The New Notion Club Archives
The New Notion Club Archives

Originally Um (Sak."sunken Vale" or Ha."Evil") was the name of the Bay of Umbar, a great natural harbour that was first settled by the Sakalai or 'coastal folk', until discovered by the Numenoreans in the Second Age. It became a Númenórean Colony and later under Adûnabêth a renegate kingdom allied with Sauron. After the drowning of Númenór, it became the northernmost of the Black Númenórean domains and grew into a coastal Reign effectively controlling all of Near-Harad until it was conquered by Earnil I in T.A. 933.It became gondors southernmost province for about 500 years until the fleet of the seditionists party of Castamir the Ursurper, which had lost he civil-war known as the Kin-strife landed in the City of Umbar and claimed the province, marking the beginning of the pirate-state of the Corsair of Umbar. Between T.A. 1050 and T.A. 1448, and again from T.A. 1810 to T.A. 1940, all the territories adjoining the Bay of Umbar or governed by the rulers of its chief haven formed an integral part of the realm of Gondor. This practice dated from the final victory of Hyarmendacil II over the Umbareans in T.A. 1050, after which time the territory included all Gondorian-controlled lands south of the River Harnen. For political reasons, the subsequent rulers of Umbar divided its territory into four regions: a central province around the Bay of Umbar and three border territories to the north. The term "Umbar" was exclusively associated with the central province and its city. Between T.A. 1448 and T.A. 1810, Umbar was the home of the Corsairs, greatly feared and hated for their attacks on southern Gondor's coastlands.

After Umbar had been reconquered briefly by Umbardacil, it fell to the Haradrim in T.A.1944, again becoming a pirate-state.

The realm of Umbar in TA 1650

Not all of the Númenorean colonies in Middle-Earth succumbed to the rule of Elendil alter the Downfall of Westernesse. A few lands still remained faithful to the ideals of their lost king Ar-Pharazôn. Chief among these realms of Black Númenoreans, and best known to the Dúnedain was the city and domain of Umbar. The Lords of Umbar preserve many of the traditions of Númenor, including an undying hatred of Elves and the Faithful. Umbar consists of a monumental city and the fertile farmland surrounding the city's great bay. One encounters the harsh deserts of Harad a few miles beyond the coastline, and the Umbareans are more than happy to let the Haradrim rule themselves in the wastelands. The Kin-strife of Gondor brought a great volume of new settlers to the realm of Umbar. Before the time ofthe charismatic leader Castamir, Umbar was conquered by Gondor's kings, once in T.A. 933 by Earnil I and once in T.A. 1050 by Hyarmendacil. The spirits of the Lords of Umbar were never fully subdued, and they relied upon administrative difficulties in Osgiliath to regain their chances for freedom. Umbar was too unruly and too far from Gondor to ever fully assimilate info the culture of the conquerors. Each time it fell to Gondor's armies, it drifted back to its old bellicose ways. Gondor's Kin-strife proved to be a great boon in Umbar's light against the Dúnedam.The Lords extended the walls of their city to take in the flood of Gondorian refugees, and they claimed that their theoretical allegiance to Gondor (which they never accepted in the first place) was severed following the death of Castamir, the last rightful king. To this day, Umbarean coins still bear the likeness of Castamir, even though this homage is no longer needed to win the allegiance of the rebel Corsairs. Many of the Corsair lords found places for themselves in Umbar's aristocracy, such as Angamaite, the only admiral in T.A.1640 with the trust of all six of the Lords. Despite Gondorian attempts to provide well-documented evidence to the contrary, Angamaite claims descent from Castamir himself, and adds a political dimension to Umbar's struggle with Gondor by asserting his right to Gondor's crown. Gondor's ability to retake Umbar vanished almost instantly with the influx of the Corsairs, and the Lords of Umbar launched their own offensive, a lengthy war of attrition which has lasted for two centuries. They use their powerful navy to disrupt Gondor's shipping and to raid her coasts, and they encourage Haradrim lords to wage petty wars along Gondor's southern frontiers. At best. Gondor can only give a half-hearted response to these assaults, for her attentions are now directed to several fronts. The Lords of Umbar know that they have little hope of conquering the much larger Gondor. Rather, their antagonism stems from a stubborn desire to see their old foes suffer.The Corsairs among them dream of a victorious return to their old home, but the population at large in Umbar views the struggle as primarily economic. Umbar is ruled by an oligarchy of six lords who are descendants of Umbar's original Númenorean nobility. These aristocrats and their families intermarried with the Corsairs who fled the Kin-strife, and now their bloodlines are virtually identical. The Lords and their kin rule over a population that consists mainly of urban Haradrim and the descendants of Middle-earth's coastal peoples, distantly related to the nomadic tribesmen of the Far East and South. The Lords state that none among them is King of Umbar, out of respect for Ar-Pharazon of Númenor and Castamir of Gondor. In reality, each of the Lords secretly covets the throne, and Only the combined might of the other Lords prevents any one from making a royal claim. Though largely corrupt, the Lords of Umbar are not yet dominated by the Shadow. However, the [[Dark Religion]] has secretly established itself and is gaining strength among both the common folk and the elite. Umbar is a thriving mercantile community. Most of its legitimate trade heads south, to the inner cities of Harad and beyond. Umbarean steel is among the best in Middle- earth, and her spices and grain draw high prices in the arid southern lands. A trickle of legitimate trade occurs with the North , mainly through Harad and the communities at the mouth of the Harnen, but the bulk of the trade with Gondor occurs covertly. Smuggling is another means the Lords of Umbar use to further humiliate Gondor's economy, though they would claim no responsibility for the problem themselves. Despite their assertions, it is a poorly kept secret that the Lords of Umbar subsidize the operations of the trade in contraband herbs and spices. A few profitable copper mines exist in Umbar's hill country, providing a basis for the city's currency. However, Umbar is most famous for her ships. Umbar has never forgotten the Númenorean tradition of seafaring, and even the lowliest Umbarean fishing vessel is a reliable and swift object of beauty.


