The Axe-Easterlings or Axemen (S."Hatholhoth") were a People or confederation of Tribes which invaded western Rhûn and Gondor in the late Third Age. They seemed unrelated to the earlier easterling Tribes of Rhûn as the Balchoth and Wainriders and were described as Small, stout, bearded like Dwarves and wielding Great Axes.They called themselves Hazga (Rhû."Clans") or later Sûhalar (originally the name of the confederation's largest Tribe) and were largely the descendants of those Umli, Dyrian and Desdursy tribes who had emerged from the northern Rahiwenna who did not bow to the Balchoth Rule and who could free themselves from the yoke of the Clans of Near-Rhûn after the division of the former Balchoth-empire.
The Hazga were not a new people but the descendants of different northern Tribes who gathered around the Kol estuary.Among them were descendants of the Dyrians and Desdursy but also the last remnants of the Umli. According to legend the Wizard Alatar was influential in the forming of the alliance.
The Hazga wore long tunics, head-scarfs, loincloth,sarabaras, and Puttees.
The Hazga religion was an amalgamation of different tribal religions, however the teachings of the Blue Caste were kept in high value and many Hazga also adhered the Cult of Doom. Among the ancient gods who survived in the Hazga folk-tradition was Mahlic, the ancient god of the Umli, the river deity Kol, the Lord of the Winds, the Earth-Mistress, the Great Hunter and many others.
After the War of the Ring the Hazga-Leaders surrendered themselves to Gondor. Their descendants who were seen as trusted subjects by the Kings of Gondor, however after his release, Alatar was able to renew his influence on the Hazga and their descendants eventually were drawn into border skirmishes that shook the east in the early fourth Age. These were quelldd upon Alatar‘s re-exile.
In MERP the Axe-Easterlings or their ancestors are represented by the Umli, a folk of (reputedly) half-dwarves from the Northern Peninsula of Middle-Earth. One of their tribes, the Sashir fell to darkness and swore allegiance to the Dark Lord.
Middle-Earth - Total War
The Middle-Earth - Total War MOD mentions a mysterious Easterling Tribe called Hazga, possibly identical with the bearded and Axemen described in the Lord of the Rings.
The Umlir, described in some fan-fiction, seem to have been invented to represent the descendants of the older Umli and the not-named bearded and axe-wielding Easterling-Folk mentioned by Tolkien.