The Aran Islands or The Arans are a group of three islands located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland, with a total area of about 46 km2. They constitute the barony of Aran in Ireland. From west to east the islands are: the largest; the 1,200 inhabitants speak Irish, the language used in local placenames. All islanders are fluent in English; the islands belong to the Gaeltacht. The approaches to the bay between the Aran Islands and the mainland are as follows: North Sound / An Súnda ó Thuaidh lies between Inishmore and Lettermullen, County Galway. Gregory's Sound / Súnda Ghríoghóra lies between Inishmaan. Foul Sound / An Súnda Salach lies between Inishmaan and Inisheer. South Sound / An Súnda ó Dheas lies between Inisheer and County Clare. Ferries operate to all three islands from Rossaveal in Co. Galway and Doolin in Co. Clare. Flights operated by Aer Arann Islands operate from Inverin; the islands' geology is karst limestone, related to the Burren in County Clare, not the granites of Connemara to the north.
This is most obvious in the construction of the walls around the fields. The limestones date from the Viséan age of the Lower Carboniferous, formed as sediments in a tropical sea 350 million years ago, compressed into horizontal strata with fossil corals, sea urchins, ammonites. Glaciation following the Namurian facilitated greater denudation; the result is that the Aran Islands are one of the finest examples of a Glacio-Karst landscape in the world. The effects of the last glacial period are most in evidence, with the islands overrun by ice during this glaciation; the impact of earlier karstification has been eliminated by the last glacial period. Any karstification now seen dates from 11,000 years ago and the island karst is thus recent. Solutional processes deepened the grykes of the limestone pavement. Pre-existing lines of weakness in the rock contribute to the formation of extensive fissures separated by clints; the rock karstification facilitates the formation of subterranean drainage. Huge boulders up to 25 metres above the sea at parts of the west facing cliffs are in some cases an extreme form of storm beach, cast there by giant waves that occur on average once per century, though more are glacial erratics.
The islands have an unusually temperate climate. Average air temperatures range from 15 °C in July to 6 °C in January; the soil temperature does not drop below 6 °C. Since grass will grow once the temperature rises above 6 °C, this means that the island has one of the longest growing seasons in Ireland or Britain, supports diverse and rich plant growth. Late May is the sunniest time and likely the best time to view flowers, with the gentians and avens peaking; the islands supports arctic and alpine plants side-by-side, due to the unusual environment. Like the Burren, the Aran islands are renowned for their remarkable assemblage of plants and animals; the grikes provide moist shelter, thus supporting a wide range of plants including dwarf shrubs. Where the surface of the pavement is shattered into gravel, many of the hardier Arctic or alpine plants can be found, but when the limestone pavement is covered by a thin layer of soil, patches of grass are seen, interspersed with plants like the gentian and orchids.
Notable insects present include the butterfly the pearl-bordered fritillary, brown hairstreak, marsh fritillary and wood white. On the cliff tops, ancient forts such as Dún Aonghasa on Inishmór and Dún Chonchúir on Inishmaan are some of the oldest archaeological remains in Ireland. A lacework of ancient stone walls across all three islands encloses networks of small fields to contain local livestock. Found are early clocháns. Enda of Aran founded the first true Irish monastery near Killeany. In time there were a dozen monasteries on Inishmór alone. Many Irish saints had some connection with Aran: St. Brendan was blessed for his voyage there. In total, there are 38 national monuments on the Aran Islands; the islands were first populated in larger numbers at the time of the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland in the mid-17th century, when the Catholic population of Ireland had the choice of going "to hell or to Connacht". Many fled to the numerous islands off the west coast of Ireland where they adapted themselves to the raw climatic conditions, developing a survival system of total self-sufficiency.