Umbar was Númenor's first permanent colony in Middle-earth. The original settlement slowly expanded its control around the Bay of Umbar and the peoples that lived there. In S.A. 1882, Prince Mûrazôr (future Witch-King of Angmar and lord of the Nazgûl) rebelled against his father, taking Umbar as his own and declaring himself to be its king. Tar-Ciryatan could not ignore his recalcitrant son's actions and ordered him back to Armenelos. Mûrazôr refused and abandoned Umbar, fearing what his father might do. Ciryatan, prompted by his son's continued rebellion, consolidated Númenor's hold over its colonies and the territories around them. Adûnabêth (who was later to become another of the Nazgûl) gained considerable influence over the Fariyim around Umbar, and was worshipped as the Ard the Vain. In S.A. 2280, he led his worshipers and allies against Umbar, but was defeated at the Battle of Glinfalas. Though Adûnabêth escaped, the Fariyim that followed him were captured and forced to work on the many new Númenórean fortifications and engineering works around Umbar.

When Ar-Pharazôn arrived with his troops in Umbar in S.A. 3262, he went on to challenge Sauron's claim of kingship over all Men. Faced with the power of Númenor at its height, Sauron surrendered, and Ar-Pharazôn commanded that a great tower be built to commemorate the event. Only a few years later, however, the Cult of Melkor arose and the corruption of the Númenóreans by Sauron was nearly complete. Just as it was Númenor's first and largest colony, it was also the first and largest center for the cult outside of Númenor itself. Many of the King's Men were recalled to Númenor as part of the Great Armament, and with their destruction and the loss of Númenor, the Númenórean exiles' control over Umbar was greatly weakened. Civil war raged in Umbar, and it lost control of many territories it had once governed. The Cult of Melkor was finally destroyed, and the fighting ceased. Many in Umbar remembered Sauron's role in the loss of their homeland, and a few went on to fight as part of the Last Alliance. Other Númenóreans in Umbar, adherents of the cult and adventurers seeking to establish their own kingdoms, sided with Sauron. The early Third Age brought a gradual recovery to Umbar. Trade increased, and the renewed prosperity brought considerable wealth and power to the people of Umbar. In time, they began to reassert their claims over territory lost during the civil war. Though relations were never friendly with the men of Gondor, no major territorial conflict emerged, since the Pelargirean League had never actually extended any claim far south of the Poros. Matters changed under the expansionistic Ship-kings. The two great powers came into conflict over the Vale of Harnen and its adjoining territories. The Umbareans and their allies were consistently defeated by superior forces from Gondor, and eventually the territory and Umbar's influence over it were completely lost to the Gondorians.

