Monday, January 21, 2019

Those Who Went North in Hagoth’s Ships – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding those who went north in the ships that Hagoth built that is recorded in Alma 63:5-7.
    Having discussed the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean when Columbus arrived and their origination in South America, from which one group, the Taíno  were driven northward by the more aggressive and warlike Carib, let us turn to the Maya, Aztec, and Inca.
The Maya were to the east within Mesoamerica, and were not scattered around in various areas, as the Olmec were and other early cultures of Middle America

The Maya:
This ancient civilization was one of the most dominant indigenous societies of Mesoamerica. Unlike other scattered indigenous populations of Middle America, the Maya were centered in one geographical block covering all of the Yucatan Peninsula and modern-day Guatemala, Belize and parts of the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas, and the western part of Honduras and El Salvador. This concentration showed that the Maya remained relatively secure from invasion by other Mesoamerican peoples.
    It is claimed by Mesoamerican theorists that a single language existed among the Maya that dates to about 1000 BC.; however, the only hard evidence of Maya writing known is that from the period 600-900 AD. In fact, linguists claim that before the Maya, there were the original peoples of Mesoamerica, the Xincan and Pupil, who both spoke a Mixe-Zoquean language in southern Mexico and Guatemala along the Pacific Coast area. These cultures and their language predated both the Maya language and the Maya people in Middle America (Michael D. Coe, The Maya: Ancient Peoples and Places series, 6th edition, Thames & Hudson, London, 1999). In addition, the Lenca people and their Lencan languages also predated the Maya in western Honduras and western El Salvador of Mesoamerica (Lyle Campbell, American Indian Languages: The Historical Linguistics of Native America, Oxford University Press, Oxford UK, 1997; Roberto Castillo, “Searcher for the Lenca Language,” The Deadly War of the Senses, 2002).
    Within Mesoamerica, the Maya lived in three separate sub-areas with distinct environmental and cultural differences: 1) the northern Maya lowlands on the Yucatan Peninsula; 2) the southern lowlands in the Peten district of northern Guatemala and adjacent portions of Mexico, Belize and western Honduras; and 3) the southern Maya highlands, in the mountainous region of southern Guatemala. Most famously, the Maya of the southern lowland region reached their peak during the Classic Period of Maya civilization (A.D. 250 to 900), and built the great stone cities and monuments that have fascinated explorers and scholars of the region.
The Aztec Empire covered most of Mexico, but was not in Mesoamerica other than along the border of the northernmost part of Mesoamerica

The Aztec:
When Hernán (Hernando) Cortés arrived in the New World in 1519, and helped colonize Cuba, he advanced into Mexico, which he claimed for Spain. According to Erika Cosme, Coordinator of Education and Digital Services at the Mariner’s Museum and Park in Newport New, Virginia, with its collection of 32,000 artifacts and over one million pieces of archival material, with a mission to connect the people of the world through the ocean and its relationship to humanity, "Cortés was a smart, ambitious man who wanted to appropriate new land for the Spanish crown, convert native inhabitants to God, and plunder the lands for gold and riches." 
    Leaving Cuba, where the indigenous peoples were little more than savages, the Spanish, expecting to encounter more of the savage indigenous peoples were stunned when they encountered the Aztec Empire with the astonishing beauty of its capital of Tenochtitlan (present day Mexico City). They compared the architectural and engineering achievements of the Aztec buildings to Venice and other great cities of Europe. Later, as the Spanish explored the lands southward they encountered the long abandoned cities of the ancient Maya, which proved to be even more impressive. As Cortéz prepared to invade the Maya Highlands in 1522, after defeating Tenochtitlan and the Aztecs the year before, the Kaqchikel Maya of Iximche and the K'iche' Maya of Q'umarkaj, sent envoys to Cortés to declare their allegiance to the Spanish as the new rulers of Mexico.
The Aztec Empire, along with the Tarascan Empire, both dominated the central area of southern Mexico before the Spanish arrived

This did not include the Tarascan state, the ancient and powerful Tarasca Empire, which was to the north in West Central Mexico and once controlled, along with the Aztecs, the extreme northwestern part of Mesoamerica and West Central Mexico. The Tarascans were the ones who developed metallurgy along the coast long before those who occupied Mesoamerica; and when they finally fell to the Spanish, it was there mines and metal reserves that the Spanish seized.
    For the Spanish, seeing these magnificent structures erected in the Aztec and Maya territories, raised a problem for they fully expected to find uncivilized development among the natives but found an advancement far beyond anything they could have imagined. This led to a great difficulty in how to explain the high culture of the New World in terms of what was known about their own history.
    There was an incredible European pride and arrogance displayed in their view that the pagan, godless people of the New World could not have possibly built these magnificent cities without some sort of inspiration and guidance from the Old World. Consequently, the first attempts to explain the achievements of the ancient people of the New World were couched in terms of what was known at the time about the rise of civilization in the Old World. Of course, the source available to the scholars of the day, namely the priests of the Catholic church, was the Bible.
    In fact, there is great difficulty for many people even today to accept the fact that the indigenous peoples of the New World evolved independently and achieved a greatness that eclipsed the European culture of the time. It is a very sobering fact to realize at the zenith of the Maya experience, around 800 AD, London (Romano-British Londinium) was a small Roman outpost, and did not become an established city until Alfred the Great re-established English control of London in 886, rebuilding it and calling it Lundenburh, which was conquered first by Sweyn Forkbeard of Jutland, king of Denmark, who was the son of Harald Blåtand (Bluetooth) Gormsson, king of Denmark (the first of the Jelling dynasty) and also king of Norway, and then Sveinn’s (Sweyn) son, Cnut (Canute) in 1016, who then claimed himself king of England, Denmark and the Norwegians and of some of the Swedes (M. K. Lawson, M. K. (2004), Cnut: England's Viking King (2nd ed.), Tempus Publishing LTD (History Press), Stroud UK, 2004, p97).
    While all of this was going on in Europe, the Maya in all their accomplishments in building and organization reached its peak before London became a city, a fact that was difficult for the Spanish conquerors of the Aztecs and Maya to understand. This was especially problematic in view of the state of the Aztec and Maya cultures at the time of their conquest by the Spanish—they simply were not seen as capable of such engineering magnificence, and the conquerors, especially their priests, attributed the work to the Devil and went about destroying all they could.
    This misunderstanding by the Spanish, and now most historians and scholars, thinking that who the Spanish conquered had built the ancient structures, pyramids, and complexes that so awed the invaders. Like the Inca to the south, the Spanish could not believe the people they saw and conquered were capable of building the magnificent centers that they found—and they were right. However, it was not the Devil that had built them, but a people who preceded the Maya, Aztec and Inca, who entered the “new world” with advanced knowledge, experience and history acquired from the land from which they left.
    The Americas developed in a manner completely different from the slow diffusion and progression of Europe and Asia; however, the Spanish and later other Europeans who flocked to the “new world” had no idea of such events.
(See the next post, “Those Who Went North in Hagoth’s Ships – Part III,” regarding the people who preceded the Maya, Aztec and Inca, and who built that vast advanced cities and pyramids that still stand in Meso-, Central, and South America)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Those Who Went North in Hagoth’s Ships – Part I

