History of Middle Earth & Beyond

With the release of the children’s novel The Hobbit in 1937, J. R. R. Tolkien launched an entirely new world that would captivate readers for generations to come. His magnum opus The Lord of the Rings told the story of four little hobbits and the part they played in saving the world of Men by defeating the ultimate evil: Sauron and his One Ring of Power.

Peter Jackson re-introduced Tolkien’s Middle-earth to entirely new generations in his much-acclaimed movie trilogy Lord of the Rings, followed by the less well-received The Hobbit trilogy. Now, Prime Video has recently released the first season of a new 8-episode series set in Arda (Tolkien’s name for the Earth) during the Second Age, titled The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The first season finale, “Alloyed,” premiered in October 2022, but a second season is already underway and in production, with the series shifting its filming location from New Zealand to the United Kingdom at Bray Studios. Season 2 is expected to also consist of eight episodes.


The history of Tolkien’s universe is complicated, to say the least. We’ve put together this comprehensive timeline to take you through the entire history of Arda and Middle-earth. But please keep in mind that sometimes the on-screen versions conflict with the books, so this is much more of a general guide than a document set in stone. If you’d like to see an interactive map highlighting some of these events, check out The LOTR Project’s timeline.

If you’d like to skip back and forth through this guide, this list of shortcuts will hopefully make things a little easier:

If you aren’t sure what this guide covers, here’s a list of relevant books and on-screen media in order within Middle-earth chronology. While many choose to read Tolkien’s books in order of publication history, chronological order is an interesting way to learn more about the ins and outs of Middle-earth.

Books by J. R. R. Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien

  • The Silmarillion (Book, 1977)
  • The Children of Hurin (Book, 2007)
  • Beren and Luthién (Book, 2017)
  • The Fall of Gondolin (Book, 2018)
  • Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth (Book, 1980)
  • The Hobbit (Book, 1937)
  • The Lord of the Rings (Book, 1954–1955)

TV & Movies

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Television series, 2022)
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Movie, 2012)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Movie, 2013)
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Movie, 2014)
  • The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Movie, 2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Movie, 2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Movie, 2003)

A note on time periods: Between the beginning of time and the First Age, years are given in Valian years. Valian years last between 9 and 10 regular years, according to Christopher Tolkien. Not all events have precise dates.

The Time Before the Creation of the World and the Beginning of Time

  • Eru Ilúvatar, the father of all, creates beings called the Ainur.

The Years of Music

  • Ilúvatar teaches the Ainur to make beautiful, divine music, which is their purpose.
  • Melkor, the most powerful of the Ainur, becomes frustrated with Ilúvatar and his slow teachings. He composes his own music and wants to become a creator himself. He purposefully disrupted the Ainur’s music and forced Eru Ilúvatar to counter his disharmony. Melkor was publicly rebuked and hid his anger.
  • Ilúvatar shows the Ainur a vision of what they will create with their music: the world, Arda, and the birth, life, and death of the universe (or Eä). The Ainur become restless because they want to live in this place.
  • Eä is created, and the Ainur that decide to enter this world become the Valar (more powerful) and the Maiar (less powerful). They agree to the condition that they will live out their eternal lives in this place and cannot leave it until the end of the universe.

The Beginning of Time

V. Y. 500:

  • The Valar enter Eä and find it formless. They take it upon themselves to create the worlds they saw in their vision. Manwë, Ulmo, Aulë, and Melkor are the most influential Valar in creating the universe.
  • Melkor decides the Arda, or the Earth, should be his own. Manwë and his loyal Maiar oppose Melkor, and in the end, Melkor stands down.

V. Y. 1500

  • Manwë is established as Arda’s ruler, but Melkor decides to go to war against him, the First War. While the rest of the Valar try to prepare Arda for elves, humans, and other beings, Melkor realizes he can change the course of Arda but he does not have the power to undo what has already been done.
  • Arda is ready for its inhabitants.
  • Years of the Lamps

V. Y. 1900

  • Arda is a dark and lifeless land. The Valar want a single continent lit symmetrically by two lamps, one north and one south.
  • Melkor plots to destroy the symmetry his fellow Valar have created in Arda. As they work to light Arda, the Valar are tired. Melkor’s lieutenant keeps him informed of progress in crafting Arda.