In the turmoil precipitated by this loss, the Cult of Melkor arose again in T.A. 923. In a night of terror, its adherents assassinated all but two of the captains of the haven and many of the pure-blooded Númenóreans who opposed them. For ten years a second civil war raged in Umbar among the Númenóreans until, in T.A. 933, King Eärnil I of Gondor seized the haven and destroyed most of the cult leadership. Though the civil war did not end, most attacks were now directed against the Gondorians. Eärnil and his successors took particular pains to destroy the last vestiges of the cult, so that by the time the civil war ended, only the exiled leadership of the haven remained to be defeated. However, the civil war (which was brought to an end with the last surrender of Umbarean forces at Tirith Argon) and the loss of the haven greatly weakened Umbar. As a part of southern Gondor, Umbar prospered and grew to become the preeminent trading center of the realm. The wealth it generated not only filled the coffers of the Umbareans, but those of Gondor as well (and, later, the treasure-store of Calimehtar I of Gondor and his descendants). Castamir the Ursurper used Umbar's resources to great effect during the Kin-strife, and after his death, it became the refuge of his followers.

The Land

The Bay of Umbar was the center of economic and political power in Umbar. Its terrain was varied, ranging from hills in the northwest, to desert in the east and northeast, to high plateaus in the south and southeast. Yet along the shore of the bay lay a well-cultivated and very fertile strip of land which was exploited with skill by the inhabitants of Umbar. Rainfall was plentiful along the western margin of the bay, though precipitation along its eastern edge was scarce. To the north of the Bay of Umbar, the coastlands and the Vale of Harnen were well-settled, though not to the same degree as the shore of the Bay of Umbar. To the east Was a semi-arid plain only sparsely settled, though nomadic Harûze throve there. Hills paralleled the coastline between the Bay of Umbar and Ethir Harnen. Many had been cut away by the waves, creating tall cliffs which were dangerous to climb. The many inlets and sea caves were popular with smugglers.

The Inhabitants

The Númenórean explorers named the indigenous inhabitants of the Umbar region the Sakalai (Ad. "Coastal Folk"). Early in the Second Age, these folk found their way to the Bay of Umbar and dwelt along its shores. Primarily fishermen and farmers, the Sakalai were dominated by the later Harûzani and Númenórean newcomers. Though the Sakalai were freemen, few regarded them with anything but contempt. Only a few individuals rose above the status of their brethren, but these were a rare exception. Forming the lowest rung of Umbar's social and economic ladder, few among the Sakalai owned their own boats or land, and nearly all worked for others. The Harûzani first settled around the Bay of Umbar early in the Second Age. Most of the original Harûzani became fully urbanized, and settled during the course of Númenórean control of the region during the Second Age; those that migrated to the coasts later on also joined the city culture. Others, however, retained their nomadic lifestyle and never integrated into the evolving society of their urban brethren. Still, ties between the two Harûze groups remained close.

Only the urbanized Harûze identified themselves with Umbar. These formed the bulk of Umbar's population and became well-integrated into the military and economic structures. The urdwan (or nomads) claimed no permanent allegiance to any power other than their own tribal leaders. Because of blood and economic ties, the urdwan remained generally friendly and supportive of Umbar, though their particular lifestyle prevented them from settling in Umbar or from providing any significant military assistance.

