The Eldar were the Vanyar, Noldor, and Teleri, the Three Kindreds of Elves who undertook the Great Journey.

Summoned to Aman by Oromë early in the First Age, the Eldar made their slow way west from Cuiviénen to Beleriand, though the Elves who would become the Nandor turned south down the Vales of Anduin. The Vanyar and Noldor were towed to Aman, but the Teleri lingered in Beleriand.

At length a part of the Teleri also went over the Sea, dwelling first on Tol Eressëa and later at Alqualondë, but many of the Teleri remained in Beleriand and became known as the Sindar.

In later years, the Vanyar dwelt in Valinor and the Teleri in Eldamar, but Fëanor led most of the Noldor back to Middle-earth in pursuit of the Silmarils stolen by Morgoth.

At the end of the First Age most of the Eldar of Middle-earth went to Aman after the War of Wrath.

In the Second Age, many of the Eldar who remained in Middle-earth lived in Lindon, where they were ruled by Gil-galad, last High King of the Noldor in Middle-earth, while others, led by Celebrimbor, founded Eregion. Still others of the Eldar, such as Thranduil, Galadriel, and Celeborn, went farther east and founded Elven-realms, peopled mostly by Silvan Elves. The Second Age Eldar were often troubled by Sauron, and their numbers dwindled and they did little new. With the waning of the Three Rings at the end of the Third Age, many of the mightiest Eldar passed over the Sea, and those who remained dwindled in power.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by tarkena