In the earliest days of the Elves, they were summoned by the Valar to leave Middle-earth and cross the Sea to Aman. This led to first great division of that race, into the Eldar (who accepted the summons and set out for the West) and the Avari (who refused the summons). As the Eldar made their way across Middle-earth, however, many of them - especially of the Teleri - fell away from the Great Journey. Others reached as far as Beleriand, and even came to its western shores, but never set out across the Sea. These Elves, who originally set out for the West but never reached Aman, are collectively known as the Úmanyar, 'those not of Aman' (as contrasted with the Amanyar, the Eldar who did reach the Blessed Realm).
The term is not to be confused with the Moriquendi or Dark Elves, a term that refers to all the Elves who did not see the Light of the Two Trees. The Úmanyar were a subset of the Moriquendi, but excluded the Avari, those Elves who had refused to embark on the Great Journey. The main groups of the Úmanyar were the Sindar (the people of Thingol who dwelt in Beleriand) and the Nandor (a group that left the Journey east of the Misty Mountains), though it is implied that there were others of the Úmanyar to be found elsewhere in Middle-earth.
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