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Illustration of the Wilderland, or Rhovanion, from The Hobbit

Rhovanion, or the "Wilderland", was a large region of northern Middle-earth. The Great River Anduin flowed through it, and the immense forest of Greenwood the Great was a part of it.

Properly speaking, Rhovanion was the name of a small region east of Greenwood, which later become the Kingdom of Rhovanion, but the name was used for all of Wilderland by the late Third Age.

Its eastern border was the inland Sea of Rhûn, its northern the Grey Mountains and Iron Hills, home of the Dwarves, its western boundarthe range of the Misty Mountains, and its southern boundary was the line marked by the Limlight river, Anduin, the Emyn Muil, Dagorlad, and the Ash Mountains.

Major features of this region were the forest of Mirkwood, the temporary desolation of Smaug, the rivers Anduin, River Running, and Redwater, and the Long Lake of Lake-town.


In the First Age, the elves passed through this region during the Great Journey, and much later the Atanatári (the Fathers of Men) followed them. It is not otherwise mentioned until the Second Age, when Rhovanion was host to two Silvan elf kingdoms ruled by Sindarin lords: Northern Greenwood and Lórien. The great battlefield (or Dagorlad) of the Last Alliance of Elves and Men against the host of Sauron lay in the south of Rhovanion, and in the Gladden Fields of the Great River the King of Gondor and Arnor, Isildur, son of Elendil, was killed.

In the early Third Age Rhovanion was quite a populated area: in the north lay the Dwarven Kingdom of the Lonely Mountain and the Mannish kingdom of Dale, north of the Great River Anduin lay the Mannish realm of Éothéod, and in and around the south and east of Greenwood the Great lived the Men of Rhovanion. In the north of Greenwood lived the Silvan elves ruled by Thranduil, and in the south of Greenwood and across the river in Lórinand ruled Amdír and later Amroth. In the far south, near the great falls of Sarn Gebir, watched the northern guard of Gondor, and in the valleys of the Anduin lived Stoors.

In the later Third Age, Rhovanion was the site of many wars, when the Wainriders came from the east and assailed the people of Rhovanion until all their kingdoms were destroyed, and later when Sauron returned as the Necromancer he took residence at Dol Guldur in the south of Greenwood. Greenwood became evil, and was renamed Mirkwood. The Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the Men of Dale were destroyed and scattered when the Dragon Smaug took Lonely Mountain, and Gondor retreated from the Falls. Some Men still lived along the forest, notably the Beornings and the Men of Laketown upon the Long Lake. The Men of Éothéod, later the Rohirrim removed south at the invitation of Gondor, and settled the plains of Calenardhon, later Rohan.

At the end of the Third Age, the Kingdoms of the Lonely Mountain and Dale were restored as a result of the death of Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies, and Sauron was removed from Mirkwood by the wizard Gandalf. During the War of the Ring it held off an invasion by Sauron's forces, and after Sauron was defeated Mirkwood was clean again, and renamed Eryn Lasgalen, or "Wood of Greenleaves". Some time during the Fourth Age Gondor claimed large parts of it.[citation needed]


Rhovanion is a Sindarin word that meant 'Wilderland'.

Translations around the WorldEdit

Foreign Language Translated name
Portuguese (Brazil) Rhovanion a.k.a. Terras Ermas
Portuguese (Portugal) Rhovanion a.k.a. Terra Selvagem
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Rhovanion a.k.a. Tierras Ásperas
Italian Rhovanion a.k.a. Terre Selvagge
German Rhovanion a.k.a. Wilderland
Russian Рованион
Norwegian Rhovanion a.k.a. Villenland
Serbian Рованион или Дивљаземља

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