While Morgoth was imprisoned in Mandos, and Middle-earth still lay under starlight, the first Dwarves came west over the Blue Mountains that bordered Beleriand. The origins of these Dwarves are unclear, but they seem to have arisen from two of the Fathers of their race, placed beneath the Mountains by their maker Aulë. These two Fathers gave rise to two clans, each of which had made a great city in the eastern side of the Blue Mountains. In the Dwarf-tongue these cities were known as Gabilgathol and Tumunzahar, but history remembers them by their Elvish names: Belegost and Nogrod.
From their mountain-cities, the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains came down into Beleriand to trade with the Elves. They played a great part in the making of Thingol's halls at Menegroth, and later aided in the delving of Nargothrond beside Narog. In Nogrod during this period, the master craftsman Telchar forged weapons and armour that would be famed through Middle-earth's history, including Narsil, the sword that would be broken and reforged for Aragorn far in the future.
After Morgoth's return to Middle-earth, the Dwarves were loosely allied with the Elves in the Wars of Beleriand that followed. They fought in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, where Azaghâl of Belegost drove Glaurung from the field, but was himself slain. After the Nirnaeth, relations between the Elves and Dwarves cooled: Dwarves of Nogrod slew Thingol and stole the Nauglamír, and after this time enmity and mistrust grew between the two peoples.
At the end of the First Age, the War of Wrath caused the destruction of much of Beleriand and its neighbouring lands. The Dwarves of the Blue Mountains did not escape: Nogrod and Belegost were destroyed by the inrushing Sea, and their people fled eastwards. Many came to Khazad-dûm and joined with the Longbeards there, but the time of the first Dwarves of the Blue Mountains had come to the end.
As the millennia passed, the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm that had welcomed the refugees from Nogrod and Belegost were themselves driven from their home, and wandered widely in Middle-earth. More than six thousand years after the old citadels of the Dwarves had been lost, these wandering Dwarves of Durins' Folk, under King Thráin II, returned to the Ered Luin. The seat of their Kings only remained there for a generation - Thráin's son Thorin set out to recover the Lonely Mountain in the distant east - but for a time the hammers of the Dwarves rang again among the Blue Mountains, as they had in ancient days.
We don't know for sure whether the halls of the Dwarves in the Blue Mountains were entirely abandoned after the recovery of Erebor in III 2941. Certainly the seat of the Kings transferred into the east at this date, and many Dwarves returned to their old home, but some may have remained behind in the Blue Mountains.
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