There is so much controversy among theorists over where the Nephites and Lamanites in the Land of Promise were located, perhaps some clarification might be helpful for our readers.
Three advanced and highly developed civilizations were in the Americas when Columbus arrived; the Aztec, Maya and Inca—all of which demonstrated a degree of cultural development consistent with the Nephite history coming from Jerusalem in 600 BC

First of all, when Columbus and the Europeans reached the “undiscovered” lands later called the New World, and on maps called “the Americas,” three major and highly advanced civilizations existed: the Aztec, Maya and Inca (in order of their discovery and conquest). As we have suggested in other articles, since Nephi saw a Gentile (Columbus) traveling across the sea to the lands where the seed of his brethren were located (Lamanites), and his seed was “driven and smitten” (struck down and suffering; killed), it would appear that where Columbus landed, in the Caribbean, Central and South America, would be where the Land of Promise would have been located, i.e., in an area within one of these three areas.
    Secondly, there is no mention of the lands in which we now find Mexico or North America, suggested within this vision. In fact, Columbus never landed in North America, or even in Mesoamerica—he landed only in Central America and South America as well as many of the Caribbean islands, which are made up today of the Greater Antilles on the north, which are made up of continental rock, and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east, which were created by volcanoes, including the Leeward Antilles.
The lands on which Columbus landed or explored during his four voyages
 
The Bahamas, where Columbus landed initially, is a coral-base archipelago of 700-plus islands. All of these islands, sometimes referred to as the West Indies, today make up a total of 26 Caribbean countries. The word Antilles, which meant “before islands,” or the “Islands before the (main) land,” was the Dutch term for the islands of the Caribbean, and the term “Sea of the Antilles” referred to the Caribbean Sea in other European languages.
    Thus any discussion of the Land of Promise, or the land promised to Lehi, must begin with Nephi’s vision in which he stated: “And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12). So where Columbus went was where the “seed of my brethren” were located, i.e., basically Central and South America, as well as adjacent islands—making at least one of these areas Lehi’s promised land.
    In these lands, two civilizations were noteworthy as having advanced cultures and achievements as would be expected to be found in the Nephite lands after 1000 years of advancement in the land and following their earlier nearly 1000-year-history in Palestine. Thus, we find two civilizations, those of Mesoamerica (Maya) and those of Andean South America (Inca).
The West Indies or islands of the Caribbean, including the Bahamas, were inhabited by two main groups, the Taíno and the Carib, both of which originated in northern South America and moved north into the islands

The Caribbean Islands have to be discounted as the location of the Land of Promise since the natives there in 1500 were backward and uncivilized compared to the three advanced cultures in Latin America, that left great monuments paralleling the civilizations of Palestine and the Middle East from which the Nephites came.
These island peoples, namely the:
1. Taíno (called the Lukku-Cairi in the Bahamas, and Taíno elsewhere, were the first Columbus encountered), who were often referred to as the Arawak, and whose ancestors came from South America around 200 BC, with a single religion and entered the Caribbean Basin. They were fishermen and agriculturists, having brought the Sweet Potato with them, and were living in Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, at the time Columbus arrived. They worked with stone, marble, and wood skillfully, and mined and worked copper. At one time they were the most numerous indigenous people of the Caribbean;
2. Ciboney (Siboney), which means “cave dweller,” were the most undeveloped and peaceful of the indigenous peoples. Originally dwelling in caves, they later lived on small offshore islets and swamp hammocks, working both with stone and shells. At the time of the Spanish colonization, they were the most populous group in Cuba, but were less organized and advanced as the Taíno;
3. Carib (Kalinago), who were much more hostile and aggressive, and who also came up the land from northern South America (where many remained in the northeastern area of the continent, as well as Venezuela and central Brazil), taking over more peaceful groups along the way. Their warlike natures and culture of warfare and internal conflicts kept the islands they inhabited from being easily settled by the Spanish when they arrived—withstanding conquest until the 18th century in Venezuela and Guiana (their name was given to the Caribbean Sea, and the English word “cannibal”).
Islands and Cultures of the Caribbean. The Taíno, a people whose history is not known until long after the Nephite Nation was annihilated at Cumorah,covered most of the Caribbean area, including the Bahamas and evidently along the coasts of southern Florida

Another group, smaller in size and number, but occupying the central area of Cuba were the Guanahatabeys, a primitive pre-ceramic society of hunter-gatherers that spoke a separate language distinct from Taíno. Their dialect and culture were similar to that of the Lucayans who lived in the Bahamas. Other than the Caribs, modern historians classify all the Caribbean peoples as Taíno-Arawak, who Columbus described as “physically tall, well-proportioned people, with a noble and kind personality. They traded with us and gave us everything they had, with good will…they took great delight in pleasing us…They are very gentle and without knowledge of what is evil; nor do they murder or steal…Your highness may believe that in all the world there can be no better people…They love their neighbors as themselves, and they have the sweetest talk in the world, and are gentle and always laughing.” The Carib on the other hand, were just the opposite. It is also understood that the Taíno were driven out of South America by the Carib, who continually raided the Taíno, stealing their women, and northeast into the Caribbean Basin, then northward across the islands. The Caribs settled in what is now the Lesser Antilles, and the Taíno in the Cuban-Hait-Domincan Republic area.
    When the Spanish arrived, having brought no women on the first voyage, they took the Taíno women for their common-law wives, creating the Mestizos, and in 1511, several Taíno leaders in Puerto Rico allied with the Carib and tried to oust the Spaniards out of Cuba. However, the revolt was put down by Governor Juan Ponce de Leon, and Hatuey, a Taíno chieftain who had fled from Hispaniola to Cuba with 400 natives to unite the Cuban tribes, was burned at the stake in retribution.
    In 1519 Taíno chieftain (cacique) Enriquillo mobilized over 3,000 Taíno in a successful rebellion that lasted until 1533. These Taíno were accorded land and a charter from the royal administration and Enriquillo became a hero among the indigenous groups.
A typical Taíno Village in the Caribbean on the island of Cuba dating to the time not long after the demise of the Nephite Nation

All of these islanders, which also included the Igneri, Suazoid, Ciguayo, Guajiro, Macorix, Chocó, Motilón, and Saladoid, as well as others, lived in small isolated villages built of logs, cane and thatch—even the larger Lucayans houses, and the occasional permanent villages of any size were only round thatched huts. It should be noted that the DNA of a tooth extracted in a burial on Eleuthera Island (Bahamas) dated to 776-992 AD with closest genetic affinity to Arawaken speakers from the Amazon and Orinoco Basins of South America (William C. Schaffer, et al., “Origins and Genetic Legacies of the Caribbean Taíno,” Proceedings of the National Academy of sciences, vol.115, iss.10, February 2018, pp2341-2346).
    While there is much controversy about this, groups of people currently identify as Taíno, most notably among the Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, both on the islands and on United States mainland, were identified in a 2002 census of the U.S., even though the Spanish governors in the 16th century claimed all these tribes had become extinct. Some scholars, such as Jalil Sued Badillo, an ethnohistorian at the University of Puerto Rico, assert that the official Spanish historical record speak of the disappearance of the Taínos, but survivors had descendants and intermarried with other ethnic groups. Recent research notes a high percentage of mixed or tri-racial ancestry among people in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with those claiming Taíno ancestry also having Spanish and African ancestry.
    However, the question should be, not if any Taíno survived the Spanish slaughter of their people, but where the Taíno came from originally. This is seldom discussed by scholars and historians, but the answer, which is known, and covered above, is the far more important issue. That is, the Taíno and Carib origin was in northern South America.
(See the next post, “Those Who Went North in Hagoth’s Ships – Part II,” for the final response to the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and Central America, as well as that of Mexico, and their origin)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

What is Meant by "Isles of the Sea"?

