This timeline covers the six centuries between the arrival of the Noldor and the War of Wrath, compiled with help from Robert Foster’s The Complete Guide to Middle-earth (New York: Ballentine Books, 1978) and Paul Kocher’s A Reader’s Guide to Silmarillion (London: Thames and Hudson, 1980). Regrettably, there are few dates referred to in the tales so it is often impossible to date events exactly.
Before the first sunrise
Just prior to the first Year of the Sun and the coming of the Noldor, Morgoth’s armies engage the Sindar in the First Battle of Beleriand; the victory of Angband leads Melian to set the girdle of her protection upon Doriath. The Second Battle, Dagor-nuin-Giliath (the Battle under the Stars), is fought upon the arrival of Fëanor’s people. He perishes, but Morgoth’s hosts are driven back to Angband.
1 YS (Year of the Sun)
The Sun and Moon rise for the first time. Fingolfin reaches Middle-earth and is named High-king of the Noldor.
Thingol gives the Noldor permission to settle and defend the unpopulated regions of northern Beleriand, but he exercises little control over the Noldo princes.
Finrod Felagund begins the building of Nargothrond.
Turgon discovers Tumladen and begins the building of Gondolin.
Dagor Aglareb, the Third Battle. An Orc attack on Dorthonion is repulsed by the hosts of Fingolfin and Maedhros.
An Orc attack on Hithlum is repulsed by Fingon’s host.
Glaurung emerges for the first time, but is routed in a battle on Ard-galen. The Dragons do not reappear for a long time.
Maeglin is born.
The three Houses of Edain reach Beleriand from the southeast. Bëor’s House arrives first and is guided by Finrod to Estolad, where it settles. The next folk, the Haladin, remain in Thargelion. During the following year, the House of Hador arrives and migrates to Estolad. After some wandering, Bëor’s folk settle in Dorthonion and allies itself with Finrod of Nargothrond. Hador’s people settle in Hithlum and Ered Wethrin. After some years the Haladin are driven out of Thargelion by Orcs and move to Estolad. (Many Men from the three Houses remain in Estolad until the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.)
Maeglin arrives in Gondolin. Eol and Aredhel die.
Haleth leads her people, the Haladin, westwards from Estolad through Nan Dungortheb to Brethil and Talath Dimen.
The Haladin settle in Brethil.
Hador’s House settles in Dor-lómin.
Húrin is born.
Huor is born.
Dagor Bragollach, the Fourth Battle. Ard-galen is devastated by rivers of fire from Angband. During the winter, the March of Maedhros and Dorthonion are conquered by Morgoth’s hosts. Fingolfin is killed by Morgoth at the gates of Angband. Fingon becomes King of the Noldor.
Sauron captures Tol Sirion and changes it to Tol-in-Gaurhoth (Isle of the Werewolves). Bëor’s tribe flee from Dorthonion to Hithlum; only Barahir’s outlaws remain. The Easterlings arrive in Beleriand and settle in its eastern parts.
Barahir and his men die. Only Beren survives.
An Orc attack on Hithlum is repulsed. Húrin becomes chieftain of the House of Hador in Dor-lómin.
Túrin is born.
The adventures of Beren and Lúthien, during which Finrod, Huan and Carcharoth die. Sauron is expelled from Tol-in-Gaurhoth by Lúthien and his tower is destroyed. A Silmaril is wrested from Morgoth’s iron crown and given to Thingol. Beren and Lúthien settle in Tol Galen.
Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the Fifth Battle, the Battle of Un-numbered Tears. The hosts of the Eldar and the Edain are crushed by Morgoth’s forces. Hithlum is settled by the Easterlings. Tuor is born.
The Falas is ravaged by Orcs. Círdan’s people flee to Balar at the mouth of the Sirion.
Turin’s tragic adventures, described in detail in Narn î Hín Húrin/The Children of Húrin. They are too extensive to be summarized here.
The Haladin are defeated and withdraw into the forests. Nargothrond is conquered by Glaurung and Orcs.
Tuor and Idril marry.
Dwarves from Nogrod kill Thingol in Menegroth and steal the Silmaril, but are themselves slain during their escape. The jewel is brought back to Menegroth. Melian departs Middle-earth. A Dwarven army sacks Menegroth and captures the Silmaril. During their march home, Beren kills them and recovers the jewel, which afterwards is worn by Lúthien for some years.
Beren and Lúthien die. Dior becomes King of Doriath and wears the Silmaril.
Fëanor’s sons attack Menegroth to capture the Silmaril. Caranthir, Celegorm, Curufin, Dior, and Nimloth are slain, while Elwing escapes to Sirion with the Silmaril.
The Sack of Gondolin. Turgon and Maeglin die. Tuor and Idril flee to the Mouths of Sirion. Ereinion Gil-galad becomes King of the Noldor.
Fëanor’s surviving sons attack the Elven settlement at the mouth of Sirion in search of the Silmaril, but fail to capture it. Amrod and Amras fall in the fight.
A few decades later
Eärendil reaches Aman and appeals to the Valar. The Hosts of Valinor go to Middle-earth to fight the War of Wrath. Its fierce battles devastates both Angband and Beleriand and the ocean floods those regions. The First Age has thereby come to an end.