Their methods included mixing layers of sand and seaweed on top of rocks to create fertile soil, a technique used t
Minor places in Beleriand
J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium contains many locations; some of the minor places in the region of Beleriand during the First Age are described below. It is to be supposed that all of them were destroyed in the Drowning of Beleriand during the War of Wrath unless otherwise noted. Aelin-uial A marshy confluence of Aros in Sirion, held to be a part of Doriath, it was protected by the Girdle of Melian and secret ferries were maintained on the east shore. This area had a strong connection to Ulmo, able to send visions to both Finrod and Turgon bidding them to seek a place where a stronghold hidden from the eyes of Morgoth could be established. Aglon See Pass of AglonAmon Darthir A peak in the Ered Wethrin to the south-east of Dor-lómin, over which led the only pass over the mountains; the stream of Nen Lalaith sprang from its side, after the coming of the Easterlings some outlaws of the House of Hador maintained a refuge in a cave here. Amon Ereb The broad, shallow-sided hill between Ramdal and the river Gelion that dominated the southern plains of East Beleriand.
As the highest point in that region and the easternmost hill of Andram, standing alone, it had tremendous strategic importance, because it guarded the eastern passage around the long wall of the Andram into the southern parts of Beleriand and the northern Taur-im-Duinath. It was here that Denethor Lord of the Nandor met his end in the First Battle against the Orcs in the Wars of Beleriand, much Caranthir fortified it to guard his escape into the south after the Dagor Bragollach and the Fëanoreans withdrew there after Nírnaeth Arnoediad; the hill was called "Ereb" for short. Amon Ethir A hill raised artificially by the people of Finrod in the wide plain of Talath Dirnen, a league east of the Doors of Nargothrond above the river Narog. Over the years, trees grew on its flanks, but from its clear summit the watchers of Nargothrond could watch the lands about with the clear sight of the Elves, so the hill got its name, Amon Ethir, meaning'Hill of Spies'. After the Sack of Nargothrond, the hill still stood, it was here that Nienor encountered Glaurung the Dragon.
Having plunged the land into a thick fog of dragon-reek, so that only the hill remained above the mists, he cast Nienor into a deep spell of darkness and forgetfulness. Amon Rûdh In the First Age, Amon Rûdh was a stone hill south of Brethil in West Beleriand, it had only deep red flowers called seregon "stone's blood" growing on its top, which made it seem blood-covered. Mîm the Petty-dwarf lived within Amon Rûdh with Ibûn and Khîm. Mîm was captured by a group of outlaws led by Túrin Turambar and forced to reveal the location of his refuge, called Bar-en-Danwedh "House of Ransom"; when it was discovered that Khîm, shot at, had been killed, Túrin repented and offered his services to Mîm, who from on tolerated the presence of the outlaws. Amon Rûdh became the base of operations for the outlaws and with the arrival of Beleg, it became the heart of the area known as Dor-Cúarthol "Land of Bow and Helm", a centre of resistance against the forces of Morgoth. Túrin's location was discovered and orcs slew the outlaws and captured Turambar, covering the hilltop with real blood.
Amon Rûdh was lost under the sea with the destruction of Beleriand during the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age. Andram A long line of hills that ran across Beleriand, from Nargothrond and the Gates of Sirion in the west to Ramdal in the east, it marked a steep fall in the height of the land of Beleriand. At the easternmost edge stood Amon Ereb, not considered a part of the Andram. Androth A complex of caves in the Mountains of Mithrim. After Nírnaeth Arnoediad, some of the Sindar and Edain that survived the battle took refuge there. Tuor was fostered by the Elves of Androth. Annon-in-Gelydh A subterranean passage below the Ered Lómin. Through it a river from the Mountains of Mithrim flowed towards Cirith Ninniach; the tunnel was enlarged and carved by the Noldor of Turgon when he dwelt in Nevrast to ease the communication with Fingon in Hithlum. Gelmir and Arminas led Tuor through this passage at the bidding of Ulmo. Ard-galen Anfauglith, was the wide green plain that lay north of the highlands of Dorthonion and south of Morgoth's fortress of Angband in the Iron Mountains, in the First Age.
