The Encyclopedia of Arda - an interactive guide to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien
Founded II 3320; the North-kingdom was divided in III 861 and lost III 1974; reunited III 3019
Founded by Elendil and his sons
Ruled by the House of Elendil
Numerous; the capital in the North was at Annúminas and later Fornost; in the South the capital was at Osgiliath and later Minas Tirith
Dúnedain is pronounced 'doo'nedine'
Other names


About this entry:

  • Updated 24 April 2014
  • Updates planned: 1

Kingdoms of the Dúnedain

The realms of the Exiles of Númenor

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond
Map of the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain
Map showing the geography of the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain in Middle-earth; see note 1 below for further explanation.

After the Downfall of Númenor in II 3319, the Great Sea cast up a handful of survivors on the shores of Middle-earth. These were Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anárion, who had fled from the port of Rómenna and were aboard ship when Númenor was swallowed by the Sea. The raging waters that followed the Downfall had driven their ships eastward until they came to the ruined shores of Middle-earth.

Elendil and his people landed in the northern land of the Elves, Lindon, and from there they spread out across Eriador. Their great cities were at Annúminas on Nenuial, and Fornost on the North Downs, and they thus established a realm that came to be known as Arnor, 'land of the King', because High King Elendil dwelt there by Lake Evendim.

Elendil's sons Isildur and Anárion were driven southwards by the Sea, and found their way at last up through the Mouths of Anduin into the Great River in a region where a great Númenórean port, Pelargir, had stood for centuries. They founded their own southern realm in this region, named Gondor, 'land of stone', for the great feats of stonework they performed. Their main city was named Osgiliath, built on the river on which they had entered their new land, but each of the brothers also had a fortress of their own: Minas Ithil for Isildur and Minas Anor for Anárion.

In these early days Elendil's sons in the South-kingdom of Gondor acknowledged the overlordship of their father, the High King in the North. If history had proceeded otherwise than it did, the two realms would have remained joined in this way, with Isildur succeeding Elendil to rule as High King over both the Kingdoms of the Dúnedain. Isildur did indeed succeed, but his loss at the Disaster of the Gladden Fields caused a division between the two realms. At that time Isildur's nephew Meneldil became King of Gondor in his own right, and the two kingdoms would remain separate until the time of Aragorn Elessar, more than three thousand years later.



Arnor's borders remained fixed throughout its history, but Gondor's expanded and contracted as the fortunes of the realm waxed and waned. The solid line shows the approximate borders of Gondor at the end of the Third Age, while the dashed line shows the South-kingdom's boundaries at their greatest historical extent. Gondor extended across this vast area at the end of the reign of King Hyarmendacil I, who died in III 1149, nearly two thousand years before the War of the Ring.

For acknowledgements and references, see the Disclaimer & Bibliography page.

Website services kindly sponsored by Axiom Software Ltd.

Original content © copyright Mark Fisher 2000, 2010, 2014. All rights reserved. For conditions of reuse, see the Site FAQ.