This article is about the faction. For the biome, look here: Gondor (Biome)
Gondor is the greatest kingdom of Men in Middle-earth, bordered by Rohan to the north, Harad to the south, the cape of Andrast and the Sea to the west, and Mordor to the east. Its first capital was Osgiliath, but was moved to Minas Tirith in TA 1640 and has remained there since. Other major fortresses include Dol Amroth in Belfalas and Pelargir, which is a city on the Anduin.
In all, there were thirty-one kings of Gondor, from Anárion, who was slain before Barad-dûr at the Siege of Barad-dûr, to Earnur, who was lost in Minas Morgul. After the disappearance of Earnur, the Stewards ruled Gondor. The Lord Denethor, the current Steward, is the sixth and twentieth of his line.
Gondor also includes many fiefdoms, including Lossarnach, the Blackroot Vale, Pinnath Gelin, Lamedon, Pelargir, Lebennin, Dor-en-Ernil, Anórien, Anfalas, and Ithilien. Harondor was also once a fiefdom of Gondor, but now it is a contested land, disputed between the folk of Gondor and Harad.
After the War of the Elves and Sauron, the Númenóreans began to establish permanent settlements in Middle-earth. Pelargir upon Anduin would prove a base for Faithful influence on the shores of Middle-earth, which soon spread to the various colonies and havens in all the land from Lune to Pelargir. The Númenóreans, however, were constantly assailed by the native peoples, who viewed them as invaders and fought in the name of Sauron against them. But in time there was strife in Numenor, and the Faithful in the north were set at odds with the King's Men, who served the kings of Númenór and were grown corrupt and hateful of the Valar.
Yet when Sauron claimed the title "King of Men" and assailed the Númenórean colonies, Ar-Pharazôn, the greatest and most powerful of the Númenórean kings yet, gathered his fleet and came to the Haven of Umbar, which was still held by the Númenóreans at the time. The Dark Lord saw the futility of a war against the might of Númenór, and came before Ar-Pharazôn and humbled himself. Even the Faithful remembered with pride the majesty of Ar-Pharazôn, Tar-Calion the Golden, as he came out of the deeps of the Sea. But when the fleet returned to Númenór with its prisoner, Sauron set about corrupting the King and his subjects, whispering into their ears lies about the Valar. The oppression of the Faithful Númenóreans, who remained loyal to the Valar, turned to downright persecution, and a great temple to Morgoth was built in Armenelos. Sauron ordered the destruction of the White Tree that stood in the Citadel, but Isildur of the Faithful stole past the guards and saved a scion of Nimloth. Thus the lineage of Galathilion lived on, for Sauron had Nimloth cut down, and the smoke of its burning hung about the city. And the Númenóreans came to Middle-earth not as teachers nor even as rulers, but as fierce men of war, and they took the Men of Middle-earth and enslaved them, and many they slew cruelly upon their altars.
But though their loremasters and alchemists had studied the matter for years, the Númenóreans could not escape death. Pharazôn felt the shadow of age growing on him, and he succumbed to the urging of Sauron. And in the West was built a great fleet, and their sails darkened the sea. But storms came to Numenor out of the West, and lightning slew men upon the hills, and Meneltarma spouted smoke. And Amandil saw that Numenor was doomed, and bade his son Elendil to wait upon ships in the harbor of Romenna, while he sailed West to beg the Valar for mercy. This Elendil did, and he brought many scrolls of ancientry, and the Seven Seeing-Stones of the Eldar, and on the ship of Isildur was the seedling of Nimloth. Never was Amandil seen again, but the Armament of Pharazôn grew finished. And Ar-Pharazôn beheld the Eagles come out of the West upon a burning sky. But he did on his panoply and his crown, and let raise his standard, and he gave the signal for the raising of the anchors; and in that hour the trumpets of Númenor outrang the thunder. And they sailed forth to Valinor.
This the Valar did not abide, and they laid down their governance of the World, and Eru intervened. Fire spouted from the Meneltarma, and a great wave came, and all Numenor, with its pride and pomp and beauty, was sundered. But in the midst of the storm, the nine ships of the Faithful escaped out of the downfallen West. On these ships were Elendil and his sons Anarion and Isildur. Battered and beaten, Elendil's four ships landed in Lindon, the realm of Gil-galad. Elendil founded the realm of Arnor, and became High King of the two realms in exile. Isildur and Anarion, with the remaining five vessels, landed in Pelargir and founded the realm of Gondor.
