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Villager that constructs buildings and gathers resources.
—In-game description

The Settler is an economic unit in Age of Empires III that can be trained by European civilizations at the Town Center. Settlers are the backbone of every civilizations' economy, performing key tasks such as resource gathering and building construction. Unlike their equivalents in previous games, Settlers have a train limit.

In standard random map games, European civilizations start with six Settlers, although there are several exceptions (see Civilization differences).

The French have Coureurs des Bois instead of Settlers which are more expensive but are superior in combat and gathering. Native American and Asian civilizations have Villagers which are identical in all but name to Settlers.


Settlers can be garrisoned inside Town Centers, Outposts, and Forts to protect themselves from the enemy. A Settler is required inside a Town Center in order to activate its ranged attack.

However, if Settlers are put into combat, it is best to send them into melee range. Their ranged attack is relatively weak, and they can attack faster with melee compared to ranged.


Settlers gathering food from a bison.

Settlers can be assigned with the following tasks:

  • Settlers can build most of the buildings given the colony has the right amount of resources, space and is at the right Age.
  • Settlers can gather food from Berry Bushes, Cherry Orchards, and huntable animals. Settlers may also be tasked to a Mill, Farm or Rice Paddy which will generate infinite Food, but at a slower rate. Alternatively, food can also be gathered from livestock.
  • Settlers can gather wood from trees which usually can be found plenty and rarely runs out. Alternatively, they can gather from Mango Groves.
  • Settlers can gather coin from Mines and tasking settlers to work on a Plantation or Rice Paddy will generate Coin, similarly to a Mill.
  • When resource shipments arrive from the Home City, they do so in the form of Crates (food), Cords (wood), and Chests (coin) at the assigned shipment arrival point, which usually is the first Town Center, but can be changed to certain other units and buildings. They must be unpacked by a gatherer (such as the Settler) in order to add them to your resources.
  • Similarly to heroes and Explorers, Settler may also collect Treasures.

Civilization differences[]

  • The British get one free Settler when a Manor is built. With the Estates Home City Card, Settlers can be trained at Manors, although their train time is doubled in both Manors and Town Centers.
  • Dutch Settlers cost 100 coin instead of 100 food and has a train limit of 50, but gather from mines 15% faster.
  • The Germans start with 3 Settler Wagons instead of Settlers, but can still train Settlers.
  • Ottoman Settlers are automatically spawned by Town Centers, which takes almost twice as long as training them (48 seconds instead of the normal 25 seconds per Settler); the spawn rate can be increased by Millet System, Koprulu Viziers, and Abbasid Market. They also start with a limit of 25, which can be increased to 45 with Galata Tower District, 70 with Topkapi, and 99 with Tanzimat.
  • The Portuguese and Dutch start with 7 Settlers.
  • Russian Settlers are trained in groups of three, which are individually 10% cheaper (costing 270 food total) and 42% faster (taking 53 seconds). However, they start with only 5 Settlers.


  • When an European player revolts, all of their Settlers will turn into Revolutionaries (Karelian Jaegers for Finland, Javanese Spearmen for Indonesia, Vaqueros for Mexico) except if the player revolts to Canada (as the British) or South Africa, where they will retain their Settlers.
    • Revolting to Canada increases the ranged attack of Settlers by 13 and aesthetically turns them into Métis Pathfinders.
    • Revolting to South Africa increases Settlers' gather rate by 10%.
  • Most revolutionary nations have the "Citizenship" card which allows them to train Settlers as Citizens, but they cost 70 coin instead of 100 food. Chile can also do the same with "Salitrera".
    • Barbary States have the "Dhimma" Home City card which allows them to train Settlers as they were before revolting. Brazil and Indonesia can also do the same with "Minas Gerais" and "Aceh Pepper Exports", respectively.

Further statistics[]

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Nothing
Weak vs. Everything, especially Oprichniks
Gathering speed Klamath Work Ethos.png Klamath Work Ethos (+5%)
Fasting.png Fasting (+10%)
Punjabi New Year.png Punjabi New Year (+10% from Mills, Farms, Plantations, and Rice Paddies)

For food:

