A name for the Teleri, the third of the three clans of the Elves that made the Great Journey from Cuiviénen. This clan of the Elves was 'third' in that it was the last of the three to set out on the Journey. This tardiness was no doubt in part due to the size of the clan: it had a far greater populace than either the Vanyar or the Noldor, and it took two lords, the brothers Elwë and Olwë, to organise its people.
As well as being slower on the road than the other clans, groups of the Teleri fell away from the main Journey more than once. This happened most famously in the area later known as the Vales of Anduin, where an Elf named Lenwë led away a great part of the clan to found the people known as the Nandor.
The people of the Third Clan travelled so slowly that by the time they had crossed Beleriand and reached its western coasts, the Vanyar and the Noldor had already gone ahead across the Great Sea. While his people waited in Middle-earth, Elwë became lost, and many of his people set about searching for him. Others became pupils of the Maia Ossë, and decided to settle on the coasts of Beleriand. So, when Ulmo returned across the Great Sea years later to transport the Teleri to Aman, many of them remained behind. Most important of these were the followers of Elwë, the people who would become known as the Sindar.
Meanwhile the remainder of the Third Clan - a far smaller group than had originally set out from Cuiviénen - remained for a long time on the Isle of Eressëa in the Bay of Eldamar. They were taught ship-building by Ossë, and led by Olwë they sailed across the Bay to reach the shores of Aman at last.
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