A branch of the race of Men, characterised as having dark hair and grey eyes (though there was evidently much variation with this people; some were fair-haired, or had brown eyes, or pale or dark complexions). They were generally stocky and broad in build, and capable of great endurance and determination.
The Bëorians were in origin part of the same people from whom the House of Hador would later descend. Together these people fled the power of Morgoth (who had travelled to the distant east to take power over the first Men), but they became separated on the march, with the Bëorians travelling on ahead. The separated peoples settled for a time on the shores of the Sea of Rhûn, with the Bëorians dwelling in the hilly lands to the southwest of the Sea.
Eventually they were driven on by the fear of the darkness behind them, and crossed the lands of Rhovanian and Eriador, and then found their way over the Blue Mountains into Beleriand. Their leader at this time was Balan, later to be called Bëor, from whom this people took their name.1
In the valleys of the Mountains' western slopes, they were encountered by Finrod Felagund, and through him they developed a great friendship with the Elves. For a time they dwelt in the land that became known as Estolad, but unrest emerged among them. Some were dismayed at finding that the very darkness they had fled was now before them again in the North, and a group of about a thousand Men left and journeyed into the south. The rest entered the service of the House of Finarfin, and removed to the northern land of Dorthonion. There they were granted their own fief under Finrod: Boromir, the great-grandson of Bëor, became the first lord of Ladros, a land in the northeast of Dorthonion.
In Ladros they dwelt in peace for a time while the Siege of Angband still held, but in the Dagor Bragollach Morgoth's forces broke through the Pass of Aglon and took Dorthonion. Boromir's grandson Bregolas, who was lord of Ladros at that time, was slain. Bregolas' brother Barahir led a brave outlaw revolt, but was eventually slain himself, with almost all his men. Only his son Beren escaped, the last of the line of Bëor, and so though the House of Bëor came to an end, its bloodline continued down through Eärendil and Elrond.
Though the ruling House was lost, many of the Bëorian people survived. They fled Dorthonion for the safer land of Hithlum in the west, led by Emeldir the Man-hearted the wife of Barahir, and there at least some of them remained until the end of the First Age. A small number of Bëorians were among the Edain who travelled to Númenor, and there they dwelt mainly in the northwestern regions of the island.
The Bëorians had originally spoken their own language, Taliska, which they had shared with the People of Hador (though the separation of the two peoples had introduced variations). After they came to Beleriand, they quickly abandoned this tongue in favour of Sindarin. The word 'Bëorians' is therefore a historical convenience; this people would not have used that name for themselves, at least until after their coming into Beleriand.
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