Saturday, April 9, 2016

Cajamarca: The City of Bountiful - Part I

As has been pointed out in these pages numerous times, the Nephites, Lamanites and, in fact, all early civilizations, were limited in the courses they could take over virgin terrain by the lay of the land, i.e., gorges, rivers, cliffs, mountains, passes, valleys, etc. Obviously, as new groups began building paths, roads, and even highways, such as the Nephites, the choice of direction became much simpler. But before that happened, people went where the land allowed and in ancient Andean Peru, those options were limited. 
As an example, in Andean Peru, the cordilleras run north to south, creating high valleys between the cordilleras—which are a system or group of parallel mountain ranges together with the intervening plateaus and other features, especially in the Andes. In the image, the yellow area is called the Coasta (desert coasts), and represents the lowland coastal plain that slopes from the sea to the western cordillera that runs north and south along the coast. The brown area, called the Sierra or the Región Andina (mountain highlands) represents the central highland district, that is situated between the two cordilleras, creating high altitude valleys, altiplanos, puna, etc. The green area, called the Selva (broadleaf rainforest), represents the jungle lands on the east side of the cordillera running along the east of the country and down into the Amazon.
    The important thing to know is exactly where the Nephites were located, since the terrain of that area not only has to fit Mormon’s many descriptions of it, but also allow for movement within the directions Mormon specifies and show why only that direction. As an example, in the Land of Promise, after Coriantumr captures Zarahemla, which would have been on the coast since that is where the Mulekites would have landed after crossing the oceans (Omni 1:16), however, Coriantumr then chooses to fight his way up the center of the land (Helaman 1:24), what Mormon called “marching through the most capital parts of the land” (Helaman 1:27).
    This then shows that the attack on Zarahemla was not in the center of the land, but that the Lamanites then moved into the center of the land in order to launch their attack northward against Bountiful—an area where the capital parts (productive land, crops, people, cities, etc.) were located. This is sort of like the United States today, where America’s breadbasket is not along the coasts where the major cities lie, but in the “Corn Belt,” that area of the country so called because of the richness of the soil and advantageous climate produces an agricultural surplus, which is considered vital for the country as a whole.
    Thus, the Nephite “capital parts” were in the center of the land, not along the coasts where Zarahemla (the Nephite nation’s capital) and the city of Nephi (the Lamanite capital) were located. This is borne out by Mormon’s simple statement that after the attack, Coriantumr turned up into the central part of the country to head northward toward Bountiful, which by the way has a mild, dry and sunny climate, and very fertile soil, being well known for its productive land and agricultural goods.
    In this usage, “capital parts” refers to “the chief area in a kingdom or state; the greater or most important part, the main area of production, food, supplies, etc.” This concept is found today, not only in America’s “corn belt,” but also in history, such as the Roman Republic’s Sicily and Africa, and later on, the Roman Empire’s Egypt was the “breadbasket”; the Crimea was that for the Greak city-states, especially Athens; the Chaouia and Doukkala plains for Morocco, which became that for all of Europe; the “free state” for South Africa; Rhodesia and Zimbabwe for Africa; the Punjab and Haryana for India; the Sichuan for China; the Al-Jazira and the Euphrates basin for Syria; and the Kedah for Malaysia, among a few others for the world.
Andean Peru is a country of numerous interrandean high country valleys where cities are built, crops grow, and people have congregated over the years
    Thus, when Coriantumr turned up the central part of the land, he was moving up the strongholds of the Nephite Nation, both in manpower, armed resistance (Helaman 1:24) and food production. But so unprepared were the Nephites, the Lamanite army moved swiftly, cutting its way through light resistance, which was all that could be mounted because of the swiftness of their attacks (Helaman 1:24), which resulted in “a great slaughter, both men, women and children, taking possession of many cities and many strongholds” (Helaman 1:27).
It was up this central highlands (brown area) between the cordilleras that Coriantumr marched through a land divided into three distinct areas and why the center is the capital parts of the land
    Moronihah had placed both his army and the army assigned to Lehi along the eastern portion of the cordillera Oriental (east Andean range) where the Sea East would have been at the time, assuming that is where the Lamanites would attack (Helaman 1:26). When news came that the Lamanites were fighting their way up the central highlands, Lehi had to find his way through one of the few passes that allowed egress to the central highlands in order to cut Coriantumr off from reaching Bountiful, and then drive him back southward through the central highlands in the direction he had just come, where Moronihah’s army cut off his retreat.
    It is always asked of us why did Coriantumr think he could race up the central parts of the land and not get stopped by one of the Nephite armies. The answer is simple. There are few passes that lead crosswise within the Andean highlands. The coastal plains move north and south, as do the highlands, and also the eastern Selva (rainforest). This would have provided Coriantumr with protections against attack had he been swifter to get past the Passes through which Lehi marched to intercept him.
A repeat of the map where Lehi’s Army crossed through the northern pass into the center or capital parts of the land to intercept Coriantumr’s northward rush toward Bountiful
    A little to the north of where Lehi intercepted Coriantumr’s army, and the Lamanite commander’s eventual goal, lies the city of Cajamarca (CAH-ha-Mar-kah), which means “town in a ravine,” which lies at 8,900-feet elevation on the Cajamarca River.
    Cradled in one of the inter-Andean valleys, irrigated by three main rivers, the Mashcon, San Lucas, and Chonta (the former two join together to form the Cajamarca river), the city is stonewalled by brawny mountains in every direction, it is by far the most important town in the northern highlands of Peru.
The City of present-day Cajamarca
Also called Huiracochapampa (fat or large lake), and originally from Wiraqucha, the supreme God and greatest of Andean divinities.
    Descending down into the vale one passes through a fertile farmland that is entirely carpeted across the entire valley with squares of crops like a patchwork quilt, and is an agricultural center as well as a gold and copper mining area, along with silver. Anciently, it was the trading center of the north. In fact, the Yanacocha gold mine in Cajamarca is the largest gold mine in Latin America and the second largest in the world, covering 535 square miles—another hill next to it contains an estimated 3.7 million ounces of gold, but environmental problems keep it from being mined.
(See the net post, “Cajamarca: The City of Bountiful – Part II,” for more information regarding Cajamarca, the Nephite city of Bountiful)


