Monday, September 10, 2018

Have They Found Where Battles Were Fought Around Cumorah? – Part XII “Cumorah and the Land of Many Waters”

Continuing from the previous post regarding the period of time before the Inca, dating back through several so-called cultures to the time of the annihilation of the Nephite Nation. It is of note that in all that time, one mountain, the Cerro Imbabura, stood out as a place of special honor and sacredness carried down from antiquity, a place of respect and prominence to the peoples who lived around it for more than 4000 years.
The Mount Imbabura in the northern province of Imbabura, close to the Colombia border. Note the populated area around this southern side of the mountain

It is said that Imbabura was populated around 2100 BC by the Caranqui people in the north of Ibarra, an area today referred to as the Vale of Imbabura, one of the gems of the Andean World. The elevation is not so high as in Peru, being about 8,000 to 9,000 feet, with the surrounding mountains less rugged. The climate is without either wintry blasts or torrid head, the soil quite fertile, and amply watered—its is said that “one can hardly imagine a region more favorable for agricultural and pastoral life. One of the many attractions of this equatorial paradise are the fresh water lakes scattered over the Imbabura valley, fed from the Andean snows, with numerous rivers and streams providing abundant water fowl and fish for food of the inhabitants. Inf act, as Hewett claims (84), “This lake region of northern Ecuador, in the province of Imbabura, rivals the famous lake country of Scotland.” Around this idyllic area are mountain nudos (knots) such as can be produced onlyby volcanic violence, with wild paramoas (high, bleak tablelands), and labyrinths of quebrados (gorges) that defy every type of transportation, except the burro and Indian—all of which not only occupy this surrounding area, but also that of the entire country.
    Even today Imbabura is considered a very special place and highly sacred, called by the people around it taita Imbabura, meaning “Papa Imbabura,” a watchful protector that is said to oversee the villages and cities around the region. And not only that, an adjacent mount, Cotacachi, is a companion mountain of prominence that is also considered sacred, and called Mama Cotacachi.
Mt. Imbabura and Mt. Cotacachi in the far north of Ecuador, within the Imbabura Province, poking their summits out of the clouds

Both mountains are emanate great power and dominate the landscape, with both considered sacred by the indigenous population, having a spiritual relationship with the land. In fact, the Inca when they moved into the area considered Imbabura a god. Both of these, the jagged peak of Imbabura at 15,121-feet, with a prominence of less than 5000 feet; and the more rounded, but higher, 16,204-feet peak of Cotacachi, with a prominence of just over 6000 feet. Both mountains often appear in their full glory in the beauty of the full sun; however, just as often they are covered in mist and clouds, shrouding the great summits in impenetrable fog. Both mountains completely dominate the area, which is mostly flat and low-rolling hills for miles around.
The fog and cloud-shrouded mounts of (top) Imbabura, and the rounded too of (bottom) Cotacachi

This area is considered by the indigenous people as muy tranquilo, “very peaceful,” with clear and cool scented air of cedar and roses, that, according to Hewett, bloom both in the winter as well as summer, providing a serene quiet that can sometimes be overpowering—it is no wonder so much ritual respect surrounds the hills and valleys of this area, both presently and throughout history (Edward Lee Hewett, Ancient Andean Life, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Biblo and Tannen, New York, 1968, p83).
    Filled with ravines, streams, rivers, and numerous lakes, it should also be noted that the land around Imbabura is highly fertile, more so than any other area in the region. Here, the potato is grown predominantly, Imbabura being the highest producing area for the potato and Cotacachi being the second highest in production.
    Mount Imbabura, though having a peak just over 15,000 feet, is basically a mountain rising between 7200 and 9800-feet, and is surrounded by water, with Lake San Pablo, the largest lake in the district, to the south, and Lake Mojanda beyond the south side of the mountain as well as the Peguche and Cascades of Peguche waterfalls north of Otavalo also south of Imbabura. There is Lake Yahuarcocha on the north, Lake Pesillo to the east and Lake Cuicocha to the west; in fact, the entire area is called “the lake district,” or “Province of Lakes,” a combined watershed, and according to Dr. Mercy J. Borbor-Cordova, Fulbright alumna, and chief of Department of Environmental Control in Guayaquil, the watershed spans about 20,000 miles.
    Six miles to the northeast of Mount Imbabura Lake Yahuarcocha, also called Yawarkucha, that covers 640 acres with a maximum depth of 26 feet. The lake acquired the name of Yawarkucha (meaning “blood lake”) as the result of a battle and massacre which took place there in antiquity. Credited to the Inca period, as most legends that have been anglicized are, it is based on a local chiefdom called the Caranqui, a Cara people, that fiercely resisted an invasion of their territory. It is estimated that the number of Caranqui or Cara people at the time were between 100,000 and 150,000. Victory was finally achieved near the present-day city of Ibarra, along the north face of Mount Imbabura, where the male population of these people, who were located between Ibarra and Mt. Imbabura, were massacred in retribution for their resistance.
Lake Yahuarcocha just north of Mount Imbabura where tens of thousands of ancient warriors were massacred, turning the lake red from the blood

