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Harondorians

Harondors original inhabitants, the time of whose arrival was lost in antiquity, were semi-nomadic tribes of herders and farmers related to the Daen peoples of the lower Nan Anduin and the Harûze of Near Harad. During the course of the Second Age, most of these people were drawn into the more settled lifestyle of the Númenóreans or the more sophisticated Haruzani immigrants from the upper and middle Harnen. A few clans Survived far into the Third Age, still clinging to their traditional lifestyle, herding sheep and goats in the hills, and farming the valley.

The Dônan, generally called "Inlanders" by the Westron-speaking folk of Harondor, belonged to the Daen peoples and were fairly closely related in speech and culture to the Men of the White Mountains and the Donaen of Ered Lithui's northern slopes, Their coastal relatives, the Sakalai, intermixed with their Dúnadan overlords and later became the common folk of Gondor. The Inlanders of the mid-Third Age were farmers and herders who lived in the Ephel Duath foothills of northern Harondor. Their agriculture wass primitive by Gondorian standards, and was augmented by hunting deer and herding sheep and goats. They lived in villages, usually located near streams or wells, with houses built of wood with thatched roofs, surrounded by a log palisade.

Before the arrival of the Númenóreans, the Dônan were under constant pressure from Haruzani migration, both the traditional hill tribes migrating in from the east and horse mounted shepherds, the Eraguk, coming up from the south. During Ar-Pharazôn's reign, the Donans ancestord were almost obliterated by the slave-trade and the Cult of Melkor. Only the Downfall of Númenór saved them from extinction and, during the first centuries of the third Age, they were left alone to recover. When Tarannon extended his dominion into Harondor during the eighth century, the Donan subjected themselves to the Winged Crown without opposition. However, they never developed a sense of loyalty to it; nor did their hatred of the Haruze cease, fearing that the hill-folk would drive them enrirely from their homelands. After the Second Wainrider War, there were no Donan left in Harondor. The survivors had moved across the Poros into the Ephel Dúath foothills of Harithilien where, in a few generations, they were assimilated into the Gondorian mainstream and disappeared as a distinct ethnic group.

A fiercer people than the hill-folk, the nomads of the Aegardh had always been a constant threat to the agriculturalists who dwelt along the edges of the Harondorian steppes. In the late Second Age, the Eraguks ancestors west of the Hyarmentie were pacified by the Númenóreans. The clans that continued to stalk Númenórean travelers on the old road were forced east of the Carnen, where their power was broken until Númenor's fall, In the years afterward, they resumed their old ways and allied themselves with Sauron. However, Anárion Elendilion forces in the War of the Last Alliance once again shattered their power. They were, (or the most part) absorbed into the more sedentary Gondorian and Haruze societies during the course of the first millennium of the Third Age.

During the terrible wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, new nomad clans migrated into the eastern Aegardh. The kings of Gondor and the Haruze monarchs who replaced them after the twentieth century lacked the power to overawe the nomads, who were now free to practice their traditional habits of banditry and sheep-rustling, A constant threat to the settled lands around them, the nomads were a major reason for Harondor's economic and political weakness during the later Third Age after they also moved into the western Aegardh.

The common Gondorian folk of the province were descended from Second Age Númenórean colonists and various Daen peoples of the coasts of Belfalas Bay, with most in Harondor possessing some Haruze blood. Physically, they differed little from the inhabitants of Harithilien or southeastern Lebennin. Their mother tongue was Westron, albeit spoken with a distinctly local accent, and their lifeways showed the colorful influence of their Haruze neighbors. For this reason they were always known to their kin in Gondor as the "Outhame," a Westron term for outsiders. The Outhame accepted this label because they were well aware of their status as immigrants in the homeland of their fathers and eccentrics in the heartland of their culture.

