Cardolan

Land of Red Hills
Aspects Glittering Gateway to the South; Harried by Bandits and Raiders
Places Ost Erindyrn (capital), Tharbad, Lond Daer (ruin)
Faces Uralan (prince)
Cultures Dunedain, Northmen, Dunlendings, Stoors
Factions Merchant-Princes of Tharbad, Arnorian Loyalists, Dunland Raiders

The southernmost remnant kingdom of old Arnor, ruled by lesser Dunedain princes, populated mostly by Men though scattered families of Hobbits are not unknown. Cardolan currently enjoys good relations with its northern neighbor Arthedain (though only after centuries of conflict), as well as the powerful southern kingdom of Gondor.

Cardolan is a thriving, if somewhat divided, kingdom with control over most of the trade between Eriador and the lands to the south and east. With all its wealth and economic potential, Cardolan must contend with extensive criminal elements within its own borders, as well as raiding Dunlendings and hill-men from Rhudaur. Merchants, guilds, and craftsmen hold a considerable amount of influence in Cardolan, particularly in the urban areas such as Tharbad to the south.

Prince Uralan rules from Ost Erindyrn over a land between the rivers Baranduin and Gwathlo from the contested Weather Hills all the way to the Great Sea, though he must contend with a circle of powerful nobles who frequently challenge his authority over regional matters. The largest divide is between those who desire closer relations with Arthedain and those who are determined to maintain the independence of Cardolan as a sovereign state.


History

Founded in III 861 by the second son of Earendur, the last king of Arnor, Cardolan had long been a prosperous region of the North-kingdom. In the following centuries Cardolan made extensive use of mercenaries from southern lands in conflicts with Arthedain and Rhudaur, as well as to keep the peace in the east against lawless Dunlendings and tribal hill-men. With their dominant position in the South Downs, Cardolan was able to exert considerable control over Bree-land for much of its history.

Cardolan was at the height of its power roughly two hundred years ago when hill-men and orcs had been moving north, leaving the kingdom’s eastern lands relatively stable and prosperous, and it was able to invest in fortifying its northern border with Arthedain.

Unfortunately, this is when Nautanil, the last of Cardolan’s kings descended from Isildur, died without leaving an heir. A succession crisis that would have further split the kingdom was narrowly averted as the king’s nephew through his eldest sister was able to unite the Dunedain lords of Cardolan. However, though his legitimate leadership was accepted, this line of rulers would from then on be recognized only as princes, rather than kings.

In the last hundred years, with the rise of Angmar and the weakening of Cardolan’s Dunedain nobility, the princes of Cardolan have allied themselves with the kings of Arthedain. Over time, Cardolan has become a lesser partner in the alliance, with factionalism in Cardolan in the face of Arthedain’s relative political unity and sustained military power.


External Resources

Cardolan (at Encyclopedia of Arda)
Cardolan (at Tolkien Gateway)
Cardolan (at Lord of the Rings Wiki)

Cardolan

Twilight of the North Basileus Basileus