Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Canoes vs. Immigrant Ships with Families – Part II

Continuing from the last post about the differences in canoes and ships and between the Polynesian navigators and sailing, and the ships of Hagoth in which large numbers of people migrated northward.
It should also be understood that the Marqueses, an island group directly west from the Ecuador coast of South America, and in direct line with the curvature of the currents that break off the northern rim of the South Pacific Gyre and flow into Polynesia, is considered to have been the original homeland of the first Polynesians to settle Hawaii and other parts of the South Pacific. This is based on three points:
1) The Hawaiian language is most closely related to Marquesan;
2) An analysis of prehistoric skeletal remains shows a very close relationship between traits of the Hawaiian and Marquesan populations;
3) A comparison of DNA in populations of the Pacific Rat, which was widely spread by the Polynesians, shows a link between the Hawaiian and Marquesan rat populations. (Patrick V. Kirch, current Chancellor's Professor Emeritus, South Pacific archaeologist specializing in Prehistory and ethnography of Oceania, ethnoarchaeology and settlement archaeology, prehistoric agricultural systems, cultural ecology and paleoenvironmentalism, ethnobotany and ethnoscience, development of complex societies in Oceania).
    So we come to the problem of population settlement vs. exploration of groups of men in “war canoes,” i.e., flimsy, fast-moving, small and cramped war canoes and double-hulled (waʻa kaulua) voyaging canoes that crossed the ocean and would undoubtedly not have taken wives and children on such voyages in family moves on a reguar basis—perhaps a few adventuress natives might have done so, but typically such was not the case.
    First of all, the Polynesian war canoes were much smaller than their voyaging canoes, with one sail and shorter length, which would have proven difficult to maneuver on the high seas for they would not be long enough to handle the swells yet recover easily in the troughs as the longer voyaging canoes were.
    Much credit, and rightly so, has been given to the Polynesian navigational abilities to sail north and south between Polynesia and Hawaii anciently, but as mentioned in the last post, this was not done sailing against winds and currents, but employing their unique sailing technique of using the winds to move around the Pacific and not on a straight line as historians always draw on their maps.
    The point is, however, their sailing ability, though misconstrued, has led scientists and historians to give others credit for similar sailing directions that are not warranted. Polynesians did not sail eastward to South America—they could not have found winds to take them there unless they dropped south of New Zealand and picked up the Southern Ocean West Wind Drift and Prevailing Westerlies on the route Lehi used—a path not recorded or considered that the Polynesians ever took.
    This has led to numerous errors in scenarios by so many scientists, who are not willing to give advanced cultures and civilizations in South America credit for sailing out into the Pacific on the South Pacific Gyre and the arms of its current down into Polynesia (as Thor Heyerdahl in Kon-Tiki accomplished—a fact for which most archaeologists and anthropologists never forgave him since it flew in the face of their coveted Asian movement east cross the Pacific), showing how man first settled the Polynesia islands.
    The simple fact is that Polynesia was settled, at least in part if not in whole, by Nephites moving out from the narrow neck of land in ships built and launched by Hagoth and carried westward into the South Pacific Gyre and down its inner arm to Polynesia as Thor Heyerdahl’s voyage showed.
    When Hagoth built his “exceedingly large ships” (Alma 63:5), at least one of them took an unknown course and headed toward an unknown destination (Alma 63:8). Since outside the coastal waters of going northward or southward, which would have been observed from the narrow neck of land, the only other course would have been westward and that would have been into the currents and winds already described and would have ended up as indicated in Polynesia.
    The point being, that the type of vessels Hagoth built were not canoes as some theorists try to claim. Canoes, no matter how large, are not built for passenger comfort or transportation, especially in deep ocean. They are either the long voyaging canoes or the smaller war canoes discussed in the last post.
    Then, too, while theorists can write about so-called large, high-sided canoes that would have been what Hagoth built, such vessels have never been known to be used for exploration or migration. One is said to have been sighted by Columbus on his visit to the Caribbean, but it was filled with warriors, evidently protecting borders. In fact, because the exploration and settlement of Eastern Polynesia originated from the same centers, the design of the canoes must have been much the same throughout. But that design disappeared. Ships are as mortal as their makers. Except for fragments of ancient canoes excavated on New Zealand and pieces of a large canoe recently unearthed from a bog on Huahine, there is no hard evidence. Except for a petroglyph on Easter Island, and passing references in the old legends, there is no descriptive record. 
    However, there can be no question that Hagoth’s exceedingly large ships were meant for migration—the resettlement of large numbers of Nephites and their families to start a new life somewhere else that would have indeed taken an “exceedingly large ship” to transport people, equipment and provisions for a new settlement where the immigrants had nothing in which to base their survival upon other than what they took with them. This would have required at least one under deck for storage of the equipment and provisions for such a large group of people, especially for men to trust to the safety and survival of their family—wives and children.
    “And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward” (Alma 63:6). “And the first ship did also return and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward” (Alma 63:7).
    This ship of the second voyage did not return, and though those at the shipyard and involved in the immigration process thought the ship had been lost at sea, there is no reason to think it did not land and remain in the same area of the first group.
    “And it came to pass in the thirty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, Shiblon died also, and Corianton had gone forth to the land northward in a ship, to carry forth provisions unto the people who had gone forth into that land” (Alma 63:10).
    Obviously, as Helaman wrote, the Nephites were involved in shipping and ship-building, and no doubt this was a major industry in the Land of Promise. That the descendants of Nephi, who built a ship that could cross the oceans, a story that would have been told down through the centuries to the time of Hagoth, could certainly have built ships more complex and sea worthy than oversized canoes.

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