The descendants of the Númenóreans who settled in Umbar prior to the loss of Númenor came in two waves. Prior to S.A. 1800, nearly all were members of the Guild of Venturers. After S.A. 1800, most of the settlers were royal representatives, military personnel, and adventurers seeking to dominate the peoples around the Númenórean colonies. The descendants of this second group proudly referred to themselves as the King's Men, because they had supported Tar-Atanamir's rejection of Manwë's warning about the growing discontent with their mortality. The loss of Númenor was a major blow to the Númenóreans of Umbar. Many of the King's Men had been recalled to Númenor as part of the Great Armament, and the number of pure-blooded Númenóreans in Umbar was thereafter significantly reduced. Additionally, many more had died in the suppression of the Cult of Melkor. To secure their power and rule, the Númenóreans opened their ranks to their mix-blooded kin. Despite this, status and rank among Umbar's Númenórean populace remained exclusively based on the relative purity of an individual's lineage. During the civil war immediately prior to Eärnil I of Gondor's seizure of Umbar, the principal targets of military action were those individuals and families with pure Númenórean bloodlines. Following Hyarmendacil I's final victory, the few remaining pure Númenórean bloodlines were somewhat revitalized through intermarriage with later settlers from Gondor. Prior to Gondorian rule, Umbar had few individuals of sufficiently mixed heritage that they were not identified with the majority of the Númenórean, Harûze, or Sakalai populations. Because of Umbar's economic significance, many Dúnadan settlers came from southern Gondor's urban centers. The cosmopolitan lineages of many of these settlers were highly varied, though few possessed enough Númenórean ancestry to be regarded among the local elite. A second influx of Gondorians occurred following Castamir the Ursurper's death. They were either servants in the confederate households that relocated to Umbar, or they were troops that remained in rebellion. A smaller migration occurred after T.A. 1810, though most of these were military personnel who had withdrawn prior to Umbar's recapture in T.A. 1940.

After T.A. 1540, the Gondorians commonly referred to these persistent rebels (along with their lords) as "The Corsairs of umbar", who formed a large base of power for their captains to draw upon. In time, this appellation came to be used for all Umbareans, as few people in Gondor bothered to associate Umbar with its non-Númenórean population. Most who later became Corsairs were either already resident in Umbar at the time of the Kin-strife or fled there after Castamir's death; the rest were part of a slow but constant stream of emigrants from Gondor who identified with the traditionalist ideals that Castamir espoused and which the Corsairs continued to follow.

Politics and Power

Under the rule of both the kings of Númenor and Gondor, Umbar was ruled by a royally appointed governor. Control of the military forces of Umbar was, however, vested in a separate individual—for the Umbareans, this was the Admiral of the Haven; for the Gondorian navy, the Lord-captain. Following the death of Castamir's son, Castaher, and the abolishment of the Regency Council for Castaher's own son, the confederate rebels reestablished the Council of Captains. A similar council had ruled Umbar following the fall of Númenor, after members of the Cult of Melkor had been driven into hiding. The Admiral of the Haven was the leader of the council and, together with two other captains of the haven, held the day-to-day command of Umbar's military. Governors appointed by the council served as officers over three border territories.


Prior to the Kin-strife, Umbar was the base for the southern fleet of the Gondorian navy. With the rebel retreat to Umbar, Castaher also brought with him the main Pelargir fleet and the Linhir Fleet, leaving Eldacar of Gondor only a mixture of small rivercraft. Umbar could also field up to 10,000 infantry and cavalry. Many of Castamir's surviving troops retreated to Umbar and its holdings along the Vale of Harnen, swelling Umbar's military potential. In the years following the Kin-strife, Umbar had maintained the strength of its fleet and even expanded its capability. However, the monetary expense of doing so required that two-thirds of the fleet be inactive at any time. Only in an emergency, or when Umbar was at war, were any of the reserves activated out of their normal service duty rotation. A similar situation existed for the army, with three-quarters of the army inactive at any given time. If strongly pressed, the men of Umbar could supple- ment their army reserves with a general levy.


