Elros was the son of Eärendil and brother of Elrond. Due to his ancestry, he was counted as one of the Half-elven, and given the choice of the life of the Eldar or the Gift of Men. He chose to live as a mortal, but was granted an extraordinary lifespan of five hundred years. He passed his longevity on to the descendants of his House, though none enjoyed such a count of years as Elros himself.
As Tar-Minyatur, Elros was the first King of Númenor. After his time, that island was ruled by Kings and Queens of his House through nearly three thousand years of the Second Age. In the end, Elros' distant descendant Ar-Pharazôn was manipulated by Sauron into bringing about the Downfall of Númenor, and with it the end of the Line of Kings.
Though Númenor and its Kings were no more, the House of Elros did not end in the Downfall. The Kings had been descended through Elros' great-great-grandson Meneldur, but another branch of the House also survived: the Lords of Andúnië, descended from Meneldur's elder sister Silmariën. The line of the Lords of Andúnië continued down to Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anárion, and so was carried from Númenor to Middle-earth, surviving in the Kings of Arnor and of Gondor. Even at the time of the War of the Ring, some six thousand years after the death of its founder, there was still a living heir to the House of Elros: none other than Aragorn himself.
For a genealogical chart of the Line of Elros, see the entry for King of Númenor.
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