Durin's Folk were the Longbeards (Sigin-tarâg in Khuzdul), one of the seven kindreds of Dwarves whose leaders were from the House of Durin. Their first king was named Durin, who was one of the seven Fathers of the Dwarves.
The First Age
In the deeps of time the Fathers of the Dwarves awoke. Durin, who had slept alone at Mount Gundabad, wandered south along the Misty Mountains until he came upon Azanulbizar and in the caves above Kheled-zâram he founded the city of Khazad-dûm, the home of Durin's Folk. Durin lived there so long he became known as Durin the Deathless, yet in the end he died before the end of the First Age.
When Men first migrated west into Rhovanion and Eriador they encountered Durin's Folk. The Longbeards were the wisest and most farseeing of the seven kindreds and began dealing with Men, establishing an economy in which Men chiefly provided food in exchange for Dwarven work in building, road-construction, mining, and the crafting of tools and weapons. During this period the Longbeards adopted the speech of Men, keeping their own language to themselves.
The Second Age
At the end of the First Age during the War of Wrath and the breaking of Thangorodrim the ancient cities of Nogrod and Belegost in the Blue Mountains had been ruined. About the year 40, many Dwarves, with their craft and lore, left the destruction behind and came to Khazad-dûm, greatly increasing its wealth and power.
In 750, the Noldor established a new realm in Eregion. Being nigh to Khazad-dûm they established a friendship with Durin's Folk unsurpassed before or since between Elves and Dwarves. Although both peoples were enriched, eventually the Elves succumbed to the seduction of Sauron and forged the Rings of Power (the forging of these Rings began about 1500 and one was given to Durin III in Khazad-dûm). In 1693 the War of the Elves and Sauron began. By 1697 Eregion had been destroyed and the gates of Khazad-dûm were shut.
During the Dark Years of Sauron's dominion Durin's Folk remained enclosed in Khazad-dûm, which was unassailable from without. Its wealth remained unravished but its people began to dwindle.
The Third Age
During the reign of Durin VI the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm delved deeper and deeper for mithril, which had become ever harder to mine. They roused from sleep a hidden Balrog that had fled from the coming of the Host of the West. In 1980 Durin VI was slain by it and in 1981 his son Náin I was killed and all the people of Khazad-dûm were either destroyed or fled far away.
Most of Durin's Folk escaped to the north where in 1999 Thráin I established a new realm within Erebor, becoming King under the Mountain. His son Thorin I left Erebor in 2210 and travelled further north to settle in the Grey Mountains where most of Durin's Folk had gone. For a time they prospered there for the mountains were rich.
Unfortunately there were dragons in the wastes north of the Grey Mountains. In 2570 they began afflicting the Dwarves and in 2589 Dáin I and his second son Frór were killed by a great cold-drake. Soon the Grey Mountains were abandoned by Durin's Folk with Grór, Dáin's third son, leading many followers to the Iron Hills in 2590.
In the same year, Dáin's first son and heir, Thrór, with his uncle Borin and the remainder of Durin's Folk, returned to Erebor. There they prospered, winning the friendship of all Men nearby, and trafficking in ore with their kin in the Iron Hills. News of the wealth of Erebor spread and reached the ears of the dragons, and in 2770 Smaug suddenly descended upon the Mountain. Although many were killed, many others of Thrór's kin escaped. Those with Thrór headed south into long homeless wandering while more of Durin's Folk headed east and joined those in the Iron Hills.
The followers of Thrór had settled in Dunland when in 2790 Thrór left "to see what I can find." With a companion, Nár, he came to the gate of Khazad-dûm and entered as a returning heir. For days Nár waited in hiding until Thrór’s body was tossed from the gates by the Orc-leader Azog, who told Nár to go warn all other Dwarves not to come. Nár reported the evil news to Thráin, Thrór's son. Now King, Thráin II sent messengers bearing the tale to all other Dwarves.
By 2793 the Dwarves had mustered and the War of the Dwarves and Orcs began. Durin's Folk gathered all their host and were joined by large forces of the other Houses of the Dwarves. From Gundabad to the Gladden battles were fought that the Dwarves won through greater strength, matchless weapons, and burning anger.
At last on a dark wintery day in 2799 the Dwarf-host came to Azanulbizar and found a great host of Orcs awaiting them. Undeterred, the Dwarves, led by Thráin II, made an assault and thus began the Battle of Azanulbizar. This battle too, the Dwarves won, but at fearsome cost. In the end Azog was beheaded and Thrór was avenged, but the Dwarves could not take Khazad-dûm, for within still dwelt Durin's Bane.
Post-battle, the Dwarves dispersed. Dáin Ironfoot let his contingent of Durin's Folk back to the Iron Hills. Thráin II, with Thorin, Balin, Glóin, and others of their following returned to Dunland. Soon though they uprooted and wandered in Eriador until they established themselves in the Ered Luin beyond the Lune. There they prospered and their numbers slowly grew.
Thráin II decided to return to Erebor in 2841 but as he travelled, he and his companions were pursued by Sauron's servants. One day in 2845 Thráin was captured and imprisoned in Dol Guldur. Eventually, in 2850, Gandalf found him and received the key to Erebor, but the last of the Seven Rings had been taken and Gandalf was unable to rescue Thráin.
Thorin Oakenshield and his followers among Durin's Folk continued to labour and traffic in the Ered Luin until one day Thorin sought and found Gandalf to solicit his counsel and aid in dealing with Smaug. Gandalf devised a plan for burglary, employing the service of Bilbo Baggins of the Shire. The plan succeeded and Smaug was slain, but in the subsequent Battle of Five Armies Thorin died. However, his cousin Dáin Ironfoot, who had fought in the battle with those of Durin's Folk from the Iron Hills, entered Erebor and restored the Kingdom under the Mountain as King Dáin II.
Durin's Folk grew strong in Erebor until during the War of the Ring their realm and that of the Kingdom of Dale were invaded by Sauron's northern army. In the Battle of Dale in 3019 King Dáin II fell and thereafter the Mountain was besieged. Upon the news of Sauron's downfall, however, the besieged routed the army of Sauron and Dáin's son, Thorin Stonehelm became the King under the Mountain as Thorin III. Eventually his descendant, Durin VII, would lead Durin's Folk back to Khazad-dûm .
Also after the fall of Sauron, Gimli, the son of Glóin, brought some of Durin's Folk from Erebor south to Aglarond and there established a new Dwarf-realm. Gimli served as the Lord of the Glittering Caves.
Historically "Longbeards" is the supposed original name of the Lombards, but other than the name, there is no other significant similarities between the Lombards and the Durin's Folk.
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "Durin's Folk"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Second Age"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Silmarillion, "Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age"
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Third Age"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, "The Great Years"
- ↑ J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "The Making of Appendix A": (iv) "Durin's Folk"