V. Y. 3400

  • While the Valar aren’t paying attention, Melkor begins to twist and deform the animals and creatures of Middle-earth, infusing them with his evil.

V. Y. 3450

  • Melkor destroys the lamps in his hatred for Arda and the rest of the Valar.
  • As a result of the lamps’ destruction, symmetry was broken. Arda became two continents: Aman, in the west, and Middle-earth, in the south.
  • Melkor flees to the north of Middle-earth in the fortress of Utumno with his loyal Maiar, including Balrog beasts. There, he bides his time while the remaining Valar and Maiar create the realm of Valinor in Aman, with Manwë as king.

V. Y. 3500

  • The Valar create two trees that light Valinor. Middle-earth is left in darkness.

The Years of the Lamps

V. Y. 1900

  • Arda is a dark and lifeless land. The Valar want a single continent lit symmetrically by two lamps, one north and one south.
  • Melkor plots to destroy the symmetry his fellow Valar have created in Arda. As they work to light Arda, the Valar are tired. Melkor’s lieutenant keeps him informed of progress in crafting Arda.

V. Y. 3400

  • While the Valar aren’t paying attention, Melkor begins to twist and deform the animals and creatures of Middle-earth, infusing them with his evil.

V. Y. 3450

  • Melkor destroys the lamps in his hatred for Arda and the rest of the Valar.
  • As a result of the lamps’ destruction, symmetry was broken. Arda became two continents: Aman, in the west, and Middle-earth, in the south.
  • Melkor flees to the north of Middle-earth in the fortress of Utumno with his loyal Maiar, including Balrog beasts. There, he bides his time while the remaining Valar and Maiar create the realm of Valinor in Aman, with Manwë as king.

V. Y. 3500

  • The Valar create two trees that light Valinor. Middle-earth is left in darkness.

The Years of the Trees (Y. T.)

  • The Fathers of the Dwarves and Ents awaken in Middle-earth.

Y. T. 1085

  • Oromë, a Valar, discovers the Elves, who have recently awakened, at Cuiviénen in Middle-earth. He calls them the Eldar.
  • Melkor starts to capture the Elves and uses them to breed Orcs and Trolls.

Y. T. 1090

  • To protect the Elves, the Valar embark on the War of the Powers against Melkor.

Y. T. 1092

  • The Valar arrive at Melkor’s stronghold, Utumno, and lay siege to it.

Y. T. 1099

  • Melkor is finally defeated and captured.

Y. T. 1100

  • The Valar return to Valinor with Melkor. They sentence him to three ages of imprisonment.
  • Melkor’s first lieutenant, Sauron, manages to evade the Valar and stays in Middle-earth. He continues Melkor’s work of breeding Trolls and Orcs in Angband, a fortress in the Iron Mountains.

Y .T. 1101

  • The Valar invite the Elves to leave the darkness of Middle-earth and join them in Valinor. Three elf ambassadors journey to Valinor: Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë.

Y. T. 1104

  • Ingwë, Finwë, and Elwë return to Middle-earth and try to convince the Eldar to leave for Valinor.

Y. T. 1105–1165

  • The Great Journey of the Elves: Many Elves leave for Valinor, but some choose to remain in Middle-earth. This is the first Sundering of the Elves.
  • Not all Elves who depart for Valinor make it to the land. Some turn back along the way.
  • The Eldar who make it across the sea establish new cities in Valinor.

Y. T. 1362

Y. T. 1400

  • Melkor is set free from imprisonment in Valinor.

Y. T. 1410

  • Melkor begins to befriend some of the Noldor Elves, who live in Eldamar in Valinor.

