On my middle earth map there is no Umbar, just the "city of the corsairs". Then when looking online I came across a middle earth map that cited Umbar as a region rather than a city.

So my question is: is Umbar a city or a region?

  • 2
    I can be both (New York City and New York state).
    – Max
    Feb 4, 2015 at 13:48
  • Is this your map? corecanvas.s3.amazonaws.com/theonering-0188db0e/gallery/… - if so it's worth noting that this is the map drawn by Christopher Tolkien and published in earlier editions of Lord of the Rings, and has quite a few defects (noted by CT in his introduction to Unfinished Tales).
    – user8719
    Feb 4, 2015 at 16:44

1 Answer 1


It's both.

From the Lord of the Rings appendices, first we read:

Umbar is made into a great fortress of Númenor.


King Eärnil I takes Umbar, which becomes a fortress of Gondor


King Ciryandil slain in the siege of Umbar.

These suggest that it is a walled fortress-city, which we know from elsewhere is also a port-city.

However, in a footnote to the appendices we also read:

The great cape and land-locked firth of Umbar had been Númenorean land since days of old...

Which suggests that the name Umbar was also used of the region containing the city.

  • 4
    It's not exactly uncommon in out of universe history to name a region after its central city. Feb 4, 2015 at 14:15
  • 1
    Also Bree-land and Bree for another in-universe example.
    – user8719
    Feb 4, 2015 at 18:22
  • An entire region (if sufficiently defensible) can be (metaphorically) considered a "fortress". For example, England was an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" during World War II.
    – Jasper
    Feb 4, 2015 at 22:29
  • @Jasper - it's difficult to besiege a region though.
    – user8719
    Feb 4, 2015 at 23:34
  • The Germans tried to cut off England's supplies of food, weapons, and ammunition during World Wars I and II. The United States successfully beseiged Japan during World War II.
    – Jasper
    Feb 4, 2015 at 23:50

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