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Middle-earth Timeline

From the creation of Middle-earth to the War of the Ring

by Laura Hayes

The Second Age of Middle-earth saw the glory of Númenor, the rise of Sauron, and the forging of the Rings of Power.

The Ages

Lamps / Trees First Second Third War of the Ring

Second Age of the Sun



Círdan establishes the Grey Havens.



The Edain reach Númenor. The Valar grant the Edain a longer life span than that of other humans, but ban them from sailing west to the Undying Lands. Initially they are allies and friends of the Elves.



Most of the Dwarves leave their old cities in the Blue Mountains and settle in the Misty Mountains at Khazad-dûm.


Sauron, having gone into hiding at the end of the War of Wrath, begins to make himself known again in Middle-earth.


The first Númenorean ships appear off the coast of Middle-earth.


The remaining Noldor settle in Eregion. Celebrimbor, grandson of Fëanor, is their leader.


Sauron, troubled by the growing power of the Númenoreans, chooses Mordor for a stronghold and begins to build Barad-dûr.


Sauron takes on a fair form and tries to seduce the elves. The king, Gil-Galad, refuses his overtures but the smiths of Eregion are won over by Sauron's own metalworking skill.

ca 1500

The elven smiths, with the aid and instruction of Sauron, begin to forge the Rings of Power (3 for Elves, 7 for Dwarves, 9 for Men).


The Rings are completed.



Sauron forges the One Ring and completes Barad-dûr. Celebrimbor begins to comprehend Sauron's evil plan.



The elves hide the three elven Rings of Power (Vilya, Narya, Nenya) and they remain uncorrupted. Sauron cannot dominate the Dwarves with their rings, as they were fashioned by Aulë to resist evil. The Rings made for Men however, bend their wearers to the will of Sauron.


Sauron's forces lay waste to Eregion and slay Celebrimbor. The gates of Khazad-dûm are shut. Elrond retreats with the remaining Noldor and founds the refuge of Imladris.


Sauron conquers Eriador. Gil-Galad requests aid from Númenor.


Númenor sends a great naval force to Eriador and defeats Sauron. Sauron is driven out and the lands of the west enjoy a brief peace.


The Númenoreans begin to establish strongholds on the coasts, including Umbar, Pelargir, and Isengard.

Sauron extends his power eastwards.


The Nazgûl, or Ringwraiths, appear.



Pelargir is built and becomes the main city of Númenoreans faithful to their traditions (the Faithful, or Elf-Friends). The following centuries are marked with increasing civil unrest.



Tar-Palantir takes the throne and prophesies that when Nimloth—the white tree that grows in the king's court and is descended from Telperion—dies, so too will the line of the kings of Númenor.


The Númenoreans grow discontent with their wealth and become jealous of the immortality of the Elves. Elves are forbidden to land in Númenor, and elven languages are banned.


Birth of Elendil, son of Amandil. Amandil is one of the Faithful and his son carries on his work.


Númenor / Middle-earth

Ar-Pharazôn the Golden seizes power. One of his first acts is to set sail and land at Umbar.



Ar-Pharazôn takes Sauron prisoner.


Sauron becomes Ar-Pharazôn's principal counselor. Sauron convinces Ar-Pharazôn to attack the Undying Lands. Elendil works in secret to reinstate the true wisdom and knowledge of Númenor that has been corrupted by Sauron.


Númenor / Aman

Ar-Pharazôn assails the Undying Lands.

Amandil urges the Númenoreans to take to ships and flee. He himself sails to Aman to beg mercy from the Valar and is never seen again.

The Valar destroy Númenor and change the shape of the world, making it a sphere and removing Aman from the world.

Nine ships escape Númenor; they belong to Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anárion. They bring a fruit from Nimloth, the White Tree, with them and the seven Palantiri, or seeing stones.

Sauron is caught in the cataclysm and loses the ability to appear in a fair form.



Elendil establishes the Realms in Exile, Arnor and Gondor, and makes himself high king of both. He gives joint rule of Gondor to Isildur and Anárion. Isildur plants a seed of the White Tree in Gondor's capital, Minas Ithil.


Gondor / Mordor

Sauron attacks Gondor and takes Minas Ithil for his own fortress. He burns the White Tree. Isildur escapes with a seedling of the tree and retreats North to Arnor. Anárion defends the other main cities of Gondor, Minas Arnor and Osgiliath.

3430-441 / Last Alliance

Elves and humans, who had grown mistrustful, form the Last Alliance to combat the forces of Sauron.


Gondor / Mordor

The Alliance crosses the Misty Mountains and defeats Sauron at the Battle of Dagorland. Siege of Barad-Dûr begins.



Anárion is slain by a falling boulder while sieging Barad-Dûr.


Both Elendil and Gil-Galad are slain in battle. Elrond serves as Gil-Galad's herald, standing by him as he falls in battle. Isildur cuts the One Ring off of Sauron's hand and claims it for himself. Sauron and the Nazgûl disappear.

Next: The Third Age and arrival of Hobbits

Did you know?
Between 1973 and February 2008, 129 inmates on death row were exonerated and freed.