A people said to have been descended from the Edain, or those of their kin who did not cross into Beleriand in the First Age. They dwelt originally at Esgaroth on the shores of the Long Lake, from where they used the Lake and its rivers to trade with the Wood-elves to the west, and the Dwarves and Men of Dale to the north.
In III 2770 the Dragon Smaug descended on Erebor and sacked it, driving out the Dwarves and destroying Dale, many of whose inhabitants fled to join the Men of the Lake. Esgaroth was refounded as Lake-town off the lakeshore, and a legend grew up among its people that one day the Dwarves would return to reclaim the Kingdom under the Mountain. Long afterwards this did indeed come to pass, when Thorin and his companions arrived unannounced nearly two hundred years later.
Stirred up by Thorin and his company, Smaug suspected that the Men of the Lake were behind the arrival of the Dwarves, and set out to destroy their township in revenge. Lake-town was indeed destroyed, but Smaug was shot by Bard the Bowman, and Erebor was freed. After that time Bard became King of Dale, and his realm expanded to include the Men of the Lake and other peoples and lands.
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