Middle-earth Timeline

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Middle-earth Timeline
From the Creation of Middle-earth to the War of the Ring

by Laura Hayes

The events in this period are covered by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The quest to retake Erebor, the War of the Ring, and the end of the Third Age.

The Ages
Lamps / Trees First Second Third War of the Ring
Third Age of the Sun, the War of the Ring
While traveling to Erebor, Thrain II is captured and imprisoned in Dol Guldur; the last of the Seven Rings of Power belonging to the Dwarves is taken from him.
Gandalf enters Dol Guldur, and confirms his suspicion that the "Necromancer" is Sauron. He learns that Sauron is gathering the Rings and seeking the One Ring. Gandalf also finds Thrain and receives the key of Erebor from him. Thrain dies.
The White Council meets and Gandalf presses for an attack on Dol Guldur. Saruman overrules him and begins to discreetly search for the Ring near the Gladden Fields.
The White Tree of Gondor dies and is left standing. No seedling can be found.
September 22, 2890
The Shire
Bilbo Baggins is born.
March 1, 2931
Aragorn II, descendant of Aranarth first Chieftain of the Dúnedains, is born. His mother calls him Estel ("hope") and sends him to live with Elrond.
The Shire / Erebor
Thorin Oakenshield and Gandalf visit Bilbo in the Shire. Bilbo joins the Dwarves' quest to retake the treasures of Erebor. Among his many adventures, Bilbo meets Gollum and finds the One Ring.

Bard of Esgaroth slays Smaug the dragon with the aid of Bilbo. The Battle of the Five Armies—Men, Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, and Eagles— is fought over Smaug's treasure. Thorin Oakenshield dies in battle, and Dain of the Iron Hills becomes King under the mountain. .
The White Council meets again and Saruman, hoping to keep Sauron from finding the One Ring, agrees to attack Dol Guldur. Sauron abandons Dol Guldur. .
Bilbo returns to the Shire and begins to write his memoirs, the first volume of the Red Book.

Sauron returns to Mordor.
Bard rebuilds Dale and becomes King. Gollum leaves the Mountains and begins his search for his "precious".
Sauron openly declares his presence and gathers his forces and sends three Nazgûl to hold Dol Guldur. Gollum heads toward Mordor in his search.
The War of the Ring
Elrond reveals to his ward "Estel" his true name and heritage and presents him with the greatest heirloom of Arnor, the shards of the ancient sword Narsil. Arwen, returning from Lorien, meets Aragorn in the woods. They fall in love, but Aragorn leaves to prove his worthiness as a suitor to Elrond.
Last meeting of the White Council. Saruman fortifies Isengard and sets spies on Gandalf.
Gandalf and Aragorn meet and become friends.
Aragorn undertakes many journeys and adventures. He serves both the king of Rohan and the Steward of Gondor, and protects the land of Eriador from the minions of Sauron.
September 22, 2968
The Shire
Frodo Baggins is born.
Birth of Boromir son of Denethor II, steward of Gondor.
Aragorn enters Lorien and meets Arwen again. He gives her the ring of Barahir, and they promise to marry.

Gollum reaches the confines Mordor. He is tortured, interrogated, and eventually "escapes." He then becomes acquainted with the great spider Shelob.

Theoden becomes King of Rohan.
The Shire
Saruman risks using one of the seeing stones and is unknowingly enslaved to the will of Sauron.
September 22, 3001
The Shire
Bilbo hosts his farewell feast on his 111th birthday, and gives Frodo the Ring.
Gandalf and Aragorn sporadically hunt for Gollum. Aragorn finally captures him in the Dead Marshes northwest of Mordor.
Bilbo becomes a guest of Elrond and settles in Rivendell.
After many years of absence, Gandalf comes to the Shire to warn Frodo about the One Ring. Meanwhile Sauron sends the Nazgûl forth in search of it. Frodo and his companions flee the Shire and meet up with Aragorn. They take the Ring to Rivendell where it is decided that the Ring must be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom. Nine are chosen to undertake this quest, they comprise the Fellowship of the Ring.
The War of the Ring ends in March, 3019. The deeds of the Fellowship and the history of the War of the Ring, as told in the Lord of the Rings, are too great and numerous to be recounted here.
September 29, 3021
The Grey Havens, Middle-earth
Bilbo and Frodo depart over the Sea, into the west with the Keepers of the Three Rings (Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond).
March 25, 3021
The Fourth Age
The Fourth Age begins. In the Fourth Age most of the Elves leave Middle-earth for the Undying Lands. Those that remain, along with the Hobbits and Dwarves, dwindle in number and hide from humans, to whom they are lost.
The Grey Havens, Middle-earth
After the death of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli set sail for the Undying Lands.

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