It's ironic, isn't it? Tolkien described the Easterlings as dangerous invaders from the east, and he himself turned out to be a descendant of real Easterlings. Historlically the English people used the name Easterlings to describe the German-speaking Hanzeats from the Baltic coasts. Tolkien's name is of Eastering origin too!
|Turner Mohan, "Easterling"|
The Easterlings in Tolkien were described as short and broad, with swarthy (dark) skin, eyes and hair. Some had greater liking for the Dwarves of the mountains than for the Elves. Some of their women were proud and barbaric (see Tolkien Gateway).
It is interesting to know that Prussians and Baltic Germans were called by the English – Easterlings:
Tolkien expanded on the term Easterling, a word long used in England to denote "a native of a country eastward of another." In dispatches, English ambassadors of the 16th century despaired of the Easterlings, those merchant traders from the Baltic coasts who on more than one occasion "retained" other countries' ships at sea. In the classic and often-reprinted Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589), Englishman Richard Hakluyt describes the Easterlings in detail. "Eastland is a very large land and there be many cities and townes within it, and in every one of them is a king: whereby there is continually among them great strife and contention. ... There is no ale brewed among the Easterlings but of meade there is plenty. The wealthiest men drinke commonly Mares milke and the poore people and slaves meade." –WikipediaSee also the entry Easterling from Webster Dictionary (here: "used especially of German merchants from Baltic cities who traded in England or competed with the English in foreign ports"), from Oxford Dictionaries (here: "A native or inhabitant of eastern Germany or the Baltic coasts, especially a citizen of the Hanse towns") or from Online Etymological Ditionary (here: "resident of an eastern land," in England, especially Hanse merchants and others from the North Sea Coast of Germany and the southern and eastern coast of the Baltic, early 15c.) etc.
We can see that Richard Hakluyt (1552–1616) used the word Easterlings to describe Old Prussians, a Baltic tribe (see Wikipedia). Let us see another fragment of Richard Hakluyt's book, his translation of King Alfred's Orosius (about this Old English text read here):
Wolstans nauigation in the East sea, from Hetha to Trusco, which is about Dantzig:
Wolstan sayd, that he departed from Hetha, and arriued at Trusco, in the space of 7. dayes, and 7. nights: during which time, his shippe kept her course continually vnder saile. All this voyage Wenedland [Footnote: Prussia.] was still vpon his steerboord, and on his leerboord was Langland, Layland, Falster, and Sconie: all which countreyes are subiect to Denmarke. [Sidenote: Bargenland or Borholme.] Vpon his leerboord also, was Bargenland, which hath a priuate king, to whom it is subiect. Hauing left Bargenland, he passed by Blekingie, Meere, Eland and Gotland, hauing them on his leerboord: all which countreys are subiect to Sweden: and Wenedland was all the way vpon his steerboord, vntil he came to Wixel mouth. [Sidenote: Wixel is the riuer that falleth into the sea by Dantzig.] Wixel is a very great riuer which runneth along betwixt Witland and Wenedland. Witland is appertaining to the Easterlings, and the riuer of Wixel runneth out of Wenedland into Eastmeere, which Eastmeere is at the least 15. miles in breadth. [Sidenote: Fuso.] There runneth also another riuer called Ilsing from the East, and falleth into Eastmeere, out of another lake vpon the banke, whereupon is situated Fruso. So that Ilsing comming out of Eastland, [Footnote: Lithuania.] and Wixel out of Wenedland, both fall together into Eastmeere, and there Wixel depriueth Ilsing of his name, and runneth thence West & North into the sea; whereof the place is called Wixelmouth. [Sidenote: The description of Eastland.] Eastland is a very large land, and there be many cities and townes withtn it, and in euery one of them is a king: whereby there is continually among them great strife and contention. There is great plentie of hony and fish.
|Book's edition from 1903 (see here)|
See the words Dantzig and Easterlings.
My research labeled the #TolkienAncestry has proved that the Tolkien family, the direct ancestors of J. R. R. Tolkien imigrated to London in the years 1770-1772 from the Easterling town Gdańsk ("Dantzig") and earlier from an Easterling town Creuzburg in the Kingdom of Prussia, and that earlier they lived in the Easterling land of Prussia. The ancestors of Professor Tolkien were Easterlings – Old Prussians and Baltic Germans from Teutonic State, from Ducal Prussia, from Kingdom of Prussia and finally from Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
|Real Easterlings from Lithuania|