Dunland was the land of the Dunlendings. Dunland means Hill Land in the language of neighbouring Rohan, whose people named it after arriving in nearby Calenardhon in the later Third Age. It is the land of the Wild Men, or Dunlendings.
Dunland was inhabited by the Dunlendings, Men who were mostly bearded and had dirty faces, and long matted hair. They also wore clothes of leather and animal skin. The weapons carried by Dunlendings were simple but effective for their purpose. They usually fought with clubs and pitchforks, and at times they carried torches to act as lights at night and to burn buildings by day. The buildings that Dunlendings lived and worked in were crude shacks of wood and animal skin that were often sabotaged by Wargs and sometimes the Rohirrim.
The ancient ancestors of the Dunlendings inhabited the forested regions of Middle-earth on either side of the Gwathló in the early Second Age; thus the early Númenóreans called them Gwaithuirim. They spoke a language related to that of the Second House of Men, the Haladin, rather than the vastly different Bëorian-Marachian tongue which stood at the base of Adûnaic, and this lack of mutual understanding led to outright hostility. The Númenóreans greedily harvested Gwaithuirim forests for timber, and after much war and bloodshed, the Gwaithuirim from south of the Gwathló fled east to the Hithaeglir while others scattered to the cape of Eryn Vorn and the White Mountains.
At the end of the Second Age, the land north of the Gwathló and south of the Baranduin was named Minhiriath "Land between the Rivers", although the land south of Minhiriath remained unnamed. Its inhabitants were largely ignored despite the fact that the Gondor colonial city of Tharbad grew up on the Gwathló west of the Misty Mountain hillfolk who had been Gwaithuirim long before. It was not until Gondor abandoned this city in TA 2050 that the people and their land were renamed: both became known as Enedwaith "Middle-Folk, Middle Region", because they owed no allegiance to the North or South Kingdom.
The Hillfolk of the Hithaeglir kept their hatred of the descendants of Númenor (unlike those of Eryn Vorn and the White Mountains, who nevertheless remained uncooperative). The Dead Men of Dunharrow who betrayed Isildur were descended from Gwaithurim.
When Gondor decided to give the depopulated province of Calenardhon to the numerous people of Éothéod in TA 2510, the Hillfolk of the Hithaeglir felt threatened by these Forgoil "Strawheads" (a demeaning reference to the blonde hair of the refugees from Calenardhon). The Hillfolk had slowly colonised Calenardhon during the dwindling of the Dúnedain and had already reclaimed all the land between the Adorn and Isen. Still, open war was not waged until the reign of Helm Hammerhand (TA 2741 - TA 2759). Freca, the lord of the Hillmen (whom the Rohirrim now called Dunlendings) tried to get the throne of Rohan for himself by petitioning for the marriage of his son Wulf to the daughter of Helm. The Hillmen leader Freca was killed and Wulf led the Dunlendings into open war with Rohan. They unsuccessfully besieged the Hornburg during the Long Winter of TA 2758 - TA 2759. Wulf did take Edoras and killed Haleth, the son of Helm, in front of the golden hall of Meduseld. Nonetheless, Helm's nephew Fréalaf held out against the Dunlendings in the refuge of Dunharrow. He recaptured Edoras at the end of the Long Winter and killed Wulf personally. The Dunlendings were driven out of Rohan, and Fréalaf succeeded the deceased Helm Hammerhand.
Guarding the Gap of Rohan was the fortress of Isengard, where a hereditary guard watched for Gondor. However, by the time of the Steward of Gondor Beren, these guards had mixed with Dunlendings, and it had become hostile to Gondor. To remedy this situation, Beren gave Saruman the keys to Orthanc to guard Isengard for Gondor.
Saruman used the historical hostility against outlanders to tempt the Dunlendings into supporting him during the War of the Ring. In The Two Towers extended edition, the Dunlending warlord is shown giving a blood-oath to Saruman.
After the battle at Helm's Deep, the Rohirrim allowed the surviving Dunlendings to return to their homes. The Rohirrim required that all hostilities cease and that the Dunlendings again retreat behind the Isen.[Source?]
Portrayal in adaptationsEdit
Dunland appears as a battleground in The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II. It is also represented in The Lord of the Rings Online, where it's entirety is available for exploration and adventuring.
Places of Middle-earth and Arda
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda: