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Corsair Wars

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"Tell me, who are you, alone, yourself and nameless?" - Tom Bombadil
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.
Previous war: Kin-strife
Next war: War of the Ring
Corsair Wars
Angus McBride - Corsairs.gif
Beginning: T.A. 1447End: T.A. 3019
Place: Umbar, Pelargir, South Gondor, coastal waters
Outcome: Victory for Gondor, destruction of the Corsair state
Major battles: Siege of Pelargir, Harad/Umbar Battles, Battle of Pelargir, Surprise Attack on Umbar, First Fall of Umbar, Second Fall of Umbar
Gondorian land and naval forcesNaval and land forces of Umbar
* Eldacar
John Howe - Icon Mordor 1 small.pngSauron
  • Captain of Umbar
  • The Corsair Wars were a long, predominately naval struggle between Kings and Stewards of Gondor and a series of renegade rebel forces based at Umbar and Pelargir.


    Historical Background

    The fortress haven of Umbar was founded by Númenórean colonists during the Second Age, during the peak of Númenorean power. When Ar-Pharazôn the Golden landed in Middle Earth to challenge the power of Sauron, he landed at this heavily fortified port city. After the Downfall of Númenor, these colonists continued to be influenced by Sauron, and showed great antipathy to the exile Kingdoms founded by the Faithful of Númenor, Arnor and Gondor. They became known forever afterward as the Black Númenóreans, battling Gondor by land and sea. It is likely that Umbar was conquered for Gondor under one of the Ship-Kings, possibly by Tarannon Falastur. During the reign of Earnil I and his son, Ciryandil, the Haradrim constantly laid siege to Umbar and in T.A. 1015, Ciryandil himself was slain defending it. This caused his son to conquer Harad and eventually take the name Hyarmendacil I.

    Early Years

    In the aftermath of the Kin-strife, the great civil conflict between Eldacar and the usurper Castamir, Castamir's sons fled to Umbar. There they established a breakaway government in opposition to Gondor, and continued to clash with Gondor for centuries to come.

    Pelargir Battles

    Umbar would welcome exiles from Gondor who were suspected for treason or conspiring against the King.[1] Umbar would also take to its side and absorb tributaries to Gondor in Harad.[2] In T.A. 1540, King Aldamir fought with the rebelling kings of Harad.[2]. The latter were defeated by his son Hyarmendacil II years later.[3]

    In T.A. 1634, Castamir's great-grandsons Angamaitë and Sangahyando raided Pelargir, from Umbar, killing King Minardil; his heir Telemnar prepared a fleet against Umbar[2] but could not retaliate as the kingdom was ravaged by the Great Plague of T.A. 1636.[1]

    Vengeance, if not swift, was certainly devastating; by 78 years later the Corsairs raided as far as Anfalas, and Minardil's great-grandnephew Telumehtar punished them. In an attack he destroyed the fortress and haven of the Corsairs and drove them out, killing Castamir's last descendants. After this victory, he renamed himself Umbardacil[1] but left Umbar unsettled and ruined, apparently with a protective garrison.

    In the meantime, the Haradrim were "engaged in wars and feuds of their own" and Gondor was threatened by the Wainriders' empire from Rhûn.[4] Umbar still fell when enemies invaded Gondor from the east and south in T.A. 1944, preventing Gondor to use it to support its forces from the sea. However Eärnil's Southern Army vanquished the invaders.

    Siege of Umbar

    The Siege of Umbar may refer to several different events in history, when Umbar constantly changed hands between Gondor, and the Corsairs with their Haradrim allies.

    The first time Umbar was involved with the wars between Gondor and Harad was when one of the Ship-Kings conquered it from the Haradrim and Black Numenoreans who resided there. At this point, Harondor was still under Gondorian control so it can be assumed that perhaps Umbar was connected by land to Gondor, and not just a port outpost surrounded by enemies.

    The wars with Harad never ceased and in T.A. 1015 the Haradrim staged an assault on Umbar and King Ciryandil was slain defendings its walls. Although the port was not taken, it effected the Gondorian populace and above all else, Ciryaher, Ciryandil's son. 35 years later, King Ciryaher not only lifted the Siege of Umbar, but conquered a huge portion of Near Harad, crushing the power of the Haradrim.

    For the next four hundred years, Umbar was to remain in Gondorian control until after the Kin Strife, when the Sons of Castimir fled Pelagir and seized Umbar for their own. This proved to be the start of Gondor's rapid decline.

    Aldamir, son of Eldacar, still holding a grudge against Castimir and his sons for the murder of his brother in th burning of Osgilliath, assaulted Umbar and was slain in the process, but the Corsairs victory was soon avenged when Vinyarion, Aldamir's son, conquered Harad and laid siege to Umbar.

    But Gondor's temporary territorial claims in the south were soon reversed when the Gondorian siege of Umbar was lifted and the Corsairs raided Pelagir, killing King Minardil in the process.

    Following the destruction of the Plague, both sides were temporarily weakened, but Telumehtar of Gondor struck first and conquered Umbar for Gondor, the last descendants of Castimir perished in the process.

    It never states when the Corsairs reconquered Umbar, but it is likely that it fell back to the Corsairs sometime during the reigns of the next few Kings, when Gondor itself was nearly toppled by Wainriders.

    War of the Ring



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