Umbar is the greatest coastal port and a largest natural harbor in Harad. The name Umbar refers to the city, port, fotress, cape and surrounding coastal lands. It was the Westernesse’s chief port in Middle-earth in the ancient days of Second Age, and has a great historical and religious significance to the Dúnedain and Adûnai alike. From the 10th century onwards it was part of Gondor, but the haven was lost to the supporters of the Castamirioni dynasty during the civil wars (1450–1810) and constituted an independent Dúnadan principality.


The name ‘Umbar’ has an uncertain origin, and it is not related to the Quenya word umbar, ‘fate’. It appears to contain the root word mbar, meaning ‘dwelling place’, but its origin is likely pre-Númenórean. In later times, the dual meaning of the word did not escape the notice of linguists, and it was exploited, especially in the poetry written by the descendants of Castamir. Umbareans can also boast that their native city is the only one that has a letter of its own in the Tengwar alphabet, representing MB or B. Nevertheless its origin, the heraldic symbol of the city had already been established at the beginning of the Third Age as a letter resembling a mast and sail.


Umbar is the oldest and largest of the havens established in Middle-earth by the Men of Númenor. Its excellent natural harbor is protected to the north by the long Umbar Peninsula, which saved the city from the cataclysm that ended the Second Age. The knowledge of Umbar’s founding has been lost to obscurity. It is possibly the oldest continuously inhabited city in all of Middle-earth, known by the same name throughout its existence. Umbar is mentioned in the annals of the Kings of Númenor around the year II 2280 and later in the Book of Years compiled by Master Meriadoc, but it is possible that the port was established even earlier.

Geographically, the Umbar proper includes not only the city, port, and peninsula, but also a narrow but fertile coastal strip along Umbar Bay, which sustains the city with agricultural products. Additionally, Umbar’s immediate political control has been historically extended down the coast from the mouth of the Harnen River to as far as the Mardruak Peninsula (at 28° north latitude), with its influence extending even farther south and east. Two archipelagoes belong to Umbar: Seaward Islands and Solitude Islands further in the west.

Umbar’s climate is dry and hot, but the coastal areas experience a Mediterranean climate with wet winters. Much of the inland territory under Umbar’s control is scrubland or semi-arid desert. In the north, there are also mountains with dry evergreen forests, primarily of pine and cedar trees. Snowfall can occur in these mountain forests during winters. The most common tree species on the Umbar Peninsula are holly oak (Quercus ilex) and kermes oak (Quercus coccifera). The land is fertile and particularly suitable for the cultivation of citrus fruits. However, grains tend to scorch without additional irrigation. South of Umbar, the coastline quickly transitions into a dry desert. The average annual temperature ranges from 16 to 20 degrees Celsius, but summers in the inland areas can be extremely hot.



  • Map of Umbar, 1664
  • Map of Harnendor and Khand, 1598
  • Map of Nen Umbar, 1598
  • Bellakar, Umbar and Harnen, 1598

People and culture

The people of Umbar have preserved the ancient language of the Men of Númenor, Adûnaic, which has evolved into a colloquial language (sôval phâre) colored by haradan loanwords. In literature, classical Adûnaic is used, and among the aristocracy, Sindarin is preferred. Only the descendants of the kings use Elvish languages as their native tongue. Laws and official announcements are predominantly published in Adûnaic. The vernacular language differs so much from the official language that illiterate people hardly understand the language of authorities. The teaching of classical Adûnaic begins as early as primary school with the reading of Akallabêth. Mastery of ornate phrases in literary language and intricate atanwar script are necessary for anyone aspiring to become a bureaucrat, scribe, or jurist. Literacy is rare but more common than in Gondor.

