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Watchful Peace

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The Watchful Peace was a relatively peaceful 4-century period during the Third Age, from T.A. 2063 until Sauron's return to Dol Guldur in 2460. During this time Dol Guldur was ruled by Khamûl the Easterling in the Absence of the Necromancer.

The Shadow on Mirkwood had lessened, but the Nazgûl had used this period to prepare for Sauron's return.



When Arnor reestablished relations with Gondor, Kings Araphant and Ondoher realised that a single force was co-ordinating the attacks on both of their kingdoms and that they should work together to combat this evil.

However it was too late. The Witch-king of Angmar managed to overthrow Arthedain, the last remnant of the Northern Kingdom of Arnor, but the Elves of Rivendell destroyed Angmar.

The later years saw also the Nazgûl gathering back in Mordor and subsequently capturing of Minas Ithil, now renamed Minas Morgul. The Dwarves of Moria also suffered a big loss with the awakening of a Balrog and the following evacuation of Khazad-dûm.

The last years before the Watchful peace, Gondor suffered the loss of its last childless King Earnur II, and the beginning of the Ruling Stewards.

Eventually the Wise feared that their enemy is active in Dol Guldur and in T.A. 2063 Gandalf went there; Sauron fled to the East so that he would not be identified.



The first ten Ruling Stewards had relative calm in which to renew their strength. During the Watchful Peace Gondor strengthened its borders, keeping a watchful eye on the east, as Minas Morgul was still a threat on their flank and Mordor was still occupied with Orcs. But no major escalations occurred except for minor skirmishes with the Haven of Umbar.

During the Peace the garrisons of the forts of Calenardhon (which was depopulated during the Great Plague) were not renewed, and local chieftains (whose subjects were increasingly of mixed blood) gained more control.[1]

Stewards of Gondor during the Watchful Peace included Mardil Voronwë, Eradan, Herion, Belegorn, Húrin I, Túrin I, Hador, Barahir, Dior, and Denethor I.


The first seven Chieftains of the Dúnedain reigned during the Watchful Peace: Aranarth, Arahael, Aranuir, Aravir, Aragorn I, Araglas, and Arahad I. The region suffered from wolves and other evil creatures.

The Hobbits of the Shire prospered and even expanded; Buckland was first occupied by Oldbucks at this time. Isumbras I became the first Tookish Thain of the Shire in 2340.


At the beginning of the Watchful Peace, the Dwarves of Durin's folk dwelt in both the Grey Mountains and in Erebor. Thráin I made his abode at Erebor, but the majority of his people inhabited the Grey Mountains and his son Thorin I moved there as well. He was followed as King of Durin's Folk by Glóin and Óin.


The Éothéod dwelt in the north vales of Anduin during the Watchful Peace.

Further south, some Stoors inhabited the areas near the Gladden Fields. Sméagol was born and spent his youth there toward the end of the Watchful Peace.

End of the Peace

A new race of Orcs was bred in Minas Morgul, the Uruk-hai. But Sauron was not idle in the east either: he created a strong alliance between the various tribes of Easterlings, so that when he returned he was more powerful and had many Men in his service.

In T.A. 2460, Sauron returned with new strength. His return coincided with the One Ring revealed itself and Sméagol claimed it three years later.

The next years Ithilien and Osgiliath were devastated by the Uruk-hai.

Preceded by:
Angmar War
Major events of Middle-earth
T.A. 2063 - T.A. 2460
Followed by:
War of the Dwarves and Dragons

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