After the sudden fire of the Dagor Bragollach swept away the defences of the Noldor, the history of Beleriand was one of long and slow defeat for the Eldar and Edain. Melkor gained victory against his enemies in the Nirnaeth, and then gradually crushed the remaining cities and kingdoms of the Elves until only a few survivors remained.
At this time Melkor must have imagined his conquest was absolute, but among the survivors at the Mouths of Sirion was Eärendil the Mariner, who sailed into the West to call on the aid of the Valar. They answered his plea, and a vast force crossed the Sea to challenge Melkor. There followed a hard-fought and terrible war - the War of Wrath - that left the land itself broken, but led to Melkor's ultimate defeat. After this, the Valar expelled him from the World into the Void (where it is prophesied he will remain until the time of the Last Battle).
After Melkor's downfall the Valar extended an invitation to the Elves remaining in Middle-earth to depart into the West, and many of them did so, though many others remained in the Mortal lands. For the Men who had fought loyally beside the the Eldar, a new land was made in the middle of the Great Sea, and the Edain sailed westwards to found Númenor and become the Dúnedain, Men of the West.
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