Númenor is a fictional location from J. R. R. Tolkien's universe of Middle-earth and is intended to be his version of Atlantis. From the Quenya Númenórë: "West-land", which Tolkien translated as Westernesse (it was Anadûnê in the Númenórean language).



Missing image
A map of Númenor (called Andor by the Elves), courtesy of the Encyclopedia of Arda (http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/default.htm).

Númenor was a rather large island in the middle of the Western Sea. The island itself was in the shape of a 5-point star, each point having its own unique geological and physical features. Each point, therefore, was considered a separate region of Númenor and had separate names:

The island had a mountain in the center known as Meneltarma; it is suggested that the island itself is of volcanic origin. Meneltarma is the highest location on the entire island and was considered sacred by the Númenoreans as a shrine of the god Eru Ilúvatar. Only the Kings of Númenor were allowed to ascend to the top. It was said that on a clear day, Tol Eressëa, the outer shores of Valinor, could be seen.

Meneltarma itself was a tall mountain in centre of the island (in the region of Mittalmar) that, when translated, means Pillar of the Heavens. The lower slopes of the mountain were gentle grass-covered, however, near the summit the slopes became more vertical and could not be ascended easily. The kings later built a spiraling road to the peak, beginning at the southern tip of the mountain and winding up to the lip of the summit in the north. The summit, however, was unique in that it was flattened and somewhat depressed, and was said to be able to "contain a great multitude". It was considered the most sacred spot of Númenor; no one ever set foot there and nothing was ever built throughout the entire history of the island.

The island itself was tilted southward and a little westward; the southern coasts were all steep sea cliffs.


The population of Númenor chiefly consisted of Men (the Edain); although before the Shadow fell on the island the westernmost cities such as Andunie contained a small population of Elves because of the frequent visits from Tol-Eressea. They were known as the Númenoreans, or rather, Kings among Men.

The Númenoreans were extremely skilled in arts and craft, with the forging of weapons and armour; but the Númenoreans were not warmongers, hence the chief art on the island became that of ship-building and sea-craft. The Númenoreans became great mariners, exploring the world in all directions save for the westward, where the Ban of the Valar was in force. The oft travelled to the shores of Middle-earth, teaching the men there the art and craft, and introduced farming as to improve their everyday lives.

The Númenoreans, too, became skilled in the art of husbandry, breeding great horses that roamed across the open plains in Mittalmar. Although the Númenoreans were a peaceful people, their weapons, armour, and horse-riding skills could not be contested anywhere else in Arda, save for the Valar.

Plant life

Númenor contained many species of plants that could be found nowhere else in Middle-earth, for many of them were given to the Númenoreans from the Valar in Aman. Most important of these was the White Tree that dwelt in the King's Palace at Armenelos; it was the symbol of Men thereafter, in both Númenor, Arnor, and Gondor.

The other parts of Númenor contained many types of plants, many unique to each of the promontories of the island. Andustar contained great forests of beech and birch at the higher ground, and oak and elm forests are lower altitudes.

The greatest delight of the Númenoreans, however, were the flowers given to them by the Eldar. They grew mostly in the Western portion (Andustar). They are oft remembered in song and lore, and few have flowered east of Númenor.

Because of the diversity of wildlife in Andustar, it was soon called Nisimaldar, or the Fragrant Trees. Also only in Andustar could the Golden Tree be found, Malinornë.

In Hyarrostar grew the tree Laurinquë, which the Númenorans loved because of their flowers. They believed that it came from the Great Tree of Valinor, Laurelin.


Númenor was the kingdom of the Dúnedain, located on an island in the Great Sea, between Middle-earth and Aman. The land was brought up from the sea as a gift to Men. It was also called Elenna ("Starwards") because the Dúnedain were led to it by the star of Eärendil, and because the island was in the shape of a five-pointed star. At the center of the island was a mountain named Meneltarma, which the Dúnedain used as a temple to Ilúvatar. The largest city and capital of Númenor was Armenelos.

Númenor had only two rivers: Siril which began at Meneltarma and ended in a small delta near the city of Nindamos, and the Nunduinë, which reached the sea in the Bay of Eldanna near the haven Eldalondë.

Elros son of Eärendil was the first King of Númenor, taking the name of Tar-Minyatur ("First King"). Under his rule (year 32 to 442 of the Second Age), and those of his descendants, Men rose to become a powerful race. The first ships sailed from Númenor to Middle-earth in the year 600 of the Second Age.

The Númenóreans were forbidden by the Valar from sailing so far westward that Númenor was no longer visible, for fear that they would come upon the Undying Lands, to which Men could not come. Over time the Númenóreans came to resent the Ban of the Valar and to rebel against their authority, seeking the everlasting life that they believed was begrudged them. They tried to compensate this by going eastward and colonizing large parts of Middle-earth, first in a friendly way, but later as tyrants. Soon the Númenóreans came to rule a great but terrorizing maritime empire that had no rival. Few (the "Faithful") remained loyal to the Valar and friendly to the Elves.

In the year 3255 of the Second Age, the 25th king, Ar-Pharazôn, sailed to Middle-earth. Seeing the might of Númenor, Sauron agreed to be the king's captive, and he was brought back to Númenor. Sauron soon became an advisor to the King and promised the Númenóreans eternal life if they worshipped Melkor. With Sauron as his advisor, Ar-Pharazôn had a 500 foot tall temple to Melkor erected, in which he offered human sacrifices to Melkor.

During this time, the white tree Nimloth the Fair, whose fate was said to be tied to the line of kings, was chopped down and burned as a sacrifice to Melkor. Isildur rescued a fruit of the tree which became the White Tree of Gondor, preserving the ancient line of trees.

Prompted by Sauron and fearing death and old age, Ar-Pharazôn built a great armada and set sail into the west to make war upon the Valar and seize the Undying Lands. Sauron remained behind. In the year 3319 of the Second Age, Ar-Pharazôn landed on Aman and marched to the city of Valimar. Manwë, chief of the angelic Valar, called upon Ilúvatar, who broke and changed the world, taking Aman and Tol Eressëa from the world forever, changing the world's shape from flat to round, sinking Númenor and killing its inhabitants, including the body of Sauron who was thereby robbed of his ability to assume fair and charming forms.

Elendil, son of the leader of the Faithful during the reign of Ar-Pharazôn, his sons and his followers had foreseen the disaster that was to befall Númenor, and they had set sail in nine ships before the island fell. They landed in Middle-earth, and founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor.

After its fall Númenor was called Atalantë, meaning "the Downfallen", in the Quenya language. (The similarity with Atlantis is obvious, although Tolkien described his invention of the name as a happy accident when he realised that the Quenya root meaning "fallen" could be incorporated into a name referring to Númenor.) Other names after the Downfall include Mar-nu-Falmar ("Land under the Waves") and Akallabêth ("the Downfallen" in Adûnaic).

The story of the rise and downfall of Númenor is told in the Akallabêth.


  • The cartoon series Ulysses 31 includes a character called Numinor, whose name may be derivative of Númenor.

See also: List of rulers of Númenor

External links

J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium

Works published during his lifetime
The Hobbit | The Lord of the Rings | The Adventures of Tom Bombadil | The Road Goes Ever On

Posthumous publications
The Silmarillion | Unfinished Tales | The History of Middle-earth (12 volumes) | Bilbo's Last Song

Lists of Wikipedia articles about Middle-earth
by category | by name | writings | characters | peoples | rivers | realms | ages


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