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Fourth Age

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The Fourth Age began after Sauron was finally defeated, when his Ruling Ring was destroyed, and the Keepers of the Three Rings left Middle-earth for the Uttermost West.


Starting of the Fourth Age

The Third Age was held to have ended when the Three Rings passed away in September, T.A. 3021.

In the records of Gondor Fo.A. 1 began on 25 March 3021, that is, 6 months before the end of the previous Age.[1] This also means a difference of 1420 years with the Shire Reckoning.

In the Shire however, the Fourth Age 1 was called S.R. 1422[2], implying a difference of 1421 years and a continuation of Fo.A. 1 after 3021, instead of being the same.[3]

For example, Legolas's and Gimli's departure is given as Fo.A. 120, T.A. 3141 and S.R. 1541 (according to the latter system).


There is no information on more than the first few centuries of this age, so it is not known when it ended, if it ever did, although it was probably shorter than 3 millennia.[4]

This age was (presumably) marked by the recovery of the Númenorean kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor, and a flourishing of their subjects, including the Shire and the Hobbits, while the House of Durin retook Moria until the race of Dwarves failed.[5] Eventually that would lead to the final Dominion of Men over Arda, coming together with the total waning of the Elves and other dwindling races, such as the Ents and probably the Dwarves.

For a complete list of recorded events during the Fourth Age, see the Timeline.

Further future?

Tolkien said that he thought the distance between the end of the Third Age and the 20th century A.D. was about 6000 years, and that in 1958 it should have been around the end of the Fifth Age if the Fourth and Fifth Ages were about the same length as the Second and Third Ages. He said, however, in a letter written in 1958 that he believed the Ages had quickened and that it was about the end of the Sixth Age/beginning of the Seventh.[4]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, "The Númenorean Kings"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, Appendix D
  3. The discrepancy is noted in the Encyclopedia of Arda
  4. 4.0 4.1 J.R.R. Tolkien; Humphrey Carpenter, Christopher Tolkien (eds.), The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 211, (dated 14 October 1958).
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Peoples of Middle-earth, "Of Dwarves and Men"