Dark elves are a race of elves sometimes confused with drow. They do not worship Lolth, the Spider god.
Roughly twenty-seven millennia before the raising of the Standing Stone, the Fey creator race opened gates to the Feywild in an effort to defeat the ruling dragon empires. Through these portals the first elven races emerged. The primitive green elf were the first to emerge. Although most green elves preferred to stay in small scattered tribes, one group known as the Ilythiiri, negotiated a truce with dragonkind and began forming a small kingdom in the south. The great Ilythiir capital at Atorrnash would remain a shining beacon of elven culture for millennia.
A few other dark elven nations began to rise in the realm of Miyeritar, located in what is presently called the High Moor.
During the Crown Wars, the Ilythiiri made several unsuccessful attempts to conquer Faerûn, although they occupied Southern Faerûn up to Shantel Othreier. In the First Crown War, Ilythiir began military occupation of Myeritar. Around -11,500 DR, Lolth tasked the balor lord Wendonai with seducing Clan Sethomiir, the dark elf Ilythiiri rulers, into her worship. He was successful and probably the greatest, but by no means the only, influence on the fall of the dark elves.
in -10,500 DR, high mages in Aryvandaar cast a fell high magic ritual that obliterated the dark elven nation of Miyeritar in an event called the Dark Disaster, changing that realm into a large swampy region known as the High Moor.
At the time of the Fourth Crown War, the Ilythiiri constructed an underground fortress and turned to Lloth and other outcast Seldarine in the Demonweb Pits. As a reward, these dark elves were granted powerful magic and allies. After many terrible acts and abuses of elven magic, Corellon Larethian banished the "Dhaerow" (traitors) to the Underdark, a large subterranean region, in -10,000 DR. This event, known as the Descent of the Drow, transformed the traitorous Ilythiiri and all other dark elves, turning their skin black and the race becoming more evil.
In 1374 DR, Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun brought forth many powerful mages in order to bring back the lost city of Rhymanthiin, its inhabitants, Miyeritar's High Mages and cleanse part of the High Moor. Following the restoration of the Hidden City of Hope, the goddess Eilistraee, through her death, managed to revive the Miyeritari dark elves not tainted with Wendonai's blood and restore those Ilythiiri-descended drow tainted with Wendonai's blood who took up her dance. Their skin reverted to its brown-skinned dark elf form and their fate became their own to make.
Drizzt is not among these "redeemed dark elves." He did not receive the miracle bestowed by Elistraee in her death so his skin remains ebony, reflecting the taint of Wendonai's blood. This is a telling sign that dark elves are not the heroic drow, rather they are whichever good drow happened to follow Eilistraee.