Since both the words “isle” and “Land” are used in the scriptural record in describing locations in the Book of Mormon, it has led to considerable discussion of what was meant in the case of Jacob’s discussion of their present location to the Nephites congregated in the temple in the city of Nephi around 550 BC.
    In that conference, Jacob, dealing with the Nephites’ concerns about being cast off from Jerusalem and now unknown to the Lord, said to them: “And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis added).
During a two-day conference held in the temple in the city of Nephi, Jacob rose and spoke about the Nephites inhabiting an island in the midst of the sea, the place of the Land of Promise which Lehi had been given, and they presently lived

Jacob then goes on to reinforce his statement about being on an island in the midst of the sea, saying, “But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren” (2 Nephi 10:21, emphasis added).
    So what was the meaning of “isles” that Jacob used? Among theorists, the proposed meanings range from the simple meaning of “island” to such diverse meanings from “coastlands,” to “maritime lands,” to “distance lands,” all of which convey very different meanings to the words of Jacob.
    Most theorists discussing their various models of the Land of Promise location, claim the word “isle” as Jacob used it meant either coastlands, distant lands or maritime lands, leading to the conclusion that any land location would suffice for Jacob’s meaning—it did not have to be a specific land meaning, such as an island in the midst of the sea. On the other hand, the word “isle” as just any land, even one that was promised, cannot be supported by the rest of Nephi’s writings in his two books, First Nephi and Second Nephi.
    This is important since Nephi recorded the words Jacob spoke as part of his sacred record, known today as Second Nephi in the Book of Mormon. So how else did Nephi distinguish lands in his writing so we can understand if he meant a difference between “isles” and other main lands. What we find is that in Nephi’s writings (First and Second Nephi), the word “Isle” as used by Jacob in 2 Nephi 10:20, as meaning of some “distant main or maritime land,” would be in conflict with the other uses of the word “land,” in Nephi’s writings.
    Once again, Jacob’s exact words as Nephi recorded them and Joseph Smith translated them were: “the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea” (2 Nephi 10:20, emphasis added). For those who do not think the word “isle” meant “island,” as we would use it today, but meant “land” in the sense of areas such as Mesoamerica or the Heartland, or the Great Lakes, or the coastal shore along the Gulf of Mexico, Florida or Baja California, etc., should keep in mind Nephi’s use of the word of such areas.
    “But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles—yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations” (2 Nephi 27:1).
    Clearly, the word “land” to Nephi meant the definition of “land” as used in the area in which Joseph Smith grew up and lived, and given in the 1828 dictionary, which was: “the earth, or the solid matter which constitutes the fixed part of the surface of the globe, in distinction from the sea or other waters; any portion of the solid part of the globe, whether a kingdom or country, or a particular region; any small portion of the superficial (surface); any portion of the surface of the earth or ground; ground, soil.”
There is a big different between the term “land” and the term "isles" or islands. They cannot be interchanged—each has a separate meaning

Thus, the word “land,” as used by Nephi and translated by Joseph Smith, and known to the latter in the area of his birth and life, meant “any and all solid matter of the earth, as opposed to seas or other waters.” Thus, any solid area of the earth, from a continent to an island could be called “land.”
    On the other hand, the word “isle,” had a very different meaning. In 1828, that word had a singular meaning, which was: “A tract of land surrounded by water, or a detached portion of land embosomed in the ocean, in a lake or river.” In 1828, an island would have been considered a large to small area of land surrounded by the sea, such as the South Pacific Islands, the Islands of the Caribbean, or the Hawaiian Islands; or within a lake, such as Manitoulin Island, Isle Royale, and Drummond Island in the Great Lakes, Ometepe Island in Lake Nicaragua, or Kelleys Island in Ohio or Apostle Islands in Wisconsin; or in a river, such as Montreal Island in the St. Lawrence River, or Davis Island in the Mississippi River, or Grand Island in the Niagara River, or Manhattan Island in the Hudson and East rivers.
    It is clear that the word “isle” had a very different meaning to Joseph Smith, who translated the “Reformed Egyptian word used by Nephi, as “isle,” since the word “island” was not in use in 1828, for according to the 1828 dictionary, the word “island,” was: “an absurd compound of isle and land, that is, land-in-water land, or ieland-land. There is no such legitimate word in English…The genuine word always used in discourse is our native word,” which was “isle.”
    In addition, in first and second Nephi, the term “isles” is found 12 times: 10 in “isles of the sea,” once in “O isles,” and once in “the isles.” Thus, “isles” of the sea is distinctly different than coastland, maritime land, or distant land.
The word “isle” is from the word “salo,” which meant “that which is in the sea,” from an ablative of “salum” meaning “the open sea.” It should also be kept in mind that in the Old Testament times, only Arvad (Genesis 10:18; 1 Chronicles :16; Ezekiel 27:8,11), and Tyre (an island city off the coast of present day Lebanon) were the main islands basically known to Israel. These were major islands, and though small, were prominent in Biblical times. In addition, there is mention of Kittim or Chittim, a settlement in present-day Larnaca on the west coast of the island of Cyprus (Genersis 10:4 and 1 Chronicles 1:7—“sons of Javan” were those of Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and Dodanim or Rodabun). There were also the many Greek islands, such as Chios, and the major British Isles. Everything else was mainland, and is so mentioned as “land” and not “isles” in the Biblical narrative.
    In fact, most everywhere the King James Version of the Bible translates the Hebrew, "Iyai HaYam," as “isles of the sea,” except in Isaiah, where it is rendered “coastlands of the sea,” suggesting that term in Isaiah meant “isles of the sea” as it is rendered everywhere else.
    There are other uses of “isles” in Nephi’s writings, such as when the Lord states: “The isles shall wait upon me” (2 Nephi 8:5), and also “theyh shall be gathered in fro their long dispersion,from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth” (2 Nephi 10:8) and “I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea…even upon all the nations of the earth” (2 Nephi 29:7), showing a separation of men from the nations of the earth and those upon the isles of the sea.
    After all, common sense should tell anyone that the term “isles of the sea” is different from the “lands of the earth.” Do we ever read or hear anywhere someone say “Lands of the sea” or “Lands on the sea” or “Lands in the sea”? “Isles of the sea” has a specific meaning, now and in the past. We should also keep in mind that when the Lord is talking in the Bible, he is aware of the Earth in a completely different sense that are we.
Isles of the South Pacific Ocean

