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The Exile of the Noldor, also known as the Flight of the Noldor, was the historical period when many of the Ñoldor left Aman for Middle-earth under the leadership of Fëanor and Fingolfin after the destruction of the Two Trees, seeking revenge for the murder of Finwë and theft of the Silmarils by Melkor. The Doom of Mandos was placed on them so they could not return to Valinor.
The Exiled Ñoldor called themselves the Etyañgoldi in Quenya.
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 the Orcs in spite of their small number and unprepared state. Fingolfin and his followers arrived at the same time as the Sun 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 Battles 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 their forces were virtually destroyed in the Nírnaeth Arnoediad 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 refuge. 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 Elwing, 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.
After the Morgoth was defeated in the War of Wrath, the Doom was lifted and many of the Ñoldorin Exiles went back to the Undying Lands save for Galadriel and the Ñoldor and Sindar who followed Gil-galad.
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