Map of Anfalas and Pinnath Gelin (MERP)
Anfalas (S."Long-coast") or Langstrand, between rivers Lefnui and Morthond and between the Pinnath Gelin and the Bay of Belfalas, was a primitive and poor land, in which the Kings of Gondor exerted little direct influence. Its inhabitants led simple, rural lives, usually centered around fishing, agriculture, or shepherding. It was located far away from the tumultuous events of the mid-Third Age. However, its mountains were rich in minerals, and its forests provided southern Gondor's shipyards with timber, making the territory an important possession.
The Númenóreans had lived along the Langstrand since the middle of the Second Age. They were then mainly concentrated in some small settlements at the mouths of the Lefnui and the Celgalen. The inland was for a long time a wilderness into which no proud man ventured. Trade was negligible, and the Númenóreans accordingly showed only a minor interest in the land. After the incorporation of Anfalas into the realm of Gondor, there was a small, additional influx of Dúnedain, either as residents in the small towns, which were flowering under peaceful royal rule, or as landowners, buying or receiving manors in the territory. Most of the region's inhabitants were Danan Lin who had lived there since the First Age. For a long time, the small population consisted of hunters and fishermen living along the coast or in the river valleys. Slowly these spread into the highlands behind Ram Galen and, equally slowly, an agrarian society developed. However, the land was not rich and the people lived under poor circumstances at best. The contacts with the Dúnedain provided an impulse for improvements, but it remained a backward land for a long time. The influence of the Dúnedain did not reach far behind Ram Galen, and though the region's incorporation into the realm in the eighth and ninth centuries of the Third Age improved the level of development, Anfalas remained one of the poorer areas of the realm.
Nevertheless, the province remained a loyal part of Gondor, and during the War of the Ring, the Lord of Anfalas at that time, one Golasgil, led a small troop of his household soldiers, plus a motley assortment of ill-equipped fishermen, herders, and hunters, on a long trek to Minas Tirith, where they nonetheless distinguished themselves during the Battle of Pelennor Fields. The coasts of Anfalas were harassed by Corsairs of Umbar while these men were away.
Regions and Rivers
Calenhir Celgalen East Anfalas eastern highland Eryn-in-Úanhoth Ethir Lefnui Ferensiril Haldanen Heldasiril Lefnui Lyghiril (Gondor) Lond Feren River Morthond Nan-i-Faroth Nan Lefnui Parth Feren Pinnath Gelin (Gondor) Ram Galen (Pinnath Gelin) Tharagrond Umb Estelwain West Anfalas western highland
Places of Note
Adavalinda Aerost Annon Drúin Annúlond Barad Loën Calenhirost Corgonin Eregmar Everhaven Iantras Lalmear Lómost Lond Galen Men Falas (Gondor) Men Galen (Gondor) Pinnornost Rondalph Rond Rhandir Saerthondost Serelond Singroth salt-mines
Olvar and Kelvar
Being a more primitive and sparsely populated area than much of southern Gondor, Anfalas possessed a fairly diverse fauna. Most notable were the numerous domesticated sheep of Pinnath Gelin that provided livelihood for many of the locals. The woods were home to wild boars and many species of deer. There was also a species of aurochs, though it was hunted almost to extinction by the Dúnedain during the second millennium of the Third Age. The most common predators were the fox and wolf, found in most parts of the territory. There were also unsubstantiated rumors of lions in the more remote parts of the adjoining Ered Nimrais. Some scholars thought however that these were just rumors spread by the local Daen to keep outsiders away from their holy places.
To the inhabitants of the Vale of Anduin, the name Anfalas signified the entire northern coast of Belfalas Bay between the rivers Morthond and Lefnui. Usually, it did not include the Mornan, which formed a small separate fief at the upper part of the River Morthond. On the other hand, the land of Andrast, west of the Lefnui, was often included, in which case Anfalas meant the entire land west of the Morthond. Anfalas was not a single geographical unit, contrary to what might be assumed. It was geographically and politically subdivided into two areas: Anfalas proper and the Pinnath Gelin. These two were separated by the long ridge of Ram Galen, which ran parallel to the coast a short distance inland, nearly all the way between the Morthond and the Lefnui. Both were ruled by two distinct liege-lords.