He knows the end from the beginning, knows where His people will be, and knew without question, long before the fact, that in the last days, the many islands, in addition to the known continents and lands, would be inhabited by people. And many of those people would be original “cast offs” from the House of Israel. After all, we know that some Nephites sailed from the Land of Promise in Hagoth’s ships and went where no one knew—and the only course open to them would have been West, along the routes that would take them to Polynesia, a land of more than 10,000 islands in the central and southern Pacific Ocean.
    Thus, when the Lord spoke of “it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance” He is telling us He knows where His people would be, scattered all over the face of the earth, upon the continents, upon foreign lands, and upon the islands in the sea.
    Thus, it cannot be said that when Jacob claimed the Nephites and the Land of Promise was upon an isle of the sea, that it meant anything other than what it states—they were upon an isle in the sea.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Where Did Columbus Actually Visit and Land in the Americas? And Where Was Lehi’s Isle of Promise? – Part III

Continued from the previous post that covered where Columbus landed in the New World, and the scriptural record surrounding that event.
Christopher Columbus, the Gentile, on board the Santa Maria checking his navigation to what he thought was Cathay (China); however, the Spirit was guiding him to the Americas

As stated earlier regarding Nephi’s vision, a Gentile,(Columbus) led a parade of other Gentiles who came across the ocean to land upon the promised land, who were followed by “many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise” and that these Gentiles “scattered” Nephi’s brethren who were “smitten” by them (1 Nephi 13:14).
    It should be of note that while Columbus was primarily a dead-reckoning navigator—that is, he used a process of calculating his current position by using a previously determined position or fix, and advancing that position based upon known or estimated speeds over elapsed time and course. To aid in this, he had the compass. He also dealt to some degree with celestial navigation, where he observed celestial bodies to measure his latitude. The most important tool he used in this was the quadrant. It should also be noted that Columbus went to sea at the age of 14 and spent 20 years there before a shipwreck changed his career path—he then studied in Lisbon mathematics, astronomy, cartography and navigation—he sailed along the African coast, Portugal and England. By the time he was ready for his cross-Atlantic voyage of discovery, he had gained considerable experience in sailing, navigation and the study of maps.
    The important point in his voyage to the New World was that he landed among the seed of Nephi’s brethren,” who were the surviving descendants of his brothers, the Lamanites. That this Gentile landed upon the Land of Promise is an important point, for though Columbus is credited with discovering America, he never landed in the area of what is today the United States, nor even in North America. His landings on all four voyages, was limited to the islands of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Thus, any claim that Mesoamerica or North America was the Land of Promise given to Lehi is completely erroneous, since Columbus, who landed among the seed of Nephi’s brethren, never touched Mesoamerican or North American lands. Nor is there any evidence that he: 1) even saw these lands, or 2) even knew they existed.
Then first voyage of Columbus, which course took him into the Bahamas, then to Cuba and finally to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean before turning north and head back into the Atlantic and across to Spain. Note that it is 366 miles from Long Island to the Florida coast; 355 miles from Ragged Island to Florida; and 286 miles from Cayo Cruz, a tiny 32-square-mile islet in the Jardines del Rey (Kings Gardens) archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the northeastern coast of Cuba to Florida

The fact that Columbus landed on the islands of the Bahamas, the islands that today are called Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and the islands of the Lesser Antilles, as well as the mainland of South America, and on his last voyage, landing on an island off the coast of northeastern Honduras, which many believe was Guanaja (50 miles off the Honduras coast from Trujillo), where they repaired their storm and hurricane damaged ships and took on supplies. From there they turned south and explored the coasts of Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, then limped back toward Santo Domingo, however, his ships were so badly damaged, they set in at Jamaica where they were stranded for a year.
    As far as North America, it was first discovered around 1000 AD, where a Viking settlement was set up on what is now L’Anse aux Meadows in New Foundland, by Leif Erickson (Eriksson), which he called Vinland after discovering grapes in the vicinity, to wait out the winter for a spring return to his home on Greenland, which his father, Erik the Red, had discovered earlier. A small group of Vikings or Norsemen later followed, including Leif’s brother, Thorvald, but they were all killed by Indians, and the area (North America) lay forgotten other than in a few sagas that mention Leif Erickson.
    Thus, to known history of the time, it was the Gentile Christopher Columbus who was led by the Spirit to the discovery of the New World, later called “The Americas,” by the 1507 cartographer, Martin Waldseemüller, thinking at the time it had been Amerigo Vespucci that had discovered this new land. By the time he realized his mistake, the term “America” was the name of South America and all the rest of the Western Hemisphere.
The arrival of Christopher Columbus in America in 1492. He first landed in what is now the Bahamas, on an island the natives called Guanahani and Columbus named San Salvador

In history, then, we learn that this man (Columbus) and others (Spanish Conquistadors) came to the Land of Promise (1 Nephi 13:12), in which the seed of Nephi’s brethren (Lamanites) were driven and smitten (brutally killed).  Now, since Columbus and the conquistadors never set foot in the area of the United States or Canada, and had no contact or interaction with the indigenous peoples besides the islands of the Caribbean, South America and Central America, it should be concluded that the initial meaning of Nephi’s vision was that of Columbus and the Spanish. Again, eliminating those in North America.
    Of course, the conquistadors did impact the Aztecs of Mexico, defeating them in 1521. Two years later, he attacked the Maya in the lowlands south of the Aztec Empire. At their peak, the Maya controlled Tabasco and Chiapas in southern Mexico, the Yucatan, all of Guatemala, Belize, and western Honduras and El Salvador; however, after their collapse around 900 AD, they had been in severe decline, so when the Spanish arrived the Aztec and Inca them, had being decimated by internal civil wars, and the Maya were considerably weakened in people and military might in their decline.
    In addition, Nephi goes on to tell us about the forming of the American colonists and the origination of the United States (1 Nephi 13:16-19), which extends the promised land also into North America, specifically the area of present-day United States. This is also stated by many modern-day prophets, including Joseph Smith, that the promised land and Zion are both North and South America.
    Therefore, it can only be concluded that the Land of Promise encompasses South America, Central America, and North America—the entire Western Hemisphere.
    To claim that only the United States, or only the Eastern U.S., or only the Great Lakes area, is the Land of Promise, as many theorists today have done, is absolutely without merit and without scriptural reference. Nephi made it abundantly clear that Columbus and the others came to his brethren, driving and smiting them—this did not take place initially in North America, but in southern Mexico, Mesoamerica, and most particularly in Andean Peru of South America, where the conquest was the most severe with both loss of life and outright brutality.
The fighting in North America was with native arrows, tomahawks and knives against European rifles and guns. The fighting in Central and South America was with Aztec and Inca studded clubs, bludgeons, and knives and against Spanish brutality with mounted cavalry with long swords, spears and maces