A typical Umbarean is slightly shorter than their northern cousins, with dark brown hair, black eyes, tanned skin, and sharp features. Most earn their livelihood through daily labor, fishing, and crafts. There are very few free peasants in Umbar. The fertile land is divided into enormous estates owned by oligarchs, from which the landless receive meager wages. Livelihood is constantly threatened, as many estates hire labor as needed, often only for a day at a time. Umbar lacks craft guilds or a large affluent middle class like Gondor. Craftsmen belong to the urban proletariat. Changing professions is easy, and many do various jobs throughout their lives. Land is expensive, but housing is cheap. Due to the favorable climate, almost any hovel suffices as a dwelling. The class differences in society are exceptionally large.

Racial mixing has been very common in Umbar. Nonetheless, Umbarean society is still divided into classes by ethnicity. One of the most important identity-related questions has been who can claim to belong to the prestigious group of Adûnai. Since Númenorean identity can refer to both an ethnic group, religion, and citizenship, there are many definitions. Gondorian citizenship laws never fully took root in Umbar. According to the Gondorian definition, a citizen must have at least one grandparent that belongs to the Adûnai class. According to the old Umbarean law, anyone born of a Númenorean mother is Adûna, regardless of their religion, wealth or skin color – during colonial period women of Númenorean stock were scarce compared to men. Lastly there is the religious definition that everyone who is part of the Faithful community is Adûna.

The typical Umbarean bears only one given name and one byname, which indicates kinship or place of origin. Kinship is denoted by the suffix –hîn, such as Orleghîn, signifying kin of Orleg. In cases where the father is unknown, the name naruhîn (“descendant of a man”) may be used euphemistically to denote illegitimacy. The prefix an– indicates place of origin or residence. Some individuals also earn honorifics, such as Sapthân (“wise man,” denoting someone who has memorized the Akallabêth and possesses the spiritual gift of Words of Knowledge), or Izinduzîr (“the just”). Almost all Umbareans are deeply superstitious. Like all Faithful, they believe in one God, the Flame Imperishable, and in the afterlife, but also in saints, divine powers (Avalôi), and both good and evil spirits (Manôi). Ancestors are venerated as demigods. The most popular folk hero and demigod is the last Númenorean king, Ar-Pharazôn, who vanquished Sauron. It is believed that he sleeps in eternal slumber in the Caves of the Forgotten, awaiting the day of the Last Battle when he will return.

Sakalai (Coastal folk)

The Númenorean explorers named the indigenous inhabitants of the Umbar region the Sakalai (Ad. “Coastal Folk”). Early in the Second Age, these folk found their way to the Bay of Umbar and dwelt along its shores. Primarily fishermen, goatherders, and farmers, the Sakalai were dominated by the later Haruzani and Númenorean newcomers. Though the Sakalai were freemen, few regarded them with anything but contempt. Few individuals rose above the status of their brethren, but these were a rare exception. Forming the lowest rung of Umbar’s social and economic ladder, few among the Sakalai owned their own boats or land, and nearly all worked for others.

Many Sakalai have moved to cities and assimilated into the urban poor. Some have migrated northward to live in reed huts and floating homes in the estuaries of Harnen and Anduin. Traditional goat herding and fishing with spears and thrownets is still practised in the poor county of Glinfalas, where four fifts of the population are Sakalai. They no longer speak their forgotten ancestral tongue and have adopted common speech (sôval phâre), but thick Sakalai dialect can be difficult to understand.

The man is the absolute head of the family, and the wife and children are considered his property. Families are often large. A high number of children brings honor to the man and praise to the womenfolk, even though most of the offspring die in infancy. Inheritance passes solely to the eldest son, who has the obligation to support his mother and unmarried siblings. Sakalai form tight kinship clans with mutual obligations to avoid conflicts. They mainly consume fish, vegetables, and especially cabbage, which others consider suitable only as cattle fodder. Despite their small stature, Sakalai are sought-after rowers and sailors.

Haruzani (Southrons)

Haruzani, or Southrons, differ from the Umbareans primarily due to their speech patterns and peculiar customs. Haruzani are mainly artisans and part of the lower middle class in cities. The poorest among them are desert shepherds, known as Urdwan. They are a reclusive people, encountered only in caravan cities and marketplaces where they sell camels. In appearance, the Haruzani are dark-haired and brown-skinned. They speak Haradaic, a language belonging to the southern Narnerim language group, as their mother tongue.