There were nearly three hundred miles of coast between the mouth of the Morthond and the Lefnui Estuary, but there was only a thin sliver of land, since the distance between the coast and the northern border along the watershed atop the Ram Galen was seldom more than thirty miles. It was only in the west, where a large piece of land jutted out into the sea, just to the east of the estuary of Lefnui, that the distance between the coast and the hills was noticeably greater.
The entire area of Anfalas proper was a low, flat coastland with many small creeks and streams running from Ram Galen to the Sea. The land was rather water-logged with large fens and bogs, especially along the eastern parts of the coast. Most of the population lived in small villages or in isolated homesteads, but there were also a few small towns. The western part was a slightly richer agricultural area, but still quite underdeveloped when compared with the Vale of Anduin. There were also many fishing villages and small harbor-towns along the coast, since the adjacent waters were rich fishing grounds. Also along the coasts stood many brackish marshes from which salt would be conveniently and profitably extracted. The summers in Langstrand and the Cape of Andrast were usually rather warm, but since they were coastal regions, they received a lot of rain. The winters were temperate and very rainy. It was rarely cold enough to bring snow, or freeze rivers and lakes to ice over.
Anfalas and Tharagrond in T.A. 1640-1650
- Political Organization: Anfalas: Province; Tharagrond: Autonomous Principality.
- Rulers: Hindrasimir, Lord Protector of Anfalas; Maeldring, Squire of Haerlond; Caldwinna, Subject Queen of the Southern Daen; Ar-Balazor, Prince of Tharagrond.
- Administrative Organization: The King appoints all representatives of his power in Anfalas, but usually selects from a fairly small pool of the local nobility. Six families control most of the region not under direct royal rule. In Tharagrond, the Prince has absolute power to appoint his own representatives. Land is held by the King (or Prince) and the nobility, distributed to smallholders for an annual rent.
- Population: 8,000 Dúnedain, 53,000 Daen, 3,000 Woses.
- Military: 800 Gondorian Infantry, 600 Gondorian Cavalry; 10.000 Dunnish Warriors divided among a dozen tribes; 900 Drúadan Hunters grouped into over 40 clans.
- Products: Fish, gold, salt.
- Symbol: Tharagrond: A Black Tower on a Sky Blue Field.
The province of Anfalas is the least significant of Gondor's original provinces under the reign of Elendil. Few Gondorians live more than a mile from the coast or the valley of the River Morthond. Those that brave the wilds of the region are usually miners, prospecting in the western spurs of the White Mountains for gold. Gold is the main reason for Gondor's continued interest in the area, for it exists nowhere else within the confines of Gondorian hegemony.
The mines of Anfalas produce all of Gondor's golden coins, jewelry, and other artifacts, and the Kings go to great lengths to protect it. Their task is difficult, for a large population of Daen lives in the area. The distance to Gondor's capital frequently causes the Dunnish tribes to question Royal authority, and revolts are common. Past Lord Protectors have been diplomatic, convincing the King to leave a subject monarchy for the Dunnish citizens. In lieu of taxes, the current Dunnish queen, Caldwinna, pays an annual tribute to Minas Anor, which usually comes in the form of labor in the mines and for Gondor's army.
Since the Plague, however, tensions have grown between the Gondorian officials and the subject peoples. Dunnish raids and harsh retributions from the Lord Protectors form a viciously increasing circle. Caldwinna has not been linked to any of the uprisings, but Lord Hindrasimir craves an open conflict, so that the guerilla war might be transformed into an armed conflict more suitable for Gondor's armies. The small garrisons kept in Anfalas are barely capable of protecting all Gondorian interests in the province, and an open conflict would require a large number of reinforcements to crush the rebels.