As covered earlier, the indigenous death rate in South America as a result of the conquest was astonishingly large, with brutal slayings, human sacrifice, torture and enslavement. It was incomparably brutal and wanton killing, the definition of “to smite” as used in the scriptural record of the encounter of the Gentiles against the seed of Nephi’s brethren.
    Regarding the size of continents in the Western Hemisphere, it should be noted that Lehi’s “isle of promise” or the Land of Promise of the Book of Mormon Jaredites and Nephites, is a much lesser area in size than these two continents, which make up the overall promised land the Lord has mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants, and Church leaders regarding the Western Hemisphere.
    Lehi’s land, which they had obtained (2 Nephi 1:3), was part of a larger land that was “choice above all other lands” (2 Nephi 1:5), which was not only that land that was granted to Lehi and his children forever (2 Nephi 1:5), but the larger land area was “consecrated unto [them] whom [God] shall bring…and shall be a land of liberty unto them” and “unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever” (2 Nephi 1:6-7). Both Lehi’s portion and the entire promised land would “be kept as yet form the knowledge of other nations” (2 Nephi 1:8).
    Speaking of his own posterity in that portion of the land that had been promised to him and his seed forever, Lehi added, “Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever” (2 Nephi 1:9). But seeing the future, Lehi completed his prophecy regarding his portion of the promised land and his posterity within it, “Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten” (2 Nephi 1:11).
    Thus, the land the Jaredites were granted as their land of promise, which “(Ether 2:7-8), or promised land (Ether 6:5,8,12), were much more compact than the areas of continents today.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Where Did Columbus Actually Visit and Land in the Americas? And Where Was Lehi’s Isle of Promise? – Part II

Continued from the previous post that covered where Columbus landed in the New World, and the scriptural record surrounding that event.
    What should be noted, is the condition in the three major areas: Inca and Aztec Empires, and North America. These indigenous peoples were neither oblivious to the Spanish threat, nor at their peak of power to withstand them, though they each had tens of thousands more in arms than did the Spanish. The problem was, that calamities and wars had always been part of native life long before the Spanish arrived in Central and South America, and the Europeans in North America.
Mayflower Landing 1620 and early settlements in the area

One example of calamities is that in 1616, prior to the arrival of the Pilgrims on the shores of Plymouth, an epidemic of typhus or yellow fever, struck New England coastal Indian communities and raged for three years, in which it is now believed killed up to 90% of the native population in the Massachusetts Bay area. In addition, wars existed long before the Europeans arrived.
    In South America, the Inca had a civil war on the eve of the Spanish arrival, called the Dynastic War or War of Succession, which was fought between the two brothers, Huáscar and Ataphalpa, sons of Emporer Huayna Capac, over the succession to the Inca throne, in which the Inca population was severely decreased. Including this war and the Spanish conquest, it is today estimated that the overall total was the destruction of 95% of the population (C.T. Smith, et al., "Depopulation of the Central Andes in the 16th Century," Current Anthropology, vol.11, iss.4-5, January 1970, pp453–464).
    In Mesoamerica, the Aztec before the Spanish arrived, was a society centered on warfare; every Aztec male received basic military training from an early age and the only possibility of upward social mobility for commoners was through the military achievement within the six warrior societies, especially the taking of captives, with warfare the main driving force of both the economy and religion. The Aztec had two main objectives in warfare: 1) Political—the subjugation of enemy city states in order to exact tribute and expand Aztec political hegemony; 2) Religious—the taking of captives to be sacrificed in religious ceremonies. All of this led to the Aztec empire maintaining their state through warfare or the threat of war with other cities.
    About 70 years before the arrival of the Spanish, the Aztec Empire was involved in a devastating civil war over succession between Tayahuah and Maxtla, after the death of the Tepanec king Tezozomoc, weakening the Empire. About 30 years before Cortez invaded, the Aztecs lost a major battle to the Purépecha Empire, losing 95% of their army, some 40,000 warriors. Following, the Aztec Empire was involved in numerous wars, intrigues, and assassinations until Montecuzoma (Montezuma) gained control. In 1515, the Aztecs again lost a major war four years before the Spanish arrived, who found a greatly reduced and fragmented Aztec Empire.
The major Indian tribes in the northeast at the time of the European landings in North America

In addition, the Algonkian Indians of northeast North America waged continual wars against other Indian tribes because of social advancement, excitement, religious obligation, capture of women, slavery, plunder, appropriation of territory, trade, defense, and fear, which sometimes escalated into life-and-death struggles between various tribes and bands (Wendell S. Hadlock, “War Among the Northeastern Woodland Indians,” American Anthropologist, vol.49, University of Chicago Press, 1947, p205-6; John Reed Swanton, “Are Wars Inevitable?” Smithsonian Institution War Background Studies, No. 12, Washington DC, 1943).
    The point is, much death among native tribes in the Americas had been taking place for some time before the Europeans arrived in the Western Hemisphere. Indian life had not been easy, fruitful or free to engage in other pursuits than that of warfare and defense. The plight of the Lamanites in the Americas had been foretold many centuries earlier, from the end of Lehi life onward, when he blessed his sons and prophesied the consequences of their differing ways of life. Speaking to Laman and Lemuel, he regretted that, because of the hardness of their hearts, they would be “cut off and destroyed forever,” and that a curse would come upon them because they would be “led according to the will and captivity of the devil” (2 Nephi 1:17–18).
    The people who followed Laman and Lemuel “hardened their hearts against [God], that they had become like unto a flint” (2 Nephi 5:21). The Lord, therefore, caused a “sore cursing” to come upon them “because of their iniquity.” They suffered spiritual death as they were cut off from his presence and “because of their cursing which was upon them they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey” (2 Nephi 5:21, 24).
    The Lord also placed upon these Lamanites the mark of a dark skin. The Lord warned that anyone who mingled with the wicked would also become subject to their curse (2 Nephi 5:21–23). In Mormon’s time, the Lamanites sacrificed women and children to idols (Mormon 4:11, 14). Nevertheless, the mark of the dark skin evidently had not yet returned to the wicked. Mormon noted that the remnant of this people would “become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that whichever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites” (Mormon 5:15).
    The Lamanites became a mixture of many lines. Undoubtedly, there was in their veins the blood of Nephi, Joseph, and Jacob, as well as that of Laman, Lemuel and Sam, and also that of the Mulekites of Judah. The name “Indian” was given to the early possessors of the Americas by Columbus, mistaking them for indigenous people of India. As the Indians of the Americas intermarried with the invading European conquerors and nations were formed, they became Mexicans, Peruvians, Bolivians, Guatemalans, and others. But the correct name for all the descendants of Lehi and Ishmael is “Lamanite.”
According to Henry Kamen, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London and an emeritus professor of the Higher council or Scientific Research in Barcelona, Spain’ conquest, under the world of militant Castile and their conquistadors was a brutal adventure in the New World. “Their ceaseless quest for land, gold and slaves made Spain, both for its conquered people and much of the rest of Europe a rapacious nightmare” (Henry Kamen, Spain’s Road to Empire: The Making of a world Power, Penguin Books, London UK, 2009). The cruelty of the Spaniards in the New World was incontrovertible; it was pitiless, barbaric and never brought under control by the colonial regime. When, for instance, 15 colonists in the Yucatan were killed by the Maya in 1546, the Spaniards retaliated with the enslavement of 2,000 men, the hanging of their women, and the burning of six native priests (John Adamson, “The reign of Spain was mainly brutal,” The Daily Telegraph, London, December 8, 2002).
    This brutality of the Spanish conquest has been pointed out lately by the unearthing of a 500-yer-old cemetery in Peru. Human skeletons have yielded the first direct evidence of Inca fatalities caused by Spanish conquerors. Despite the fact that Spanish documents of the 16th century show their preference for the steel sword, these dead had been killed by the Spanish with guns, steel lances, or hammers, along with the likelihood of light cannon, according to a report in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, March 23, 2010. Surprising there were no incisions or other marks characteristic of sword injuries appeared on the bones reported by anthropologist Melissa Murphy of the University of Wyoming.
    In fact, skeletons in the Inca cemetery, as well as at another grave site about a mile away, display a gruesome array of violent injuries, many probably caused by maces, clubs and other Inca weapons, the researchers report. Those weapons may have been wielded by Inca from communities known to have collaborated with the Spanish, or might have been borrowed by the Spanish, they posit. “The nature and pattern of these skeletal injuries were unlike anything colleagues and I had seen before,” Murphy says. “Many of these people died brutal, horrible deaths.”
Skulls showing heavy blows to the head with large, weighted instruments causing death; the number of these type injuries to skulls was inordinately high for the number found in the cemetery
 
