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Peter Tait as one of the Corsairs

The Corsairs of Umbar are a race of Men, or specifically of corrupted Númenóreans, living in Middle-earth, known for their piracy of ships along the coasts of Gondor.

Umbar was an old Númenórean haven settled by the King's Men, a proud faction loyal to the King and opposed to the divine authority of the Valar.


After the downfall of Númenor, the Umbar settlers further descended into evil, and were called the Black Númenóreans. They took to pillaging and piracy along the coasts of Gondor, but in TA 933 Umbar was conquered by Gondor; however Umbar was besieged by the Black Númenóreans and Haradrim until TA 1050, when the siege was over after being defeated by King Hyarmendacil I of Gondor.

During the Kin-strife, the defeated rebels of Gondor fled to Umbar, being called Corsairs, most of them being Dúnedain. At this time Umbar became the hated enemy of Gondor, from TA 1448 to TA 1810. Over time these sailors drew to their number various outlaws and brigands from outlying settlements surrounding the Anduin, and they took to raiding along the southern coast of Gondor, intercepting merchant vessels and abducting women to bolster their dissident community. They were also slavers and would often seize a ship's crew along with her cargo; if any resisted, they would be thrown overboard.

In TA 1810 Gondor retook Umbar, but shortly after, in TA 1846[1], Umbar was lost to Haradrim and new Corsairs emerged. Since then and by the time of the War of the Ring, the Corsairs had mixed with the Southrons, becoming a mixed people where Númenórean blood was mostly gone.

During the War of the Ring at the time of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, a Corsair fleet on route to Harlond after overrunning Pelargir with intentions of further raids on Gondor and to aid the forces of Mordor in the battle. Aragorn, with the help of the Grey Company, Legolas, Gimli, and the Army of the Dead, drove the Corsairs off and captured their ships and rowed them to Minas Tirith to relieve the siege of the city. In that battle, the Dead fulfilled their oath to Isildur and were finally able to rest in peace.[2]



The Army of the Dead swarm the Corsairs in the third LotR film

The Corsairs sailed in large, dark, wooden galley ships with large black junk-like sails.

Portrayal in adaptationsEdit

The Lord of the Rings film trilogyEdit

In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the Corsairs are seen once, for only a few seconds, when Gandalf is talking to Pippin about who will fight for Sauron in the battle for Minas Tirith. The boats are also seen in a scene in the extended version, when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli send the Army of the Dead to attack the frightened corsairs (including Peter Jackson himself, in a cameo as a Corsair) and conquer the ships.

Video gamesEdit

Corsair Black Ship

Corsair black ship

In the game The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, there are a few Goblins and Goblin Drummers that appear in the Anduin River: Anduin Banks level along with the Corsairs.

In the campaign of The Battle for Middle-earth II, the Corsairs, in Campaign Mode, join forces with the Goblins led by Gorkil and launch an assault upon the Grey Havens. While the attack fails in the Good Campaign, in the Evil Campaign the conjoined attack is completely successful, and thanks to the armada brought forth by the Corsairs the Grey Havens are destroyed. Also, the special unit recruitable at captured Inns for the Goblins is the corsairs.



Corsair pirate ships raiding another ship

In The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II the Corsairs use daggers as their primary weapon. They are stronger than typical Orcs and like to stab their enemies. They also use firebombs which, while not much more powerful than their daggers and able to cause a friendly fire, can set their enemies ablaze or do some significant damage nonetheless. In the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring they have ballistas mounted on their ships.

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Belarusian Карсары Умбара
Catalan Corsaris d'Umbar
Czech Umbarští korzáři
Dutch Zeerovers van Umbar
Estonian Umbari Korsaarid
Galician Corsarios de Umbar
German Korsaren von Umbar
Finnish Umbarin merirosvot
French Corsaires de Umbar
Italian Corsari di Umbar
Latvian Corsairs par Umbar
Lithuanian Umbaro Korsarai
Polish Korsarze z Umbaru
Portuguese Corsários de Umbar
Romanian Corsari de Umbar
Russian Умбарские пираты
Spanish Corsarios de Umbar
Swedish Kaparna från Umbar
Turkish Umbar Korsanları
Ukrainian Умбарські корсари
Yiddish קאָרסאַירס פון ומבאַר



  1. Umbar, Haven of the Corsairs. Module for Middle Earth Role Playing, I.C.E., page 50.
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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