Y. T. 1450

  • Fëanor, son of Finwë, High King of the Noldor, completes the Silmarils, great jewels made from the light of the Two Trees. They are invaluable, and begin to corrupt Fëanor, as he becomes suspicious of his fellow Eldar and the Valar, thinking they want to possess them.
  • Melkor, seeing an opportunity, spends the next two decades creating dissent among the Noldor. He convinces Fëanor that his half-brother, Filgolfin, wants to become heir to the throne in Finwë’s place.

Y. T. 1490

  • Fëanor threatens to murder Fingolfin, and the Valar banish him from his city of Tirion. Many of the Noldor accompany Fëanor, including his father Finwë, and he takes the Silmarils with him.

Y. T. 1495

  • The Darkening of Valinor: The Valar learn of the hand Melkor had in Fëanor’s actions. Fingolfin and Fëanor make peace with one another.
  • Melkor destroys the Two Trees of Valinor, with the help of Ungoliant, the giant spider.w
  • Melkor steals the Silmarils from Fëanor, killing Finwë, and returns to Middle-earth.

Y. T. 1496

  • The Noldor pledge to leave Valinor and follow Melkor to Middle-earth to reclaim the Silmarils.
  • Fëanor asks another Elf tribe, the Teleri, for use of their ships. When they refuse, the Noldor take them by force.
  • For this crime, the Valar warn that any Noldor that proceed to Middle-earth will forever be banished from Valinor.

Y. T. 1497

  • Fëanor accepts this sentence, The Doom of Mandos, and leads some of the Noldor to Middle-earth. Many of his people stay behind.
  • Melkor reunites with Sauron at Angband.
  • Fëanor is killed by Balrogs while pursuing Melkor at Angband.

Y. T. 1500 or V. Y. 5000

  • The Valar create the Sun and the Moon from the remnants of the Two Trees; Middle Earth is no longer in darkness.
  • Melkor is renamed Morgoth by

The First Age

F. A. 1

  • Men awaken in Hildórien, in the far east of Middle-earth

F. A. 7

  • Fingolfin becomes the High King of the Noldor. The struggle between the Noldor and Morgoth continues.

F. A. 50

  • The Noldor begin to look for places to found new kingdoms in Middle-eart, hidden from the eyes of Morgoth and his followers.

F. A. 60

  • Morgoth attacks the Noldor, but they defeat him in the Glorious Battle, the Dagor Aglareb. They follow Morgoth’s retreating forces and lay siege to Angband for the next 400 years.

F. A. 260

  • After the Noldor defeat Morgoth’s dragon Glaurung during the Siege of Angbad, the Long Peace begins.

F. A. 455

  • Morgoth is finally able to overcome the Siege of Gondolin, in the battle known as Dagor Bragollach. Glaurung attacks and destroys many Elves and Men.

F. A. 456

  • Fingolfin challenges Morgoth to single combat. Morgoth is victorious, killing the Elven king, but Fingolfin wounds Morgoth in the foot.
  • Before Morgoth can destroy Fingolfin’s body, the king of the Eagles, Thorondor, rescued it and flew it back to Gondolfin for burial. In the process, Thorondor maimed Morgoth, slashing at his face.
  • Fingon becomes High King of the Noldor.

F. A. 464

  • Beren, a man, first meets Lúthien, an Elvish princess, in a glade and they fall in love.

F. A. 465

  • Thingol (formerly known as Elwë), king of Doriath and one of the leaders of the Teleri Elves, has no desire to see his daughter wed to a mortal Man. He demands that Beren retrieve one of the Silmarils, currently in Morgoth’s possession in Angband.
  • Beren is captured during his quest, but Lúthien follows him. She defeats Sauron and forces him to set Beren free.
  • Sauron flees to Taur-nu-Fuin, formerly the Elvish stronghold of Dorthonion that was captured during the Dagor Bragollach.

