Suite101: Charting the Shire Lines - Why didn't the Hobbits overrun Eriador, and how, exactly, did they end up where they did?

"The prospect of settling in hills would have seemed attractive to many Hobbits, especially younger families just setting out on their own. So the brothers most likely surveyed the land and decided to settle down at the most comfortable spot: Michel Delving in the White Downs."
In this week's Suite101 article, Michael Martinez looks at Hobbit history with an eye for trends in expansion and reduction in population.

Here is an excerpt:

What was so special about the year 1601 that it should be when Hobbits needed to settle in a new home? And where, exactly, did they settle?

People often ask a lot of questions about the early years of the Shire which are really hard to answer. For example, did Marcho and Blanco, the Fallohide brothers who led the first wave of migration into the Shire, have a surname? When did surnames become important to the Hobbits? How much do the surnames recorded in The Lord of the Rings reflect the social structure of early Shire clans?

If there were a complete map of the Shire available, showing placenames and folklands, it would be most helpful indeed. But there doesn't seem to be one. So all guesses are wild. Nonetheless, given what we know about Hobbits, we can make some reasonable guesses about where they would have settled first, and why.

Follow the link below to read the entire article.

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