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Dale was a city of the Northmen in northeastern Middle-earth, destroyed by the dragon Smaug in TA 2770, and then rebuilt after Smaug's demise, widening and becoming a great realm of Men.

Description

Dale was situated in the valley between the south-western and south-eastern arms of the Lonely Mountain, nestled in a sharp U-shaped bend of the River Running.[1] It was known as a merry town that traded, mainly in food-supplies, for the skills and craft-pieces of the Dwarves of Erebor. Dale's toy market was the wonder of the North[2] and the town was renowned also for its bells.[3]

History

Foundation

In TA 2590 King Thrór re-established the Kingdom under the Mountain.[4] The realm prospered and Northmen living to the south came up the River Running and built Dale.[5] The town shared in the prosperity of the Dwarves and it was governed by the Lord of Dale, of whom the last was named Girion.[6]

Destruction

In TA 2770 Smaug descended upon the Dwarf-kingdom.[4] Although the Men of Dale fielded warriors against the monster they could not prevent him from killing or scattering the Dwarves and then occupying the Lonely Mountain. After the attack the dragon would crawl out of the Front Gate of the Mountain by night and carry away people (especially maidens) from Dale to eat. The remaining population soon fled and the deserted city fell into ruins.[7]

Re-establishment

The death of Smaug and the Battle of Five Armies occurred in TA 2941. Three years after the battle, Dale was rebuilt by Bard the Bowman, who had killed the dragon and was the descendant of Girion. Dale soon again enjoyed prosperity: Bard founded the Kingdom of Dale and it gathered men from the Long Lake, the South, and the West. Lake-town was rebuilt and grew wealthy from traffic with Dale.[8] Its people became known as Bardings, after their new ruler.

Jan Pospisil - The Battle of Dale

War of the Ring

During the reign of King Brand, the grandson of Bard the Bowman, Dale served as the capital for the lands he ruled, which extended far south and east of Lake-town.[9] However, as Glóin revealed at the Council of Elrond, in TA 3017 a messenger from Mordor came to ask King Dáin Ironfoot at the gate to the Lonely Mountain for news of Hobbits and to ask for Bilbo's ring. Messengers had also come to King Brand and there were enemies gathering upon the Kingdom of Dale's eastern borders.[10] During the War of the Ring, the Easterlings crossed the border and moved to attack the city. On 17 March TA 3019 the Battle of Dale began. Not able to hold back the Easterlings the Bardings and their allies, the Dwarves of Erebor, retreated into the Lonely Mountain, but lost Kings Brand and Dáin Ironfoot who were both slain at the Gate of Erebor. For seven days the Men and Dwarves barricaded themselves in Erebor until news came from the south of the defeat of Sauron. The new kings of Dale and Erebor (Bard II and Thorin III Stonehelm), broke the siege and chased the Easterlings out of Dale.[11]

Later history

After the Battle of Dale, the Easterlings did not trouble Dale in the future.[11] King Bard II also sent an ambassador to the crowning of King Elessar.[11] Dale remained independent but in friendship with Gondor and under the protection and crown of the King of the West.[11] Bard also sent an emissary to the coronation of King Elessar.[12]

Etymology

The word dale means "valley" - the city was built in the River Running's valley between two arms of the Lonely Mountain.

Other versions of the legendarium

J.R.R. Tolkien specifies no founding date for Dale. In The Hobbit, Thorin tells Bilbo that men built “the merry town of Dale” during the time when his grandfather Thrór was King under the Mountain, soon after TA 2590. This is the only definitive statement. However, in the Unfinished Tales, the section titled “Cirion and Eorl” contains a lengthy description of the wars between Gondor and the Wainriders. In that story, the following comment is found (after the defeat of King Narmacil II of Gondor in TA 1856)

As for the Northmen, a few, it is said, fled over the Celduin (River Running) and were merged with the folk of Dale under Erebor (with whom they were akin), some took refuge in Gondor, and others were gathered by Marhwini son of Marhari (who fell in the rearguard action after the Battle of the Plains).
Unfinished Tales, "Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan"

It is possible to reconcile the texts if TA 1856 is seen as the year of the foundation of the first, primitive Northmen settlements in the area with the years after TA 2590 as the foundation of the city with the coming of the Dwarves; the canonicity of this, however, is unknown.

Portrayal in adaptations

2006: The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II:

The City of Dale appears in the Erebor map, just south-east of the mountain itself. It appears to contain several houses, taverns and bridges, as well as a statue of a man. The city is built around the mountain's river.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

Glimpses of the Sack of Erebor and the destruction of Dale are seen in the opening prologue sequence.

2013: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

The ruined city of Dale appears briefly in the scene when Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarves are heading for Erebor.

2014: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies:

After the death of Smaug, the villagers of Lake-town seek refuge in the ruined city. During the Battle of Five Armies, they hide inside Dale while the Lake-men combat the enemy forces. When the Orc army attacks the ruined city, Bard and the Lake-towners run to defend it, leaving the Dwarves and the Elves to protect the gates of Erebor. The Elves later come to join the Men in defending the city.

Translations

Foreign Language Translated name
Arabic واد
Belarusian Cyrillic даліна
Bengali উপত্যকা
Bulgarian Cyrillic Дейл
Chinese (Hong Kong) 河谷鎮
Czech Dol
Dutch Dal
Finnish Laakso
Italian Valle/Conca
French Dale
Georgian დეილი
German Thal
Greek Κοιλάδα
Gujarati ખીણ
Hebrew דייל
Hungarian Suhatag
Japanese 谷間の国
Kazakh Cyrillic Дэйл
Macedonian Cyrillic Дејл
Marathi डेल
Mongolian Cyrillic Дэйл
Norwegian Dal
Persian دیل
Polish Dal
Portuguese (Brazil) Valle
Portuguese (Portugal) Vale
Russian Дейл
Spanish (Spain and Latin America) Valle
Thai เดล


References

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