The Outhame were latecomers to Harondor, having arrived in two waves. The first wave came during the last centuries of the Second Age, when the Númenóreans ruled the coasts and openly sought to expand their holdings. These people settled mostly along the coast, earning their living from agriculture and fishing. The second Gondorian immigration lasted from Hyarmendacil I`s reign to the beginning of the Kin-strife. The kings encouraged farmers of the Vale of Anduin to settle in Harondor's river valleys and coastlands in order to provide the region with a loyal and productive population that would develop its natural resources. These settlers built the towns and irrigation systems that made Harondor a valuable prize for the warring factions born in the aftermath of the Kin-strife. Yet it was the wars between the kings of Gondor and the rebels in Umbar that mined much of its value. The commoners suffered terribly from the many post-Kin-strife wars with Umbar and, later, with the Haruze. The villages, estates, and irrigation systems in the Harnen valley were devastated in the wars of the sixteenth century. After that conflict, the Outhame were a minority in their own land. Attempts to rebuild their strength failed and their society finally collapsed during the Second Wainrider War. In the terrible spring of T. A . 1944, almost all commoners perished or fled to Harithilien and Lebennin. After that, only the Laergaladrin still boasted an Outhame majority. The rest of Harondor was left to the Corsairs of Umbar and the Haruze.

The Haruze peoples of Harondor represented a case almost as tragic as the Outhame, Their ancestors were akin to the hill-folk of northern Harondor and the Eraguk of the upland steppes. In ancient times (and in later days, in the more impoverished corners of their land), their ancestors had lived in settlements no more sophisticated then those of the Donan. However, the mid-Second Age saw a flowering of Haruzani culture, inspired by the coming of the Númenóreans to Middle-earth and the revolution in agriculture and trade that came with them.

While the Nan Harnen was eventual!v ruled and sett led by Númenórean colonists, the hill country of the Echorbel became the focus of Haruzani resistance. The southern arm of the Echorbel (the Emyn Imladrim) was known to the Haruze as the Ausk Harmaka; evenrually the name Harmaka became a general one for all the Haruze lands north of the Harnen. Sadly, the native states of ihe Harmaka were caught up in the struggle between the factions of Númenor and the minions of Sauron. The Cults of Melkor and the Dark Lady flourished among the western Haruzani, leading to a Númenórean reaction that saw them ruined and exploited.

The early Third Age saw a revival among the Haruze as an independent power. Umbar lacked the strength to enforce its old colonial rule and even saw its sub-colonies along the Harnen break away. Unfortunately, the old traditions of brutal, cynical governance had passed on to the new rulers of the Harmaka, leaving them open, after a few centuries of misrule, to the expanding power of Gondor. Ironically, the establishment of Harondor led to a second great flowering of Haruze culture.

The Ship-kings hoped that, with enough immigration and intermarriage, all of Harondor would be populated with peoples loyal to their rule by both birth and culture. Instead, the Haruze population grew as fast as that of the settlers from Lebennin; away from the centers of Gondorian power, most Haruze continued to speak their own language and worship by their own traditions. While the Haruze remained second-class citizens in their Own land, as long as the kings of Gondor ruled well, they were no worse off then their ancestors under the old native aristocracies. By and large, they remained loyal to the "Lords of the Stone-land" until the time of the Kin-strife, The rule of the confederates in Harondor gradually undid most ot what the Ship-kings had accomplished in the province. The racial bigotry that had been restrained during the more benevolent years ot Gondorian rule now went unchecked. The influx of refugees into Harondor also caused a tremendous strain on the resources of the province. Most of the refugees were forced to remain in Harondor, therefore the rebel leaders defending it against Eldacar had to find a place for them. Often times a place was found, but only at the expense of others long resident there, particularly the Haruze.

Resentment grew and many Haruze abandoned any support for the followers of Castamir. A multitude of small rebellions broke out among the Haruze population as many fought against injustices (both actual and perceived).Though none of the uprisings were large or destabilizing enough to bring the security of the region into question, the attack by the army of Gondor in T.A. 1540 combined with the internal dissent was critical in the rapid recapture of Harondor. Years of agitation by Haruz dissidents and Sauronists continued, though the rulers of Harondor had changed. By the seventeenth century of the Third Age, few Haruze had any great loyalty to their Gondorian or Corsair masters; the surviving Outhame had few friends left in their own country, and both Gondor and Umbar were often obliged to rule parts of Harondor by coercion.

