Said to have originally belonged to the same general branch of Men as the Halethrim of Brethil, the ancestors of the Men of the Mountains were part of the great westward migration out of Hildórien during the First Age. They settled at first in Minhiriath, the land between the Rivers Baranduin and Gwathló, which at that time was heavily wooded. As the Second Age passed, Númenóreans landed on their coasts, and began to plunder the resources of Middle-earth, thus coming into conflict with the inhabitants of the region.
Ultimately, the Men of Minhiriath moved southwards, and settled in the White Mountains (hence their common name, Men of the Mountains). Some remained there, but these people seem to have been natural wanderers, and soon groups of them returned northwards to settle in Dunland, and even further north in Bree.
Those that remained among the Mountains swore an oath of fealty to Isildur in the closing years of the Second Age, swearing to stand by his side against Sauron. They abandoned this oath, and thus Isildur placed a curse on them. This was the origin of the Dead Men, the restless shades who haunted the Dwimborberg and the lands around throughout the Third Age. In the War of the Ring, they finally fulfilled their promise, and were released by Isildur's Heir Aragorn.
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