The Kingdom of Gondor then extended from the Glanhir and Morthond in the West, to the Mountains of Shadow in the east, to Dagorlad to the North and Poros in the south. Isildur and Anarion founded the capital city of Osgiliath on the Anduin, and the two Kings of Gondor each built their own fortress. Anarion built Minas Anor upon the slopes of Mindollunin, and Isildur Minas Ithil as a guard against Mordor. The two made alliance with the Men of the Mountains, an ancient people who dwelt in the Ered Nimrais, and the Mountain-King swore to serve Gondor in their hour of need. But they had worshipped Sauron in the Dark Days.
Indeed, the Dunedain had believed that Sauron had been destroyed in the Downfall of Númenór, but after 110 years had passed Orodruin burst into flame once more, and it was named Amon Amarth, Mount Doom. Sauron then assaulted and captured Minas Ithil. But when Isildur called on the Men of the Mountains for aid, they fled into their dark strongholds. And so Isildur cursed them, never to rest until they fulfilled their oath. Anarion held Sauron back at Osgiliath while Isildur brought tidings to his father in the north. The power of Gil-galad had grown in the absence of Sauron, and Elendil formed with him the Last Alliance of Elves and Men. The war that ended the Second Age was won, but at a terrible price for the Dunedain. Elendil and Anarion had fallen in the conflict, with many more of Numenorean blood dead as well. But Gondor remained strong under the leadership of Isildur, now the High King of Gondor and Arnor. Isildur spent a year instructing his nephew Meneldil in the ruling of realms, then he went north. But on the way to Arnor, he was killed in an ambush in the Gladden Fields with three of his sons, and so perished the High King of Arnor and Gondor, the Second and the Last.
The rule passed to Meneldil, son of Anarion, and his descendants ruled in peace for five centuries. The lands between Dol Amroth and Anorien grew populous and wealthy, and the only threat was the occasional raid from wild men out of the West. However, in TA 490, a new foe appeared: tribes out of the East, former servants of Sauron, who harried the borderlands. King Romendacil I led the war against them, but was eventually slain in battle in North Ithilien. His son Turambar avenged his death, destroying the Easterling host and winning land for Gondor in the wide lands between the Sea of Rhun and Ithilien. Among their new realms was the province of Dorwinion, which maintained a degree of autonomy and an independent culture. Some Gondorians migrated there, but most of the lands of Dor-Rhunen were not settled.
The realm was once again at peace, until the time of Tarannon. He was the first of the four Ship-Kings of Gondor, during who's reign the realm reached its greatest extent. Tarannon expanded along the west coast of Gondor and south to Harondor, coming into contact with the men of Harad. His nephew, Earnil I, expanded the Navy further, then sailed south and by sea and land took the haven of Umbar, whose people had descended from the Black Numenoreans and were foes of Gondor. In TA 936 he perished in a storm at sea. His own son, Ciryandil, fortified Umbar, but defended in battle in Haradwaith, for the Black Numenoreans brought a great host of Haradrim and assailed the city. Umbar was then besieged for many years.
Ciryaher, the new King, gathered his strength. When all was made ready, his forces moved south. Forcing the crossing of the Harnen, they poured into Harnedor and lifted the siege upon Umbar, pursuing their foes even beyond the Southron Coast. None dared assail Gondor in its victory, and the kings of Harad paid homage to Ciryaher, who renamed himself Hyarmendacil. In this hour the kingdom reached its zenith, and it was said that gems were the playthings of children in the houses of Osgiliath. But the Kings that followed grew slothful and greedy, and the watch on Mordor grew lax and the borders were neglected.
