Monday, July 10, 2017

Another Mesoamerican Error

-->Mesoamerican theorists have long insisted that to the inhabitants of Central America, the area of Mesoamerican, has long been considered as a land running north and south, and that to go north is to go from anywhere in Central America toward the United States, and to go toward Colombia is toward the south. John L. Sorenson, in his book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (pp40-42), spends a significant amount of time trying to convince his reader that though compass directions are one thing in the area of his work (they obviously run east and west in Mesoamerica), the people used different terms to describe directions. One of his quotes states: “The experience of the European conquerors illustrates the problem. For example, Father Thomas Gage’s account of travel from Mexico City to highland Guatemala in the seventeenth century referred to his direction of travel as “south” when actually it is more east than south.”
Looking at Sorenson’s “more east than south,” the white diagonal line is the direction of the Guatemala Highlands from Mexico City, it is close enough to a true “southeast” direction, as to be considered “southeast” not “east,” meaning Gates traveled southeast to reach his destination--so south would be a reasonable direction since "east" would be considered into the the sea

In another instance, Sorenson (p41) states: “A 1982 statement by a prominent archaeologist stumbles into the same phrasing “North of the Maya region at Monte Alban in Oaxaca…” The actual direction, as shown on the map below, is west-southwest; literal north would lead to Cuba, not Oaxaca.”
Actual north from the Maya region in Guatemala would not lead to Cuba as Sorenson claims, but across the Gulf of Mexico to the mouth of the Mississippi in Louisiana; Cuba sits to the “northeast” of the Maya Region, and Monte Alban actually sits to the “west” (“west by northwest”)

The point is, if one is going to critique a direction in ancient writing as Sorenson does, one should use proper directions as these two maps show, not the misleading commentary he uses to support his point.
    In addition, the overall claim that people in Central America think of going north or south when, in reality—specifically in Mesoamerica—they are going east or west, is a point Sorenson tries to insist exists.
When we look at Mesoamerica by itself, which is the theorists Land of Promise, we can see no north-south orientation, but only east and west

In his writing (p40), Sorenson states: “The Gulf of Mexico, however it is situated in relation to land—eastward in northern Mexico, northward in the southern Gulf coast area or westward off the coast of Campeche—is the “East Sea,” while in the same manner, the pacific Ocean is the “West Sea.” In the center of the land, then, around the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, west is on the pacific side and east is on the southern Gulf coast area.” (Be sure and see the accompanying footnote).
    The problem lies in looking at this from a different viewpoint, i.e., the viewpoint of map makers of the 17th and 18th centuries, who first drew up the land layouts in which people used to explore the land, and when they labeled these areas it was before there were anyone in the land that had developed other concepts. As an example, the earliest map we have drawn of Central America was of the southern area of Panama, drawn in 1699.

Map Panama 1699, developed to show the Isthmus of Darien and Map of Panama, including the Bay of Panama with the Gulf of St Michal and its islands. Note the term “The North Sea” to the north of the east-west running Isthmus of Panama (Darien) and the term “The South Sea” to the bottom, beyond the Bay of Panama

In Panama in 1699 at the close of the 17th century—186 years after Balboa discovered the Pacific, and 183 years after the first European settlement of Panama—the people referred to the seas as the North and South Seas, i.e., the Caribbean as the North Sea and the Pacific as the South Sea, exactly as they did of Mesoamerica a century later as well as today. At no time was the sea to the north called the East Sea, or the sea to the south called the West Sea as Sorenson and other Mesoamerican theorists would have us believe.
    This all-important map of its time was a single sheet map originally in 'A letter, giving a description of the Isthmus of Darian (where the Scot's colony settled) from a gentleman who lived there at present, i.e., in 1699. (Map published in Edinburgh by John Mackie and James Wardlow, 1699). It was dedicated to John, Marquis of Tweeddale, Lord Hay of Yester. John Hay, 1st Marquess and 2nd Earl of Tweeddale, was dismissed from the Chancellorship in 1696 for supporting the Darien scheme. His son was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the Scots Parilament in 1704, and was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1704-1705. The map is part of the Yester Papers at the National Library of Scotland. It should be noted that this Sottish colony was the first people who  tried to initially settle the Isthmus of Darien.
    It has long been the statements of Mesoamericanists that those who lived in Central America, saw their land running north and south, naming seas to the north and south by names of east and west. However, this map in 1699 made for the early mariners and colonists of Darien (Panama) and used to some degree by the Europeans who had settled Panama much earlier, shows the fallacy of that thinking.
Panama Map July 22, 1714 - Top mode LK-MP-379 Mur Art Photos "La Mer Du Nord carte"

