BobMoCo Middle-earth Glossary

Migrations of The Elves


Origins of the Elven Kin

At the rising of the Stars, the Firstborn Children of Iluvatar awake by Cuivenen, the Lake of Awakening. They are eventually discovered by Orome the Hunter, of whom they are afraid, for Melkor has found them first and put fear into them. The Valar decide to summon them to Aman for their safety. To allay their fears Orome takes Ingwe, Finwe and Elwe to Valinor as ambassadors. On returning, they persuade most of the Firstborn to follow Orome to Aman. Thus begins both the Great Journey and the Sundering of the Elves.
~ The Sundering ~ First Migrations ~ Later Migrations ~

The Sundering of The Elves

Ingwe's folk go straight to Valinor
Finwe's followers also go to Aman
Elwe and Olwe's followers (the main host) tarry; some reach Aman later
Some Elves are unwilling to leave Cuivenen

Some of The Teleri stay in Beleriand under Elwe
    The Sindar themselves divide
Some of The Teleri leave Cuivenen under Lenwe but stop at the Anduin
    Many of The Nandor eventually cross into Ossiriand
The Vanyar
The Noldor
The Teleri
The Avari

The Sindar
The Grey-Elves and Falathrim
The Nandor
The Laiquendi / Green-Elves
The Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri who march West are The Eldar

Those who both reach Aman and see the Light of The Trees are The Calaquendi / Tareldar
Elves of The Light / High-Elves

Elves who set out but do not reach Aman are The Umanyar
Those Not Of Aman

Elves who never reach Aman so do not see the Light of The Trees are The Moriquendi
Elves of The Darkness
The Umanyar and The Moriquendi thus include:
The Teleri still in Beleriand / Middle-earth
The Sindar, the Falathrim, the Nandor, the Laiquendi and the Avari
plus Green-Elves, Wood-Elves, Galadhrim and Silvan Elves
~ The Sundering ~ First Migrations ~ Later Migrations ~