In the first days after the rising of the Sun, Ard-galen was a green plain with rich grass, reaching from Hithlum and the Ered Wethrin in the west to the Ered Luin in the east, rising into highlands of Dorthonion in the south. But the plain was laid waste by rivers of flame and poisonous gases that issued forth from Angband in the Dagor Bragollach and renamed Anfauglith; the Fifth Battle of the Wars of Beleriand, called Nírnaeth Arnoediad, was fought upon the plain, the dead bodies from that battle were piled up, forming a hill in the midst of the plain, named Haudh-en-Ndengin, the Hill of Slain, by the Elves, Haudh-en-Nirnaeth, the Hill of Tears. Like the other lands around it, Anfauglith sank beneath the waves after the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age. Arossiach A ford in Dor Dínen near the north-eastern edge of Doriath known as The Fords of Aros, it connected the Esgalduin on Aros on the east. Besides providing the only pass between Himlad and Dor Dínen, the crossing was part of an ancient road running from Vinyamar
The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they comprise the New World. Along with their associated islands, they cover 8% of Earth's total surface area and 28.4% of its land area. The topography is dominated by the American Cordillera, a long chain of mountains that runs the length of the west coast; the flatter eastern side of the Americas is dominated by large river basins, such as the Amazon, St. Lawrence River / Great Lakes basin, La Plata. Since the Americas extend 14,000 km from north to south, the climate and ecology vary from the arctic tundra of Northern Canada and Alaska, to the tropical rain forests in Central America and South America. Humans first settled the Americas from Asia between 17,000 years ago. A second migration of Na-Dene speakers followed from Asia; the subsequent migration of the Inuit into the neoarctic around 3500 BCE completed what is regarded as the settlement by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The first known European settlement in the Americas was by the Norse explorer Leif Erikson.
However, the colonization never became permanent and was abandoned. The Spanish voyages of Christopher Columbus from 1492 to 1502 resulted in permanent contact with European powers, which led to the Columbian exchange and inaugurated a period of exploration and colonization whose effects and consequences persist to the present. Diseases introduced from Europe and West Africa devastated the indigenous peoples, the European powers colonized the Americas. Mass emigration from Europe, including large numbers of indentured servants, importation of African slaves replaced the indigenous peoples. Decolonization of the Americas began with the American Revolution in the 1770s and ended with the Spanish–American War in the late 1890s. All of the population of the Americas resides in independent countries; the Americas are home to over a billion inhabitants, two-thirds of which reside in the United States, Brazil, or Mexico. It is home to eight megacities: New York City, Mexico City, São Paulo, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Bogotá, Lima.
The name America was first recorded in 1507. Christie's auction house says a two-dimensional globe created by Martin Waldseemüller was the earliest recorded use of the term; the name was used in the Cosmographiae Introductio written by Matthias Ringmann, in reference to South America. It was applied to both North and South America by Gerardus Mercator in 1538. America derives from the Latin version of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci's first name; the feminine form America accorded with the feminine names of Asia and Europa. In modern English and South America are considered separate continents, taken together are called America or the Americas in the plural; when conceived as a unitary continent, the form is the continent of America in the singular. However, without a clarifying context, singular America in English refers to the United States of America. In the English-speaking world, the term America used to refer to a single continent until the 1950s: According to historians Kären Wigen and Martin W. Lewis, While it might seem surprising to find North and South America still joined into a single continent in a book published in the United States in 1937, such a notion remained common until World War II.
By the 1950s, however all American geographers had come to insist that the visually distinct landmasses of North and South America deserved separate designations. This shift did not seem to happen in Romance-speaking countries, where America is still considered a continent encompassing the North America and South America subcontinents, as well as Central America; the first inhabitants migrated into the Americas from Asia. Habitation sites are known in Alaska and the Yukon from at least 20,000 years ago, with suggested ages of up to 40,000 years. Beyond that, the specifics of the Paleo-Indian migration to and throughout the Americas, including the dates and routes traveled, are subject to ongoing research and discussion. Widespread habitation of the Americas occurred during the late glacial maximum, from 16,000 to 13,000 years ago; the traditional theory has been that these early migrants moved into the Beringia land bridge between eastern Siberia and present-day Alaska around 40,000–17,000 years ago, when sea levels were lowered during the Quaternary glaciation.
