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Destroyed in the War of Wrath at the end of the First Age
The Bay of Balar, in the south of Beleriand
Some sources state that the isle was an eastern promontory of Tol Eressëa, left behind in the Bay of Balar when the main island was taken into the West
Balar is pronounced 'ba'larr' (the final 'r' should be pronounced - 'rr' is used here to emphasise this)
Balar probably means 'Power' (a reference to the Maia Ossë, who formerly came to this region)


About this entry:

  • Updated 19 June 2008
  • This entry is complete

Isle of Balar

The refuge of Círdan

Map of the Isle of Balar

A large island (indeed, the largest known island off the shores of Middle-earth) located in the Bay of Balar, some seventy miles south of the coastlands of Arvernien.

According to legend, the Isle was the eastern horn of the much greater island of Tol Eressëa, which broke off when Ulmo towed away the main island to Aman carrying the Vanyar and the Noldor. It is said that the Maia Ossë often came to the Isle of Balar.

The island was noted for its pearls, which were found in great abundance in the shallow waters around it. These were collected by the people of Círdan, who gave them freely to the other Elf-lords.

While we are not told of the nature or location of settlements on the island, it is clear that it was populated at least early in the First Age, and possibly before that. As well as the Elves of the Havens, Balar was explored by the people of Nargothrond, and Turgon built refuges there for the Gondolindrim after the Dagor Bragollach in I 455. From these, he sent out ships seeking Aman and the aid of the Valar, but none succeeded.

The Isle of Balar became an important centre after the destruction of the Havens in I 472, when Círdan and Gil-galad fled to the island and settled there. The island was lost during the War of Wrath that brought the First Age to an end. Gil-galad and Círdan departed to settle in Lindon, where they founded new havens, the Grey Havens of Mithlond.



In The Etymologies, Tolkien speculates that the name might derive from báláre ('powerful ?lord'), a reference to the Maia Ossë who was said to often come to the Bay of Balar. (The History of Middle-earth volume V, The Lost Road and Other Writings III The Etymologies).


About this entry:

  • Updated 19 June 2008
  • This entry is complete

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