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The Lord of the Rings (film series) - Harad map.jpg
Map of Harad from The Lord of the Ring film series
General Information
Other namesHaradwaith, Sunlands, Sutherland
LocationSouth of Harondor and Mordor
DescriptionA vast hot area, filled with deserts and jungles

Harad was the name of the immense lands to the South of Gondor and Mordor. It was inhabited by many different tribes called Haradrim.



John Howe - Harad War Icon

First Age

In the First Age, the Drúedain migrated westward from Hildórien through Harad. Before reaching Harad's coastline, they turned northward into Ithilien and became the first Men to cross the Anduin.[1]

Second Age

During the Second Age, the Haradrim came in contact with Sauron and the Númenóreans. The Men of Númenor explored the coasts of Middle-earth, including the coast lands 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.[2]

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.[3] The Númenóreans made settlements on the southern coasts, including the Havens of Umbar where they built a great fortress in 2280.[4]

After the reign of Tar-Ciryatan, the Númenóreans began to set themselves up as lords in Middle-earth as they demanded tribute of goods and wealth, causing the oppression of the Haradrim. 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 Númenórean settlements on the coast.[5]

Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor landed at Umbar in 3261[4] 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 Númenor where he corrupted the King and his followers. Under Ar-Pharazon, the Númenóreans made war on the Men of Middle-earth, enslaving them and using them for human sacrifices.[5]

The Númenóreans who lived in Harad survived the destruction of Númenor in 3319.[4] They became known as the Black Númenóreans because they remained under the influence of Sauron.[6] Some of them "rose to great power amongst the Haradrim".[7]

Third Age

Jan Pospíšil - Haradrim Camp

For many centuries of the Third Age, many Haradrim were still ruled by Black Númenórean Lords, or further north by the Kings of Gondor. 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.[8]

After the union and rebuilding of Gondor and Arnor in the Fourth Age, the new Reunited Kingdom conquered Harondor and much of Harad's western coast, though Harad's eastern lands remained independent.


Harad was located south of Mordor, with the Mountains of Shadow forming part of the northern border of Harad. The River Harnen flowed westward from the Mountains of Shadow to the Bay of Belfalas and was Harad's border with South Gondor - a deserted region contested between Gondor and Harad. The Harad Road ran from Harad northward through South Gondor and on to Ithilien.

To the north-east 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 harbour with a narrow cape curving around it. The coastal region around the harbour was known as Umbar, and the harbour was called the Havens of Umbar. The seafaring raiders known as the Corsairs lived there. At the eastern end of the harbour was the City of the Corsairs.[9]

Much of Far Harad was a jungle, although there also was a desert. In Far Harad lived the gigantic Oliphaunts, which were used by the Haradrim as moving war towers.

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 (Harad was called the "Sunlands" by the Hobbits of the Shire). There were unusual animals such as the Oliphaunts.[10] Even the constellations in Harad's night sky down in the southern hemisphere were different from those in northern Middle-earth (Aragorn had travelled far into Harad "where the stars are strange"[11]).

Social organisation

Kyle Anderson - Haradrim King

Harad's tribes were divided—at least in the minds of the men of north-western Middle-earth—into those of Near and Far Harad, although there were many tribes of the Haradrim, often mutually hostile. The men of Near Harad were brown-skinned, with black hair and dark eyes,[10] while the race known as "half-trolls" out of Far Harad had black skin.[12] It is also presumed that every tribe had a chieftain, who served as their leader and general in the battlefield.


Harad means "South" in Sindarin.[13] The word is derived from root KHYAR, and is cognate to Quenya hyarmen ("south").[14] It is also called Haradwaith which includes gwaith ("people").

The Men of Harad were called Haradrim ("Southern-host").[11]

Other versions of the Legendarium

An early name of Harad was (Sun)Harrowland, which is derived from the Old English name of the Aethiopans, Sigerhearwan, and therefore meaning "Aethiopia" (See also: Sigelwara Land).[15]


Given the descriptions of the inhabitants of Middle-earth's southern lands,[10] the early etymologies of their name,[16] and the overall shape of the southern lands as shown in the Ambarkanta maps,[17] it is likely that Harad may have been based on the lands of northern and northeastern Africa and perhaps the Middle East in our world.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain", 339-340.
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Númenor"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
  5. 5.0 5.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Akallabêth: The Downfall of Númenor"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Black Gate Opens"
  7. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "The West of Middle-earth at the End of the Third Age" [map]
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers, "The Black Gate is Closed"
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "The Council of Elrond"
  12. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields"
  13. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix E, "Pronunciation of Words and Names", "Consonants"
  14. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, Part Three: "The Etymologies", KHYAR
  15. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XXV. The Story Foreseen from Fangorn", Note 4
  16. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Treason of Isengard, "XXV. The Story Foreseen from Fangorn", Note 4
  17. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Shaping of Middle-earth, "V. The Ambarkanta", p. 250-251