In the early years of the Second Age, the eastern and southern fringes of Eriador became a refuge for Elves who did not wish to live under the rule of any Elvish king or mannish lord. The Elves named the region — lying between the Noldo and Sinda realm of Lindon in the west and the Silvan realms of the Anduin vales on the east — Enedhwaith (S. "Middle-folk"). Its lands originally extended through the fell country of the Trollshaws and the western foothills of the Misty Mountains down to the Calenhardin (S. "Green Southern Passage," later the Gap of Calenardhon, S. "Green Province") — including all the lands south of the Gwathló-Mitheithel and north of the White Mountains. They were the home of all manner of creatures: Trolls, Orcs, Faerie, and such Men as were willing to exchange the safety of settled life for the dangerous freedom of the wild.
The forests of Enedhwaith had been receding ever since the fall of Beleriand, because of climatic changes and catastrophic deforestation and erosion. The Númenóreans, who had little understanding of these processes and a great need for ship-building timber, began massive clear-cutting of the woodland of the Gwathló basin soon after founding their first outposts in Eriador. The practice led to the Eriadoran wars, in which the Eriedain natives were subdued or driven northward or eastward out of their lands.
As the centuries passed, the northern portion of Enedhwaith was claimed and pacified first by the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm and then by the Noldor Elves who founded the kingdom of Eregion. The southern reaches of old Enedhwaith fell under the rule of a being named Grishmoigh the Ur-giant, who styled himself Lord of Trees. He commanded, originally, the loyalty of evil Huorns and Forest-trolls. Treebeard (S. "Fangorn"), the leader of the Ents, opposed the Ur-giant. Grishmoigh — by blood a bizarre mixture of Ent, Troll, and Giant — cobbled together a coalition of Trolls, Elves, and Eriadoran Men to lead them against the Númenóreans. Treebeard, peaceful by nature, sensed that no power in Enedhwaith could beat the Lords of Men; he withdrew east of the Misty Mountains with most of his folk, while the Númenóreans razed the region in a series of wars, forcing Grishmoigh to agree to a truce. Sauron made a secret alliance with Grishmoigh that allowed him to use Enedhwaith as a staging area for his attack on Eregion in S.A. 1697. The passage of the fallen Maia's armies and the subsequent War of the Elves and Sauron caused even more ruin, and while Grishmoigh survived the conflict, he was not an important factor in Eriadoran politics again in the Second Age.
By the time of the fall of Númenor, much of Enedhwaith was semi-grassland, subject to flooding and decorated with strange, eroded terrain — like that normally found in desert badlands. The Forest-trolls were still a nuisance, but the new kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor were nonetheless able to build a real highway, the Tiar Hariar, or Old South Road, from Tharbad through the Calenhardin and into the Gondorian province of Calenardhon. The domain of the Ur-giant arose one last time in S.A. 3429 when Sauron made his great assault on the Realms in Exile. Save for mercenaries and bitter renegades, few Men or Elves served Grishmoigh in this war; his army consisted mainly of Huorns, Trolls, and Orcs. Isildur Elendilion, given the task of opening a path into Eriador while his brother Anárion Elendilion held the line of the Anduin against Sauron, made alliance with Treebeard and the Ents. He slew Grishmoigh while forcing a crossing of the Fords of Isen in T.A. 3430. Elendil's strategic decision to move his main army against Mordor by the northern passes of the Misty Mountains was motivated by Grishmoigh's resistance, and by the refusal of the Daen Coentis of the White Mountains, who controlled the southern side of the Calenhardin, to join in the war. Isildur cursed the Daen for this; their kingdom failed under the power of the malediction, and many of its warriors became the ghosts who haunted the Paths of the Dead ever after. Others fled northward to settle in Enedhwaith, which had been violently cleared of its evil by Arnorian and Elvish Rangers. The eastern half, mainly the fells and foothills of the Misty Mountains, was settled by the strongest and best organized Daen clans. By T.A. 250, it had acquired the Dunael name of Dunfearn (later "Dunland"). While Gondor treated the territory as a protectorate, primarily to keep the Tiar Hariar open, Dunland was thereafter, for all practical purposes, a collection of independent Daen clan-holds. The western half of the region — the name Enedhwaith now applied only to the lands bounded by the Gwathló and the River Angren between Dunland and the sea — became inhabited by a mix of races. Minor Dunman clans moved in along the southern banks of the Gwathló, evolving into the ancestors of most of the Dunnish folk of Cardolan. Along the coast there were still "fisherfolk," Eriadoran for the most part. Inland Beffraen tribesmen, sundered from their kin in the Eryn Vorn, dwelt in the forests, alongside Orcs and Trolls. Enedhwaith was, as it had been for most of its history, a wild land where both freedom and danger could be found.
