The History of Durin’s Folk
The largest Dwarvish House was that founded by Durin the Deathless, who also founded Khazad-dûm. Dwarves of Durin’s line could be discerned by their beard: it was remarkably long and divided into two ‘tails’ that were tucked beneath the belt.
Much of the history of Durin’s descendants revolves around Khazad-dûm. The underground city, praised for its size and splendour, flourished after the destruction of Beleriand during the First Age, when the Dwarfs from the Gabilgathol (Sin: Belegost) and Tumunzahar (Sin: Nogrod) fled from the flood that swallowed Beleriand to their kinsmen in the Misty Mountains.
At the beginning of the Second Age, miners of Khazad-dûm discovered a thick layer of a rare metal: mithril. It was most precious, not only because of its beauty (Ëarendills ship is supposedly made of mithril) but also because of its many applications. The Elf-Smiths of Eregion were especially fond of the substance, and even founded a colony along the western wall of Khazad-dûm to facilitate trade. It was the beginning of a long and prosperous friendship.
Around the year 1200 of the Second Age, Sauron managed to force a treaty with the Elf-Smiths of Eregion. Taught by him, and with the raw materials delved by the Dwarves, they started on the forging of the great Rings of Power three hundred years later, an assignment that ended around 1590 with the forging of the Elf Rings.
The Dwarves also received Rings, seven in total, one for each house. Although they formed the basis of much of their wealth (a knowledge repeated by Thrór on passing the Ring to his son Thraín II) the Dwarves were not consumed by them as the Human Kings had been.
In the year 1697 of the Second Age, when the complete destruction of Eriador was at hand and the Elves suffered the death of their Lord Celebrimbor, the gates of Khazad-dûm were closed. This does not only lead to the death of many of the Dwarves’ former allies and friends, but it also meant the beginning of a great hatred between the Elves and the Dwarves.
The mithril was an important source of economic growth for the Dwarves, but as much as it formed the basis of their wealth, it also became their doom. In the year 1980 of the Third Age the Dwarves, by that time filled with greed, started looking for another vein and dug too deep: they awoke in the depths beneath Barazinbar (Sin: Caradhras) a creature of the Underworld; a Balrog. It destroyed the Dwarves’ home and chased them out, sending them into continued exile. In doing so it killed both King Durin VI (hence Durin’s Bane) and his son and predecessor King Naín I.
The most important new settlement of the Dwarves became Erebor, the Lonely Mountain, where Thraín I founded the first Kingdom Under the Mountain in the year 1999 of the Third Era. They lived in relative wealth, since Dwarves of other houses had already laboured hard there and gathered great treasures.
Nevertheless, Thraín’s son Thorin I was not pleased with his surroundings and took a vast amount of his kinsmen to colonise the Grey Mountains, north of Erebor. This attempt succeeded, but ended in 2590 when the Dragons heard of the treasures mounting in this new Dwarf realm and attacked the Grey Mountains.
It was another attack, by another dragon, that ended the first Kingdom Under the Mountain. In the year 2770 of the Third Age, the dragon Smaug attacked Erebor and chased out its inhabitants, claiming their treasure as his own and in the meantime demolishing the city of Dale.
The Dwarves were now scattered, seeking refuge in the already existing realm of the Iron Hills or travelling to Eriador and the mines of the Blue Mountains. But it was a poor existence and King Thror, no longer able to stand the humiliating conditions in which his people had to live, undertook the journey to Khazad-dûm.
By this time the old Dwarf city had become a refuge for Orcs of different breeds, and it was called Moria (Black Chasm) by the nearby living Elves. Thror arrived at the gates of Moria with his servant Nár, but decided to enter the mines on his own. Mere days later, Nár found Thror’s body, decapitated by a band of Orcs lead by Azog.
Infuriated by the death of his father, King Thraín managed to form an alliance between all the Seven Houses of the Dwarves, and marched up to Moria. The war between the two peoples took 6 years in total, and found its conclusion in the year 2799 of the Third Age.
In the valley of Azanulbizar, they confronted a vast army of Moria Orcs. This battle became known as the Battle of Azanulbizar (or: Nanduhirion), one of the three great battles of the Third Age, and lead to massive loss of lives on both sides. It was only when Náin of the Iron Hills arrived with reinforcements, that chances turned in favour of the Dwarves, but not without adding Náin and his own murderer Azog to the list.
After a ritual burning of the slain Dwarfs, not by the Dwarves’ custom but to prevent their bodies from being devoured by Orcs or predators, Náin’s son Dáin lead his people back to the Iron Hills, much against Thraíns desires.
In 2941 of the Third Era then, Thorin II Oakenshield, son of Thraín II, gathered twelve Dwarves and one burglar (the Hobbit Bilbo Baggings) in order to reclaim Erebor and found a second Kingdom Under the Mountain. At that moment, Thorin was already King in exile after his fathers imprisonment by Sauron, and he sought to reclaim what was rightfully his.
With the help of Gandalf the Grey (known to the Dwarves as Tharkûn) the company managed to reach Erebor, and there they were assisted by Men from the nearby village of Dale and Elves. But again, greed intertwined with good intentions, and Thorin II almost provoked another war between the three peoples by denying his allies their reward. An attack of Orcs decided otherwise, and in this battle which became known as the Battle of the Five Armies, Thorin II died a hero.
After this, the relations with the other free peoples of Middle Earth regained a friendly undertone. Balin, one of the members of Thorin II’s company, travelled to Khazad-dûm to once more attempt to retake the city. When in the year 3018 a servant of Mordor arrived in Erebor, the Dwarves sought council from Elrond Peredhil – another proof of how relations between Elves and Dwarves had improved.
In the War of the Ring, Dwarves of Erebor sided with the Men of Dale to defeat an army of Easterlings. They were lead in this battle by Thorin III, son of Dáin Ironfoot, and Bard II.
Gimli Elf-friend, also a Dwarf of Erebor and son of Glóin, travelled for a while with the Ring-bearer Frodo Baggins, and played a modest part in the Battle of Hornburg. He later became known as Lord of the Glittering Caves and was the only Dwarf ever to sail from the Grey Havens to the Undying Land, as a servant of Lady Galadriel of Lórien.