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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.
From the latter part of the Second Age, the Men of Harad were dominated by the Númenóreans, as were many other peoples whose lands included a coastline. 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.
Much of Far Harad was a jungle, although there also was a desert. In the Great Forest of the South in Far Harad lived the gigantic mammoth-like animals known as Oliphaunts, which were used by the Haradrim as moving war towers.
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.
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 Theoden of Rohan at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in Third Age 3019.
To the east of Near Harad lay the land of Khand.