Harad's location in Middle-earth
|Place in Arda|
|Summary||Bordering country of Umbar and Gondor|
|Type||Home Kingdom of the Haradrim|
|Lifespan||Founded in the First Age|
Geography and ClimateEdit
Harad lies between the sea of Umbar to its west and Khand northeast and was divided into two main provinces. Near Harad, which was the closest to both Mordor and Gondor, and Far Harad, which was nearest to the land of Umbar. The land of Harad could be divided into four distinct regions, with a host of sub-regions claimed and warred over by nomadic tribal groups. The first of these was Harondor, otherwise known as South Gondor. It was a buffer zone between the lush, verdant grasslands on the Gondorian side of the Anduin and the inhospitable dunes of sand to the far south, and was contested over by Gondor and Harad. The river Poros formed Harondor's northern border, while the river Harnen formed its southern border. Its climate was most likely a semi-arid grassland, much like its neighbor Khand to the northeast, but presumably more fertile than Harad. Its boundaries extended roughly from the Anduin to the western flank of Mordor and stopped around an imaginary line protruding horizontally from the bay of Umbar. On the northeast it was bordered by the Mountains of Shadow, and it ran west to the Bay of Belfalas.
The second region was Umbar and the adjacent bay area. The great city of yore, built brick by brick at the hands of the Númenóreans across the sea, was a regional hub of trade well after the noble blood of the seafarers was spent as its inhabitants fell into darkness.
The third region was Near Harad. The boundary between Near Harad and Khand is not described, and it is unclear how far east Near Harad extended. The majority of Near Harad is desert, described by Gollum as where the "yellow face is bright and terrible". In the southeast of Near Harad, a natural gulf fed far into the landmass, and a large river flowed inland from there to the northwest, later forking. One branch of the river flowed westwards towards Umbar, the other branch flowed northeast. Neither the gulf nor the rivers were given names by Tolkien. Although no cities or permanent dwellings of the Haradrim were described by Tolkien, it is presumable they were located near these rivers, where the climate may have been milder and where they could make use of irrigation.
The final region was Far Harad. The boundary between Near and Far Harad is indistinct, but compared to the other regions Far Harad was immense, covering all the territory relatively equivalent to Africa. Far Harad was large enough that it most likely had an extremely varied climate. Much of the southern extents of Far Harad were covered in forests and jungle. The great Mumakil, called Oliphaunts in legend by the Hobbits, lived here also. The Mumakil were rarely seen outside of Far Harad after the Third Age.
- See Main article Haradrim.
Harad's tribes were divided--at least in the minds of the men of northwestern Middle-earth--into those of Near and Far Harad, although there were many tribes of the Haradrim, often mutually hostile. Those of Near Harad were brown-skinned, with black hair and dark eyes, whereas the people of Far Harad had black skin. Many say they only banded together due to the fact Sauron was slowly regaining power, and were fearful of Sauron if they continued to war against one another. This was mainly due to Sauron seeing the Harad's as his men and did not want a dimished army due to in-fighting.
After the First Age, the men of these lands were among the lesser men who were instructed by the voyaging Númenóreans in the basic arts of civilization. This went on for some time until the middle of the Second Age when the Númenóreans turned their backs on wisdom and became their overlords.
From the latter part of the Second Age, many of the Men of Harad were dominated by the Númenóreans, as were many other peoples whose lands included a coastline. Shortly before the War of the Last Alliance, two Númenórean lords, named Herumor and Fuinur, "rose to great power amongst the Haradrim", but their ultimate fate is not recorded.
Much of Far Harad was a jungle, although there also was a desert. In Far Harad lived the gigantic mammoth-like animals known as Mûmakil or Oliphaunts which were used by the Haradrim as moving war towers. The Mumakil were native to Far Harad.
Near Harad later formed an alliance or maybe even a coalition of some sort with the Corsairs of Umbar, and was involved in a series of continual battles with Gondor over South Gondor or Harondor. Anciently its northern border was held to be the river Harnen, but by the time of the War of the Ring all the land south of the river Poros was under the influence of the Haradrim. The Chief of the Mumakil Riders at the time of the War of the Ring bore a standard of a black serpent on a red field, and was slain by Eomer of Rohan at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields in TA 3019.
After the revival of the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor in the Fourth Age, many of the Haradrim were pardoned and allowed to live in peace, according to the Return of the King book and according to the Atlas of Middle-earth. They needed to hand over South Gondor and Umbar, but they were still a free people in the Fourth Age. However they still fought against King Aragorn out of pride in small militia groups, as well as opposite beliefs to that of Gondor and the West.
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