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Glossary

Numenor

Much of this information is abbreviated from the chapter in The Silmarillion titled Akallabêth.

In the early days of Middle Earth there were great wars between elves and Morgoth. Some men fought on the side of Morgoth while others fought on the side of the elves and were faithful to the Valar. When the Valar finally intervened and defeated Morgoth, they decided to reward the men who had remained faithful. These men were granted a longer lifespan than other men and were also given their own land to live on. this land called Numenor was west of the lands of Middle Earth and east of the undying lands of Valinor, where the Valar and many elves lived. Numenor was also known as Westernesse or Anadûnê.

The first king of the Numenoreans was Elros, the brother of Elrond. Since they both had a human father and an elven mother, they were allowed to choose between living as an elf or living as a mortal man. Elrond chose the immortal life on an elf while Elros chose the mortal life of a man (though he and his line were granted an unusually long lifespan). The kings of Numenor all descended from Elros.
To begin with, the Numenoreans prospered and became a great people. They also became great mariners and though they were forbidden from sailing west to the undying lands of Valinor, they often sailed east to Middle Earth. There they taught and helped the men there and also befriended the elves there. In later years the people of Numenor became proud and were more interested in ruling men in middle earth than befriending them. Many of them also began to turn against the Valar and blamed the Valar for not letting them live immortally as the elves did.
While the Numenoreans were enjoying peace and prosperity in the west, Sauron was spreading his evil over Middle Earth to the east. The king at the time was Ar Pharazôn "The Golden" who became angry at reports of Sauron proclaiming himself "the King of Men. Ar Pharazôn led his navies across the sea to Middle Earth and challenged Sauron. When the armies of Numenor landed on the shores of Middle Earth, they were so great that the forces of Sauron became afraid. Sauron knew that he could not defeat them so he decided instead to go with them as a captive, hoping to corrupt from within. At that time, Sauron was able to appear in a fair and pleasant form. In a short time, he gained the trust of the king and corrupted most of the leaders and people of Numenor. He even went as far as convincing the king to worship Melkor, Sauron's former master.
Only a small group of people, called the faithful remained loyal to The Valar. Of all the faithful, Sauron hated Amandil most of all since he was the only Lord of Numenor who didn't trust Sauron.
Sauron finally convinced Ar Pharazôn that if the armies of Numenor conquered the Valar in the west and took their lands then they would become immortal (which of course was false). Through the flattery of Sauron he believed that the might of Numenor would be sufficient to overthrow the Valar.
While he prepared his navies, the faithful, led by Amandil's son Elendil, prepared to leave Numenor for the lands in the east. Once the navies of Ar Pharazon were ready, they sailed westward until they arrived on the shores of Valinor and issued their challenge to the Valar.
On this one occasion, the Valar laid down the government of Middle Earth. Manwë called upon Ilúvatar who showed his power and caused great changes to come upon Middle Earth. The land of Numenor sank beneath the oceans and the fleet of Ar Pharazôn was destroyed. Elendil and his group barely escaped in their ships and made their way to Middle Earth. Elendil and his sons soon after formed kingdoms in Middle Earth.
Numenor was destroyed as Sauron wished but he didn't expect the destruction to be so great. Sauron himself was caught up in the destruction and his physical form was temporarily destroyed while his spirit passed over the sea back to the lands of Mordor. From that time onwards he was never again able to appear in a pleasant form. Instead he was only able to appear in a form of fear and terror.

Map of Numenor.

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