  1. Priddis also chose Cajamarca for the city of Bountiful. One of the challenges for determining these locations is that the Andes rose at the time of Christ. Right? And that means new mountains, new valleys, changed rivers, etc. Has anyone done a study or computer simulation to try to see how the land was before the Andes rose?

  2. My impression of the geology from what I have read seems to indicate that the land-forms simply rose relatively unchanged to a much higher elevation. After-all the earthquake lasted for 3 hours which has no precedent in history. The great earthquake in Sumatra in 2004 was over 9.0 and lasted between 8 and 10 minutes. That was the largest earthquake in history that we know of. Except - it isn't because the one at the time of Christ was much larger. A 3 hour earthquake is beyond comprehension and can only be understood as an act of God.

    There are today tilted terraces used anciently for farming that are now too high to farm. Indicative of a relatively slow rise.

    Since only a handful of people in the Church believe in the South American model I doubt that anybody would have done that kind of modeling. I don't know of any scientists that would believe the South America came up out of the ocean in recent times. I know the evangelical Creationists don't believe this. It would be an interesting study though. Ira

  3. "There are today tilted terraces used anciently for farming that are now too high to farm." That does not necessarily indicate a slow rise, but it does indicated a rise in historic times.

    1. That might be true too. I think it was slow because of the length of the quake. Also the Lord had to preserve Mannasseh for the coming future events related to the gathering. The Lord raised the Andes to such a height that nobody will want to bother them during the tribulation. I believe He raised it slowly over 3 hours to preserve life.

