- "I find myself at a crossroads; to return to my wife and child, or join my kinsmen."
- ―William Kidd.[src]
William Kidd (1645 – 1701) was a Scottish sailor and privateer for the English Parliament. During his career as a privateer, Kidd was accused of piracy and subsequently captured and executed by hanging.
Little is known about Kidd's life before the late 17th century, though he made his first appearance in historical records in 1689, when he was listed as a captain. Following this, he was a privateer for Britain in the West Indies, of which he then made his way to New York, where he lived for several years.
In 1699, Kidd returned to the West Indies, where he discovered that he was a wanted man. He sold his ship the Quedagh Merchant in Hispaniola, and he traveled up the coast on his new vessel. Knowing that he would eventually be caught, Kidd began hiding treasure as he went. During his travels, he discovered that he was being hunted by English soldiers who he concluded did not fight on the Crown's behalf, but wore rings adorned with a red cross - Templars - who were after Kidd's Shard of Eden. Kidd buried the artifact on Oak Island and wrote four letters to the most trusted members of his former crew, each containing a clue to the artifact's location.
Kidd was finally captured when he returned to his home in New York. There, he attempted to talk and bribe his way out of his arrest, though it failed, leading to his hanging in London in 1701, for the charge of piracy. His execution attracted a lot of spectators, most of them hoping he would use his last words to reveal the whereabouts of some of his treasure, but he remained quiet until the very end.
Kidd's renown was so great in the West Indies that the Assassin Mary Read took on the alias of his son, James Kidd, to become a pirate. There were also many songs written about Kidd and his life of piracy, with one of the most well-known being simply titled "Captain Kidd". It told of his disdain for decency and his bloodthirsty character, and was eventually taught to the crew of Edward Kenway's ship, the Jackdaw, by its captain.
The whereabouts of William Kidd's treasure was a mystery to many. He was in possession of a Shard of Eden, which granted Kidd near invincibility from musket fire, and it was reported that he hid this Shard on Oak Island, off the southern coast of Canada.
Following this, he made a map with clues to the Shard's location and divided it into four pieces, distributing it to the most trusted of his crew members, which in turn all came into the possession of the sailor Peg Leg. The Assassin Connor would later collect all four pieces of the map and then travel to Oak Island to obtain the Shard. Expecting a large treasure, both he and his quartermaster Robert Faulkner were disappointed with finding only the small ring Connor held - until they learned of the Shard's power when it knocked Faulkner's flask from his hand.
Connor also believed that the other of William Kidd's treasures was located in an isolated ruin on the island of Cerros, located in the Caribbean Sea. The Assassin was able to navigate his way through the ruins, and in the end, he managed to obtain Captain Kidd's Sawtooth Cutlass, the privateer's personal weapon.
- William Kidd's outfit featured an Assassin insignia on the belt, although Kidd appeared to have no knowledge of the Assassins and very little knowledge of Templars.
- In Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag: Blackbeard - The Lost Journal, Abel Bramah claimed to have William Kidd's treasure map, in order to entice Edward Kenway into joining his crew.
- Assassin's Creed III (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (mentioned only)
- Assassin's Creed: Memories (first appearance)