According to anthropologist Haagen Klaus of Utah Valley University, “Murphy’s data show the types of violence that emerged from the first moments of contact between Spaniards and the Inca.” Pottery and artifacts at the sites date to between 1470 and 1540, placing the deaths close to when Spaniards captured the Inca emperor around 1532. It took the invaders nearly another 40 years to control all Inca lands. As stated by archaeologist Steven Wernke of Vanderbilt University, “I’m struck by the severity of violence, where the skull was essentially crushed, repeatedly stabbed or struck, or shot through by gunshot…whoever killed these individuals wanted to intimidate survivors” (Bruce Bower, Science News, Washington DC, April 2, 2010).
The point is, the violent Lamanite end was foretold in the scriptural record by Lehi, Nephi, and others, and of all the contact between Europeans and indigenous peoples of the Americas, that which took place in Andean Peru was by far the most brutal and devastating, wiping out the vast majority of the population in cruel and vicious acts of violent brutality.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Where Did Columbus Actually Visit and Land in the Americas? And Where Was Lehi’s Isle of Promise? – Part I

Many North American theorists, specifically those involved in the Heartland and Great Lakes theories, place a great emphasis on the visit of Columbus to the New World as a fulfillment of a prophecy found in the Book of Mormon. In this instance, Nephi, son of Lehi, was granted a vision like the one his father had seen, in which he saw: “And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren…I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:10,12).
    From this we learn:
1. There were many waters dividing the European land of the Gentiles (non-Jew, non-Israelite) from the Land of Promise;
2. A man among the Gentiles who dwelt across the “many waters” (Atlantic Ocean) from the Land of Promise;
3. Was directed by the Spirit of God, to set sail across those waters;
4. To sail to the land of the Lamanites who were in the promised land.
The First voyage of Columbus, landing in the Bahamas and Dominican Republic; Yellow dots show the two landings in Central America and the one in South America

The Hebrew מָיִם mâyîm (Genesis 1:2), means “waters,” with “many waters” referencing great, large, or all-inclusive waters. Anciently, the phrase “many waters” was a euphemism for today’s “ocean,” which was also called in the scriptures the “great deep”--a body of water that extended into several other waters or multiple "oceans." Since the “gentile” mentioned in Nephi’s vision was separated by many waters from the Land of Promise, it is evident that this would have been the Atlantic Ocean. This ocean obviously separated the Land of Promise (in the Americas) from the Gentiles (in Europe); and one Gentile (Columbus) was prompted by the Spirit to sail from Europe (Spain) across those waters (Atlantic Ocean) to reach the promised land (Americas), where the seed of Nephi’s brethren (Lamanites) were located.
    As simple as this is, theorists seem to have such great difficulty in understanding what is being written by Nephi that he saw in his vision. Heartland and Great Lakes theorists want to claim that this shows that Columbus saw, visited or landed in North America, specifically in what is now the United States, as verification for their Land of Promise location in the heartland or Great Lakes areas of the U.S.
    It always seems to come as a great shock to them in claiming and defending their North American Land of Promise, therefore is patently dismissed by them, that Columbus never visited North America, never set foot in, saw, or sailed to what is now the United States. The interesting thing is that Columbus sailed across the Atlantic and first saw the islands of the Bahamas in the Atlantic Ocean, where he landed on one he called San Salvador (Watling Island) and the natives called Guanahani. From there he sailed to an island the Taino inhabitants called Ayti (modern Haiti/Dominican Republic), which Columbus renamed La Isla Española, or Hispaniola, an island situated between Cuba and Puerto Rico, which north shore is on the Atlantic and south shore faces the Caribbean Sea. After building a stockade and leaving 39 of his crews there until his return, Columbus sailed northeast into the Atlantic and picked up the westerlies that took him back to Portugal and then to Spain. Never at any time did Columbus see or set foot on what is now the United States or North America.
Columbus’ other voyages far from North America

Nor did Columbus land or even come close to North America on his subsequent three voyages, though he did land in South America on his third voyage, and in Central America on his fourth and last voyage. But never in North America!
    Thus, based on the scriptural reference alone, the Heartland and Great Lakes models in North America are simply not tenable locations for Lehi’s Land of Promise.
    In addition, the inhabitants of the land that the Gentile sailed to Nephi said contained “the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land” (1 Nephi 13:12). “Seed,” of course refers to descendants or forward lineage, and “my brethren” refers to Nephi’s brothers, in this case, Laman and Lemuel, known as the Lamanites. Thus, Columbus visited the “seed” of Laman and Lemuel, or the Lamanites that occupied either the Bahama and Caribbean islands, the area of Central America, or those of South America, or two of these areas, or all three. He did not visit any seed of his brethren located in Mexico, Yucatan, Guatemala or Honduras that Mesoamericanists claim being their Land of Promise.
    On the other hand, on his third voyage, Columbus did land on Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago), a large island off the coast of Venezuela and then on the Paria Peninsula in Venezuela, explored the Gulf of Paria, and the island of Grenada on his way to Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic). On his fourth voyage, Columbus stopped along the Cuba peninsula bordering the Gulf of Guacanayabo, and along the islands outside the Gulf, and just north of Cuba on the cayos de San Felipe, after exploring the east coast of Central America, from Panama to the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua and a small part of northeastern Honduras. Again, at no time did he sail near, let alone land, in Mesoamerica or in North America. 
Columbus’ (red) third voyage, and (blue) fourth voyage. His second voyage was around the coasts of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and the northern Lesser Antilles (Caribees) islands. Note that no voyage was within the (yellow box) Mesoamerican area, nor North America

