than inside. There are no unicorns or Pegasi; there is no magic, and nature takes care of itself.
The underwater city of Aquastria, ruled by Princess Celestia's sea lion cousin King Leo, appears in the picture book My Little Pony: Under the Sparkling Sea. It is an underwater city populated by seaponies and mermares, as well as other sentient sea creatures; in the book, the main characters visit the kingdom. The seaponies are referred to as "cousins" of the land-based ponies.
The chapter book Daring Do and the Marked Thief of Marapore features the Tricorner Villages—three villages arranged in an equilateral triangle around the base of the volcano Mount Vehoovius. The individual villages are called Marapore, Ponypeii, and Lusitano.
The chapter book Daring Do and the Forbidden City of Clouds features the cloud city of Cirrostrata. It rests in the sky over the Unicorn Mountain Range, invisible from sight due to an ancient magic. The city is populated by a unique type of Pegasi with long rabbit-like ears and three vertical lines under one eye.
- This article's speculation page.
- Interview with Jayson Thiessen 13–14 (2011-09-14). Retrieved on 2012 April 23.
- A layout artist regarding a Flash asset in Secret of My Excess. Retrieved on 2012 January 23. Archived locally.
- Elizabeth Foster (2021-01-29). My Little Pony rides high with new CP. Kidscreen. Brunico Communications. Retrieved on 2021 January 29.
- Crystal Empire FS Cadance and Shining Armor (2012-07-19). Retrieved on 2012 July 20.
- New Crystal empire set Finally we know where that Luna came from. (2012-06-28). Retrieved on 2012 June 30.
- More Transluscent Ponies on Taobao + a Bit more Crystal Empire. Equestria Daily (2012-09-01). Retrieved on 2012 September 1.
- Official Map and Season 2 Cast Picture Show Up. Equestria Daily (2012-08-03). Retrieved on 2012 August 3.
- Imagine that you live in Ponyville and.... Facebook (2018-04-16). Retrieved on 2018 July 22.
- My Little Pony Game on Instagram: “Imagine that you live in Ponyville and you're planning your pony-vacation... What places would you like to visit most? Comment below and…”. Instagram (2018-04-16). Retrieved on 2018 July 22.
- Article image listing Appleloosa, Galloping Gorge, Fillydelphia, and Manehattan
- Facebook question listing Appleloosa, Galloping Gorge, Fillydelphia, Saddle Arabia, and Manehattan
- Rich Johnston (2012-10-30). Eighteen Of The Nineteen Covers For My Little Pony #1. Bleeding Cool. Retrieved on 2012 October 30.
- German MLP magazine comic - Unofficial translation (2011-08-04). Retrieved on 2013 May 9.
- My Little Pony: Under the Sparkling Sea. Amazon.com. Retrieved on 2013 February 9.
- 'My Little Pony': First Looks at New Books!. Entertainment Weekly (2013-04-02). Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved on 2013 April 3.