A Haradrim man can take as many wives as he desires but faces shame if he cannot properly provide for them. Though the man is the head of the family, property is inherited through the woman. A husband joins his wife’s clan. Haruzani are predominantly pagans who worship idols and the three goddesses of Harad (Ishtra, Ladnoca, and Manat). Many urban dwellers have adopted patriarchal cults that blend Haruzani folk beliefs, Adûnai mysticism, and the teachings of the Faithful, like the Followers of the Prophet Inzindubêth. Haruzani dress in colorful clothing and proudly display their wealth with wearable gold ornaments. Their diet consists of steamed vegetables, grilled and heavily spiced goat meat, goat milk, cheese, dates, and bread.

Adûnai (Men of the West)

The citizens of Umbar are known as Adûnai or Men of the West. Most of them possess some Númenorean lineage and profess their faith in the One God, Eru. As a political class they control nine-tenths of all arable land in Umbar. The true elite among the Adûnai is the small oligarchy of Umbarean nobles and descendants of the exiled Gondorian aristocracy, often referred to as “purebloods” or “men of honor”. The majority of the oligarchs claim some connection to royal bloodlines.

Adûnai assert that their dominance has been earned through bloodshed in ancient conflicts against Melkor. They view themselves as caretakers and stewards, appointed by God Himself, with their manifest destiny being to guide and instruct lesser men. Longevity is regarded as a hallmark of Númenorean ancestry and a divine blessing. Umbarean Adûnai typically have dark hair, green or blue eyes, and fair skin. They tend to dress in a subdued and traditional manner, favoring flowing robes and tall hats. Some have adopted southern silk caftans, turbans, and pearl earrings from neighboring Haruzani.

Adûnai nobility enjoy the privilege of openly carrying weapons and are exempt from capital punishment. Individuals deemed politically dangerous are often banished to the Lonely Islands. Adûnai believe that only the anointed king, acting as both ruler and priest, can directly communicate with God. As the descendants of Eldacar are seen as usurpers and there is currently no rightful anointed king, religious ceremonies are conducted in absolute silence from noon until sunset.

Adûnai outlook is inherently chauvinistic. While not outright hating other races, they nonetheless belittle the so called “lesser men”. Haruzani in general and Urdwan in particular are considered to be savage and primitive folk, sly and untrustworthy – so much that there are many folk wisdoms about “Haruzani honesty”.


The culture of Umbar is particularly defined by its culinary traditions. Umbar’s cuisine reflects influences from all the peoples that have lived in the region. The Haradrim cuisine has contributed apricots, citrus fruits, sugar, honeydew melon, rice, saffron, raisins, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, pine nuts, and cinnamon to Umbar. From Gondor come beans, olives, pastries, and whole roasted fish. Nearly all Umbarian dishes incorporate eggplant and tomatoes in some form, both plants brought to Middle-earth by Númenorean sailors. Among the most coveted fish species are tuna, mackerel, sea bream, cuttlefish, and swordfish. Meat usually consists of lamb or goat. During Gondorian era, there was some increase in consumption of pork, but it has since declined again. From the poor urdwan nomads, Umbarian cuisine has adopted kuskus, a dish made from coarse durum wheat, served both as a main course with vegetables and meat, and as a dessert with milk, sugar, and spices.

Wine is the most common beverage. The most sought-after wines grow in Harondor, on the plateaus of Laergaladrin and Emyn Imladrim. Also from these regions comes the port wine favored by sea captains. Wine is primarily produced on the Umbar Peninsula for local consumption. The Haradrim enjoy tea or coffee with their meals, a custom that seems to have become established among the Adûnai as well. Smoking fruits and herbs, especially westmansweed or sweet galenas, in a hookah is also a Haradrim specialty not found elsewhere – though sailors have introduced the herb in Cardolan, where halflings seem to have taken a liking to it.