Thousands of men were massacred on the shores of this lake that red from the bodies and became known thereafter as Yawarkucha or Blood Lake (Tamara L. Bray and José Echeverría Almeida, "The Late Imperial Site of Inca-Caranqui, Northern highland Ecuador at the End of Empire," Nampo Pacha, Journal of Andean Archaeology, Vol. 4, No.2, 2014, p179-181). While there is no concrete evidence of this, and reliance is on oral history, of which the Inca invariably borrowed from the past histories of the lands they conquered, it is just as possible that such a massacre of people took place long before the Inca and around Imbabura, such antiquitus legends abound.
    In addition, another bloody battle is recorded in legend occurring on the north slope of Mt. Imbabura where evidence of huge earth tolas, or burial sites have been found. Though again attributed to the Inca, this site was constructed of the same incredible cut stone found in Cuzco, Peru, which far antecedes the Inca and pre-Inca period. In fact, Cieza de León, who visited this area, referred to these ruins and ancient pool as “hecho de piedra muy prima,” all made of “tight-fitting, exquisitely raw cut stone.”
    In fact, archeological studies around Imbabura show that there are other buried architectural features in the area with a burial pit also found on the site. In fact, about twenty miles to the west of Mt. Imbabura is the remote ancient 1500 BC site called Intag, just south of Apuela, and along a plateau, the village named after the nearby river is located where the Andes are not so high and rugged. Atop this narrow plateau resembling a long and empty trough, a rare geological formation with steep drops on all sides, are located, containing numerous pyramids, the largest situated between two rivers and extending fifty-feet in height, as well as tombs, and houses, some sitting on platforms cut into the hard rock in an area filled with gold, silver and copper as evidenced by the numerous artifacts found in the area. 
    In fact, burial sites on the north of Imbabura had large “quantities of gold, silver, Tumbaga, a ternary alloy of gold, silver and copper” (Isumi Shimada, The Inka Empire: A Multidisciplinary Approach, University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, 2015, p332). Here is a land of rivers and streams in the mountains, containing large hydrologic reserves (Barbara Rose Johnston, et al, Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change, Springer Science and Business Media, 2011).
Over 70 grass-covered pyramids with long ramps fill the area around the Zuleta Valley in Ecuador

Seven miles to the east of Imbabura is the valley of Zuleta with the snow-capped Mount Cayambe in the distance far to the south. The hills on either side of this narrow 9600-foot valley, split by the valley itself along a winding canyon that opens to the valley, are filled with bright green-colored pyramid mounds of the Caranqui and their predecessors.
    It seems like wherever one goes in this Imbabura region, one finds ancient pyramids, artifacts, weapons of war, projectile and spear points.
The remains of a hilltop pucara fort in northern Ecuador not far from Imbabura

The area of Imbabura in northern Ecuador had numerous pucaras, or fort-like garrisoned strongholds, situated on low hills with aligned openings in this area, their characteristic structural features, including strategic placement, terraced slopes, containment walls, and offset baffled doorways, all indicate a basic defensive function. Also found in these areas were much weaponry, including slingshots, projectile points (arrowheads), and spear-thrower hooks.
    These forts and their accompanying artifacts of war indicate that this area had seen numerous battles and wars over the centuries. Perhaps none as big as those fought long before the Inca came to power, as seen by the dating of many artifacts, especially projectile points, slings and their rocks, and other instruments of war.
(See the next post, “Have They Found Where Battles Were Fought Around Cumorah? – Part XIII “The Artifacts and Weapons of Mount Imbabura”)


  1. "...the land around Imbabura is highly fertile," That is what you get with millions of corpses that deteriorate into fertilizer millennia later!

  2. Exactly. In fact, this is highly sought-after farmland with several, highly productive farms in the area around Mt. Imbabura