F. A. 466

  • Lúthien sings a magic song to put Morgoth to sleep, and Beren is able to steal a Silmaril from his crown.
  • Before they can return the Silmaril to Thingol, Beren is attacked by Caracharoth, a giant werewolf, and it swallows the Silmaril.
  • Beren goes on the hunt for Carcharoth and is mortally wounded. He dies after returning the Silmaril to Thingol.

F. A. 467

  • Luthién travels to the Houses of the Dead and pleads with the Valar Mandos, the master of death, to restore Beren’s life and grant her a mortal life with him. He’s moved by their love and agrees.

F. A. 468

  • Maedhros, the oldest son of Fëanor, begins building an army to lay siege to Angband once again and reclaim the lost kingdoms and cities of the Noldor.

F. A. 472

  • Maedhros’s army of Elves and Men marches on Angband in Nírnaeth Arnoediad, or The Battle of Unnumbered Tears.
  • The host is utterly defeated, and Morgoth lays claim to the entire North of Middle-earth.
  • Morgoth decides to destroy the remaining Elven cities.

F. A. 473

  • Túrin, a child of Men and the son the lord of Dor-lómin, is sent to Doriath for his protection after his father, Húrin, is taken prisoner by Morgoth.
  • Thingol takes Túrin in as a foster son.
  • Túrin befriends Beleg, an Elf.

F. A. 484

  • Túrin inadvertently causes the death of an Elf and flees, rather than face justice. Thingol determines that Túrin is innocent.

F. A. 489

  • Despite receiving news of his pardon, Túrin refuses to return to Doriath, as he’s become the leader of a band of outlaws. Beleg decides to stay with his friend, but Túrin’s new band doesn’t like Elves.
  • Túrin is captured by Orcs when one of his followers betrays him. Beleg is wounded but is eventually able to follow his friend’s captors.
  • Beleg manages to free his friend, but Túrin accidentally kills him, believing Beleg to be an Orc.

F. A. 490

  • Túrin comes to Nargothrond and convinces its people to stand openly against Morgoth instead of hiding the city.

F. A. 495

  • Nargothrond falls to Morgoth’s army.
  • Tuor, of the Third House of Men, gains access to the hidden Elf city of Gondolin, carrying a message warning the king that Morgoth was destroying the cities of the Elves.
  • Tuor falls in love with King Turgon’s daughter, Idril, and they marry.

F. A. 499

  • Túrin kills Glaurung the dragon and dies.

F. A. 502

  • Thingol, who has become obsessed with the Silmaril, dies at the hands of Dwarves who desire the jewel as payment for crafting a necklace to hold it.

F. A. 503

  • Eärendil the half-Elven is born to Tuor and Idril.

F. A. 506

  • The Dwarves sack Doriath.

F. A. 507

  • Elwing flees the sack of Doriath with Thingol’s Silmaril, going to the Havens of Sirion.

F. A. 509

  • Morgoth captures Maeglin, a lord of Gondolin, and promises to make him king of the city in exchange for information on how to access Gondolin.

F. A. 510

  • Gondolin, the last Elf Kingdom, falls to Morgoth.
  • Tuor and Idril escape with a number of Gondolin refugees and their child, Eärendil.
  • Gil-galad becomes High King of the Noldor.

F. A. 511

  • Tuor and Idril arrive at the Havens of Sirion, a place of refuge.

F. A. 532

  • Half-Elven twins Elrond and Elros are born to Eärendil and his wife, Elwing.

F. A. 534

  • Eärendil begins to sail West, trying to find a way to Valinor.

F. A. 538

  • The sons of Fëanor try to reclaim the Silmaril from Elwing at the Havens of Sirion. Elwing casts herself into the sea, trying to protect the Silmaril, but manages to reunite with Eärendil.
  • Maglor, one of the sons of Fëanor, takes Elrond and Elrond captive. He brings them up.

F. A. 540

  • Morgoth destroys the last of the Noldor dwellings. The entire Northern kingdom of Beleriand is now his.

