Surprise attack on Umbar

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
Surprise attack on Umbar
Conflict: Corsair Wars
Date: T.A. 2980
Place: Umbar
Outcome: Victory for Gondorian naval forces, Destruction of much of the Corsair Navy

Gondorian Navy

Corsairs of Umbar



Captain of the Haven


Unknown, less than 100 ships, several hundreds raiders and sailors

Unknown, est. thousands of Corsair soldiers and sailors, hundreds of ships


Unknown, light

Unknown, many ships and an est. hundreds of sailors, Captain of the Haven

The surprise attack on Umbar was a battle that took place in T.A. 2980 upon the waters and quays of the Haven of Umbar.

Prelude to the Battle

During the reign of Ecthelion II, Steward of Gondor, the realm of Umbar was a grave seafaring threat to the Southern Fiefs of Gondor. The Corsairs attacked trade ships, fishing vessels, and the Gondorian Navy, as well as the Gondorian coast. The Steward's most trusted counselor was a man the people called Thorongil. He was very concerned about what the Corsairs could do to the coasts, and voiced his worries often to Ecthelion. Finally Ecthelion gave him permission to tackle this menace.[1]

The Attack

In 2980[2] when all was prepared Thorongil led his small naval task force into the Gulf of Umbar to the Havens, and catching the Corsairs unprepared and unaware, they burned and destroyed many of their ships. During the battle Thorongil slew the Captain of the Haven upon the quays, and then withdrew his forces with little loss.


Thanks to the brilliance of Thorongil, the threat of Umbar was definitely diminished. Many of their ships were destroyed along with many of their sailors. Thorongil would have received much praise and honor for his victory, but when the returning victors reached Pelargir he refused to return to Minas Tirith. He sent a message of farewell to Ecthelion, saying: "Other tasks now call me, lord, and much time and many perils must pass, ere I come again to Gondor, if that be my fate." Though no one could guess what those tasks could be, or by whom he was summoned, they did know whither he went. For he took a boat and crossed the Anduin river, and there he said farewell to his companions and went on alone; and when he was last seen he was headed toward the Mountains of Shadow. This Thorongil turned out to be the young Aragorn II.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings", "Gondor and the Heirs of Anárion"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"