Also called Ereinion (meaning 'descendant of kings'). 'Gil-galad' meant 'star of radiance'.

He was born a little before the year 445 in the First Age, just before the Dagor Bragollach. He was sent from his home in Beleriand before the battle by his father Fingon*, High King of the Noldor.

He went to Círdan, and was living there when his father died in the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. He did not become High King at that point, presumably because he was too young. The crown went instead to Turgon.

When his uncle Turgon was lost along with Gondolin, Gil-galad became the High King of the Noldor at the age of 65. He dwelt on Balar, an island off the Mouths of Sirion, with the Noldor exiles.

After Beleriand was destroyed, he created a city between where Beleriand used to be and the mountains that surrounded it, the Blue Mountains. He called this place Lindon. It was there that Annatar (Sauron in disguise) came to him, but Gil-galad and Elrond forced him out.

The Númenorians came over to Middle-earth at about that time and made an alliance with Gil-galad. It was called the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. They marched to Mordor, and attacked Sauron's tower. Sauron was eventually defeated, but Gil-galad died in battle.

Gil-galad's preferred weapon was a spear, named Aeglos.

* Though Gil-galad was mentioned as Fingolfin's son in The "Silmarillion", Tolkien later changed his mind and made the son of Orodreth. For more information on Tolkien's later ideas, please see the "related link" above.
Encyclopedia entry originally written by midnight_mordor