F. A. 542

  • Eärendil finally makes it to Valinor with the Silmaril and pleads with the Valar for their help against Morgoth in Middle Earth.

F. A. 545

  • The beginning of the War of Wrath, in which the Valar confront Morgoth. The war lasts 42 years.

F. A. 587

  • The Valar finally defeat Morgoth.
  • The two remaining Silmarils are lost forever.
  • The Northern lands, including Beleriand, are drowned in the sea.
  • Mordor rises from the sea.
  • Many Elves return to Valinor, but some remain in Middle-earth.

F. A. 590

  • The Valar cast Morgoth into The Void, which is the nothingness outside of Arda.

The Second Age

S. A. 1

  • Gil-galad, king of the Noldor, creates a new kingdom for his people in Lindon, which is located in the northwest of Middle Earth.

S. A. 32

  • Men who escaped the destruction of Beliarand arrive in Númenor, an island in the sea between Middle-earth and Valinor.
  • Elros becomes the first king of Númenor.

S. A. 500

  • Sauron becomes active again in Middle-earth after laying low after Morgoth’s defeat.

S. A. 750

  • Under Gil-galad’s leadership, the Noldor expand and form the kingdom of Eregion, located near the Dwarven realm of Moria.

S. A. 1000

  • Sauron begins building the fortress of Barad-dûr in the land of Mordor in the southeast of Middle-earth.

S. A. 1200

  • Sauron tries to corrupt the leaders of Eregion. Gil-galad refuses to trust him.

S. A. 1350

  • Celeborn and Galadriel become the leaders of the Elvish kingdom of Lórien.

S. A. 1500

  • Disguised as a friend called Annatar, Sauron deceives the Elves of Eregion into creating the Rings of Power.

S. A. 1600

  • With the forging of the One Ring of Power, all the rings are complete.
  • Sauron reveals himself as the force behind the creation of the Rings of Power.
  • Sauron completes the tower of Barad-dûr.

S. A. 1693

  • The Elves hide the Three Rings from Sauron.
  • The War of the Elves and Sauron commences.

S. A. 1695

  • Sauron invades Eregion.
  • Gil-galad sends Elrond in command of a force of Elves to fight against Sauron in Eregion.

S. A. 1697

  • Sauron destroys Eregion.
  • Elrond survives and leads his remaining army and the refugees of Eregion into a valley north of Eregion.
  • Elrond establishes Rivendell, which is besieged by Sauron.

S. A. 1700

  • An alliance of Lindon Elves and Númenorean Men defeats Sauron. Sauron retreats from Eriador.

S. A. 3209

  • Isildur is born in Númenor.

S. A. 3261

  • The last king of Númenor, Ar-Pharazôn the Golden, lands at Umbar to capture Sauron, because he has been threatening Númenor.

S. A. 3262

  • Ar-Pharazôn the Golden captures Sauron.
  • Sauron arrives in Númenor as a prisoner, but uses his powers to begin corrupting the Númenoreans.

S. A. 3300

  • Sauron becomes an advisor to Ar-Pharazôn the Golden.

S. A. 3310

  • At the instigation of Sauron, Ar-Pharazôn the Golden begins building a great armada, called The Great Armament, to invade Aman and challenge the Valar.

S. A. 3319

  • Ar-Pharazôn arrives in Aman.
  • In response, the Valar remove any path from Middle-earth to Aman. They drown Númenor.
  • Survivors of Númenor who remained loyal to the Valar arrive in Middle-earth under the command of Elendil and his sons Isildur and Anárion.

S. A. 3320

  • Elendil, Isildur, and Anárion found Arnor and Gondor.
  • Sauron returns to Barad-dûr in Mordor.

S. A. 3429

  • Sauron attacks Gondor and conquers the city of Minas Ithil. The War of the Last Alliance begins.

S. A. 3430

  • The Last Alliance of Men and Elves forms to take on Sauron. Isildur leaves his wife and youngest son, Valandil, behind in Rivendell.