About T.A 1640
The Cardolandrim, concentrated along the north bank of the Gwathló, were periodically drawn into conflict on the river's south bank. Enedhwaith had become a grassy, eroded, poorly-watered plain and was home to impoverished lowland Dunmen who raid their neighbors to make ends meet. Were the Gwathló narrower or shallower, or the Dunmen more adept with boats or swimming, the Cardolani would not sleep soundly in their beds at night. As it was, they risked feeling the Dunnish wheeb or throwing club only when they crossed the river. On its south bank grew two extensive forests that provided much of the timber used for shipbuilding in Cardolan. The nearest wood, Maes-Coed, lay eighty miles south of Tharbad; the farther one, Gwen Coit, was located a full 8 days travel from the city at the mouth of the Gwathló where it joined the sea. The timber collectors went to their task in large semi-military expeditions. In addition to Dunnish tribesmen, bands of hostile Beffraen inhabited the Gwen Coit, while Stone- and Forest-trolls dwelt in the Mhaighwyd.
The four hundred square miles of the Nin-in-Eilph, the Swanfleet Marshes just outside of Tharbad, harboured treacherous alkali bogs and innumerable poisonous reptiles. The Cardolandrim and Dunmen both braved the fens in search of rare herbs, but more often the intent was to poach the lordly swans gracing the waters. Their feathers were highly favored by the fashionable ladies of Gondor, and were the only dependable source of wealth to be found locally.
Dunfearn in this century was reasonably peaceful, but unlikely to remain so. The fifteen "Greater Clans" — the powerful tribes who treated with the Dúnadan Kings centuries ago and guaranteed Dunfearn its autonomy ever since — had split into two factions. One, the Daen Coentis, was named after the people of the old kingdom in the White Mountains. The Daen Iontis, the more violent faction, had taken a name roughly meaning "The Betrayed People." The first group was trying actively to reclaim the culture of the old Daen; the second was most concerned with getting revenge on the Dúnedain for the curse of Isildur. The Temple of Justice, a religious cult led by a strangely long-lived high priest named Maben, provided spiritual leadership for the Daen Iontis. The Temple was believed to have made human sacrifices of Dúnadan victims. The only major town on the South Road, Laur Dunnen, was controlled by a neutral tribe, Clan Gurgan, and so trade had not been interrupted by the dispute. However, there were now many places in Dunfearn where a Dúnadan or other foreigner should fear to go, and the tension between the Dunnish factions could explode at any time.
In Later Years
It was the eternal curse of the Daen people to never achieve any level of organization sufficient to accomplish a great goal. The conflict between the Daen Coentis and the Daen Iontis lasted throughout the Third Age, ending only after the latter sided with Saruman in the War of the Ring. Occasional Dunnish expansion into Eriador was thwarted by the desolate conditions there and local resistance; their attempts to expand southward were blocked by the Gondorians and then by Rohirric forces after the kingdom of Rohan was founded in the 26th century. The subversion of Maben's Temple of Justice by Saruman, who, secretly controlled by the Dark Lord, wished to conquer Rohan, incidentally kept either of them from using it to bother the Eriadorans. Destroying the cult by covert means becomes one of the first important tasks of the Prince Regent of the Reunited Kingdom in the early Fourth Age.