At this time, Gondor grew allied with a people dwelling north of their holds in Rhovanion. These were the Northmen, and they had been known to Gondor, both as friend and occasional foe, and had been given the wide lands of Gondor's realm south of Greenwood to the Inland Sea. In the days of King Narmacil, the Easterlings resumed their assaults, and the Northmen found themselves threatened. The Gondorian Prince Regent, Minalcar, allied with the Northmen, and drove back the Easterlings--even destroying their encampments beyond the Sea of Rhun. Taking the name Romendacil II, he took many Northmen into his service. His own son he even sent to live in the court of Vidugavia, self-styled King of Rhovanion.This son, Valacar, loved greatly the Northmen, and took one as his wife. Their son Eldacar was the source of great strife in Gondor. For some in Gondor already looked askance of the Northmen, deeming them to be inferior in blood. Eldacar's coming to the throne fueled the fire, and the southern fiefs fell into open rebellion. He faced the rebels fearlessly, but they came upon Osgiliath with great force and laid waste to it, killing his son and forcing him to flee to Rhovanion. Castamir, Captain of the Ships and descendant of the royal line, claimed the throne. He was a cruel ruler, and alienated many in the north by planning to move the capital to Pelargir. Eldacar gathered his forces, then attacked out of the north, slaying Castamir himself at the Fords of Erui and driving his followers to Pelargir. There the rebels held out, before gathering the great Gondorian navy and fleeing to Umbar. These rebels, ancestors of the Corsairs, proved a thorn in the side of Gondor for generations.
Eldacar ruled for many years, and was succeeded by his son Aldamir. Aldamir fell in battle with the Haradrim, but was avenged by his son, who won a great victory in the south and ruled as Hyarmendacil II. But the descendants of Castamir, who survived the Kin-Strife and fled to Umbar, were not restful. In TA 1634, they attacked Pelargir during a visit by Minardil son of Hyarmendacil II, slaying him and ravaging the city. Telemnar his son prepared a fleet, but disaster struck, for out of the winds of the East came a great plague. This ravaged Rhovanion, then swept through Gondor. The king and his children all perished, and Osgiliath was deserted. Many of the people fled to the countryside, causing the capital to be relocated to Minas Anor.Though the enemies of Gondor were ravaged by the plague as well, within several generations the Corsairs returned to harry the coast once more. Rankled by their insolence, King Telumehtar mustered a fleet and retook Umbar, killing the last of the descendants of Castamir. This left the city mostly destroyed, but it was defended still by Gondor. The brief respite did not last, however. In the reign of Narmacil II, son of Telumehtar Umbardacil, a new confederation of peoples, the Wainriders, appeared out of the wild East. Narmacil led an army to face them, but they were defeated on the plains of Rhovanion and the king slain. This disaster forced Gondor to abandon its holdings northeast of Ithilien, and the Northmen were enslaved.Calimehtar son of Narmacil determined to avenge his father, and, hearing rumors of a revolt planned by the Northmen, led a diversion force out of Ithilien and engaged the foe at Dagorlad. This enabled the Northmen to rise up and expel the Wainriders from their homes, but so great were their losses that they abandoned Rhovanion and dwelt in the Vale of Anduin. Gondor had peace for forty years, and renewed their alliance with Arthedain, the last realm of the Dunedain in Eriador. But it did not last, for the Wainriders plotted in their lands beyond the Inland Sea. Gondor was thus threatened by invasion from both Rhun and Harondor, as the Wainriders allied with the Haradrim and people of Khand, who had retaken Umbar. King Ondoher divided his forces, sending Earnil, a captain of the royal line, to face the Haradrim, while he and his sons led a force to battle the Wainriders. Earnil was victorious in the south, but the Wainriders came on rapidly and overwhelmed Ondoher. He and both his sons were slain, as well as his nephew who led the rearguard. But the speed of the Wainriders was their undoing, for they stopped to celebrate their victory. Then Earnil came up from Ithilien and assailed them as they feasted, burning their wains and driving them into the Dead Marshes, never to threaten Gondor again. With the King and his sons dead, Arvedui of Arthedain put forth a claim to the throne. After some debate this was ignored by the Gondorian nobles, and Earnil, the victorious general, was made King. He was a wise man and not arrogant, and when Arvedui sent dire messages fearing a final stroke from Angmar, Earnil promised support. It was many years before he was ready, however, and by the time his son arrived in Arthedain with a great host, Fornost had fallen. However, the army of the West was able to drive out the Witch-king and finally lay low the realm of Angmar. As the