Before dinner, there is a moment of silence, during which everyone stands facing west towards the sunken Númenor. Handshakes are not common. Acquaintances show affection by hugging, while a respectful greeting is given in the Gondorian manner, by bowing with hands clasped in front, palms clenched, right hand under the left. A slightly more intimate gesture of respect is kissing the hand. Among the honorable men, oligarchs, and large landowners, it is considered a great honor to be close enough to strike a man with a single blow.

Hospitality is a central virtue. The host is obligated to offer their best and also provide small gifts. Hospitality fosters a reciprocal relationship in which the host is responsible for the guest’s safety. It is also the host’s duty to ensure that guests understand local customs and laws. Hospitality applies to everyone regardless of birth or status. Umbarians are accustomed to receiving guests and generally treat strangers warmly.

Politics and power

The Principality of Umbar comprises three distinct elements: ancient city-states, feudal fiefdoms, and tribal hinterlands. City-states, known as Leagues, are conglomerates of towns, villages, and farmlands governed by a central authority. Most of these have existed since the beginning of the Third Age. City-states are further subdivided into ancient Númenorean colonies, which maintain their own independent jurisdictions; towns that were granted rights during the Gondorian period (known as gobel rights); and native communities governed by judges appointed by local governors.

Fiefdoms are either owned by oligarchs or by the royal family. They consist mostly of large estates and harbors protected by sturdy castles and ruled at the discretion of their overlords. Lands are further rented out to overseers and cultivated by day laborers. Following the conquest of Umbar, the Gondorian crown became the largest landowner in Umbar due to appropriations and confiscations. When Castamir was crowned king of Gondor, the royal house owned one-fifth of all arable land in Umbar. These lands were passed down to his descendants, the House of Castamirioni. Other fiefdoms belong to six oligarchic families who managed to consolidate their power in the 1300s by purchasing or displacing other landowners.

In addition to the city-states and large estates, the rural areas of Umbar encompass vast tribal territories, especially in the mountains, on the plains, and near the Harad Desert. Within Umbar’s territory, there are three significant tribal confederations: the Tedjin, Urdwan, and Jelut. The nomads live according to their own customs and laws. Umbarians’ interactions with them are mainly limited to trade, tax collection, and conscription. Nomads live in family units that move with the seasons: grazing their herds in the mountains in summer and on the plains in winter. Villages are independent and isolated. Each village is home to a clan formed from a few families, which collectively cultivate land owned by the community in the immediate vicinity of the village. Village affairs are decided by a council of elders that regularly convenes near the village gate. Villagers have little contact with the outside world. Even markets are internal village affairs.

Government (1470–1684, 1721–1810)

After Lord Morlaen disbanded the Regency Council and reinstated the Council of Captains as the executive and legislative body of the principality, Umbar became a hereditary oligarchy. Power is shared and order maintained by nine men, known as the Captains of Umbar: Six heads of the oligarchic families, two Chief Judges appointed by the College of Judges, and a chairman elected bi-annually by the Council itself, known as the Prince-Regent of Umbar, who serves as both the head of state and head of government. The Council of Captains requires a quorum of five, and a simple majority is necessary for motions to pass. The Prince-Regent issues orders to the Umbarean military and oversees other governing institutions, such as the Committee of Public Revenues, which is responsible for rents and taxes, and the notorious Committee of Public Safety, the secret police force. The judicial body operates independently from the government.

Castamirioni reforms (1684–1721)

Descendants of Castamir wielded public power throughout much of the 16th and 17th centuries, albeit as primus inter pares. Castamir’s grandson, Castamaitë, along with his sons Angamaitë and Sangahyando, were regularly elected as Prince-Regents, Chief Judges, and commanders of the Umbarean military. However, until 1684, they never held dominance over the Council of Captains, which retained ultimate authority.

