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Dates
Uncertain, but may have appeared as early as II 18001
After Sauron's defeat in II 3441, the Black Númenórean race quickly ceased to exist2
Location
The southern lands of Middle-earth, and especially Umbar
Origins
Númenóreans seduced and corrupted by Sauron
Race
Division
Settlements
Umbar, and others

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  • Updated 4 July 2008
  • This entry is complete

Black Númenóreans

The students of Sauron

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In origin Númenórean settlers and explorers who travelled to Middle-earth during the height of Sauron's power in the Second Age. Rather than opposing him, they submitted themselves to him, and sought the power he could give them. Their strongest settlement was at Umbar, but many became lords in the lands farther south. Two in particular are named - Herumor and Fuinur - as taking command among the Haradrim.

It is known that three of the nine Nazgûl were of Númenórean origin, and it seems unavoidable that these must have originally belonged to the Black Númenóreans. It has even been suggested that Herumor and Fuinur were corrupted into Ringwraiths, though they seem to belong to a period of history too late to make this possible.

After the first fall of Sauron at the end of the Second Age, the Black Númenóreans quickly began to diminish. Though they merged with the people they ruled, they never forgot their heritage, and harboured a hatred of Gondor and its allies throughout the Third Age. When Sauron rose again, the descendants of the Black Númenóreans remembered their history and returned to his cause. Best known among these was the Mouth of Sauron, who acted as Sauron's ambassador at the Morannon during the War of the Ring.


Notes

1

The only statement dating the emergence of the Black Númenoreans is a rather vague comment from The Lord of the Rings, where they are said to have settled in Middle-earth 'during the years of Sauron's domination' (The Return of the King V 10). II 1800 is probably the earliest possible date for the Black Númenóreans to have appeared: in the Tale of Years, the entry for that date states, 'The shadow falls on Númenor'.

This dating is not entirely happy, because elsewhere (Appendix A I (iv) to The Lord of the Rings) we're told that the Black Númenóreans emerged from the party of the King's Men, which wouldn't appear for more than four centuries, from about II 2251. This was about the same time that the Nazgûl appeared, and as three of those were Númenóreans, we can be sure that Sauron had already ensnared at least some of that race.

It's hard to reconcile all these statements, but not impossible. The most consistent reading seems to be that Sauron began the seduction of the Númenóreans in about II 1800, and had at least some Númenórean servants and followers soon after that date. However, the Black Númenóreans seem not to have emerged as a separate people until some centuries later.

2

The Black Númenóreans were not destroyed in the War of the Last Alliance, but after their master's fall, they rapidly diminished and were absorbed into the native peoples of Middle-earth. Nonetheless, even at the end of the Third Age, three thousand years later, there were some who claimed descent from the Black Númenóreans. The emissary known as the Mouth of Sauron was one of these.

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