It seems to have been common to all Elves to appoint a King to rule over a nation or house. Certainly most of the Eldar, including the Silvan Elves, appointed their own Kings. The most important rulers of the Elves, though, descended from the three ambassadors who had been first among the Children of Ilúvatar to visit the Blessed Realm: Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë.
Ingwë of the Vanyar was considered greatest of all the Elven-kings, and given the title High King of the Elves. Finwë was lord of the Noldor, and from him descended all the High Kings of that people down to Gil-galad. When the others settled in the West, Elwë remained in Middle-earth, where he became King Elu Thingol of Doriath, and commanded the loyalty of all the Sindar of Beleriand.
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