S. A. 3434

  • In the Battle of Dagorlad at the gates of Mordor, the Last Alliance penetrated the Black Gate and began a siege of Barad-dûr.

S. A. 3441

  • Sauron emerges from Barad-dûr onto the field of combat, killing Gil-galad and Elendil.
  • Isildur, son of Elendil, uses the shards of his father’s sword, Narsil, to cut the One Ring from Sauron’s finger.
  • Sauron is defeated.

The Third Age

T. A. 1

  • Isildur becomes the king of Gondor and Arnor.

T. A. 2

  • Isildur plants the White Tree in Minas Tirith.
  • A band of Orcs sets upon Isildur and his men during the journey.
  • Ohtar, Isildur’s squire, receives the shards of Narsil from his master and leaves the battle for Rivendell.
  • Isildur decides to use the One Ring to escape. It slipped off when he was in the Anduin River and was shot with poisoned arrows.

T. A. 3

  • Ohtar arrives in Rivendell with the shards of Narsil.

T. A. 241

  • Arwen Undómiel is born to Elrond and his wife, Celebrían, daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn.

T. A. 861

  • The kingdom of Arnor breaks up into Rhudaur, Cardolan, and Arthedain.

T. A. 1000

  • The Wizards arrive in Middle-earth.

T. A. 1050

  • Sauron’s spirit arrives in the forest of Mirkwood, in an area called Dol Guldur.

T. A. 1300

  • The Witch-king of Angmar destroys Rhudaur, Cardolan, and Arthedain..

T. A. 1601

  • Hobbits arrive in The Shire.

T. A. 1980

  • The Dwarves of Moria awaken a Balrog in the depths of Moria.
  • Under the leadership of the Witch-king of Angmar, the Nazgûl return to Mordor.

T. A. 1981

T. A. 1999

  • Thráin I finds the Arkenstone in Erebor.

T. A. 2002

  • Minas Ithil falls to the Nazgûl after a two-year siege. It is renamed Minas Morgul.

T. A. 2050

  • The Witch-king of Angmar challenges King Eärnur of Gondor to single combat. The king accepts, rides out to Minas Morgul, and is never seen again. His steward takes over the rule of Gondor.

T. A. 2063

  • Gandalf the Grey travels to Dol Guldur to investigate the evil that lurks there, called “The Necromancer.”
  • Sauron withdraws from Dol Guldur to avoid raising Gandalf’s suspicion, commencing the era known as “The Watchful Peace.”

T. A. 2210

  • Thorin I leads the Durin away from the Lonely Mountain of Erebor to live in the Grey Mountains

T. A. 2430

T. A. 2460

  • Sauron returns to Dol Guldur, ending the Watchful Peace.

T. A. 2463

  • Sméagol kills his cousin Déagol over the One Ring after finding it in the Anduin River.

T. A. 2510

  • Men from the East invade Gondor, and the Éothéod, who were from the North, ride to the aid of Gondor at the Battle of the Field of Celebrant.
  • Gondor is victorious, and in thanks, gives the Éothéod what was to become the kingdom of Rohan. An alliance between the two people is formed.
  • The Éothéod rename themselves the Eorlingas.

T. A. 2746

  • Thorin Oakenshield of the Dwarves is born.

T. A. 2759

  • Saruman becomes guardian of Isengard with permission from the Steward of Gondor.

T. A. 2770

  • The dragon Smaug attacks the city of Dale and takes up residence in the Lonely Mountain. The remaining Dwarves are driven into exile from Erebor.

T. A. 2841

  • Thráin II leaves his family and his people to try and reclaim Erebor.

T. A. 2845

  • Thráin II is imprisoned in Dol Guldur by Sauron.
  • Sauron takes the last Ring of Power of the Dwarves from Thráin II.

T. A. 2850

  • Gandalf once again travels to Dol Guldur and confirms that Sauron has returned.
  • Driven mad by the Ring of Power, Thráin II bequeaths a map with a secret entrance to Erebor to Gandalf, asking the wizard to give it to his son. Gandalf agrees without knowing the identity of Thrain’s son.
  • Thráin II dies.

