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Established at the time of the founding of Rohan in III 2510; occupied by Dunlendings for a period,1 but reclaimed and held by the Rohirrim into the Fourth Age
A stretch of land westward of the Gap of Rohan, between the rivers Isen and Adorn
Rohirrim, with strong Dunlending influence2
Rohan is pronounced 'ro'han'
Rohan means 'horse-land'
Not to be confused with the similarly-named West Marches of Rohan, which lay on a different part of the Isen's course, nor the Westmarch of Shire, far to the north, nor the West March of Doriath in Beleriand


About this entry:

  • Updated 30 September 2022
  • This entry is complete

West-march of Rohan

The western extent of the land of the Rohirrim

Map of West-march of Rohan

A narrow strip of land enclosed by the Rivers Isen and Adorn, running westward for some 150 miles from the White Mountains west of Helm's Deep. This was a part of the land originally gifted to Eorl by Cirion, and so had always been a true part of the realm of the Rohirrim. Over the years, however, it fell under the influence of the Dunlendings, and it was a lord from the West-march, Wulf son of Freca, who led the invasion of Rohan during the Long Winter. After the invaders had been repelled, a Dunlending presence remained in the West-march, and it was not fully reclaimed by the Rohirrim until the time of King Folcwine, nearly a hundred years later.

We have few accounts bearing on the West-march after Folcwine's time, but his reconquest was apparently not permanent. In the period of a little over a century between Folcwine's death and the end of the Third Age, the West-march seems to have fallen back into the hands of the Dunlendings. Our evidence on this point is slim, but an account of the First Battle of the Fords of Isen describes a contingent of Rohirrim being driven southward towards the 'now hostile country of the Dunlendish ‘west-march’' (Unfinished Tales Part Three V, The Battles of the Fords of Isen). In notes to this same essay, it's explained that the people of the West-march had only weak loyalty to the Kings at Edoras, and were disposed to side with Saruman against their formal rulers in Rohan. The implication seems to be that, with Saruman's assistance, the Dunlendings had once again taken control of the region, doubtless aided by the decline of Théoden. After the defeat of Saruman in the War of the Ring, the new King Éomer of Rohan would presumably have established control over the West-march once again, but we have no specific record of this taking place.



The West-march was specifically mentioned as lying within the bounds of Rohan in the Oath of Cirion that established that realm, so we can definitively date the point when it came into being as III 2510. At some point after this, it was captured and occupied by the Dunlendings, an event that is not specifically chronicled, but would presumably coincide with the invasion of Rohan in III 2758. These Dunlendings were not dislodged until the time of King Folcwine (who reigned III 2864 - III 2903), so the region was occupied by enemies of Rohan for at least seventy-two years, and possibly for more than century.


The West-march was formally under the rule of the Rohirrim, but the Dunlendings also had a strong presence there even after their occupation was ended by Folcwine, and many of its people had mixed blood. These divided sympathies were evident during the War of the Ring: though the Rohirrim were opposed to Saruman in that War, many of the warriors of the West-march joined the armies of the White Wizard.


About this entry:

  • Updated 30 September 2022
  • This entry is complete

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