These people are believed to have followed herds of now-extinct pleistocene megafauna along ice-free corridors that stretched between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. Another route proposed is that, either on foot or using primitive boats, they migrated down the Pacific coast to South America. Evidence of the latter would since have been covered by a sea level rise of hundreds of meters following the last ice age. Both routes may have
Minor places in Middle-earth
The stories of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium contain references to numerous places; some of these fictional places are described below. Aldburg is a hill fort and settlement in Rohan, in the region known as the Folde, some miles to the southeast of Edoras. Aldburg was the capital of the realm, where Eorl the Young, the first King of Rohan, founded his hall in T. A. 2510. Though his son, King Brego, moved to Edoras early in Rohan's history, Aldburg remained the residence of the descendants of Éofor, Brego's third son. One of these descendants was Éomer, a nephew of King Théoden. At the time of the War of the Ring, Éomer was the Third Marshal of the Mark and became heir to the king; the All-welcome Inn was an inn located at the junction of the Northway and the East Road on the Hobbiton side of Frogmorton. It was much used by travellers Dwarves from the Ered Luin. Amon Hen is a hill located on the western bank of the river Anduin, at the southern end of Nen Hithoel, the lake above the Falls of Rauros.
It was one of the three peaks at the Falls of Rauros at the southern end of the Emyn Muil, the others being Amon Lhaw, the Hill of the Ear, Tol Brandir, an island located between the two hills. The Seat of Seeing was built at the summit of Amon Hen, serving as a watchtower for the northern borders of Gondor, it was constructed in the early days of Gondor. In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Fellowship travelled down the Anduin from Lothlórien to Parth Galen, the lake-side lawn at the feet of Amon Hen, but here the Fellowship was broken: Boromir attempted to take the One Ring by force from Frodo Baggins, who fled. After Frodo escaped from Boromir, he sat upon the Seat of Seeing while still wearing the Ring, was able to see events hundreds of miles distant. From Amon Hen and Samwise Gamgee crossed the Anduin on their way east to Mordor, while Merry and Pippin were carried by Saruman's Orcs in the direction of his hold at Isengard, the rest of the Fellowship set out in pursuit of the Orcs. Tolkien's aerial view of the Emyn Muil shows Tol Brandir to be much taller than Amon Hen and Amon Lhaw.
The sketch is published in J. R. R. Tolkien: Illustrator; the bulletin of The Tolkien Society has been named Amon Hen since December 1972. Amon Lhaw is one of the three peaks above the Falls of Rauros which drained the lake known as Nen Hithoel, it towered amongst the Emyn Muil on the eastern banks of the Anduin, its twin, Amon Hen, lay upon the western bank. Between them, at the centre of the stream above Rauros, was the island peak Tol Brandir upon which none had set foot. Although at one time Amon Lhaw had been on the northern boundary of Gondor and a high seat was built there, this was no longer the case at the time of the War of the Ring. Called the Hill of Hearing and Hill of the Ear in Westron. Tolkien's aerial view of the Emyn Muil shows Tol Brandir to be much taller than Amon Lhaw and Amon Hen; the sketch is published in J. R. R. Tolkien: Illustrator. See: Hill of Guard Andrath is a narrow pass through which the North-South Road passed between the Barrow-downs on the west and the South Downs on the east.
To the north of Andrath the road met the Great East Road, just west of the gates of Bree. When the Nazgûl came north from Mordor to seek the Ring in the Shire at the end of the Third Age, their leader, the Witch-king of Angmar, camped in Andrath, it is mentioned in the appendices of The Return of the King that it is that the Witch-king aroused the Barrow-wights in the nearby Barrow-downs while camped at Andrath. Two separate areas in Middle-earth were known as the Angle, each defined by the angle between two converging rivers; the Angle in Lothlórien lay between the Silverlode. It was more referred to as Egladil; the Angle in Eriador was a much larger area. It lay between the Mitheithel on the Bruinen on the east; this Angle was part of the province of Rhudaur in the kingdom of Arnor. Many Stoors, a tribe of Hobbits, settled in the Angle circa T. A. 1150, but left about T. A. 1356. Tom Shippey notes a number of similarities between the migration history of Hobbits and that of the Anglo-Saxons; the Argonath is a monument comprising two enormous pillars carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion, standing upon either side of the River Anduin at the northern approach to Nen Hithoel.
