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  • Updated 11 April 1998
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Third Age

Last of the Elder Days

Encyclopedia of Arda Timeline
Years of the Trees First Age Second Age Third Age Fourth Age and Beyond

The Ages of Arda

The Third Age began a little over four thousand years after the Rising of the Moon in the first year of the First Age. Of the Ages, it is the best known, as the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings took place in its later years.

The Third Age began with the first overthrow of Sauron by the Last Alliance, and was marked by Isildur's planting of the White Tree in Minas Anor. It ended more than three thousand years later with the destruction of the One Ring, the final end of Sauron, and the passing of the Ring-bearers over the Sea.

The history of the Third Age is in large part the history of the Dúnedain in Gondor and Arnor. Though both these realms were founded in the late Second Age, it was during the Third that they grew to their greatest heights, and fell to their lowest depths, before being reunited by Aragorn II Elessar.

Key Events of the Third Age

2 Isildur plants a seedling of the White Tree in Minas Anor. Returning northward to Arnor with the One Ring, he is waylaid by Orcs and slain.
490 Gondor is assailed by Men out of the East; the first of many wars with the Easterlings and Southrons.
861 Division of Arnor into Arthedain, Rhudaur and Cardolan.
c.1000 Five Wizards, including Saruman and Gandalf, arrive in the north of Middle-earth.
1050 Gondor conquers the Harad, and reaches the height of its power.
Also at about this time, the first Hobbits, wandering west across the Misty Mountains, first appear in records.
c.1100 The first stirrings of Sauron are felt again in Middle-earth, though they are thought at this time to signal the return of a Nazgûl.
1409 The Witch-king of Angmar invades the northern kingdoms.
1432 Civil war in Gondor.
1601 The foundation of the Shire.
1974 The forces of Angmar capture Fornost; the remnant of the North-kingdom is destroyed.
1975 Eärnur of Gondor brings a fleet to the north. Too late to save the North-kingdom, he avenges its loss at the Battle of Fornost. Angmar is destroyed.
1980 The Dwarves of Moria unleash Durin's Bane.
2002 Capture of Minas Ithil by the Nazgûl. It is renamed Minas Morgul.
2050 The last King of Gondor is lost. The Stewards now rule in the King's name.
c.2463 Gollum acquires the One Ring.
2510 The Rohirrim ride to the aid of Gondor. They are given the land of Calenardhon (Rohan) to dwell in.
2941 Journey of Bilbo Baggins to Erebor with Thorin and Gandalf. The Battle of Five Armies.
3019 Destruction of the One Ring and passing of Sauron. Aragorn is crowned King in Gondor, and the North and South Kingdoms are reunited.
3021 Departure of the Ring-bearers.

For a full chronicle of events from the Third Age, see the Chronicle of Arda


See also...

Accursed Years, Aiwendil, Alcarin, Aman, Amon Amarth, Amon Dîn, Amon Lanc, Amon Sûl, Angmar, Annúminas, Argonath, Artamir, Arwen Evenstar, Asëa aranion, Asfaloth, [See the full list...]

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