Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Narrow Neck of Land

James Warr, who claims the Land of Promise was located in Central America, and that the Narrow Neck of Land was west of Lake Nicaragua, claims that the massive land area to the east of the lake could not have been breached by the Lamanites, thus making the western path by the lake easily defensible. He states:

1. Warr: “The San Juan River, which drains the lake and connects it with the Caribbean to the east, is 112 miles long and averages 1000 feet in width. This river is an effective barrier which separates the land masses of Costa Rica and Nicaragua.”

So let’s take a look at the Rio San Juan. At its head at Lake Nicaragua, it is about 600 feet across, but downriver a few miles it narrows to as much as 250-feet around the Isla El Cano, and 400 feet around San Francisco, 300 feet around Santa Fe, and 300 feet again between Santa Fe and the Orange Plantation area. The point is, the river, while it might average 1000 feet in width, there are points far less than that as listed here. In addition, this is not a fast moving river and could be easily crossed at these narrower points by canoe or raft, such as indigenous natives (Lamanites) could easily have constructed. Both sides of the river are chock-full of trees that could be felled, tied together, and used to cross the river, especially at these narrow points just past bends where water tends to slow in its movement.

2. Warr: “On its eastward course to the sea, it passes through a densely forested region which is the least inhabited area of either country. This lack of habitation is due to the inhospitable nature of the country and climate (dense jungle, high rainfall, high humidity and high temperatures), and to the difficulty in building and maintaining roads."

This area, as is much of Central America, is basically a jungle or rain forest. It is thick with trees and exotic animals. However, as in all such areas, indigenous natives are able to find their way through such forests and jungles and certainly an invading army of warriors (Lamanites) bent on killing their arch enemy, could find their way through to the north around the lake.

3. Warr: “Even in our day no bridges span the river, no ferries cross it, and no interconnecting roads end at its banks.”

One of the reasons, is about half the distance of the river, on the north, is the  640,000 acre “Indio Maiz Biological Reserve.” Access in the Reserve is limited by MARENA (the Ministry of Natural Resources) and travelers must sign their names to walk through the trails to admire these nature wonders. This magical Biological Reserve is made up of mangrove estuaries, lagoons where one can fish, waterways that wind on endlessly, and lowland forests. By law, it is closed to any traffic, construction, building of roads, etc., but it is obviously penetrable, and certainly by warriors of the past bent on getting around the lake.

4. Warr: “At the outlet from Lake Nicaragua, and more so in the eastern delta region, there are vast areas of swamp and wetlands blocking any attempt at foot travel.”

The interesting thing about such sweeping statements is that we are talking about thousands of square miles here, and much of it is very penetrable if one had a reason to travel there and knew how to do so. To the west of this eastern land are rolling hills, low-grown foliage, sparse trees and mostly dry land (see photographs below). To the eastern side of this area is the biological reserve, which is heavy forest, even jungle, but through which natives have moved for centuries. In the middle are some mountains. This is all beautiful country and the pride of Nicaragua. Once peace was established in the land recently, Nicaragua has opened up its doors to all kinds of tourist traffic, not the least of which is this area east of Lake Nicaragua.

The image at the lower left shows hikers moving through the reserve in the eastern acreage. Other shots show the land east of the lake. Obviously, penetration through this area is very possible (Pictures provided by the Nicaragua Ministry)

5. Warr: “…it is entirely possible that in Book of Mormon times the San Juan River Basin was lower in elevation thus increasing its size as a water barrier, and possibly even featured an ocean embayment. However, this proposal is valid even with the present topography. Increasing the size of the river, and submerging the present wetlands under the Caribbean, would only enhance its potential as a barrier.”

As has been mentioned here before, speculation is of little value. Without geological factors, one cannot claim something might have been. However, even more important is that fact that while this area east of Lake Nicaragua is even today a barrier to modern style living, it is not now, and never has been, a barrier to indigenous native movement. Warr might do well to study jungle and thick forest living conditions by native peoples, even today, but especially anciently. And lastly, where an army of warriors who know how to live off the land can move is seldom blocked by natural geography. Even in the past centuries of warfare, soldiers with little more than their own physical ability, have performed what seems like miraculous fetes to surprise an enemy that believed an approach from a certain direction could not be achieved.

After all, rivers can be crossed, jungles and forests penetrated, mountains climbed, and “impossible” objectives reached. Time and again history has shown us this. To consider that thousands of square miles could not be crossed by a group of warriors bent on the total destruction of their enemy is simply foolhardy.

It is also foolhardy to claim that the narrow neck of land is along the west of lake Nicaragua, between it and the Pacific Ocean. There are numerous other problems with this setting besides the ones listed above in answer to Warr's claim. Some of which we will discuss in future posts.

1 comment:

  1. The water in Lake Nicaragua is a very brown and silty looking (I have flown over several times). If you were to look from the west shore, you would think it was an ocean because of its size. So, yes I agree that the west shore could be seen as the narrow neck of land separating the sea east from the sea west.
    The water exits Lake Nicaragua via the San Juan river on the east side and flows from Lake Nicaragua all the way to the Atlantic Ocean (over 100 kilometers). I can easily see how it would have been possible, during Book of Mormon times, that instead of a river it could have been a large gulf of water that gradually got filled in over a couple thousand years. This is true of the Tigres and Euphrates rivers in Iraq that during biblical times entered the Persian gulf as separate rivers, but now are joined together (about 100 miles upstream) and become one single river (the Euphrates) which enters in at the head of the Persian gulf. One hundred miles of what is now land used to be water (a hundred miles of the Persian Gulf got filled in with silt and became land).
    So, certainly it is possible for such silty water flowing from Lake Nicarauga could have filled in a much larger gulf that may have connected the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Nicarauga. Such a large gulf could have been considered impassable during BOM times. This would have made the narrow neck of land to be the only way to pass on dry land from the land South (we now know as Costa Rica) to the land North (current day Nicaragua).