Anfalas is a rocky, windswept, and desolate place which once saw better times. Since the Second Age, Númenóreans and Elves built havens here. With the rise of Gondor, however, the focus of power moved eastward, and Anfalas gradually transformed into a collection of fishing villages and trading outposts. The largest of these settlements, the town of Haerlond, is built upon the ruins of a Númenórean castle at the very tip of the cape known as Andrast. It serves as a way station for sea traffic between Gondor and the North, for few ships traverse the dangerous passage around Andrast without some need of repairs or resupply. Only one Númenórean citadel remains intact, and it has a unique role in Gondor. The fortress of Tharagrond was a royal fortress at the time of the Downfall, under the control of the presumptuous King Ar-Pharazon. However, the Lord of Tharagrond took pity upon the Faithful and offered them refuge. In exchange for this kindness. Elendil established the Lord as a Prince within the realm of Gondor, free from all authority in his own lands and responsible to no-one save the King. Ever since, Tharagrond has been the last haven of the Black Númenóreans north of Umbar. Though their bloodline is now fully mingled with that of the Dúnedain, the Princes of Tharagrond still take names in Adûnaic. Their good relations with Gondor make them the blood-enemies of other Black Númenóreans, but their stake in the region's mineral wealth grants them enough riches and clout to ensure their safety.
In the twisted forests of the ragged uplands, there is a sizeable population of Drúedain. These shy folk never make contact with the Daen, much less the Gondorians. Little is known about them, save that they are related to the Woses of the Grey Wood and the Beffraen of Minhiriath. They appear to be descendants of the priestly caste of the Daen Coentis, whose monuments still stand throughout Gondor. They have nothing to trade, and their primitive culture cools the desire of Gondor's merchants and scholars to learn more about them. The miners report that they are expert hunters who protect their lands with a frightening ferocity.
The coastal plain had numerous manors and estates, many of which had developed from what was owned by local headmen, while others were bought by people emigrating from central Gondor or granted by the kings to loyal subjects. There were few large estates, mainly situated close to the mouth of the Lefnui. In spite of the dissolution of the Pelargirean League and the impositions of the Ship-kings, Anfalas had always been dominated by noble landowners. These noblemen usually possessed great power in the villages near their manors, since many of the inhabitants were their liegemen. There were however no strong noble families able to compete with the Cánor for power in the land.
Most of the population lived as holders of small farms, hardly exceeding subsistence level. The peasants were divided into three groups. The first were the freeholders, owners of their own land. The second group were the tenants, who rented their lands from a landowner, paying a flat fee for a long-term contract. Finally, there were the liegemen, who were bound to their respective lord through loyalty bonds and who were allowed to cultivate a plot of their lord's land on a share-crop basis. The liegemen were strongly bound to their lord, but were neither slaves nor serfs, since such arrangements were contrary to the ideals of the Faithful. The liegeman concept was a phenomenon which did nearly not exist in the Vale of Anduin or in Belfalas. There were no clear borders distinguishing these groups, since a freeholder might also rent an extra plot, while a liegeman might hold one plot in liege from his lord while renting another, and a tenant might be as dependent on the local lord as the liegemen. In general, the liegemen were the poorest in a village while the freeholders were the wealthiest. Many of the peasants living in coastal villages were also part-time fishermen. Often they worked in a group, with cooperative ownership of the boat according to how much each had invested. Alternatively, a wealthy man might own the boat, luring others as crew while he himself acted as captain. In yet another arrangement, the local nobleman owned the boat, and manned it with villagers or rented it out to a wealthy community member who acted as captain.
On the northern side of the Lefnui valley were many small mining communities. The inhabitants usually held a small plot for farming. This could be a free-holding, but most commonly it was held in tenancy from the mine owner.
- T.A. 1640-1650: Dorelas the false Priest Hindrasimir
- T.A. 3018-3019: Asgil-Golamir Golasdan Golasgil Goromil of Ithilien Gundor Minohtar Mariel
Politics and Power
Anfalas was ruled by a royal Liege-Lord residing in Lond Galen. Since his territory was quite unimportant, this Cáno rarely came from among the prominent nobility of Gondor. Instead, he usually came from one of the more notable local noble families. The position was the subject of a running political feud between a group of noblemen of the richer, western parts of Annúlond and the Mesta, a group from the Pinnath Gelin. The coastal group advocated a more developed agriculture and opposed the Mesta's measures to protect the migratory routes of their sheep flocks. Accordingly, the Pinnath Gelin group strongly protected the Mesta against anything they felt as encroaching on the privileges of its organization. The coastal plain was divided into three rural districts, of which the westernmost was economically and politically the most important. The land behind the Ram Galen formed a "sub-territory" ruled by a lieutenant-Cáno from Annúlond. The reason for this arrangement was that the two regions were so different in character that it was advantageous to have a separate leader for the Pinnath Gelin, which was further subdivided into four rural districts: the lower Lefnui valley, the upper Lefnui valley, the western highland, and the eastern highland.