Regions and Rivers
Ancient Forest Angrast Angren Belling Brook Vale Broken Lands Cillien Cilstrem Vale Coasts of Enedwaith Coit Cerdd Cross-stones Cursed Forest Dead end Valley Dor Wathui Dreary Hills Dunfearn Dunland Dunstrem Dunstrem Vales Ered Daer Eregion Eriadoran Coast Eryn Dol Ethir Angren Ethir Gwathló Foradun Fordirith Glanduin Gloomglens Greenbank's Steadings Greenvale Grim Foothills Gwathló Gwen Coit Hashgmur Heathfells Hills of Dunland Hithaeglir Foothills Hithaeglir Stream Isen Gap Isen Lands Lich Bluffs Lingering Grove Marsh of Tode Mas-Coed Meach Merlock Mountains Mournshaws Nan Cúrunir Nan Laeglin Nen Gwathló Nin-in-Eilph Plains of Enedwaith Raven Country Reedwater Reedwater Marshes Reedwater Vale Rich Hills Rohwaen Rolling Moors Ruaival Senana Sirannon Sonn South Downs Tangled Woods Taur Angrast Thrór's Coomb Tol Aryn Fen Tol Gil Western Enedwaith Wild Plain Windfells Winter Downs
Settlements and Places of Interest
Adornas Ajalion Alclud Alesla Alu-Aminu Amlothdor Amon Elc Amon Lind Anccraug Andhas Dun Angrenost Arailt Hold Avenicurr Balorn Banner-town Barad Colgrin Bar Adorn Barad Vin Bar Elmar Barnas Barnavon Beannachd Bregnas Byrig Caimarava Car Aldarion Carnach Carp Cape Carras Cave Barrow Celecuc Celoniach Crag na Dun Creatrach Crebain Keep Curcenis Daelmoth Daithen Dol Baran Druwaur Dun Arilthach Dun Bhainnan Dun Caladach Duncillien Duneard Dun Fidach Dun Gyroth Dunhallow Dunland Battlefield Dun Larach Dunlogan Dun Morbet Dun Talorgan Dun Udrost Dun Wredech Dwaithohir's Eyrie Ebronicurr Echad Daervunn Echad Dagoras Echad Idhrenfair Echad Saeradan Enedhir Erynwaith Ethraid Engrin Faol Fearachas Feargan Hold Fell Barrows Fisher-town Fords of Isen Forthbrond Forthunn Freawul Galar Culch Gadardhel Ghost-Caves Giant's Home Giant's Mine Gineard Goigoche Greenvale Greenwatch Gronu Gwaed Brun Gygrid Gynd The Hall of Sanctuary Hallowed Circle Hardrath Hariaryn Harndirion Harthunn Hauheinsfiudur Hawk Mathain Healer's Hall Hill Barrow Hirta Hwalord Iolair Keep Ironwharf Isen-dwelling Isildur's Tomb Ithriul's Retreat Kavanag Kedhern Kierkyard Lair of Turukulon Laur Dunnen Lhanuch Lin Gwathló Lippa Lond Angren Lond Daer Lost Grottos Marishburh Maur Tulhau Minas Gwathir Minas Hvith Mirthang Munuv Dûv Ravine Nár's Peak New Maresh Nightshade Sanctuary Nol Dub Och Cadlus Odharn Ossilryn Ostiras Othrond Palomirë's Home Pillars of Stone Raven Chief's Camp Raven Village Raven War-camp Redvyrne Keep Riddle Caves Rindvild Roaring Caves Ruaival Village Ruined Bridge Ruined signal tower Sarn Ford Sauron's Camp Sharkey's Wall Smuggler's Hold Stone Barrow Súthure Talach Boghain Taralurior Temple of Justice Tharbad Thoronnorc Todolb Tor-Duinair Treforn Hold Troll Tor Tulach Boghain Undrond Vindacil Vinyatir Vniricurr Whalespit Wularan Ysmeden Zalahiu-tar Zigil-Dûm Zudrugund
- T.A. 1400: 348.000 Southerners
- T.A. 1650: 290.000 Southerners
- T.A. 1975: 386.400 Southerners
- T.A. 3000: 155.400 Southerners
Ainur: Grishmoigh Ithriul
Men: Gelos Tiran Gruldnur Gwyllion Wolf Hollowing
Ancient Marsh-dwellers Barghest Beaver Black Wolves Caradraug Coneys Crebain Cun Annun Cunara Deer Dragons Druggavar Ducks Dun Crows Dunland Horses Dunmen's Dogs Ferrets Field Mice Giant Swamp Adder Glutani Golodos Gorali Grey Wolves Ground Squirrels Hawks Spotted Panther Lynx Madratine Marine turtles Migrant Geese Mungos Neekerbreekers Otters Plains Ox Raccoons Rats Red Foxes Skunks Snowbeasts Spotted Lions Squirrels steppe Wolverines War Wargs Weasles white Stags Wild Boar Wild Goats
- Enedhwaith was the spelling JRRT actually preferred and used in his annotations for Pauline Baynes and Of Dwarves and Men, but CJRT changed it in Unfinished Tales back to Enedwaith to stay in accordance with the published LotR. He later admitted this as a mistake, or at least expressed some regrets. In this wiki we therefore prefer the spelling Enedhwaith.
- MERP: Arnor
- MERP: Campaign and Adventure Guidebook
- MERP: Dunland and the Southern Misty Mountains
- MERP: Lórien & The Halls of the Elven Smiths
- MERP: Lost Realm of Cardolan
- MERP: Middle-earth Adventure Guidebook II
- MERP: Middle-earth Campaign Guide
- MERP: Northwestern Middle-earth Campaign Atlas
- MERP: Thieves of Tharbad
- MERP: Woses of the Black Wood