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The self-named King's Men hailed from Númenor. They were Númenóreans who rebelled against the angelic Valar because of their desire for immortality. After Númenór was consequently destroyed, those King's Men who remained were known as Black Númenóreans, hostile to Gondor.
Though the King's Men had enjoyed generations of favor from the Kings of Númenor, and no doubt helped in oppressing the Faithful as the Kings grew more suspicious of them, eventually a supporter of the Faithful took the Sceptre once again. This King's name was Tar-Palantir. He wished to return Númenor to a state of friendship with the West, but the majority of the Númenóreans still clung to the policies of the King's Men. Tar-Palantir's younger brother, Gimilkhâd, sided with his rebellious fathers, however. He took up the leadership of the King's Men and stood in opposition to his brother, but generally kept his doings secret.
It was probably to a few lords of the King's Men that Sauron came to deliver some of the Nine Rings of Power, for three of the Nazgûl were said to be "lords of Númenórean race". Most of the King's Men living in Middle-earth Sauron and his servants assailed, however. Eventually, the last King of Númenor, Ar-Pharazôn the son of Gimilkhâd, resolved to defeat Sauron in retaliation for this aggression, and he and his men sailed to Middle-earth and captured the Maia.
Once in Númenor, Sauron completed the corruption of the King's Men with ease, inciting them to worship Melkor and use the few Faithful still living in the land as sacrifices. They also brutally oppressed the Men of Middle-earth during this period. The corrupting power of Sauron affected their minds deeply, so that they became "quick to anger", and hated all those in the land more fortunate than them. Nor did they escape death, for all sorts of sicknesses and mental afflictions assailed them, to the point that they "cursed themselves in their agony". When the Valar sent messages of warning in the form of eagle-shaped clouds to them, they fell upon their faces in great fear, and some repented of their actions for a while. In the end, however, Sauron's mastery over them was so complete that he could walk about the land "setting man against man", and cause them to slay each other. At last, when Ar-Pharazôn had grown old and was in great fear of death, Sauron persuaded him to take a great army to Aman and challenge the Valar for immortality. When he did this, his army foundered in the Sea and Númenor was also destroyed. Most of the King's Men thus perished in the destruction of Ar-Pharazôn's fleet and the Downfall of Númenor, but those who had taken up residence in Middle-earth survived. When Sauron returned to Mordor, they entered into his service once again, and became known as the Black Númenóreans.
After the Downfall Edit
For many centuries after the Downfall, these descendants of the King's Men held onto the Haven of Umbar, the most northerly and famous of their realms.
When the surviving Faithful Numenoreans founded Gondor and Arnor, they saw their southern counterparts as renegades, calling them the Black Númenóreans. The Black Númenóreans held a similar hatred of Arnor and Gondor for generations.
Two early Black Númenórean lords from the late Second Age were Herumor and Fuinur who desired power over men of other, lesser races, and they "rose to (great) power amongst the Haradrim", the peoples neighbouring Umbar. They likely shared Sauron's defeat at the hands of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men.
The triumph of the Last Alliance marked the decline of the Black Númenórean race and the end of their racial superiority. They dwindled swiftly or became merged with the Middle Men.
Queen Berúthiel, wife of Gondor's King Tarannon Falastur was "a black Númenórean". This was a loveless union, and was presumably a political accommodation: that such arrangements were possible implies the existence at that time of more Gondor-friendly Black Númenóreans than the much later Mouth of Sauron.
A Black Númenórean elite survived at least in Umbar for over a thousand years after Númenor's fall, maintaining much influence in Haradwaith. As late as Third Age 1015, for example, even after being exiled from their homeland for nearly a century, the lords that had been driven from Umbar led the Haradrim to retake Umbar.
Not much is known about the Black Númenóreans after their defeat by Ciryaher in T.A. 1050. A "Renegade", The Mouth of Sauron, had entered the service of Sauron in Mordor. He mocked the army of King Elessar in front of the Morannon.
Because the Shadow lay heavy upon their hearts, the King's Men greatly feared Death and "sought to delay it by all means that they could". These attempts to escape their fate actually brought death upon them sooner, and the lifespans of their Kings waned. They filled the land of Númenor with great tombs to preserve the memory of their dead. In the meantime, their everyday lives became ever more decadent: to ease their fears, they "drank and they feasted and they clad themselves in silver and gold".
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