The figures were constructed about T. A. 1240 at the order of King Rómendacil II to mark the northern border of Gondor. However the effective border had receded southwards by the time of the War of the Ring. A. 3019. Each of the two figures was shown wearing a crown and a helm, with an axe in its right hand and its left hand raised in a gesture of defiance to the enemies of Gondor. It's that the figure on the east bank, which technically stood in the province of Ithilien, represented Isildur, while the western figure, standing in the province of Anórien, represented Anárion. Known as the Pillars of the Kings or the Gate of Kings. See Ered Lithui see Dimrill Dale Bamfurlong is the farmland of Farmer Maggot, located in the Marish of the eastern part of the Shire; the boggy nature of the land makes fo
In J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-earth, Anduin is the Sindarin name for the Great River of Wilderland, the longest river in the Third Age; the ancestors of the Rohirrim called. It flowed from its sources in the Misty Mountains to the Mouths of Anduin in the Great Sea. In her Atlas of Middle-earth, Karen Wynn Fonstad estimates a total length of 1,388 miles; the Great River first appeared in print in The Hobbit, where it is an obstacle to Bilbo Baggins and his companions. In The Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship travels down Anduin in Elven-boats for nine days; the Anduin began as two different streams near. These were called the Langwell and the Greylin by the Éothéod when they lived in the triangle of land formed by it, their old capital Framsburg was built at the confluence of these streams where the Anduin proper began. The Langwell had its source in the Misty Mountains, close to Mount Gundabad and the Greylin began in the westernmost heights of the Grey Mountains; the upper Anduin flowed parallel to the Misty Mountains in a broad vale which formed the western part of Rhovanion, lying between the mountains and Mirkwood.
After passing the Carrock and Lórien, the river and mountains parted company, the river meandered through the Brown Lands via the North and South Undeeps until it flowed through into the Emyn Muil. There it negotiated the Sarn Gebir, rushed past the Argonath, entered a lake. Thence it plunged over the Falls of Rauros into the lower Anduin, which flowed past the Mouths of the Entwash, the marshes known as the Wetwang and the island of Cair Andros, it passed between the White Mountains and the Mountains of Shadow through the ancient capital of Gondor, before swinging past the harbour of Harlond close to the Rammas Echor south of Minas Tirith, the Emyn Arnen and down past the port of Pelargir, entering the Great Sea in the Bay of Belfalas in a broad delta known as the Mouths of Anduin. Tolkien featured the Falls of Rauros in an aerial view of the Emyn Muil; the sketch, entitled'Rauros Falls & the Tindrock', is published in J. R. R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator. In order from north to south: the Rhimdath, Gollum's stream, the Gladden which joined at the marshes known as the Gladden Fields, the Silverlode, the River Limlight, the Entwash, the Morgulduin, the Erui, the Sirith and the Poros.
The first five had their sources in the Misty Mountains, the Morgulduin and the Poros in the Ephel Dúath on the border of Mordor, the rest in the White Mountains. Any traveller attempting to pass into the eastern regions of Middle-earth would have to cross the Anduin at some point along its long course; the Old Forest Road which led from the High Pass into Mirkwood crossed the river at the Old Ford, to the south of Beorn's Halls. In the time of the War of the Last Alliance, a bridge had been there. There were many bridges in the city of Osgiliath, broken by the forces of Mordor and by the Gondorians themselves in their retreat. During the March of the Elves in the Time of the Trees, the Nandor left the Eldarin host when faced with the great heights of the Misty Mountains, lived in the Vale of Anduin; some of those people left and became the Green-elves of Ossiriand, but Elves remained present until the time of the War of the Ring, strengthened by refugees from Beleriand and Eregion. Settlements in the Vale of Anduin during the Third Age included the northman city of Framsburg, Beorn's Halls, the Stoor settlements near the Gladden Fields.
