He ruled circa S.A. 1600 and was the first bearer of one of the Seven Rings, although the latter was not widely known until the end of the Third Age. The Dwarves believed he had been given his ring by the Elven-smiths and not by Sauron, though Sauron was involved in the making. Durin III allied his forces with Eregion during the War of the Elves and Sauron, but they were unable to prevent its destruction, which led to a long period of isolation and gradual dwindling in Khazad-dûm.
Hammond and Scull conclude that Durin III was King of Khazad-dûm when the West Gate of Moria was constructed, the Durin whose name appears on the door. (It was made while the Dwarves were allied with Celebrimbor.) This is a reasonable inference but appears to be unsupported by direct evidence from Tolkien. (Foster suggests that the Gate was constructed earlier, under Durin II.)
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