The Haradrim are a race of Men described in the works of the great author J. R. R. Tolkien, most famous for his masterful trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.
Throughout the history of Middle-Earth, the Haradrim have helped shape history against the free peoples of the Men and Elves. The Haradrim are described as dark-skinned, fell-handed and strong-limbed, coming forth fiercely in war under the banner of the Dark Lord Sauron, the Lord of the Rings. In battle, Haradrim were famous for several of their innovations, but most of all were the Riders of the Mumakil and the Corsairs.
The Riders rode to war in great towers, borne on the broad backs of the giant animals known as Mumakil. In ground combat these units were devastating, as horses could not come near the Mumakil, and were terrorised at their mere presence on the battlefield. From their high mobile towers, the Haradrim rained arrows, darts and spears down as their enemies tried in vain to hew down the giant animals. The standard foot soldiers of the Haradrim wore scarlet cloaks, and had gold rings in their ears. They also bore golden collars and great round shields, yellow and black, and studded with steel spikes. All had black eyes and long black hair, braided with gold, and many wore blood-like crimson war paint. Their helmets and corselets were constructed of overlapping armour plates, cast of solid bronze. Their general armament consisted of various bows and spears, but their blades were always wickedly curved and barbed, like the scimitars of the Orcs. Indeed, in battle they were said to be just as cruel as Orcs, giving no quarter and craving none.
The Corsairs, also known as the Black Corsairs, were the naval vector of the Haradrim armies. Their sea fleets were dreaded throughout Middle-Earth, their warships among the strongest ever to sail the seas. Their ships travelled and attacked in great fleets called Dromunds, savagely setting upon nigh any vessel they came across.
The warrior might of the Haradrim was at its peak during the Second Age of the Sun, where they flocked to the banner of Sauron and were to be found throughout the lands of Mordor, the Land of Shadows. During this time their ranks were swelled by the Tribesmen of the Sunlands, great black warriors of strength and size comparable only to Trolls and Ents. However, their rallying about the power of Sauron was their undoing, when the Last Alliance was formed between the Men of Gondor and the Elves. Before the Black Gates of Mordor a great battle was fought, and in its resolution the Haradrim were all but destroyed along with the Orcs and Easterlings also in Sauron's service. Subsequent to this, a seven year seige laid to Sauron's great fortress of Barad-dûr led to the temporary defeat of Sauron himself and his high servants, the Nazgûl or Ringwraiths.
However, this was not the end for the Haradrim, and later in the history of Middle-Earth they were to rise again and again to make war on the Men of Gondor and Rohan. Sauron and the Nazgûl eventually returned to Middle-Earth and began once again calling the Haradrim to arms with promises of great riches, and dire threats of later destruction. When the Men of Gondor sailed to Umbar and broke the power of the Black Númenoreans, the Haradrim rose once again against them in the year 1015 of the Third Age of the Sun. In the battle they slew Ciryandil, third in line to he Ship-kings of Gondor, but the Haradrim could not break Gondor's hold on the port at that time. The next King of Gondor broke their armies in 1050 (Third Age), and for nearly four hundred years the Haradrim had no power to come against Gondor.
Their chance came when a great navy of rebellious Men of Gondor, sons of one named Castamir the Usurper, sailed to Umbar and allied themselves with the Haradrim against Gondor. So it was throughout the centuries of the Third Age, this alliance of Black Númenoreans, rebels and Haradrim raided and harassed the border-lands and shores of Gondor's realms.
In the year 1944 (Third Age), the Haradrim and the Variags made a pact with the Easterling barbarians known as the Wainriders. The purpose of this alliance was a two-pronged attack on Gondor, from both the East and South simultaneously. Gondor's armies were divided, and the Wainriders broke the armies of East Gondor and slew the King. They had not however counted on the strength of the General Earnil of the Southern Army, who having swept away the Haradrim and the Variag at the Battle of Poros Crossing then turned to the East Marches and struck down the unprepared Wainriders at the Battle of the Camp.
During the War of the Ring, many legions of the Men of Harad marched to Mordor to aid the Dark Lord in his fresh campaign for domination. With them came the Corsairs of Umbar, the fierce Variags from Khand and the Easterlings from all over Middle-Earth. There they joined the ranks of the Orcs, Half-Orcs, Trolls, Olog-Hai and Uruk-Hai already in Sauron's service. At that time, no greater single army was amassed anywhere in Middle-Earth, their destructive power was unchallenged. However, their doom was sealed when Frodo Baggins cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom, shattering Sauron's power and leaving his armies desolated and broken. The Haradrim were finally destroyed at the Battle of Pelennor Fields and before the Black Gates of Mordor, and never again rose to threaten Middle-Earth.