The next map, dated 1714, still shows the seas named “north” and “south,” though this map was reversed from normal maps of the day with north to the bottom and south to the top of the map. It was published in France in 1714.
Published 1719 by John Senex, London, titled: “Isthmus of Darien and A Draft of the Golden and Adjacent Islands,” map available from The Map House of London

On a map dated 1719, the “North Sea” and “South Sea” remain so named—there is no mention of either the Caribbean, Atlantic or the Pacific, and certainly no indication of East or West seas.
Torquemada Libros rituals 1723 Map of Panama

Another map of the early 18th century continues to show the two seas as “north” and “south,” listed as Mar del Norte (North Sea) and Mar del Sur (South Sea). This map was part of the collection of Juan de Torquemada, a Franciscan friar, who was active as a missionary in Spanish colonial Mexico and considered the leading Franciscan chronicler of his generation. He is most famous for his monumental work commonly known as Monarquía indiana ("Indian Monarchy"), a survey of the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of New Spain together with an account of their conversion to Christianity, first published in Spain in 1615 and republished in 1723, four years after the map.He obviously would have known if anyone called these seas the East Sea or West Sea or if they considered those directions in any way, yet he labels his map the North Sea and the South Sea, again showing the fallacy of Sorenson's claim.
Entitled: Tierra Firme Darien Cartagene Panama—Old Map Bellin 1756

A map drawn and published by Jacque Nicolas Bellin, the Royal hydrographer, engineer of the French Navy and member of the Royal Society, and published by Pierre de Hondt, the Hague. Note the Mer du Sud, which is “South Sea” and Mer du Nord, which is “North Sea”; also similar map of Prevost’s Voyages in 1754 (French).
A map of the same area of Panama, showing both the “North Sea” and the “South Sea,” as all the other maps—this one produced in 1907 and available through The Map House, London's oldest specialist antiquarian map seller. Note that this map (top) shows the Caribbean all the way to Mexico and still calls it the North Sea, meaning this sea was called the "North Sea" all along Central America

Map available through The Map House, founded as Map and Booksellers by Alfred Sifton and Francis Praed in 1907, they have been selling maps to collectors, motorists, aviators, explorers, Prime Ministers and the Royal Family for over a century. This reproduction, still available, shows the same seas so labeled as the other maps.
    In addition, on a map drawn in 1712 of Central America entitled “The Kingdom of Mexico New Spain, listing the western coast of Central America, the Pacific Ocean is labeled on the chart as the “South Sea.” Map was published in 1712 by H. M. for B. Lintot and R. Gosling in Fleet-Street, A. Bettesworth on London-Bridge, and W. Innys in St. Paul's Church-Yard, and covering the area of Chart of the western coast of Central America including present-day Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Includes settlements and compass roses.

On a map of the similar period, note that the entire Pacific Ocean is labeles as the Mar del Zur, or “South Sea” and the entire Atlantic Ocean is labeled as Mar del Nord, or “North Sea.” It also shows Sinus Mexicanus, or “Gulf of Mexico,” but no “East Sea” or “West Sea”

On a similar map, published in Amsterdam in 1715 by Johannes Oosterwyk en Hendrik van de Gaeye, Boekverkoopers. Both maps are from William Dampier's third circumnavigation of the world included Edward Cooke and Woodes Rogers who wrote about their voyage. This voyage included the rescue of Alexander Selkirk who had been left on Juan Fernandez Island on Dampier's previous circumnavigation in 1704. William Funnell, historian of the expedition, also wrote a book describing the voyage. Also on a map published in 1720 by Protestant (Dutch Reformed Church) Apud Petrum Schenck, cum privil, in Amsterdam showing the entire area of Central America as a near east west land form, and labeling the Pacific Ocean as the Mar del Zur, or “South Sea.”
    The point is, that if one searches far enough and long enough, some obscure comment or idea can often be found to support just about any viewpoint; however, maps, which often can mean life or death to a mariner and critical to trade, settlement and expansion, are far more accurate and do not change with the whim of an idea, then change later for another idea. We have shown above several maps, and numerous others could be shown as well, to represent that the idea of the two major seas adjacent to Mexico, Central America and Mesoamerica, contrary to Sorenson's lengthy description to the opposite, have been consistently referred to from the very beginning using just one name for each, with both consistent with the correct directional compass bearing and name.

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