Eärnil II´s withdrawal from Harondor in the twentyfirst century was a stark recognition of the fact that the men of Gondor were no longer welcome there. Harondor became generally known as "the Harmaka" among the Haruze and its population was almost entirely Southron. Sadly, the new rulers proved no better at protecting the land and people than the old lords. Kingdoms and dynasties rose and fell, but no great unifiers or builders were among them. When great powers passed through the Harmaka. the western Haruze might follow or be exploited, but their tune to lead never came. Only the territory controlled by the Corsairs of Umbar proved to have any lasting stability or peace. Even then, internal divisions within their ranks and their preoccupation with destroying or retaking Gnndor kept their Harondorian possessions, from reattaining file same level of prosperity enjoyed in the years preceding the Kin-strife.

Politics & Power

Prior to its incorporation into the provincial system of Gondor, Harondor was ruled by a patchwork of mostly Haruzani kingdoms, dynasties that had come to power under the tributary regime of imperial Númenór or soon after its fall. The last of these realms collapsed after Tarannon began the transformation of the region into a province.A status Harondor enjoyed until T.A. 1448, when the confederate enforcement south of the Poros impelled King Eldacar to militarize the territory still under his control.

Eldavar, recognizing the importance of a stable chain of command on his southern frontier, departed from the practice of appointing a new military governor every few years, and instead made the office a life-long appointment. In addition to this, the king ennobled Ecthelion of Harondor, the first governor, promising to keep the rule of the territory in his family (though this did not actually involve an enfeoffment of Harondor itself, only the bestowal of the town of Methir and its district). Ecthelion was one of Eldacar's able commanders, a commoner from Osgiliath. Both he and his heirs governed Gondorian-controlled Harondor until their last scion perished in the Wainrider invasion of T.A. 1944.

After the Second Wainrider War, the kings only controlled northern Harondor. No new governor was appointed in T.A. 2002, since by then the territory, apart from the southern bank of the Poros and the fortified coastal strip opposite Tolfalas, was effectively outside royal control. The controlled area was transferred to Ithilien's jurisdiction as the "South of Poros' district, under a high-ranking army officer, who resided at the Methir fort as its legate.

Warcraft

Harondor's internal military resources, while considerable, were never sufficient to defend its borders against powerful threats from Umbar and Near Harad. Instead, the governor was responsible for a small mobile force, frontier garrisons, an extensive militia system, and several fortresses in the interior that served as storehouses for arms, stock, and supply for Gondor's southern army. Both the feudal and regular components of this army tended to be based in Harithilien, the great granary of the realm. While logistically bound, this arrangement suffered from a serious drawback: the lords of Ithilien and the royal prince who commanded their army were, for reasons of tradition and prestige, never subject to Harondor's governor. This lact caused frequent disputes over authority, and (more importantly) led to a gap in knowledge and culture between the royal commanders and the people whom they were supposed to defend. In case of war, Harondor's leader could mobilize a considerable territorial levy. Large numbers of Aegardh horsemen, less well trained than the southern army but far better at handling the climate of the Aegardh, could also be summoned at times, though their reliability was more questionable, In addition, the governor could also summon or hire tribal levies and scouts from among the nomads of the borders and hill-clans of the interior, the former greatly improving the strength of the Gondorian cavalry. Yet these troops were easily bought and were willing to change alliances whenever an appropriate price was paid, making them both expensive to maintain and highly unreliable. Loyal merchant alliances and knightly orders provided seasoned troops to supplement the royal forces. Small groups of experienced rangers and hunting dogs were organized for the pursuit of Orcs and wolfriders.

References

  • MERP:Southern Gondor - the Lands
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