Awakening of the ElvesAwakening of the Elves (4550 F.A.) - The substantive history of Arda begins with the wakening of the Elves, the Firstborn of Ilúvatar.

 

"By the starlit mere of Cuiviénen, Water of Awakening, they rose from the sleep of Ilúvatar; and while they dwelt yet silent by Cuiviénen their eyes beheld first of all things the stars of heaven.  Therefore they have ever loved the starlight, and have revered Varda Elentári above all the Valar.

 

"Long they dwelt in their first home by the water under stars, and they walked the Earth in wonder; and they began to make speech and to give names to all things that they perceived .  Themselves they named the Quendi, signifying those that speak with voices; for as yet they had met no other things that spoke or sang." ~The Silmarillion, chap. 3 (Of the coming of the Elves)