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Pre-Númenóreans are the descendants of the Edain who joined the migration to the West; their relatives who reached Beleriand became the Haladin while they stayed in regions of Middle-earth that would be later settled by the Númenóreans (hence the name).

First Age

Their ancestors moved from Hildórien to the West. During their migration they joined the Drúedain near the White Mountains and stayed with them on friendly terms.

When the core of their team was pressed to wander on, some Drúedain accompanied them northwards[1], passing through the Gap of Calenardhon. Many stayed behind because of the dense forest covering the Minhiriath and the western half of Enedwaith between the Greyflood and the Isen and became herd-tenders. Their descendants were peoples in the forests of the shore-lands south of the Blue Mountains, especially in Minhiriath[2]

Their kin of the White Mountains apparently were later driven off (from the most part) by Men of Darkness during the Dark Years, removed to the southern dales of the Misty Mountains and thence some passed into the empty lands until the Barrow-downs, from whom came the Men of Bree.[3]

At the end of the First Age they had spread from Umbar through the White Mountains to Methedras and Dunland, across Enedwaith and Minhiriath and as far North as Cardolan (up to the line from Sarn Ford to the junction of Gwathló and Mitheithel.

Second Age

The pre-Númenóreans in the White Mountains (between future Pelargir and the Gulf of Lune had refused to join in the rebellion against the Valar[2] and were frequently terrorized and subjected by scattered fugitives from Angband who apparently took in larger numbers to the hills of Rhudaur and the Mountains of Angmar. They were forest-dwellers, scattered communities without central leadership.[4]

In future Gondor they dwelt far from the coasts and the shores of the Bay of Belfalas were still mainly desolate except perhaps for Agar[5] and Edhellond, a small settlement of Elves at the mouth of the confluence of Morthond and Ringló[2] built near a primitive harbour of Pre-Númenórean fisherfolk who fled into the White Mountains in fear of the Eldar[4]

Because of that, only the Númenórean settlers of Pelargir made contact with Men who dwelt in the valleys on either side of the White Mountains (S.A. 2350[2]

When the Númenóreans returned to Middle-earth, they failed to recognize the forest-folk of Minhiriath as ‘kinsmen’, and confused them with Men of Shadow because their language was not related to Adûnaic[2]

More and more Númenor became a great naval power and the Guild of Venturers established Vinyalondë (early 9th century)[6] The Pre-Númenóreans were patient until the tree-felling by Aldarion became devastating[4] and slowly, hostility was growing and dark men out of the mountains were thrusting into Enedwaith in support of their kinsmen[7] In S.A. 820 Vinyalondë was overthrown by great seas and plundered by hostile men. Men near the coasts were growing afraid of the Númenóreans, or were openly hostile and Aldarion heard rumours of some lord in Middle-earth who hated them. As Gil-galad warned Tar-Meneldur that this instigator was a servant of the Enemy[7]

Aldarion's successors continued his works and even fought with the pre-Númenóreans[8] until they attacked and ambushed the Númenóreans when they could. They became their enemies giving no thought to husbandry or replanting. The Númenóreans wrecked the banks, the shorelines, great tracks and roads whom they drove into the forests northwards and southwards from the Gwathló[4] and continued battling and destroying what lied ahead of them, pushing into Minhiriath and Enedwaith, establishing themselves inland as far as the river Glanduin (the southern boundary of Eregion), beyond which pre-Númenóreans and hostile peoples lived, a remnant of the peoples that had dwelt in the vales of the White Mountains in ages past[9][4] The natives overcame their fear of the Elves and fled from Minhiriath into the dark woods of the great Cape of Eryn Vorn (south of the mouth of Baranduin). Those from Enedwaith took refuge in the eastern mountains (Dunland)[4]

Sauron recruited pre-Númenóreans and in the early second millennium he increased pressure on the West, left his stronghold in Rhûn and relocated in Mordor, welcomed by the natives and used the haters of Númenor as spies and guides for his raiders who caused havoc and burned their settlements.

Eriador was already ruined when the Númenórean fleet sent by king Tar-Minastir catched Mordor's troops in the rear and utterly defeated them, but brought peace in the Westlands had peace.[4] The surviving pre-Númenóreans now apparently crossed the Glanduin back south to Dunland which now seemed safer than wrecked Eregion.

In the south the Númenóreans found a useful natural haven already called Umbar by the natives, and then Pelargir in S.A. 2350 and discovered the Men of the Mountains near Dunharrow[10] who eventually repented when Sauron left from Mordor and the power of Gil-galad had grown great[11]

When the Elendili established the Realms in Exile, many Men turned from evil and became subject to them although the pre-Númenóreans were not friendly to them and never learned to distinguish between King's Men and Faithful, while many remembered Sauron's influence.[11] The King of the Mountains first swore allegiance to Gondor

When Sauron returned, Isildur summoned the Men of the Mountains to fulfill their oath, they would not because they were afraid of Sauron. They hid in the mountains isolated till slowly dwindled in the barren hills and became the Dead Men of Dunharrow.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The Drúedain"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "The History of Galadriel and Celeborn"
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Tal-Elmar"
  6. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"
  7. 7.0 7.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "Aldarion and Erendis: The Mariner's Wife"
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), Unfinished Tales, "A Description of the Island of Númenor"
  9. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix F, "The Languages and Peoples of the Third Age"
  10. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"