Adri Bay Aelin Kelia Annabrith-Valley Arat Agmir Ardûmir Baal Dalajal Barangar Bay Batark-a-Khand Burning Walk Caldûr Calenfalas Cape Umbar Cirith Glingal Crimson Canyon Cuivierant Valley Dat Akhôr Dry Lake Erads Ethir Harnen Gharash-Kibir Glinfalas Gondeithel Estuary Haunted Cove Hills of Ruilin Hyarmen Hyarmendacil's Cape Hyarmente Isigir Isles of Shegga Kharnian Bay Kref Urf Maros-Peninsula Nan Gondeithel Nen Umbar North Reef Ode Zalim Valley Pellardur Pellardur Forest Perth Sarnen Ras Oda Redcliff Coast Red Cliffs Rulin Ode Sakal an-Khar Salasso Valley Stonefields Talath Naur Tôl Avrâdi Tol Cirya Tol Erib Tol Glingal Tol Uialgaer Vadi of Umbar

Places of Interest

1650: Aelin Kelia An Karagmir An Pharaz An Ruilin An Sakal An Tarim An Zalim Anakreon Angaroth Ardûmir Asni Dat Bar Númendur Barazôn Batina Bûr Anwarmen Bûr Baklín Bûr Baldin Caldûr Caras Glingal Caras Mirilond Dibis Dol Annabrith Dûsalan Eithel Angir Eradas Erelond Esgar Gobel Mirlond Has Adri Has Annûn Has Faday Has Yayb Havens of Umbar Ifladuk Isigir Itheranon Ithilgonnost Karab-tarid Kas Shadoul Kas Shafra Kharnia Village Kiba Korb Ugata Marcós Maresh Maros Números Oasis of Five Palms Pellardur Pin Hingren Ramlond Saralôni Sarkâna Sook Ada Sook Asni Suk Abârrim Suk Avalôi Suk Oda Sukh Akhôr Suul-dhurn Tarma Tar-Calion Thônibar Tol Glingal Ûrêlôni Vamag Velarith Vetedris

3019: the Grotto Jagged Reef Sunken Ruins Temple of the Deceived Winding Caverns


Second Age:

Delgamar Fuinur Stormheart

Before TA 1640:

Baldaerion Belegorn Beruthiel Castaher Duvorn Gulthuin Morbereth Mûrabêth Ranculir Sangahyando Castandorion Sazariel

TA ca.1640:

Abdahkil the Priest Adûmir of Umbar Alukhôr the Corsair Angamaite Castaherion Angaroth Anglach of Minas Ithil Arkhâd Ashturg of the Stonefields Bavire Belewen of Maros Borathôr Bragolmaite the Privateer Kukuburgûl Cykur Dancu Eädur Faltur of Umbar Fäewath of Guldur Firailian Miruimor Fuinur of Umbar Garg Gastmorgath Gontran of Umbar Hukor Indrâzor Kaldûrmeir Meriot Mîreädûr Morarthdur Naldûrgath Nílardu Nûrmir One Fang Sangarunya the Black Númenórean Teldûmeir Telicur Telkurhâd Tûl-mir Urfase Utor Vargaelas of Umbar Vûlmek Zírabel Zokhad ir-Zorik

Between TA 1640 -2950

San Martorin Serifés of Harad Shebbin Vûr of Harwan

TA ca.2950-3019

Abedec Abrakhôr Adîrjan Ajax Akimun Alcârin Alukhôr of Umun Anbúrz Azgarzôr Azkrapâ Azruthor Balakhôr the Scourge Dalamyr Damkalb Darik Daxamat Dolgimil Dolguzîr Eärnil the Mercenary Eye of Dolgimil Fuinur of Umbar Gedrón Gallowbird Gwaeros Hamarsun Hebîl Hokhir Hosdam Jajax Kang-Kethek Kasota Kesekhos Keterang Khabec Khrâd Nissin Khutâ Krel Banid Kuri Luruyak Middat F´rtena Mota Na'asiyah Nasar Nazog the Freebooter Okurayo Ralthat Sahír Sangarunya Castamir Shataz Shatúpash Shebbin-Vûr of Harwan Súlien Tabadam Tamath Hossish Telkûrhaô Thisarti Ugturu Valecarn Vilosh Yamanim Vygavril Zagaroth