Named after the Isle of Balar, which was, in turn, named after the pearls found in its shallows.
Area of Middle-earth in the FirstAge, at first only the lands around the Bay of Balar, later all lands west of the EredLuin and south of the EredWethrin. Divided into an eastern and a western part by the river Sirion.
|A Speculation About the Sinking|
Most of the lands of Beleriand sank beneath the sea after the War of Wrath. They sank slowly, not suddenly as Númenor did.
The Valar sank the land because wars between dieties are naturally destructive - that's why they put it off so long. The Valar then flooded out Angband for once and for all.
Comparing the maps before and after, and the brief accounts from the slaves released from Angband, we might surmise how the land sank. Beleriand's main feature is a plateau, trimmed with mountain chains, stretching from Nevrast to Lothland. So the Powers must sink this plateau to create an even sea floor. The sub-continent sank in on a crack beginning at the Firth of Drengist.
When the freed slaves emerged from Angband, they looked upon a changed world. The crack had extended into the valley of the Sirion, and the one of the two great rivers of their world was gone.
As the SeA started, the crack sank MountDolmed in the east, sending the Dwarves out of Nogrod and Belegost. The sinking ended as the EredLuin stopped the crack, forming the Gulf of Lhûn. Look at it again; the gulf looks like a crack through a mountain range.
Further subsidence to the north, around Thangorodrim, formed the Ice Bay of Forochel.