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{{History of Arda}}
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The '''Fourth Age''' began after [[Sauron]] was finally defeated, when his [[One Ring|Ruling Ring]] was destroyed, and the Elves left Middle-earth for the [[Valinor|Uttermost West]].
The '''Fourth Age''' began after [[Sauron]] was finally defeated, when his [[The One Ring|Ruling Ring]] was destroyed, and the [[Keepers of the Three Rings]] left Middle-earth for the [[Valinor|Uttermost West]]
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==Starting of the Fourth Age==
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The [[Third Age]] was held to have ended when the Three Rings passed away in September, {{TA|3021}}.
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In the records of [[Gondor]] Fo.A. 1 began on [[25 March]] {{TA|3021|n}}, that is, 6 months ''before'' the end of the previous Age.<ref>{{App|A1}}</ref> This also means a difference of 1420 years with the [[Shire Reckoning]].
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Tolkien's writing does not provide information on more than the first few centuries of this age, so it is not known when it ended, if it ever did.  
  
In [[the Shire]] however, the Fourth Age 1 was called {{SR|1422}}<ref>{{App|D}}</ref>, implying a difference of 1421 years and a continuation of {{FoA|1}} after {{TA|3021|n}}, instead of being the same.<ref> The discrepancy is noted in the [http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/f/fourthage.html Encyclopedia of Arda]</ref>
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This age was (presumably) marked by the recovery of the [[Númenor]]ean kingdoms in exile ([[Arnor]] and [[Gondor]]), the final ascent of [[Men (Middle-earth)|Men]] and the total wane of the [[Elves (Middle-earth)|Elves]].
  
For example, [[Legolas]]'s and [[Gimli]]'s departure is given as {{FoA|120}}, {{TA}} 3141 and {{SR|1541}} (according to the latter system).
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Tolkien said that he thought the distance between the end of the Third Age and the [[20th century]] <small>C.E.</small> was about 6000 years, and that in [[1958]] it should have been around the end of the Fifth Age if the Fourth and Fifth Ages were about the same length as the Second and Third Ages.  He said, however, in a letter written in 1958 that he believed the Ages had quickened and that it was about the end of the Sixth Age/beginning of the Seventh. (This letter is referred to in the "Fourth Age" article of ''The Encyclopedia of Arda'' as mentioned below.)
  
==History==
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The following is mere speculation and unrelated to fantasy works:
There is no information on more than the first few centuries of this age, so it is not known when it ended, if it ever did, although it was probably shorter than 3 millennia.<ref name="Letter211"/>
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That implies that maybe the fall of [[Nazi Germany]] ended the Sixth Age in [[1945]], as the other ages also ended with the downfalls of tyrants. The estimation of 6000 years would place the end of the Third Age and the start of the Fourth in the [[5th millennium BC]]. Since Tolkien was a devout [[Catholic]], it is speculated that he would have held the birth of [[Jesus]] to be the most important event of the era, and thus would be the most likely time for the start of the Fifth Age.
  
This age was (presumably) marked by the recovery of the [[Númenor]]ean kingdoms of [[Arnor]] and [[Gondor]], and a flourishing of their subjects, including [[the Shire]] and the [[Hobbits]], while the [[House of Durin]] retook [[Moria]] until the race of [[Dwarves]] failed.<ref>{{PM|Dwarves}}</ref> Eventually that would lead to the final [[Dominion of Men]] over [[Arda]], coming together with the total waning of the [[Elves]] and other dwindling races, such as the [[Ents]] and probably the Dwarves.
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Determining the epoch of a Fifth era is important for those who apply the Tolkien calendar to present dates.
  
The [[Last Ship]] of the [[Elves]], carrying [[Cirdan]] and [[Celeborn]],<ref>{{FR|Prologue}}</ref> apparently sailed before {{FoA|120|n}}<ref name=AppTale>{{App|Tale}}</ref>
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For a complete list of events during the Fourth Age see the [[Timeline#Fourth Age|Timeline]]
 
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In a 1972 letter concerning ''[[The New Shadow]]'', Tolkien mentioned that Eldarion's reign would have lasted for about 100 years after the death of Aragorn.<ref name="L338">{{L|338}}</ref>
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==Further future?==
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Tolkien said that he thought the distance between the end of the Third Age and the 20th century A.D. was about 6000 years, and that in [[1958]] it should have been around the end of the Fifth Age if the Fourth and Fifth Ages were about the same length as the Second and Third Ages. He said, however, in a letter written in 1958 that he believed the Ages had quickened and that it was about the end of the Sixth Age/beginning of the Seventh.<ref name="Letter211">{{L|211}}.</ref>
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==See also==
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* [[Timeline/Fourth Age|Timeline of the Fourth Age]]
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* ''[[The New Shadow]]''
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{{references}}
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[[Category:Ages]]
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[[de:Das Vierte Zeitalter]]
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[[fr:encyclo/chronologie/quatrieme_age]]
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[[fi:Neljäs Aika]]
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