We are also told that this man was followed by others: “I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters...I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise…and they were scattered before the gentiles and were smitten” (1 Nephi 13:13-14).
    That is, the Spanish were upon the Land of Promise and scattered the Lamanites and were smitten—a word in 1828 that meant “struck, killed,” which is from the word “smite” which meant “to kill; to destroy the life of by beating or by weapons of any kind; as to smite one with the sword.” In fact, Webster went on to say of smite: “This word, like slay, usually or always signification, that of beating, striking, the primitive mode of killing and is never applied to the destruction of life by poison, by accident or by legal execution.”
    Thus, we see that this is what the Spanish did, especially in South America in the destruction and killing of a gigantic Inca Empire that stretched for 3,400 miles north to south, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Amazon jungle. Within the Inca Empire, modern estimates suggest that at least half of the 12-million of the Inca Empire were killed in the wars and as a result of the Spanish conquest, including brutality, coerced labor, slavery, malnutrition and starvation. 
    As for North America, according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 1894: "The Indian wars under the government of the United States have been more than 40 in number, and have cost the lives of about 30,000 Indians. However, the actual number of killed and wounded Indians is believed to be about 50% higher, or about 45,000. Of course, it wasn’t until 200 years later than initial contact with the Europeans that diseases, like smallpox, worked their course through the native populations of North America, and a hundred years after that when malaria hit in the Northwest. 
    Today it is estimated that some 8 million natives were killed by epidemics from diseases, such as smallpox and malaria, brought to the Western Hemisphere by Europeans.
(See the next post, “Where Did Columbus Actually Visit and Land in the Americas? And Where Was Lehi’s Isle of Promise? – Part II,” for a better understanding of what Nephi wrote regarding these events)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Metallurgy in the Americas – Part IX

Continued from the previous post regarding the presence of metallurgy in South America, where archaeologists claim metallurgy began, and from there traveled northward into Central, Meso-, and North America, and how metallurgy began in South America and traveled northward Central America, then Mesoamerica, then North America.
    Since artifacts and evidence found shows that ancient North Americans did not alloy any metals and their ore was native copper, with only hammering and shaping being used, many theorists have believed that such shaping and making of copper artifacts satisfied the metallurgy of the scriptural record. Yet, the opposite is the case, for as Nephi stated around 570 BC, “And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance (2 Nephi 5:15, emphasis added). 
    His great nephew, stated two generations later, “And we multiplied exceedingly, and spread upon the face of the land, and became exceedingly rich in gold, and in silver, and in precious things, and in fine workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war” (Jarom: 1:8).
A large sample of native arsenic with quartz and calcite

As has been shown, brass and steel are alloyed metals, as well as tools of every kind and weapons, which all need a different knowledge and working of metal ores than working with native copper which simply requires heating, shaping and hammering. The problem is further compounded by the fact that to alloy the copper from vast Great Lakes area deposits, one of two metals would be required: 1) mix copper with tin, or 2) mix copper with arsenic, neither of these other metals were available to the early inhabitants of North America.
    First of all, as has already been mentioned, since there was no tin in North America, other than in Zacatecas in north central Mexico, alloying tin with copper was unavailable. Thus, that method of making bronze was not possible to the Great Lakes or Heartland model people anciently. In addition, since arsenic ore was rare and, of course, unknown, the chances any metal work involving either tin or arsenic, i.e., the manufacturing of bronze, would have been both unknown and unknowable in North America anciently.
    The reason for the problem with arsenic is that it is very rarely found as a pure element in nature, more often as a compound. Even so, in the Earth’s crust it is relatively rare, at 5 parts per million, placing it in the bottom third of all elements, and considered a rare Earth metal. It is usually obtained as a by-product of the mining and purification of silver metal. Today the United States does not produce any arsenic, with the world’s largest producers China and Chile, along with Belgium Nambia, the Philippines and Mexico.
In order to obtain or recover arsenic, the ore in which it is found first had to be (heating in the air), in order to chemically convert arsenic sulfide to arsenic oxide. The arsenic oxide was then heated with charcoal, in which it reacted with carbon and the oxygen in arsenic oxide, leaving behind pure arsenic. However, it is easy to be misled by this since arsenic is present in very small amounts in a number of copper-containing ores (arsenopyrite, enargite, olivenite, tennantite, malachite, azurite), and therefore is present (contaminates) most copper found. Thus, whatever ore was involved that contained copper, the surface minerals would contain some native copper and oxidized minerals, but much of the copper and other minerals would have been washed further into the ore body, forming a secondary enrichment zone.
    This includes many minerals such as tennantite, with their arsenic, copper and iron. Thus, the surface deposits would have been used first; with some work, deeper sulphidic ores would have been uncovered and worked, and it would have been discovered that the material from this level had better properties. However, to do this the art of smelting and alloying would be required, a technique unknown or at least unused in North America anciently.
    In addition, just extraction of copper from ore, rather than finding it in its pure form, would have been extremely difficult in North America anciently. The labor-intensive use of hammerstones (a hard cobble used to strike off lithic flakes from a lump of tool stone) may have been used to break off pieces small enough to be worked, by building a fire on top of the deposit, then quickly dousing the hot rock with water, creating small cracks. This process could be repeated to create more small cracks, which could then be hammered.
    The copper could then be cold-hammered into shape, which would make it brittle, or more likely hammered and heated in an annealing, or slow cooling process, which I a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, making it more workable. The final object would then have to be ground and sharpened using local sandstone.
    Great Lake artifacts found in the Eastern Woodlands of North America seem to indicate there were widespread trading networks in the last century BC. As a result, with this progressively introduction of ornamentation in trade, the belief that copper was used for tools decreases exponentially with more and more jewelry and adornments being found in the ground, and less and less weapons.
    However, in history this Great Lake model as a unique source of copper and of copper technologies, seems to have remained somewhat static for over 6,000 years, though there is some question about that, as other deposits seem to have been available to ancient North Americans, even if a lot smaller (Mary Ann Levine, "Overcoming Disciplinary Solitude: The Archaeology and Geology of Native Copper in Eastern North America," Geoarchaeology, vol.22, 2007, pp49-66; and Levine, "Determining the Provenance of native copper artifacts from Northeastern North America; Evidence from instrumental neutron activation analysis," Journal of Archaeological Science, vol.34, iss.4, 2007, pp572-587).
Bronze socketed axe blades

As early stated, the North American peoples were capable of metal craft, the art of executing artistic designs in metal, as in repoussé work, chasing, and inlaying, but did no smelting, melting metal into liquid and alloying various metals. As D.T. Easby, secretary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, well points out, there was metal craft practiced along the shores of Lake Superior, which introduced the earliest known metal working tradition in North America. This tradition was the basis for later developments in the use of copper and related metals by Hopewellian and Mississippian peoples of the first millennium AD. 
    Old Copper culture sites have produced evidence of significant early techniques of metal craft including cold hammering,hammer welding, annealing, and the production of socketed metal tools, conical points, knives and axes, chisels, awls, harpoon heads, and projectile points derived fro prototypes of stone, horn, shell, and bone (Dudley T. Easby, Jr., "Pre-Hispanic Metallurgy and Metalworking in the New World, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, vol.109, no.2, 1965, pp89-98). 
    Consequently, it cannot be said that any location in North America, was capable of such metallurgy and all the evidence to-date shows they did not have metallurgy. This is shown by recently discovered and authenticated artifacts from 200 BC to 400 AD, as well as thousands of artifacts from before 2000 BC to 1450 Ad, have been uncovered in what is called the “Cerberus Collection” from the four corners area. All these artifacts were made wood, hide and fiber, including human effigies made of corn stalk, yucca cordage and wood as well as 2,000 Anasazi, Mogollon and Hohokam pottery and ceramic bowls, along with numerous shell ornaments. There were also projectile points and metates or grinding stones that date to several thousand years ago. 
    The interesting point is that in over 40,000 well-preserved artifacts (that now fill a 2,300 square-foot warehouse) recently recovered in this area dating beyond 2,000 BC to 1450 AD, not a single metal object was included—no copper, gold or silver; no lead, iron or steel; no bronze or brass—just stone, wood, hide and fiber.
    North American theorists, specifically of the Heartland and Great Lakes models, can talk all they want about their locations matching the Book of Mormon descriptions of the Land of Promise inhabited by Lehi and covered in the scriptural record, in one of the most important descriptive areas of the Jaredite and Nephite histories, which includes the metals and alloys mentioned above, not a single sample of such metals other than native copper, have ever been found dating anywhere near the time frame involved.
    In other words, talk, belief, and opinions are one thing; facts are quite the opposite.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Metallurgy in the Americas – Part VIII