Witch-king fled, however, he humiliated Prince Earnur and rode off into the night. The Witch-king did not rest, returning in secret to Mordor with more of the Nazgul. There they retook the ancient fortresses behind the Mountains of Shadow, and attacked Minas Ithil. In TA 2002 it fell to the Nazgul, and was renamed Minas Morgul. Minas Anor was renamed Minas Tirith, the Tower of Guard against the evils of Mordor. At the coronation the Witch-king challenged Earnur, reminding him of his humiliation in the North. Earnur was restrained, but some years later the Witch-king repeated the challenge, and Earnur rode to face him in Minas Morgul, never to be seen again. Thus failed the line of the Kings, for no heir could be found. The rulership of Gondor was thus taken up by Mardil the Steward, whose descendants ruled in the names of the Kings. For the long years of the Watchful Peace the Stewards ruled, but their bloodline, as the bloodlines of all the surviving Dunedain, diminished, and their lifespan shortened. That period ended in TA 2460, when Minas Morgul revealed a new race of Orcs, the black Uruk-hai. They overran Ithilien, driving out the last of those who dwelt there, and Boromir son of Denethor I battled them in Osgiliath. The Great Bridge was destroyed, and the city fell into final ruin. Boromir was victorious, but he received a deadly wound which shortened his days. His son Cirion took up the Stewardship, and proved to be Gondor's most famous Steward. Under Cirion, Gondor faced a new threat: a tribe of Easterlings known as the Balchoth, who had overrun Rhovanion and threatened the borders of Calenardhon. In 2509, he recieved word that a great offense was planned by the wildmen, and sent north, to the Eotheod, for aid. The lone rider Borondir Udralph made the perilous journey, and the Northmen came to the rescue. The northern army of Gondor was cut off in the Wold by the Balchoth and a host of Orcs from the mountains, but the Riders of Eorl descended upon their rear and routed them utterly. In recognition of the deeds of the Eotheod, Cirion swore an oath of perpetual friendship with Eorl and granted to him all the realm of Calenardhon, which was renamed Rohan.
The remaining years of Gondor saw continued raids by the Corsairs. In TA 2758, three great fleets of Umbar came upon Gondor, and there was fighting along the coasts from Dor-en-Ernil to Anfalas. After the war and the Long Winter that followed, Steward Beren granted to Saruman the Wizard the keys to Isengard, where still he dwells. In TA 2884, there was fighting along the Poros, and Gondor was hard-pressed. With the aid of the Rohirrim, Gondor was able to throw back the enemy at the Crossings of Poros. The princes of Rohan both fell in battle, and a mound was erected in their honor. Ithilien was invaded again by Mordor ten years later, and Gondor finally withdrew most of its forces, save a few Rangers, from the province.
In the reign of Steward Turgon, Sauron returned to Mordor and declared himself openly once again. Mount Doom burst into flame, and all of Gondor was filled with great unease. His son Ecthelion was a man of wisdom, and endeavored to prepare for the inevitable storm. To that end, he refortified Cair Andros, and strengthened Pelargir. In his service was one Thorongil, a great man of talent and trusted counselor to the Steward. Recognizing the threat posed by the Corsairs of Umbar, under Thorongil's command a small force sailed to Umbar, and in the cover of night rowed into the harbor and burned many of the ships there, before retreating with small loss. Thorongil did not revel in victory, however: he left Gondor after his victory, and was last seen facing the Mountains of Shadow.
Not displeased by his departure was Denethor son of Ecthelion, who believed Thorongil designed to replace him in his father's heart. Soon Denethor rose to the Stewardship. He is a strong, cunning man, strict and cold. It is said among the people that he can see the mind of the Dark Lord, and by this he is aged before his time. His son Boromir is growing into a mighty champion of Men, and though he is young, he brings hope to the people. Hope they will need, for in the East rises a great Enemy, that has waited for three thousand years to see Gondor fall.
Gondor is a dwindling nation, a springless autumn. Bulwark of the west and greatest land of the Free Peoples in Middle-earth it remains, but the evil that now spreads from Mordor cannot be matched. Gondor's days are numbered, and the Black Hand is outstretched to seize the Tower of Ecthelion. Should that indeed occur, who will be safe from the claws of Mordor? Last hope of a free Middle-earth they remain. But the Eyes of the White Tower are not blind, and Denethor son of Ecthelion will not let his proud nation go gently into the dark . Nay, there will be one last battle for Gondor, heirs of Numenor, and they shall stand unwavering before the Shadow, the final defense of the freedom of the West.
•Rangers of the North
|The Men of Gondor|
Soldier (Archer, Banner Bearer, Tower Guard)
The Deeps of the Earth: