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|Location||South of Gondor and Mordor, West of Khand|
Harad ("South" in Sindarin; the name in Quenya is Hyarmen) was the name for the immense lands south of Gondor and Mordor. The Men of Harad were called Haradrim ("Southern-host"). Harad was also called the "Sunlands" or Swertings by the Hobbits of the Shire. It is also called Harradwaith from the Sindarin Harad (South) and gwaith (people).
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.
Harad was a large region in southern Middle-earth. Harad was not a unified realm, but was instead made up of different kingdoms. The people of Harad were often allied with Sauron and many fought for him during the War of the Ring.
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.
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.
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 great Mumakil, or Oliphaunts. Even the constellations Harad's night sky down in the southern hemisphere were different from those in northern Middle-earth.
During the Second Age, the Haradrim came in contact with Sauron and with the Numenoreans. 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 Numenoreans, 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. But then some Numenoreans began to set themselves up as lords in Middle-earth, especially after the reign of Tar-Ciryatan of Numenor, and they demanded tribute of goods and wealth from their subjects, causing the opression of the Haradrim. The Numenoreans made settlements on the southern coasts, including the Havens of Umbar where they built a great fortress in 2280.
After establishing his realm in Mordor in S.A. 1000, Sauron tried to extended his influence eastward to Rhun and the southward to Harad and corrupted many Men into his service.
Sauron did not at first dare to extend his power to the coast where the Numenoreans held power. But after the forging of the Rings of Power and the emergence of the Nazgul, Sauron began to attack the Numenorean settlements on the coast.
Ar-Pharazon 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 Numenoreans made war on the Men of Middle-earth, and they also enslaved them and used them for human sacrifices. Men of the south long remembered the actions of the Numenoreans in their lands.
The Numenoreans who lived in Harad survived the destruction of Numenor in 3319. They became known as the Black Numenoreans 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, 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 Pellenor 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 Theoden of Rohan at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in Third Age 3019.
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