First Migrations of The Elves

The Vanyar
The Vanyar under Ingwe crossed Middle-earth and reached the shores of Beleriand. Thence they were taken to Aman by Ulmo on the island which became Tol Eressea and settled in Valinor. Ingwe remains High-King of the Eldar (Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri) in Aman.
The Noldor
The Noldor under Finwe were drawn from Beleriand to Aman by Ulmo on the same island as The Vanyar.
  • The main body of the Noldor settled at Tirion.
  • On Feanor's banishment from Tirion he and Finwe removed to Formenos.
After many of the Noldor left Aman in the Flight of the Noldor:
  • Finarfin became King of the Noldor in Aman at Tirion.
  • Fingolfin became High-King of the Noldor in Beleriand.
  • The sons of Finarfin and Fingolfin became Kings in West Beleriand.
  • The sons of Feanor became Kings in East Beleriand.
           (See Elven Trees for their distribution in Beleriand)
  • Galadriel married a Sinda and settled in Doriath.
  • The Noldor who initially settled in Nevrast began first to merge with the Sindar / Grey-Elves.
  • Following the disastrous Nirnaeth Arnoediad campaign, survivors of the Noldor of Hithlum joined the few Falathrim left, in the Isle of Balar.
  • The surviving Noldor of East Beleriand fled to Ossiriand and joined the Green Elves / Nandor.
  • At the end of the First Age the majority of the Noldor left Middle-earth. Some of those who remained merged with the Sindar and Nandor. The relatively few pure Noldor / Tareldar who remained finally took ship back to Aman at the end of the Third Age.
The Teleri
Sindar / Grey-Elves    Falmari / Falathrim    Nandor    Laiquendi / Green-Elves
The main host of the Eldar under Elwe travelled slowly and split when they got to the Anduin:
  • Some were afraid of the size of the Anduin and of the Hithaelgir beyond (Melkor having raised the Misty Mountains to stop the March). Under Lenwe a number turned south and settled in the Vale of Anduin or wandered down-river, along the eastern banks. They became The Nandor and little was heard of them for many years.
When the main host reached Beleriand they had long missed Ulmo's 'boat' to Aman. It did not help that Elwe suddenly went missing, bewitched by Melian in Nan Elmoth.
  • The Teleri who reached the shore of Beleriand, between the Bay of Belfalas and Firth of Drengist, were mostly amazed and were called the Falmari as they sang songs of wonder about the sea. But they did not all tarry there.
  • Some did not like the look of the sea or were unwilling to depart without their Lord, Elwe. They either settled in Nevrast or eventually rejoined Elwe in Eglador (Doriath) as The Sindar or Grey-Elves.
  • Some were persuaded by Osse to remain in Beleriand. They settled by the coast as The Falathrim of Falas with Cirdan The Shipwright as their Lord.
  • The rest, under Olwe, hung around until Finwe persuaded the Valar to send Ulmo back to get them. They sailed on the same island, but Osse again intervened and they asked Ulmo to stop. Tol Eressea was thus anchored off-shore in the Bay of Eldamar. Some of the Teleri stayed there and built Avallone.
    The majority finally decided they wished to land in Aman. Osse taught them to build ships and they settled in Alqualonde (Swan-Haven) under Olwe, becoming ship wrights and sailors.
Meanwhile, some of the The Nandor - under Lenwe's son, Denethor - decided to move west of Anduin and finally reached Beleriand, settling in Ossiriand as the Green-Elves, being skilled in woodland crafts. They were welcomed by the Sindar. However, following their disastrous experience against Orcs in the 1st Battle of Beleriand, many moved to Doriath and merged with the Grey-Elves. The remainder hid in the woods of Ossiriand, avoiding conflict and contact with others (except when Beren led them in an attack on the Dwarves of Nogrod to recover the stolen booty from Doriath, by which time they had been reinforced by Noldor fleeing the wreck of North Beleriand).
The Avari
Wood-Elves and Dark Elves
The Avari (The Unwilling) were the Elves too frightened to leave the Lake of Awakening. Some were taken by Melkor. Of those who remained in the East little is known; they wandered far and became Wood-Elves, mostly living in the edges of forests for safety and avoiding sunlight and Men, though some Dark Elves were encountered by the first of the tribes of Men in their westward journeying.
Eol the "Dark Elf" was a Sinda, so-named due to his solitary ways and liking for the darkness of Nan Elmoth.
~ The Sundering ~ First Migrations ~ Later Migrations ~

Later Migrations of The Elves

High-Elves/Elf-Lords - Galadhrim - Silvan and Wood-Elves
After the War of Wrath and destruction of Beleriand, many of the surviving Noldor sail to Avallone on Tol Eressea, the Doom of The Noldor having been lifted when the Teleri of Alqualonde forgive the Kinslaying.

Those unwilling to leave Middle-earth gather in Lindon (the remains of Ossiriand) under Ereinion Gil-Galad.   Celebrimbor and his smiths move further east to Ost-in-Edhil in Eregion / Hollin.   Later, Elrond founds Imladris, which becomes the 'capital' of the surviving Noldorin High-Elves / Elf-Lords on the death of Gil-Galad, after which Lindon and Eriador are largely deserted except for the Grey Havens and Wandering Companies living in the woods.

Cirdan and the Falathrim had previously been driven out of Falas to the Isle of Balar and Mouths of Sirion. They resettle at Mithlond (The Grey Havens), in Lindon.

The surviving Sindar and Laiquendi migrate into Eriador. Some survivors of the wars against Sauron find refuge in Imladris; others cross the Misty Mountains and merge with the Nandor of the Vale of Anduin as the Silvan Elves / Wood-Elves, holding sway in Lorinand / Lothlorien as The Galadhrim under a Sindarin King (Amdir), eventually under Galadriel and Celeborn.   Some of the Nandor (Wood-Elves) remain in Greenwood The Great to the east of Anduin, retreating gradually to Northern Mirkwood under another Sindarin King (Oropher), a refugee from Doriath.

Finally, with Sauron and the One Ring destroyed and the protective powers of the three Elven Rings diminished, the last of the High-Elves leave Middle-earth. They are followed by other Elves, like Legolas.   How long ship-builders and ships able to sail to Avallone remain is not told.
~ The Sundering ~ First Migrations ~ Later Migrations ~
Elven Trees  ~  Elves Alphabetical List  ~  High-Elves  ~

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