It was in the Gladden Fields in the northern reaches of Anduin that Isildur was slain and the One Ring lost. The Vale of Anduin was home at various times to many woodmen and other folk. At the time of the War of the Ring, the descendents of Beorn, with these some of these men, known as the Beornings, maintained a realm between the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood, including control of the passage of the old ford. Rhosgobel, home of Radagast the Brown, the Elven Realm of Lothlórien lay in the Vale of Anduin. Once it had entered Gondor the river flowed past Osgiliath and Minas Tirith and Pelargir, close to the sea. After the fall of Osgiliath the river marks the eastern limit of Gondor's influence; the principal islands appear to have been Cair Andros, on the borders of Ithilien and Tol Brandir in Nen Hithoel. Carrock, in the north was where the Eagles deposited Company. There was an eyot, where the Fellowship rested during their travel between Lothlórien and Parth Galen. In March 2009, it was submitted to the New Zealand Geographic Board that a 2-kilometre stretch of the Upper Waiau River in Fiordland National Park be named "Anduin Reach" to honour the work of director Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, filmed in the country.
A debate was sparked as to whether landmarks should be named in honour of motion picture productions, several newspapers ran stories when the submission was denied by the Board. Ian Brodie. 2002. The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook, Published by Harper Collins, ISBN 1-86950-452-6, 96 pages "Anduin". Tolkien Gateway. Anduin at the Encyclopedia of Arda
Ulmo is a fictional character in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, he first appears in The Silmarillion as Vala of the Elven pantheon. Ulmo is a title, he is known as King of the Sea and Lord of Waters. Ulmo is similar to the god Poseidon in Greek mythology, Neptune in Roman mythology, Ægir or Njordr in Norse mythology, Manannan in Celtic mythology. Ulmo was one of the chief architects of Arda. Ulmo was second in majesty of the Valar, after Manwë and before Aulë, he was close friends with Manwë. Before the creation of Earth when the Ainur sang to their father Ilúvatar, Ulmo was the best singer and maker of music; this translates into the fluidity and versatility of water on Earth, blending with air to form clouds, freezing into ice, running on rivers and mixing in with all aspects of life and landscape. The Elves owe their skill in music to the early teachings of Ulmo and recognize his melodies in the running of streams and rivers as well as the beating of the waves on the sea. Ulmo had always distrusted Melkor, the Dark Lord feared the Sea as much as he feared Varda, because neither could be tamed.
Ulmo had no dwelling in Valinor, went there only or any permanent dwelling on land as he preferred the deeps of the seas and the rivers. His palace, on the bottom of Vaiya, was called Ulmonan, he was never married. He came to the Councils of Máhanaxar, only when in great need, he preferred to stay in Arda, not by walking on the land, as his form would fill Man or Elf with great dread. All waters were under his government, it is through these that he kept in touch with Arda, thus knew more of the goings on with the Children of Ilúvatar than Manwë, for it was said he lived in the veins of the world. He was said to be fearful to look upon to mortal eye, dressed like a giant wave in glittering green armour, blowing his great horns the Ulumúri. Ulmo's vassal Ossë, Ossë's wife Uinen were the best known of the Maiar among the Elves. Through them Ulmo would learn much of the Elves. Ulmo had always loved both the Eldar and the Edain, during the Exile kept the elves in his thoughts for though the Valar waited for the appointed time to assail Morgoth Ulmo who had not been fooled by Morgoth during his freedom in Valinor still brought council to those east of Aman.