Continued from the previous post regarding the presence of metallurgy in South America, where archaeologists claim metallurgy began, and from there traveled northward into Central, Meso-, and North America, and how metallurgy began in South America and traveled northward Central America, then Mesoamerica, then North America.
    In North America, it has been widely accepted that there was no metallurgy anciently; however, that does not mean there was no metal, since copper was abundant in certain areas, especially around the great Lakes and more specifically in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and north eastern Wisconsin, around the northeast of Lake Michigan along the Keweenaw Peninsula, and surrounding, but especially in the west of Lake Superior.
Map of (yellow dots) ancient copper deposits and workable copper areas around the Great Lakes. Note the distance from the Nephite Lands, over 500 miles away—one might wonder what prompted the Nephites or even the Jaredites to venture completely around Lake Huron and Georgian Bay to get to Lake Superior to find copper ore

In fact, Jesuit fathers frequently mentioned the existence of copper as early as 1636, referring to copper being taken from veins or deposits of metal ore which, not having seen it themselves, obtained the information from the indigenous natives of the Chippeway Indian tribe of the area (Charles Whittlesey, “Ancient Mining on the Shores of Lake Superior,” Relacions 1859-1860, Smithsonian Institution Publishing, Washington City, 1863, p1).
    In fact, most ancient copper, though plentiful in the earth, was mostly in the form of low-grade ores that required a sequence of concentration mechanisms to upgrade it to exploitable ore through a series of proto-ores. Copper ores of the oxidized type, including the oxide cuprite and carbonates (malachite) are generally green or blue, and reducible to copper metal by simple heating with charcoal. Ores of the reduced type are sulfides or sulfosalts (chalcocite, chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite), and are not really identified in outcrops of ores and require roasting to convert to oxides, then reduction of oxides to produce metal.
    There are a number of places in the world where copper can be found in small deposits in the pure state, but it is usually embedded in a rock matrix, from which it had to be freed only by intensive labor. This is what made the so-called Michigan copper—found around Lake Superior—of such value anciently. This is because early in Earth’s history, there were huge volcanic outflows over the Great Lakes area. As new sediments overlaid these flows, copper solutions were crystallizing in the flood basalts of the lava layers, with the copper crystallizing in nodules and irregular masses along fracture zones a few inches, to many feet wide. After time, four major glaciations ground upon the edges of the old layered basalt lava beds, and exposed some of the embedded copper, which eventually became easily and apparent, resulting in its availability to the ancient inhabitants of the area (Jay Stuart Wakefield, Michigan Copper: Isle Royale and Keweenah Peninsula, 2011; Roy Ward Drier and Octave Jospeh Du Temple, Prehistoric Mining in the Lake Superior Region, Calumet,  Michigan, 1961).
    As mentioned earlier, the latest glacial period had resulted in the scouring of copper bearing rocks. Once the ice retreated, these were readily available for use in a variety of sizes. Because of the 99.5% purity of the “Michigan-Copper,” there was really very little to be gained by smelting” (Susan R. Martin, Wonderful Power: The Story of Ancient Copper Working in the Lake Superior Basin,” Great Lakes Books Series, Wayne State University Press, 1999).
13-oz nugget of native copper, Keweenaw County, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula, where copper metal (native copper) rather than cooper oxides or sulfides copper ore

Thus, copper was shaped via cold hammering into objects from very early dates. There is also evidence of actual mining of copper veins, but disagreement exists as to the dates. However, it is well known that in the late first century AD, elites at major political and religious centers throughout the midwestern and southeastern United States used copper ornamentation as a sign of their status by crafting the sacred material into representations connected with the Chiefly Warrior cult of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, which includes Mississippian copper plates, repousséd plates of beaten copper now found as far afield as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Some of the more famous of the plates are of raptorial birds and avian-themed dancing warriors.
    The only Mississippian culture (800 to 1600 AD) site where a copper workshop has been located by archaeologists is Cahokia in western Illinois (James A. Brown, professor of archaeology at Northwestern University, Chicago and John Kelly, archaeologist at Washington University, St. Louis). Excavations of the copper workshops indicate copper was worked there. Numerous copper fragments as well as ashes from fires were found in the area as well as the remains of three tree stumps thought to have been used to hold anvil stones used for beating out the flattened sheets of copper.
    Native copper was also used in the prehistoric inhabitants of Lac Seul in the Canadian boreal forest of northern Ontario (Bradley G. Hyslop and Alicia J.M. Colson, “Investigations into the interior of Canada’s boreal forest, Lac Seul,” North American Archeologist, vol.38, Iss.4, 2017, p317).
    Copper was traditionally regarded as sacred by many historic period Eastern tribes. Copper nuggets are included in medicine bundles among Great Lakes tribes and found even as late as the 19th century among the Muscogee Creeks with a catch of copper plates carried along the Trail of Tears and regarded as some of the tribe's most sacred items. As far south as Tucaloosa, Alabama, ancient mace-shaped copper headdress ornaments have been found, with extensive amounts of imported luxury goods, such as copper, mica, galena, and marine shells, excavated from the site, now housed in the Moundville Archaeological Museum.
Left: Native copper hammered and embossed; Right: Indigenous mound builders in the U.S. Heartland with native copper ornaments
The point is, from all ancient records and findings of archaeology, metallurgy was unknown in North America, meaning the extraction of metals from native ore, then melted to a liquid, mixed with other metals, and poured into molds or worked into alloyed ornamentation, tools or weapons. In fact, there is no record of this happening in North America until after 1000 AD. That is not to say, once again, that copper artifacts have not been found. They were plentiful in North America, both in the east and west areas as well as north into Canada.
    This included not only hammering and shaping native copper into objects, but also embossing copper, as many artifacts have shown, which involved the technique of creating designs in the metal through stamping, piercing, folding or hammering.
    However, it does mean these artifacts were not worked and alloyed with other metals under metallurgical practices or principles.
    It only means that the ancient North Americans did not alloy metals, thus did not know metallurgy. That they knew hammering, shaping, and even embossing, is well understood; however, there has never been any evidence of actual metallurgy—the smelting of metals, melting to a liquid, mixing with other smelted, liquefied metals for form an alloy—has never been found in ancient North Americas.
(See the next post, “Metallurgy in the Americas – Part IX,” regarding the fact that almost all metallurgists claim that metallurgy developed and began in South America and from there traveled northward into Central, Meso-, and North America)