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Dunland was the land of the wild men, or 'Dunlendings'. Dunland means Hill Land in the language of neighboring Rohan, whose people named it after arriving in nearby Calenardhon in the later Third Age.
Dunland was inhabited by the Dunlendings, Men who were mostly bearded and had dirty faces, and long matted hair. They wore clothes of leather and animal skin and carried weapons that were simple but effective for their purpose. They usually fought with clubs and pitchforks, and at times they carried torches to act as lights at night and to burn buildings by day. The buildings that Dunlendings lived and worked in were crude shacks of wood and animal skin that were often sabotaged by Wargs and sometimes the Rohirrim.
Ancestors of the Dunlendings inhabited the forested regions of Middle-earth on either side of the Gwathló in the early Second Age; thus the early Númenóreans called them Gwaithuirim. They spoke a language related to that of the Second House of Men, the Haladin, rather than the vastly different Bëorian-Marachian tongue which stood at the base of Adûnaic, and this lack of mutual understanding led to outright hostility. The Númenóreans greedily harvested Gwaithuirim forests for timber, and after much war and bloodshed, the Gwaithuirim from south of the Gwathló fled east to the Hithaeglir while others scattered to the cape of Eryn Vorn and the White Mountains.
At the end of the Second Age, the land north of the Gwathló and south of the Brandywine River was named Minhiriath "Land between the Rivers", although the land south of Minhiriath remained unnamed. Its inhabitants were largely ignored despite the fact that the Gondor colonial city of Tharbad grew up on the Gwathló west of the Misty Mountain hillfolk who had been Gwaithuirim long before. It was not until Gondor abandoned this city in TA 2050 that the people and their land were renamed: both became known as Enedwaith "Middle-Folk, Middle Region", because they owed no allegiance to the North or South Kingdom.
The Hillfolk of the Hithaeglir kept their hatred of the descendants of Númenor (unlike those of Eryn Vorn and the White Mountains, who nevertheless remained uncooperative). The Dead Men of Dunharrow who betrayed Isildur were descended from Gwaithurim.
In TA 2770, Smaug the Dragon destroyed the Kingdom under the Mountain. Dwarves fleeing from this disaster settled in Dunland, from where Thrór departed when he and his companion Nár journeyed to Moria in TA 2790. After the Battle of Azanulbizar, provoked by the Orcs' brutal slaying of Thrór, Thráin II and Thorin led the remnants of their followers back to Dunland but soon left (to eventually settle in the Blue Mountains).
When Gondor decided to give the depopulated province of Calenardhon to the numerous people of Éothéod in TA 2510, the Hillfolk of the Hithaeglir felt threatened by these Forgoil "Strawheads" (a demeaning reference to the blonde hair of the refugees from Calenardhon). The Hillfolk had slowly colonised Calenardhon during the dwindling of the Dúnedain and had already reclaimed all the land between the Adorn and Isen. Still, open war was not waged until the reign of Helm Hammerhand (TA 2741 - TA 2759). Freca, the Lord of the Hillmen (whom the Rohirrim now called Dunlendings) tried to get the throne of Rohan for himself by petitioning for the marriage of his son Wulf to the daughter of Helm. The Hill-men leader Freca was killed and Wulf led the Dunlendings into open war with Rohan. They unsuccessfully besieged the Hornburg during the Long Winter of TA 2758 - TA 2759. Wulf did take Edoras and killed Haleth, the son of Helm, in front of the golden hall of Meduseld. Nonetheless, Helm's nephew Fréalaf held out against the Dunlendings in the refuge of Dunharrow. He recaptured Edoras at the end of the Long Winter and killed Wulf personally. The Dunlendings were driven out of Rohan, and Fréalaf succeeded the deceased Helm Hammerhand.
Guarding the Gap of Rohan was the fortress of Isengard, where a hereditary guard watched for Gondor. However, by the time of the Steward of Gondor Beren, these guards had mixed with Dunlendings, and it had become hostile to Gondor. To remedy this situation, Beren gave Saruman the keys to Orthanc to guard Isengard for Gondor.
Following his corruption by Sauron, however, Saruman used the historical hostility against outlanders to tempt the Dunlendings into supporting him during the War of the Ring. Following his armies' defeat at the Battle of the Hornburg, the Rohirrim allowed the surviving Dunlendings to return to their homes, requiring that all hostilities cease and that the Dunlendings again retreat behind the Isen.
Portrayal in Adaptations
Though the land of Dunland is not directly shown in Peter Jackson's films, many Dunlendings are depicted in the Two Towers. In the extended edition of the film, a Dunlending warlord is shown giving a blood-oath to Saruman.
It is represented in The Lord of the Rings Online, where it is entirely available for exploration and adventuring.
|Foreign Language||Translated name|
|Chinese (Hong Kong)||登蘭德|
|French||Pays de Dun|
|Portuguese (Brazil)||Terra Parda|
|Spanish (Spain and Latin America)||Tierras Pardas|
Forests & Mountains:
The rest of Arda:
|Dwarven Realms of Middle-earth throughout the Ages|
|Years of the Trees:||Amon Rûdh | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Nulukkizdîn | Blue Mountains|
|First Age:||Amon Rûdh | Belegost | Khazad-dûm | Mount Gundabad | Nogrod | Nulukkizdîn | Iron Hills | Blue Mountains|
|Second Age:||Khazad-dûm | Belegost | Nogrod | Mount Gundabad | Blue Mountains | Iron Hills|
|Third Age:||Grey Mountains | Iron Hills | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Blue Mountains | Dunland|
|Fourth Age:||Glittering Caves | Khazad-dûm | Lonely Mountain | Blue Mountains | Grey Mountains | Iron Hills|
|Amon Ereb • Brethil • Dor-lómin • Estolad • Ladros • Rhûn • Harad • Eriador|
|Arnor • Dunland • Gondor • Harad • Númenor • Rhûn • Umbar • Eriador|
|Arnor (later split into Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur) • Rohan • City of Dale (later became a Kingdom) • Dunland • Lake-town (later part of the Kingdom of Dale) • Gondor • Harad • Khand • Kingdom of Rhovanion • Rhûn • Umbar • Vales of Anduin • Greenwood the Great • Eriador|
|Kingdom of Dale • Dunland • Harad • Núrn • Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor • Rohan • Rhûn • Eryn Lasgalen • Khand • Eriador • Rhovanion • Vales of Anduin|