The Great Raid
Part of the Second Corsair War
Date 1634
Location Lebennin
Casus belli Humiliating peace of Ancalimon in 1551; Umbarean desire for revanche
Result Decisive Umbarean victory
 Gondor  Umbar
 Aran Minardil †
 Brego Bassoneth-Celosien

Sack of Pelargir

The Sack of Pelargir on 5 May 1634 was a military event carried out by the rebel troops of Angamaitë and Sangahyando, lords of Umbar and descendants of king Castamir. It marked a crucial rebel victory in the civil war between descendants of Eldacar and the Castamirioni League (1430–1810) — the confederacy of southern Dúnedain and some of the former leading families of Pelargir.


Harondor had continued to be an object of contention between the League and the kings during the century following the Gondorian recapture of the north bank of the river Harnen. Towns and villages fell regularly to either side, though Gobel Mírlond remained under Gondorian control. Both sides gradually increased the size of their forces in the region. In III 1633 king Minardil grew certain that the Corsairs were about to launch a major offensive to retake much of Harondor. To his surprise, the rebel fleet that had been assembling in Umbar bypassed the Harnen and struck the unprotected coasts of Lebennin.

The architects of this great and daring amphibious operation were Angamaitë and Sangahyando, two great-grandsons of Castamir. They were given full support of the Umbarean Council of Captains in an attempt to alter the balance of power in the Belfalas Bay, and free Harondor from what many considered to be 'unlawful domination' by the dynasty of Eldacar. King Minardil was at the time residing in Pelargir to oversee the preparing of the new Royal fleet. Due to lack of intelligence and incompetence of the new Captain of the Ships, Angamaitë and Sangahyando managed to take the Gondorians totally by surprise. They landed 34,000 rebel troops behind Gondorian lines in the mouths of Anduin and led them towards Pelargir. Apart from some 6,000 Dúnedain under Sangahyando, the operation included some 14,000 mercenaries under lord Númendur, some Haruze infantry led by Curmegil, Macilion of Ûrêlôni and Gildas of Tirith Argon, and some cavalry under Pilinehtar, count of Barazôn.

Angamaitë set sail on April 20, 1634, taking advantage of the chaos among the Gondorians and their allies after a revolt which had broken out in Lebennin against king Minardil. In this way, the largely undisciplined raiders sacked Methir and Fanuilond, and occupied Lorilad and Barfalas, reaching the walls of Pelargir on May 5.

The Sack

The troops defending Pelargir were not at all numerous, consisting of 5,000 militiamen led by Brego Bassoneth-Celosien and the Company of the White Tree. The city's fortifications included massive walls, and it possessed a good artillery force, which the League army lacked. Angamaitë and Sangahyando needed to conquer the haven hastily, to avoid the risk of being trapped between the besieged city and the Royal army.

On May 6, the League navy and marine contingents attacked the walls at Neldëlendin and Enta Sirith. Sangahyando was fatally wounded in the assault, allegedly shot by Brego Bassoneth-Celosien. Sangahyando was wearing his famous white cloak to mark him out to his troops, but it also had the unintended consequence of pointing him out as the leader to his enemies. Rebels believed that their beloved commander was dead, which caused any restraint in the soldiers to disappear. They easily captured the walls of Pelargir the same day, taking out all artillery positions. Heavy galleasses of Angamaitë then bombarded the confused defenders with lead, naurnen and incendiary devices, produced by loremasters of Umbar. Tightly-packed formations of Royal Navy ships quickly took fire and were utterly decimated. Most of the Ceiriath Aran was either burned or captured.

One of the Royal Guard's most dreary hours occurred at this time. Almost the entire guard was massacred by rebel troops on the steps of Abad-en-Arahir. Of 189 guards on duty only 42 survived, their bravery ensuing that Brego Bassoneth-Celosien could escape to Barad Aerhir and continue the defense. Angamaitë personally slew king Minardil at the quays of Pelargir and thus avenged the death of his great-grandfather. After three days of ravages, Angamaitë ordered the sack to cease, but few soldiers obeyed. In the meantime, Captain of the Ships continued to be prisoner in Barad Aerhir.

Malvegil Rian and Anardil Anghabar arrived with some loyalist troops on June 1 in Kingsbrook, north of the city. Their probably too cautious behaviour prevented them from obtaining an easy victory against the undisciplined rebel troops. On June 6, Brego Bassoneth-Celosien surrendered to Angamaitë, and agreed to pay a ransom of 400,000 silver royals in exchange of his life; conditions included the cession of Emyn Imladrim, Barad Harn, Has Annûn and Tolfalas to the Castamirioni League (however, only the latter could be occupied). Angamaitë and Sangahyando returned Umbar with dozens of captured ships, majestic amounts of loot and a truce which would let the Corsair Lords extort further paymets from Gondor.


The Sack of Pelargir and its quays reduced Gondor's naval capability to the point it was not able to wage a succesful retaliation. It was also an immense blow to the morale of the Royal Navy. Although a glorious victory for the rebel confederacy, the Sack of Pelargir was counterproductive in the long run: it alienated the last supporters of the rebel cause in southern Gondor and strengthened the loyalist resolve to reduce the rebel lordship once and for all. "Umbar must be destroyed!" became the rallying cry in Pelargir, "and they must suffer thrice what we have suffered" was uttered repeatedly in the Great Council of Gondor. Minardil's successors Telemnar and Tarondor took great pains rebuilding Gondor's navy, which as redesigned on entirely different lines: the new coastal navy would be composed of fast galliots, galleasses, artillery barges and trade cogs converted to troop transports.

In commemoration of the Great Raid and the Guard's bravery, new recruits to the Company of the White Tree are sworn in on 6 May every year.

Eldacari-Castamirioni conflict resumed eighteen years later with the beginning of the Third Corsair War (Fifteen Year's War).

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