      Typically a fault scarp forms almost instantaneously during an earthquake. There is no precedent for what happened at the time of Christ.

  4. Your use of "slowly" may be causing a misunderstanding. When talking of mountains rising, "slowly" is likely to be interpreted on a timescale of millions of years. Even when taking this in the context of a 3 hour earthquake, I would find it difficult to refer to the resulting changes as having occurred "slowly".

    1. Should be relatively slow. If the mountains had risen instantaneously there would not have been anybody left alive. The fact that it took hours to rise the South American continent out of the ocean means to me that it was an act of God used to preserve life. This act was quite unlike the events in Japan recently which was used to take life. The recent events are prophesied in the Scriptures as well and are sent as warning to repent and to destroy. This is far different from what happened in SA.

    2. Again, "slowly", when used in reference to mountains rising thousands of feet within 3 hours, may not be the word that properly expresses what you are trying to say.

    3. Let's think about that for a moment. How much displacement was there during this time? Maybe 9,000 feet to make it simple? That would mean a rise of about 3,000 feet per hour. A person usually can walk at a speed of about 3 mph. So to me this is a relatively slow rate of rise. A little more than 1/2 mile per hour. Again this is an act of God and used to preserve life. What word would you use to describe this event?

    4. Let's think about that for a moment. How much displacement was there during this time? Maybe 9,000 feet to make it simple? That would mean a rise of about 3,000 feet per hour. A person usually can walk at a speed of about 3 mph. So to me this is a relatively slow rate of rise. A little more than 1/2 mile per hour. Again this is an act of God and used to preserve life. What word would you use to describe this event?

    5. A person walking 3,000 feet per hour can, indeed, be said to be moving very slowly. I will additionally say that were I in an elevator moving at such a minimal pace I would likely be quite annoyed at the time it would take to traverse a few 10's of feet. However, were I standing on a mountain (or even just viewing one) moving at such a rate, my possibly pedantic stance is that "slowly" is not the adverb that I could apply to a visibly moving mountain. To me, a mountain is the very embodiment of the immovable object. Any movement at all is shocking and rapid.

  5. "There are today tilted terraces used anciently for farming that are now too high to farm." My brother was given a reason for higher terraces being unused while the lower ones were used. The reason he was given was that as Lake Titicaca shrank, the lower terraces were built to be closer to the water table. I am not sure what the elevation of the referenced terraces were, so they may not be the ones that were physically too high to grow crops.

    1. The ones that I'm referring to were referenced in The Book and the Map by Venice Priddis. Let me quote from her book. Today the Tiahuanaco plain is about 12,500 feet high. Man-made terraces on the surrounding mountains rise to heights of 15,000 feet and some higher still to "18,400 feet above sea level, or to the present line of eternal snow."

      Agricultural terraces which reach to heights of over 18,000 feet war unthinkable. Even the hardy potato will grow only to heights of about 15,000 feet. This fact makes it clear that Tiahuanaco formerly was at least 3,400 feet lower than it is today.

      I think the idea that terraces were built to be closer to the water table is not plausible given the fact that they were built on a mountain side. They obviously were used for farming.

      The question is did the South American continent come up out of the ocean. Even Charles Darwin said that based on his observations the SA continent was uplifted in recent times. Ira

    2. I think, in the case of the terraces I was talking about, as the water receded, hauling the water to the higher terraces became more difficult, so lower terraces were used. There may be some overlap between these two reasons for higher terraces being unused and/or unusable.

  6. Great discussion. Thank you. While I would like to respond to some of these points more extensively later, let me just suggest as the point about the water table is that Lake Titicaca, when it came up, was part of the ocean and was salt water, as is testified by the tremendous salt flats resulting from the draining of the lake which is the cause of its shrinkage over time since it has little inflow but extensive outflow, resulting in several huge salt flat areas (one larger than Bonneville) and also a small salt water lake. As for the rest, I will put it into a later "comment" article.