T. A. 2890

  • Bilbo Baggins is born in The Shire.

T. A. 2931

  • Aragorn, son of Arathorn II, heir to the throne of Gondor, is born.

T. A. 2941

  • Gandalf meets Thorin Oakenshield in Bree. He realizes that this Dwarf is the son of Thráin II and gives Thorin the secret map of Erebor.
  • Gandalf, Thorin, and Thorin’s Dwarf companions arrive at Bag End, Bilbo Baggins’s house in The Shire. Together, they go on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug.
  • Bilbo meets Gollum (formerly Sméagol) under the Misty Mountains and obtains the One Ring.
  • The White Council, a group of Elves and Wizards including Galadriel, Elrond, and Gandalf, expel Sauron from Dol Guldur.
  • Thorin, his band of Dwarves, and Bilbo travel to Lake-town, or Esgaroth.
  • Smaug the dragon attacks the town and is killed.
  • Bilbo Baggins finds the Arkenstone in Erebor and hides it, knowing Thorin is captivated by the thought of it.
  • The Battle of Five Armies is fought over the treasure under the mountain of Erebor.
  • Thorin Oakenshield is killed.

T. A. 2942

  • Bilbo Baggins returns to The Shire.

T. A. 2951

  • Sauron arrives in Mordor, where the Nazgûl have been waiting for him. He starts rebuilding Barad-dûr.

T. A. 2956

  • Gandalf the Grey meets Aragorn for the first time.

T. A. 2957

  • Under an assumed name, Aragorn serves in armies of Gondor and Rohan for the next twenty-two years.

T. A. 2968

  • Frodo Baggins is born in The Shire.

T. A. 2989

  • Bilbo Baggins takes over guardianship of his nephew, Frodo.
  • Balin leads a group of Dwarves to take up residence under the mountain in Moria.

T. A. 2994

  • Balin, Lord of Moria, is killed by an Orc.
  • The Dwarves in Moria are destroyed.

T. A. 3001

  • Bilbo Baggins turns 111 and throws a birthday party. Gandalf is in attendance.
  • Bilbo leaves The Shire and passes the One Ring on to Frodo.

T. A. 3002

  • Bilbo arrives in Rivendell.

T. A. 3014

  • Saruman begins to influence Theoden, king of Rohan

T. A. 3017

  • Gollum is set free after being tortured for information about the One Ring by Sauron’s forces.
  • Aragorn captures Gollum in the Marshes of the Dead and takes him to the Elves in Mirkwood.

T. A. 3018

  • Gandalf interrogates Gollum about the One Ring.
  • Gandalf races to The Shire and tells Frodo Baggins he must leave with the One Ring.
  • Gollum escapes the Elves, thanks to a well-timed Orc attack, and resumes searching for Bilbo Baggins and the One Ring.
  • Sauron instructs the Nazgûl to find the One Ring.
  • Saruman captures and imprisons Gandalf.
  • Gandalf escapes from Orthanc and takes Shadowfax the horse from the Rohirrim, making his way to Rivendell.
  • Frodo leaves Bag End.
  • The Nazgûl arrive in Hobbiton.
  • Frodo and the hobbits encounter Tom Bombadil, who suggests they travel to Bree.
  • Aragorn meets the hobbits in Bree and leads them to Rivendell.
  • Frodo is stabbed at Weathertop by the Witch-king of Angmar.
  • Frodo arrives at Rivendell and is healed.
  • The Council of Rivendell takes place and the decision is made to send the One Ring to Mordor with Frodo to destroy it.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring leaves Rivendell.

