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Revision as of 23:55, 2 September 2010
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|Location||South of Gondor and Mordor, West of Khand|
During the Second Age, the Haradrim came in contact with Sauron and with the Númenóreans. The Men of Numenor explored the coasts of Middle-earth, including the coast of Harad. In the 9th century of the Second Age, the great mariner Aldarion explored the coast of Harad far to the south and was nearly shipwrecked. 
The Númenóreans, who had explored and colonized the Harad coastlines, initially benefited the people in the lands they explored by teaching them many things about agriculture and craftsmanship. The Númenóreans made settlements on the southern coasts, including the Havens of Umbar where they built a great fortress in 2280.
Sauron did not at first dare to extend his power to the coast where the Númenóreans held power. But after the forging of the Rings of Power and the emergence of the Nazgûl, Sauron began to attack the Numenorean settlements on the coast.
Ar-Pharazôn of Numenor landed at Umbar in 3261 with a great fleet and the people on the coasts fled before them. Sauron's forces refused to fight, and he allowed himself to be taken to Numenor where he corrupted the King and his followers. Under Ar-Pharazon, the Númenóreans made war on the Men of Middle-earth, and they also enslaved them and used them for human sacrifices. The Númenóreans who lived in Harad survived the destruction of Númenor in 3319. They became known as the Black Númenóreans because they remained under the influence of Sauron. Shortly before the War of the Last Alliance, two Númenórean lords, named as Herumor and Fuinur, "rose to great power amongst the Haradrim", but their ultimate fate is not recorded.
For many centuries of the Third Age, many Haradrim were still ruled by Black Númenórean Lords, or further north by the Kings of Gondor, but ultimately, the Harad fell under the influence of Mordor, for much of the Age.
Near Harad later formed an alliance—or maybe even a coalition of some sort—with the Corsairs of Umbar, and was involved in a series of continual battles with Gondor over South Gondor or Harondor. Anciently its northern border was held to be the river Harnen, but by the time of the War of the Ring all the land south of the river Poros was under the influence of the Haradrim.
The Haradrim were among the forces led by the Witch-King that attacked Osgiliath on June 20, Third Age 3018, at the beginning of the War of the Ring. They captured the eastern half of Osgiliath, but Boromir and Faramir cast down the bridge across the Anduin and defended the western half of the city. More Haradrim continued to come up the Harad Road to Mordor. Faramir and the Rangers of Ithilien ambushed some companies of Haradrim, but they could not stop them all.
Regiments of Haradrim joined also the host from Minas Morgul marching to the Pelennor Fields. Sauron's forces besieged Minas Tirith, and the Mumakil of Harad were used to bring forward war-towers and siege-engines to test the City's defenses.
One of the leaders of the Haradrim at the time of the War of the Ring bore the standard of the Serpent Lord, and was slain by King Théoden of Rohan at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in Third Age 3019.
Harad was located south of Mordor. The Mountains of Shadow were on the northern border of Harad. The River Harnen flowed westward from the Mountains of Shadow to the Bay of Belfalas, forming Harad's border with South Gondor - a desert region that was contested between Gondor and Harad. The Harad Road ran from Harad northward through South Gondor and on to Ithilien.
To the northeast of Harad was Khand, a land that also had ties with Sauron. It is not known how far eastward or southward Harad stretched. On the west, Harad was bounded by the Bay of Belfalas and the Sea.
The northernmost part of Harad was called Near Harad and the southern part was Far Harad. On the coast there was a natural harbor with a narrow cape curving around it. The coastal region around the harbor was known as Umbar, and the harbor was called the Havens of Umbar. The seafaring raiders known as the Corsairs lived there. At the eastern end of the harbor was the City of the Corsairs.
Harad's location in the far south isolated it to a certain extent from the rest of Middle-earth. The climate was much warmer and sunnier. There were unusual animals such as the Oliphaunts. Even the constellations in Harad's night sky down in the southern hemisphere were different from those in northern Middle-earth.
Harad's tribes were divided—at least in the minds of the men of northwestern Middle-earth—into those of Near and Far Harad, although there were many tribes of the Haradrim, often mutually hostile. Those of Near Harad were brown-skinned, with black hair and dark eyes, whereas the people of Far Harad had black skin. It is also presumed that every tribe had a chieftain, who served as their leader and general in the battlefield.
Harad was also called the "Sunlands" by the Hobbits of the Shire.