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This question discussed what happened to Mordor after the events of The Lord of the Rings, but what happened after the defeat of Sauron at the end of the Second Age? There were literally thousands of years between his fall and his return. Obviously history moves more slowly in Middle Earth, but it still seems odd that no one tried to claim the land or re-inhabit some of the conquered structures during all that time. After all, if you're a citizen of Minas Tirith or Osgiliath, it's right there.

Did Gondor simply leave the conquered lands unclaimed and make no attempt to contact the peoples to the East? Did Sauron's slaves begin to flourish, only to be ground back down when he returned? Mordor obviously isn't prime real estate, but the quote from the above question explicitly says that it could sustain life and that after the War of the Ring, Gondor made arrangements regarding its territories and peoples.

Did anything similar happen after the Last Alliance marched through?

  • Minas Ithil (later Morgul) was built to keep watch on Mordor (IIRC it was then). My guess is no one tried to live there because it was a barren wasteland - can't grow crops, bad or no water, and an active volcano hanging over you. I don't know if it's ever stated, but is there any evidence Mordor was ever a hospitable land? – The Fallen Dec 1 '14 at 18:34
  • (obviously Nurn was somewhat, given the linked answer and we know Orc-food was grown in the area, but it at least had a large water source, was somewhat smaller than Mordor proper, and further away from the "heart" of Mordor) – The Fallen Dec 1 '14 at 18:36
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    @SSumner The area around Mt Doom was a blasted wasteland, but there are plenty of mentions of more fertile areas to the south and east. Places where slaves (presumably Human) grew food for Sauron's armies, or where his vassal soliders (such as the Harad) held their civilizations. It seems odd to simply defeat the leader, but not contact his subjects or divide up his land. Nurn alone is almost the size of the entirety of Gondor. – Nerrolken Dec 1 '14 at 18:38
  • My bad - in my head I had exaggerated to size of the NE portion of Mordor, and minimized Nurn's size. Nurn and the areas SE of Gorgoroth are much larger than I remembered – The Fallen Dec 1 '14 at 18:41
  • i think theres some mention that gondor had set up watch towers, ect around and in morodor and in other areas after the second war, but in the time after the second war till current aka fellowship, Gondor has been on the decline hard core, instead of multipul cities across the land their down to 1, they have very little power above just holding their lands as diminished as they are. they went from fielding 10s of thousands in the first war of the ring, to mear thousands in the return of the king. – Himarm Dec 1 '14 at 19:03
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No attempt was made.

This is mentioned in Appendix A, the section entitled "The Númenorean Kings", part iv: "Gondor and the heirs of Anárion":

Mordor was desolate, but was watched over by great fortresses that guarded the passes.

(My emphasis)

  • If you consider Shadow of Mordor canon (it's arguable if it is), some small attempt was indeed made to recolonize, though it was by escaped convicts of Gondor, not by the state of Gondor. – Codeman Dec 3 '14 at 17:01
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As far as colonization and the need for urban expansion goes; Gondor had plenty of spare and fertile lands out east past Lossanarch and towards Dol Amroth that were already fertile, well tilled and fairly sparsely populated. The land surrounding the Entwash delta would have been incredibly fertile also. Southern Rhovanion would offer plenty of timber and the Rohirrim could offer horses for labour. The Plains of Mordor in comparison had very little to offer.

  • Rohan didn't actually exist during the time being asked out here. – user8719 Dec 12 '14 at 21:03
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Mordor was kept under watch by the Dunedain of Gondor while they had the strength. There were various military presences, both at the edges like the garrisons at Narchost and Carchost, the tower of Cirith ungol and also further inland to Durthang and the old roads which criss-crossed Gorgoroth.

  • Can you provide some sources for this info? – Valorum Dec 12 '14 at 21:03
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    It is explicitly stated during Frodo and Sam's jouney there that Sauron had only 'taken over' the old Dunedain fastnesses on the edge of Morder and there millitary roads. The 'cisterns' they luckily find some water in during the crossing of Gororoth were also of Numernorian/Dunedain construction. ALL of Mordor was really just a province of Gondor after the war of the last alliance - but they had none of the strength to hold it after the Great Plague in the middle third age. – user38114 Dec 12 '14 at 21:07
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    Brilliant. If you add that sort of level of detail (and perhaps some quotes as well) you could take this answer from good to great. – Valorum Dec 12 '14 at 21:08
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The men of Gondor built Watch towers around it such as Cirith Ungol, Durthang, the towers of the teeth, and they used the Black Gate, even if Gondor claimed it, it would get recaptured by Sauron's forces or Sauron himself.

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If you consider Shadow of Mordor canon (it's arguable if it is), some small attempt was indeed made to recolonize, though it was by escaped convicts of Gondor, not by the state of Gondor itself.

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