The balance of power began to shift when Angamaitë, childless and aging, arranged a marriage between his only grandchild, Miriel Artanis Elestirne, and Prince Ereinion, the exiled eldest son of Gondorian King Tarondor. This union between the descendants of Eldacar and Castamir presented an opportunity for Umbarean reunification and an end to two hundred years of civil war.

However, the Council of Captains perceived this union as a direct threat to their independence and conspired to assassinate the last living Castamirioni. The conspiracy was uncovered by Angamaitë’s committee of public safety, which, in turn, colluded with the burgeoning might of the Honourable Greater Gondor Company, a new joint-stock company owned by both Umbarean and Gondorian merchants and financed by Miriel’s scheming mother Aranel Mírlond. With the assistance of the company’s mercenaries, explosives were planted beneath the council chamber, resulting in the deaths of most of the oligarchs.

Miriel Artanis Elestirne was crowned Queen of Umbar, Harnendor, and Belfalas, with prince-consort Ereinion as her husband and Angamaitë serving as Regent and head of government until his death in 1692. The Council of Captains was replaced by the Crown Council. However, royal rule was brought to an end by the Umbarean revolution of 1721, which witnessed the resurgence of the oligarchic aristocracy as the leaders of an independent Umbarean principality.

With the death of Crown Prince Elatar, Ereinion ascended to the throne of Gondor as King Telumehtar and initiated a new series of wars to secure the inheritance of his son Narmacil, who was heir to both realms. The final victory came in 1810 with the conquest of the Haven of Umbar and the complete destruction of the Umbarean oligarchy.


During the Gondorian period (933–1448), Umbar operated on a silver-based monetary economy. The Royal Mint in the Haven of Umbar produced gold crowns (4.48 grams), quarter-ounce silver royals, and half-ounce double royals. One silver royal was subdivided into ten bronze minas or fifty copper pennies. Each coin bore the image of the reigning king on the obverse side and a white tree on the reverse.

The descendants of Castamir retained the old dies and continued to use the image of Castamir, the last legitimate king in their view. In 1470, the oligarchs dismissed the Regency Council and initiated their own independent rule. Gold crowns bearing Castamir’s likeness were replaced by a new coin known as the besain (“breadgiver”). These coins were minted from an alloy of gold and silver called electrum, with a gold content of approximately 43%. Besains, half-besains, and quarter-besains quickly became the most common currency in Umbar and the South. One besain was intended to be equivalent to a working man’s monthly pay and was subdivided into 20 silver pennies or 80 farthings.

Gold crowns bearing the image of Castamir were still minted in Ramlond, earning them the moniker “traitors’ crowns”. Dissidents in Gondor used them as tokens to show their allegiance. After 1684, Umbarean besains (which had been diminishing in gold content) were replaced by new coins bearing the image of Queen Elestirne and her prince-consort. In the chaotic 18th century, royal crowns, old besains of variable value, and reformed double besains issued by the Haven of Umbar were all used as legal tender.

Faith and religion

During the Castamirioni era, the Dúnedain of Umbar belonged with the community of the Faithful in Gondor and Arnor. Being Faithful means allegiance to the Old Covenant between Men of the West and the Valar (or Balâi in Adûnaic). A tangible sign of the Covenant is Dúnadan longevity, which has been diminishing since the Downfall of Númenor (the Akallabêth in Adûnaic). The Faithful believe that Númenor was taken away because men lapsed in faith, openly sinned, renounced the Old Covenant, and pursued immortality in rebellion against God.

According to the Faithful, the divinely ordained monarch is the Seal of the Covenant and the only priest the Faithful are allowed to have. Followers of the Castamirioni believe that Castamir was the last legitimate High King of the Dúnedain, and therefore Men no longer have an intermediary with God. All religious rituals that would need the monarch leading prayer are conducted in pious silence. Many native Umbareans go even further and claim that Ar-Pharazôn of Númenor was the last legitimate High King. This train of religious thought is also called Ârûwanâi (King’s Men) Legalism.

