Sindarin: East Land(?)
A region in the north-east of Eriador, part of the Numenorean realm of Arnor.
Less hospitable and fertile than other parts of Eriador, Rhudaur was bounded upon the north by the troll-infested Ettenmoors, upon the east by the MistyMountains, upon the west by the Weather Hills, and upon the south by the Angle (where the Greyflood forked into the Loudwater and the Hoarwell). At the heart of this land lay the Trollshaws, an outcrop of wooded hilly country between the Loudwater and the Hoarwell rivers.
According to certain sources (see Lalaith'sMiddle-earthSciencePages), some of the earliest settlers of northern Eriador were the Easterlings of Bór and Ulfang, and there is some speculation that this folk, joined early in the SecondAge by their kin from Beleriand, were the ancestors of the mysterious Hillmen who occupied Rhudaur in the Third Age*. The area was under the control of Sauron's forces in the Accursed Years; he may have won the support of some of the inhabitants during this time. (*The entry for Genealogy of Mankind cites the essay "Of Dwarves and Men" from the History of Middle-earth series, in which it is indicated that Hillmen are descended from the folk of Bëor).
In the late SeA, Elendil established the Numenorean Realm in Exile of Arnor, and the lands that would become known as Rhudaur lay within its bounds. But few of the Dúnedain came to live there. In 861, owing to disputes among the sons of the High King Eärendur, the realm of Arnor was divided, and Rhudaur became a kingdom in its own right. Relations among the three kingdoms (Arthedain, Cardolan, Rhudaur) were fractious, particularly between Rhudaur and Cardolan, who contested Amon Sûl and the Weather Hills (because of the palantir that was kept there). From 1050, Hobbits of the Harfoot and Fallohide strains passed through the region, settling in Cardolan; Stoors settled in the Angle in 1150.
Over time, the more numerous Hillmen came to dominate the Dúnedain of Rhudaur: the latter were either killed or driven off. Around 1300, the Witch-king established the realm of Angmar and began to wield his influence, and the quarrel of the Hillmen with Arthedain and Cardolan intensified. In 1356, they slew the High King Argeleb in battle; the Stoors (fearing Angmar) fled south into Dunland, or east over the mountains into the Vale of Anduin. Angmar invaded in 1409, and possibly secured an alliance with Rhudaur at this time. For the next 450 years, Rhudaur was constantly at war.
The Great Plague of 1636 devastated Eriador, and Rhudaur would not have been left unscathed. But the most telling blow was struck in the year 1975. Arthedain and Cardolan had fallen to the combined hosts of Rhudaur and the Witch-king the previous year, but these hosts were themselves wiped out by a combined army of Gondor and Lindon. The Witch-king fled the North, and the Hillmen vanished from the histories of Middle-earth. As far south as the Great East Road, Rhudaur became troll-country; travellers along the Road generally hurried along their way and avoided the Trollshaws.
Of course, Rhudaur had not been entirely abandoned. Rangers kept watch over these lands in great earnest, particularly in the last millenium of the ThirdAge, because it was along this front that the chief threat to the peace of old Arnor lay: from trolls, but also from Orcs which were returning in strength to the Misty Mountains. Indeed, southern Rhudaur--the Angle--appears to have been where most of the Dúnedain of the North lived in the later ThirdAge (Tolkien apparently confirmed this); the Angle lay in the sphere of influence of Rivendell, where the Chieftains of the Dúnedain were based . But northern Rhudaur remained wild and dangerous for the rest of that Age: Arador was slain here by hill-trolls in 2930, and his son Arathorn II fell in battle with Orcs in 2933. And in 2941, trolls captured the Company of Thorin.
 See the following essays by Michael Martinez on the history of Rhudaur and the presence of the Dúnedain in the Angle in the later Third Age:
|Notes and Contributions|
- At the time of the WotR, Rhudaur was probably less dangerous than it had been. The events of 2941 led to vast increase in traffic along the Great East Road, as Dwarves and their wains passed between Erebor and their mines in the Blue Mountains. The passes of the MistyMountains had for the most part been cleared during the War of the Dwarves and Orcs (2793-99), and after the Battle of Five Armies the Beornings of Wilderland kept open the High Pass to Rivendell. Aragorn led the hobbits into the Trollshaws to evade the Black Riders, but he did not seem concerned about running into any trolls. He wished to avoid leading the party into the "troll-country" of the Ettenmoors, but mostly because this route would take them too far north of Rivendell, and they had a depleted food supply and a seriously wounded hobbit to consider.
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