At the end of the Third Age, Minas Tirith was the last of the great cities built by the Númenóreans who had settled in Middle-earth an entire Age beforehand. This had not always been true. in the earliest years of Gondor, the capital was at Osgiliath on Anduin, and the towered city that became known as Minas Tirith was known as Minas Anor, the fortress of Anárion. It was Ostoher the seventh King of Gondor who established Minas Anor as a royal city, rebuilding it and making it his summer retreat.
Long afterwards, in the time of the twenty-seventh King Tarondor, the old capital of Osgiliath was beginning to fall into decay, and Tarondor made the choice to re-establish the capital at Minas Anor. Just over two centuries after Tarondor's time, the other great fortress city of Gondor, Minas Ithil, was captured by the Nazgûl and became Minas Morgul. At this time Minas Anor was renamed as Minas Tirith and, with Minas Ithil in the hands of the Enemy and Osgiliath falling into ruin, it was truly the last remaining City of the Men of Gondor.
Soon after the loss of Minas Ithil, Gondor lost its last King, Eärnur, and after this time the City was ruled by Stewards for the last millennium of the Third Age. Throughout this time it stood against waves of invaders as the last bastion of Númenórean civilisation until the time of the War of the Ring. In that War a descendant of Isildur came out of the northern lands and refounded the Kingship, making Minas Tirith once again the royal city of the Dúnedain and of the Men of Gondor.
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