Fingolfin led the largest host of the Noldor when they fled Aman for Middle-earth, even though he thought this unwise; he did not want to abandon his people to Fëanor. He was the one who took them across the ice of the Helcaraxë, and soon after, at the rising of the Sun, he came to the gates of Angband and smote upon them, but Morgoth stayed hidden inside.
He then ruled from Hithlum, by the northern shores of Lake Mithrim.
After defeating the Orcs in the Dagor Aglareb, Fingolfin maintained the Siege of Angband for nearly four hundred years. But the Siege was ended by the sudden assaults of Morgoth in the Dagor Bragollach, and many peoples of Beleriand fled. In the end Fingolfin rode to Angband alone to challenge Morgoth to single combat, and there died after a mighty duel. Thorondor the King of Eagles then brought Fingolfin's body to a mountaintop overlooking Gondolin, and Turgon built a cairn over the remains of his father.
Fingon then became High King of the Noldor.