T. A. 3019

  • The Fellowship is unable to traverse the Pass of Caradhras. They decide to go through Moria.
  • Gollum catches up with the Fellowship and begins to follow them.
  • The Fellowship arrives at the Gates of Moria.
  • Gandalf duels a Balrog and falls, presumably to his death.
  • The Fellowship arrives in Lothlórien, rests, and receives gifts from Galadriel and Celeborn when they leave.
  • Gandalf returns and is borne to Lothlórien after the Fellowship leaves.
  • Theodred, son of the king of Rohan, dies.
  • Boromir dies, Merry and Pippin are taken by the orcs with Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli in pursuit.
  • Frodo and Sam head east, with Gollum on their trail.
  • Merry and Pippin meet Treebeard the Ent in Fangorn Forest.
  • Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli meet Gandalf the White in Fangorn.
  • Gandalf leads the trio to Edoras.
  • Gollum begins to lead Sam and Frodo through the Dead Marshes.
  • Gandalf casts Saruman out of Edoras. Renewed, the king of Rohan chooses to lead his people to Helm’s Deep.
  • An Entmoot begins to decide the fate of Saruman. The Ents decide to march on Isengard.
  • The Rohirrim defend the Hornburg from Saruman’s army at the Battle of Helm’s Deep.
  • The Ents destroy Isengard.
  • Frodo, Sam, and Gollum arrive at the Morannon, the Black Gates of Mordor.
  • Theoden, Gandalf, Aragorn, and their compatriots travel to Isengard to talk to Saruman. Saruman’s staff is broken.
  • Pippin gazes into the Palantir.
  • Gandalf leaves for Minas Tirith with Pippin.
  • Aragorn reveals himself to Sauron through the Palantir.
  • Faramir captures Sam and Frodo and learns that Frodo is the ringbearer.
  • Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli take the Paths of the Dead.
  • Frodo and Sam part ways with Faramir as friends, with Gollum to lead them to Mordor.
  • Gandalf and Pippin arrive in Minas Tirith.
  • Gollum leads Frodo and Sam to Minas Morgul and to the spider Shelob.
  • Frodo is captured by orcs at Cirith Ungol.

  • Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas take over the black ships.
  • The Witch-king of Angmar marches on Minas Tirith.
  • Denethor, steward of Gondor, dies.
  • The Rohirrim arrive to the aid of Gondor and the Battle of Pelennor Fields ensues.
  • Theoden is killed by the Witch-king of Angmar.
  • Eowyn murders the Witch-king in response.
  • Aragorn arrives with his allies to defeat the forces of Mordor.
  • Sam reunites with Frodo and they journey through Mordor toward Mount Doom.
  • The combined armies leave Minas Tirith to march on the Black Gate of Mordor.
  • Sam and Frodo travel across Gorgoroth and approach Mount Doom.
  • Gollum tries to retake the One Ring from Frodo and instead ends up falling to his death in the fires of Mount Doom, destroying the One Ring in the process.
  • Sauron is defeated, his armies are scattered, and the foundations of Barad-dûr are destroyed.
  • Aragorn takes his place as the king of the reunited Arnor and Gondor.
  • Aragorn and Arwen are married.
  • Faramir and Eowyn are engaged to be married. Eomer is crowned king of Rohan.
  • Saruman arrives in The Shire and begins scouring it, thanks to help from his followers.
  • The four hobbits return home and rebel against Saruman, successfully throwing him out.
  • Wormtongue slits Saruman’s throat.

T. A. 3020

  • Samwise Gamgee is married to Rosie Cotton.
  • Bilbo, Frodo, Galadriel, Gandalf, and Elrond depart Middle-earth for good, heading for Valinor.

The Fourth Age

F. A. 61

  • The last ringbearer, Samwise Gamgee, departs Middle-earth for Valinor.

F. A. 63

  • Merry and Pippin leave the Shire to live out their remaining days in Gondor.

F. A. 120

  • Aragorn dies and is buried in Gondor beside Merry and Pippin.
  • Legolas and Gimli depart for Valinor, bringing an end to the Fellowship.

F. A. 121

https://collider.com/lord-of-the-rings-timeline-explained/ History of Middle Earth & Beyond

Sarah Ridley

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