|Other names||Dark Plague|
|Location||Harad, Gondor, Eriador, Rhovanion, Rhun (possibly)|
|Date||T.A. 1636; effects visible for the next 200 years|
|Result||Possibly hundreds thousands of lives incl. half of the population in Rhovanion|
|Participants||Men of Darkness, Gondorians, Dúnedain of the North, Hobbits, Woodmen|
|Description||Pestilence from south of Mordor, spreading north, west and then north|
The Great Plague, also known as the Dark Plague was a disastrous pestilence that killed untold numbers of people, possibly up into the hundreds of thousands. The plague was brought by an evil wind from the east.
The Great Plague began in the east beyond Mordor and first reached Osgiliath in T.A. 1636 (just a year after King Minardil of Gondor had been killed at Pelargir by the Corsairs of Umbar). The new king, Telemnar was killed together with his kin, followed by the White Tree of Gondor, as well as many others of the Dúnedain; two centuries after the Kin-strife, this further destroyed the people of Gondor.
The city of Osgiliath was especially hit hard, suffering the highest casualties outside of Rhovanion. Many fled the city and removed to Ithilien and Anórien, and Minas Anor became the King's seat. The casualties were so high that the fortresses guarding Mordor were abandoned as the troops were recalled.
Dunland suffered less from the Plague than most due to their self-isolation. However, the Plague regained strength as it went north, and Minhiriath (the southern part of Cardolan) was especially hit hard. The joint garrison (of the North and South Kingdoms) at Tharbad ceases to exist. The last of the Dúnedain of Cardolan died on the Barrow-downs, and evil spirits from Angmar and Rhudaur entered the realm.
The exact date the plague ended is not known but for the next two centuries Gondor, as well as its enemies, did little but try and regain strength. Historians believed that the Plague was caused by Sauron since the Shadow deepened in Mirkwood, foretelling his return in the (now unguarded) Mordor.
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Southern Line: Heirs of Anarion"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Battles of the Fords of Isen"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn", "Appendix D: The Port of Lond Daer"
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "The Realms in Exile", "The Northern Line: Heirs of Isildur"