There were many towns all over the territory. Most were very small with populations of between 1.000 and 2.000 inhabitants and functioned mainly as marketplaces for the surrounding villages. Those in the valleys of the Lefnui and the lower Morthond were more important, since they were foci for the Mesta's wool-trade in the Lefnui vale, or for the mining of ore. Since all towns in Anfalas were small and quite unimportant, none formed a separate urban district.
When Tarannon incorporated Anfalas into the realm, he stationed small military companies in its major towns. Rather soon these companies were withdrawn, except at a few havens. These troops left after Hyarmendacil's victory, and the entire territory was ungarrisoned, with the exception of a small company held by the Cáno in Lond Galen. However, Anfalas' archers were widely known to be of superior quality, and Cánor and commanders throughout Gondor would pay professional wages to maintain companies of these yeomen throughout the realm. The Anfalas archer became commonplace by the time of the Kin-strife. When the Kin-strife began, many noblemen raised troops from among their liegemen and tenants to fight for their chosen cause. In general, the coastal plain was traditionalist, while Pinnath Gelin was loyalist. After Eldacar's fall, the loyalists gave in, but Castamir still spread a large number of soldiers all over the territory, mostly recruited locally. Castamir summoned most of them when assembling his army in T.A. 1447, with the result that Anfalas was largely undefended when Eldacar's forces reoccupied it after the Battle of the Crossings of Erui.
Not long after the Kin-strife, a new threat arose: the Corsairs. In T.A. 1449, Eldacar had recalled most of his soldiers from Anfalas, not realizing what strategies the Umbareans would later take; but in T.A. 1652 after a few severe raids, royal troops were again stationed in the major havens. Local defense companies were also raised all along the coast as well as in the river valleys of the Lefnui and the Morthond. Later, such companies were also raised in Pinnath Gelin. After the Plague (T.A. 1636) there were regular troops, paid by the King's Treasury, in Lond Galen and in a few other more important harbors, altogether 1,500 men in six locations. There were also a number of semi-regular companies, raised by local nobles at the king's instigation. These garrisons occupied small forts and towns along the coast and in the river valleys, and totaled about 5.000 men-at-arms, about a third of which were archers who were sometimes sent abroad and attached to the King's Corps. The responsible nobleman usually received some privileges or benefits for raising such a company.
Unlike in other regions of southern Gondor, Anfalas' ruler did not organize a Territorial Corps, since his resources were too limited and the population too sparse and scattered. Instead, there were special arrangements that suited the local conditions better. These arrangements consisted of trained bands and militias. The trained band was a special unit formed by men settled on royal land who received tax benefits for participating. They trained regularly and could be stationed in threatened places on the Cáno's order. The complete trained band amounted to about 8,000 men, a third of which usually did garrison service during the summer (i.e., when the Corsair threat was greatest). Occasionally the whole band was summoned if there were clear indications of an impending large Corsair raid. The band might serve outside the territory, but its men were very hesitant to do so, especially if there were any threats against Anfalas. Thanks to its frequent conflicts with the Corsairs, the trained band achieved a level of skill superior to that of Gondor's other reservists. Finally, there was the ordinary militia. It consisted of all able-bodied men, who were charged with keeping a spear and a shield at home and who were summoned to defend their homes when the Corsairs struck. The military value of the militia units was negligible, and they were only used for local defense, while waiting for reinforcement from better units.
- Archaic/poetic English: lang = "long" + strand = "beach, coast(line), shore(line)". Langstrand also translates as "Long Beach" from Afrikaans and German (there is a Langstrand in Namibia). "Long Beach" is a common place-name in English-speaking countries.
- MERP #2020: Southern Gondor: The People
- MERP #2021: Southern Gondor: The Land