The Legalist school developed in Umbar early in the Third Age. After the Cult of Melkor was persecuted into oblivion and the fire temples built by Sauron were cast down, the descendants of Númenoreans in Umbar were faced with a dilemma. Without a legitimate king or priests, who would lead the Faithful community if they didn’t want to submit to the descendants of Elendil? It was during this time, in the first centuries of the Third Age, when lawyers and judges rose to that role. Umbarean society was based on Númenorean law (Namnar Númenórëo), which stipulated the correct religion, rights based on Númenorean heritage, and ritual purity. A veritable corpus of literature was written on how Númenorean law should be interpreted in exile. This combination of jurisprudence and theology came to be called Batân (“Path” or “way of acting”) in Adûnaic. High Judges became priests in all but name, replacing the role of the King or his appointed officers in religious rites.

A puritanical school of Fatalists developed in the 6th century, who challenged Legalists on the question of free will. If everything that was, is, and will be was sung into existence in the great music prefiguring the creation of the material universe (), there is no free will. Because everything is happening by the will of God, even the Downfall of Númenor was preordained and unavoidable. Therefore there is no reason to lament the loss, only to praise God for his insurmountable wisdom and prescience. It also follows that Men are created both good and bad, and there is no way to redemption. Bad deeds exist as a reminder of the omnipotence of God.

A third Path arose in the 8th century. A school of mystical Unionists examined different ways – religious and political – how all the wayward children of Númenor would be redeemed of their sin and united again. Legalist judges branded it as heresy, which prompted Unionist scholars to hide their thoughts in complicated symbolism, before delving into the occult world of alchemy and astrology. Unionists believe in the Second Coming of Númenor, which would happen after certain signs and prodigies. Unionist prophets called for the unification of all Realms of Exile prior to, or in tandem with, the new era, when there would be universal peace and brotherhood among Men without any evil. Some theorized that the rebirth of Númenor would herald the End Times and Dagor Dagorath, when the world was made anew after a horrible war that would destroy it. Unionists waited for a Savior (Mahdi) from the Line of Elros, who would unite the realms and bring forth the Golden Age. When Umbar was conquered by Gondor, Unionists became the dominant school of religious thought. Many proclaimed that King Hyarmendacil I was the Savior and Anointed One, who would unite the world in harmony.

However, as Gondorian kings came and went, any harmony that was achieved was replaced with new and virulent dissent between northerners and southerners, between merchant princes and landowners, between proponents of the Navy supporting big maritime expeditions and champions of the Army advocating for landward expansion into Rhovanion and Rhun. The Kin-Strife bankrupted Unionist thought; Legalist judges rose to prominence once again. New religions arrived in Umbar from the South and the East. There were followers of the Desert Prophet Izindubêth, who proclaimed to be the messenger of God and the herald of the end times. Worship of Melkor crept back again, with fire temples of Khand being built in many Umbarean cities. And among the common folk, all these spiritual and religious thoughts blended and intermingled to give birth to Umbarean folk religion, with distinct Dúnadan and Haradan characteristics.

Principality of Umbar

Civil device
Naval ensign
System of GovernmentHereditary Oligarchy
Governing BodySenate (2–500)
Grand Oligarchy (500–668)
Council of Captains (668–933)

Regency Council (1450–1470)
Council of Captains (1470–1684)
Small Oligarchy (1721–1810)
Council of Elders (1810–1940)
Notable RulersRegent Castamaitë (1502–1621)
Regent Angamaitë (1634–1685)
Míriel Artanis Elestirne (1685–1721)
Population~2,400,000 (1685)
Ethnic GroupsAdûnai
ReligionsThe Faithful
Ârûwanâi Legalism, Fatalism and Dualism
Folk religion



  • Haven of Umbar
  • Dol Annabrîth
  • Dûsalan
  • Gobel Ancalimon
  • Ramlond