Hunting Dogs AOEIII.png Hunting Dogs (+10% from huntable animals)
Steel traps.png Steel Traps (+20% from huntable animals)
Seed Drill.png Seed Drill (+15% from Mills, Farms, and Rice Paddies)
Artificial Fertilizer.png Artificial Fertilizer (+30% from Mills, Farms, and Rice Paddies)
Large Scale Agriculture.png Large Scale Agriculture (+50% from Mills, Farms, and Rice Paddies)
Encomienda Manor.png Encomienda Manor (+20% from Mills, Portuguese only)
Aztec chinampa.png Aztec Chinampa (+20% from Mills, Farms, and Rice Paddies, Age of Empires III only)
Maya Calendar.png Maya Calendar (+10%)
Zapotec Food of the Gods.png Zapotec Food of the Gods (+10%)
Vegetarianism.png Vegetarianism (+40% from Berry Bushes)

For wood:

Gang Saw.png Gang Saw (+10%)
Log flume.png Log Flume (+20%)
Circular saw.png Circular Saw (+30%)
Deforestation.png Deforestation (+50%)
Wood Clearing.png Wood Clearing (+20%)

For coin:

Placer Mines.png Placer Mines (+10% from mines)
Amalgamation.png Amalgamation (+20% from mines)
Bookkeeping.png Bookkeeping (+10% from Plantations and Rice Paddies)
Homesteading.png Homesteading (+20% from Plantations and Rice Paddies)
Refineries.png Refineries (+30% from Plantations and Rice Paddies)
Excessive Taxation.png Excessive Taxation (+50%)
Inca Metalworking.png Incan Metalworking (+20% from mines)
Navajo Craftsmanship.png Navajo Craftsmanship (+20%)
Hit points Great Coat.png Great Coat (+35%)
Nootka Bark Clothing.png Nootka Bark Clothing (+50%)
Apache Cactus Use.png Apache Cactus Use (+15%)
Attack Blunderbuss.png Blunderbuss (+3)
Range Blunderbuss.png Blunderbuss (+4)
Sight Blunderbuss.png Blunderbuss (+4)
Town Watch.png Town Watch (+2)
Speed Apache Cactus Use.png Apache Cactus Use (+15%)
Creation speed Millet System.png Millet System (-5 seconds, Ottomans only)
Koprulu Viziers.png Koprulu Viziers (-5 seconds, Ottomans only)
Abbasid Market.png Abbasid Market (-8 seconds, Ottomans only)
Christian Schools.png Christian Schools (-15%)
Other Galata Tower District.png Galata Tower District (increases limit to 45, Ottomans only)
Topkapi.png Topkapi (increases limit to 70, Ottomans only)
Tanzimat.png Tanzimat (increases limit to 99, Ottomans only)
Sequoyahs Cherokee Syllabary.png Sequoyah's Cherokee Syllabary (ships 4 Settlers)
Sharia.png Sharia (+10% limit)
Penalties Encomienda Manor.png Encomienda Manor (-5% gather rate from anything but Mills, Portuguese only)
Excessive Taxation.png Tax Burden (-40% hit points, Knights of St. John only)
Fasting.png Fasting (-40% hit points)

Home City Cards[]


Definitive Edition[]

  • Originally, the Canadian Revolution improves the rife attacks of Settlers by +13 damage. With update 3552, it improves it by +17 damage.


  • Settlers come in the forms of men and women and the gender is randomly decided upon being trained from the Town Center. This feature is present since Age of Empires II.
  • German, Russian and Swedish settlers wear thick winter clothing while Spanish, Portuguese, and Ottomans dress for sunny weather, men especially, who wear sombreros. British and Dutch men don't wear hats and are dressed lightly, with breeches. They resemble the settler icon the most.
  • Additionally, while the icon shows white Settlers, the racial appearance of Settlers is also randomized, and the Settlers in game can appear as being of European, African, or Native American extraction. In contrast, European military units are always white.
  • Settlers always speak in the same language as the playing civilization and sound modest and willing.
  • Settlers seen as Treasures (trapped by wild animals or tightened up by bandits) have the British and Dutch appearance, but upon being rescued, will immediately turn into the appearance of the Settlers/Villagers of their rescuers.
    • This is also the only way for the French, Native American and Asian civilizations to acquire Settlers and will sound as Coureur des Bois or Villagers, respectively. In the case of the French, it was also the only way to acquire female units, but certain Politicians in the Definitive Edition are another way. The French Settlers have the same appearance as the British and Dutch Settlers.
  • Canadian Settlers' name is a reference to the Métis people, descended from both the Native Americans and European settlers.


Highly industrious and loyal to a fault, the Settler lives to work for you. Whether it's chopping down the seventeen thousandth tree, scurrying across the map to a distant pile of silver ore, or endlessly toiling away at a mill, the Settler is ready to happily tackle any tedious task. The Settler’s hobbies include running away from enemy soldiers, getting thrown into the river by enemy cannon fire, and crochet.