Aman (Quenya; IPA: [ˈaman]; "blessed realm") was a continent that lay to the west of Middle-earth, across the great ocean Belegaer. It was the home of the Valar, and three kindreds of elves: the Vanyar, some of the Ñoldor, and some of the Teleri. The island of Tol Eressëa lay just off the eastern shore.
Upon the destruction of Almaren in very ancient times of Arda, the Valar fled to the great continent of Aman in the far west of Arda, and there established the realm of Valinor. Seeking to isolate themselves, they raised a great mountain fence, called the Pelóri, on the eastern coast, and set the Enchanted Isles in the ocean to prevent travellers by sea from reaching Aman.
For reasons unknown, the Valar left two lands outside the wall of the Pelóri: Araman to the northeast and Avathar to the southeast. Ungoliant, a great spider of unknown origin, had managed to escape notice in Avathar. When Melkor was released from his captivity, he fled to Avathar, scaled the mountains with Ungoliant's help, and wrought destruction of great consequence in Aman.
The first navigator to succeed in passing the Isles of Enchantment was Eärendil, who came to Valinor to seek the aid of the Valar against Melkor, now called Morgoth. His quest was successful, the Valar went to war again, and also decided to remove the Isles.
Soon after this, the great island of Númenor was raised out of Belegaer, close to the shores of Aman, and the Three Houses of the Edain were brought to live there. Henceforth, they were called the Dúnedain, or Men of the West, and were blessed with many gifts by the Valar and the Elves of Tol Eressëa. The Valar feared— rightly— that the Númenóreans would seek to enter Aman to gain immortality (even though a mortal in Aman remains mortal), so they forbade them from sailing west of the westernmost promontory of Númenor. In time, and not without some corrupting help from Sauron, the Númenóreans violated the Ban of the Valar, and sailed to Aman with a great army under the command of Ar-Pharazôn the Golden. The Valar collapsed a part of the Pelóri on this army, trapping it but not killing it. It is said that the army still lies beneath the pile of rock.
In light of this new development, the Valar decided to again isolate themselves from the other lands, but by a more decisive method than enchanted islands. The earth, at this time, was flat. They called upon Eru Ilúvatar, and he clove it in two, and made the half containing Middle-earth round, so that a mariner sailing west along Eärendil's route would simply emerge in the far east. For the elves, however, they crafted a Straight Road that peels away from the curvature of the earth and passes to Aman. A very few non-elves are known to have passed along this road, including the Hobbits Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, and perhaps Samwise Gamgee and the dwarf Gimli as well.
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- ↑ The Atlas of Middle-earth
- ↑ The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B: The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands), "Later Events concerning the Members of the Fellowship of the Ring"
- Aman Corresponding Encyclopedia of Arda Article