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The Exiles were split into two groups during the Kinslaying at Alqualondë; Fëanor and his sons and followers took the ships they had acquired from the Teleri, leaving Fingolfin's followers behind. They had to cross the Helcaraxë in the north, and lost a large number of people there. When asked about the course of action they would take to transport the rest of the exiles, Fëanor ordered the burning of the ships.
Morgoth wasted no time attacking the exiles, which were vastly superior to them in spite of their small number and unprepared state. Fingolfin and his followers arrived at the same time as the Moon first rose, and they mainly settled in Hithlum.
For hundreds of years, the Ñoldor held off the forces of Morgoth, defeating him in three of the major battle of Beleriand and laying siege to his great abode in the north. However, in FA 455 Morgoth broke the siege, and the Ñoldor began losing ground. About seventeen years later they lost a critical battle and many subsequently enslaved.
The majority of the survivors were forced to relocate farther into the south with further hurt coming to them by infighting between them caused by the Sons of Fëanor. Eventually, all the great realms occupied by the exiles fell by the year FA 510 with all survivors fleeing to the Havens of Sirion, which had became their chief colony. More conflict assailed them when again the Sons of Fëanor attacked and killed many of their kin. One of their residents raised there was Eärendil who built Vingilot allowing him to escape the carnage. Joined by his wife, they both won through to Valinor by the light of the Silmaril. There they pleaded with the Valar for aid and forgiveness for the rebellion of the Ñoldor.
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