He opposed Oromë's plan to bring the Elves to Aman, ordered Tol Eressëa to be anchored in the Bay of Eldamar, which he did because he knew the minds of the Teleri. In the earlier version of the Legendarium and in the Roverandom, along with Ulmo's working, Uin the great Right Whale was in charge to pull the island whose parcel became the land of Ireland today. Ulmo was the Vala most responsible for the fall of Morgoth, by urging Turgon to build Gondolin and Finrod to build Nargothrond, he urged him to go to Gondolin as a messenger to Turgon. Ulmo defended them in the council from the potential wrath of Mandos. Ulmo is another name for St. Elmo, the patron saint of mariners. Ulmo Appears before Tuor as illustrated by Ted Nasmith
Middle-earth is the fictional setting of much of British writer J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium; the term is equivalent to the term Midgard of Norse mythology, describing the human-inhabited world, that is, the central continent of the Earth in Tolkien's imagined mythological past. Tolkien's most read works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, take place in Middle-earth, Middle-earth has become a short-hand to refer to the legendarium and Tolkien's fictional take on the world. Within his stories, Tolkien translated the name "Middle-earth" as Endor and Ennor in the Elvish languages Quenya and Sindarin sometimes referring only to the continent that the stories take place on, with another southern continent called the Dark Land. Middle-earth is the north continent of Earth in an imaginary period of the Earth's past, in the sense of a "secondary or sub-creational reality", its general position is reminiscent of Europe, with the environs of the Shire intended to be reminiscent of England. Tolkien's stories chronicle the struggle to control the world and the continent of Middle-earth: on one side, the angelic Valar, the Elves and their allies among Men.
In ages, after Morgoth's defeat and expulsion from Arda, his place was taken by his lieutenant Sauron. The Valar withdrew from direct involvement in the affairs of Middle-earth after the defeat of Morgoth, but in years they sent the wizards or Istari to help in the struggle against Sauron; the most important wizards were Gandalf the Saruman the White. Gandalf proved crucial in the fight against Sauron. Saruman, became corrupted and sought to establish himself as a rival to Sauron for absolute power in Middle-earth. Other races involved in the struggle against evil were Dwarves and most famously Hobbits; the early stages of the conflict are chronicled in The Silmarillion, while the final stages of the struggle to defeat Sauron are told in The Hobbit and in The Lord of the Rings. Conflict over the possession and control of precious or magical objects is a recurring theme in the stories; the First Age is dominated by the doomed quest of the elf Fëanor and most of his Noldorin clan to recover three precious jewels called the Silmarils that Morgoth stole from them.
The Second and Third Age are dominated by the forging of the Rings of Power, the fate of the One Ring forged by Sauron, which gives its wearer the power to control or influence those wearing the other Rings of Power. In ancient Germanic mythology, the world of Men is known by several names, such as Midgard, Middenheim and Middengeard; the Old English middangeard descends from an earlier Germanic word and so has cognates in languages related to Old English such as the Old Norse word Miðgarðr from Norse mythology, transliterated to modern English as Midgard. The term "Middle-earth", it is found throughout the Modern English period as a development of the Middle English word middel-erde, which developed in turn, through a process of folk etymology, from middanġeard. By the time of the Middle English period, middangeard was being written as middellærd, midden-erde, or middel-erde, indicating that the second element had been reinterpreted, based on its similarity to the word for "earth"; the shift in meaning was not great, however: middangeard properly meant "middle enclosure" instead of "middle-earth".
Tolkien first encountered the term middangeard in an Old English fragment he studied in 1914: Éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended. Hail Earendel, brightest of angels / above the middle-earth sent unto men; this quote is from the second of the fragmentary remnants of the Crist poems by Cynewulf. The name Éarendel was the inspiration for Tolkien's mariner Eärendil, who set sail from the lands of Middle-earth to ask for aid from the angelic powers, the Valar. Tolkien's earliest poem about Eärendil, from 1914, the same year he read the Crist poems, refers to "the mid-world's rim"; the concept of middangeard was considered by Tolkien to be the same as a particular usage of the Greek word οἰκουμένη - oikoumenē. In this usage Tolkien says that the oikoumenē is "the abiding place of men". Tolkien wrote: Middle-earth is... not my own invention. It is a modernization or alteration... of an old word for the inhabited world of Men, the oikoumene: middle because thought of vaguely as set amidst the encircling Seas and between ice of the North and the fire of the South.
O. English middan-geard, mediaeval E. midden-erd, middle-erd. Many reviewers seem to assume. However, the term "Middle-earth" is not found in Tolkien's earliest writings about Middle-earth, dating from the early 1920s and published in The Book of Lost Tales. Nor is the term used in The Hobbit. Tolkien began to use the term "Middle-earth" in the late 1930s, in place of the earlier terms "Great Lands", "Outer Lands", "Hither Lands"