Monday, February 10, 2020

What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part III

Continuing from the previous post regarding Hagoth and how Mormon’s description of the man, his work, and results have been misunderstood by Mesoamerican, Heartland and other theorist, and misrepresented him in their writing.
3. How many immigrants were there who went north by ship at this time? The ancient writer of the record sets the stage for the ensuing events of Hagoth’s ships by indicating that 5,400 men, along with their wives and children, departed “into the land which was northward” (Alma 63:4).
Columbus's ships: Left to Right: Nina, Santa Maria and Pinto

As an example, Columbus’ three ships were: the Santa Maria, which was 74 feet long and 26 feet wide, with a crew of 40; the Pinta was 70 feet long, 22 feet wide, and had a crew of 26 men; the Nina was 67 feet long and 21 feet wide with a crew of 24. With this in mind, we can get an idea of how large Nephi’s ship would have had to have been, keeping in mind that in addition to crew, they also took provisions with them, provisions that would do them for the first year, including seeds for planting, as well as planting and harvesting implements and tools. They also would have had numerous tents, cooking pots and implements, etc.
Lehi and his extended family prayed for guidance and protection as they prepared to go down into the ship

The exact numbers of men boarding ships would be easily known, for any captain would want to know the number, weight, and size of his cargo, both human and otherwise, because total weight to a ship captain would be extremely important, since every ship has a tonnage rating and weight it can carry. In fact, to avoid overloading, every merchant ship at one time had a “Plimsoll Line,” painted on the sides indicating the draught levels to which the ship may be loaded. Under varying conditions. It was made compulsory after many ships were lost due to being overloaded. After all, too much weight would make the ship handle differently, and be unstable in heavy seas, sluggishly, and open up the possibility of becoming swamped or capsize.
    On the other hand, there would be no reason to number the amount of emigrants going over-land, thus Mormon tells us a specific number that would have originally been recorded that went by ship (5,400), but the number of immigrants that went overland would not matter, since numbers and weight would not matter in populating a basically virgin, open land—as Mormon writes: “an exceeding great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land” (Helaman 3:3).
To emphasize the total number of immigrants going “to a land which was northward,” 5,400 men and their wives and children, gives us a total of 21,600 emigrants figuring two children to each couple that set sail. If there were four children per couple, then the numbers could soar to over 32,000 emigrants. 
The Vietnam War lasted 9 ½ years while the War between the Nephies and Lamanites in the last century BC, lasted 12 years

These emigrations were about six years after the close of the lengthy 12-year Nephite-Lamanite war. To place the length of this war into perspective, the Vietnam War was 9½ years long; the American Revolution, was over 8 years in length. So these 5,400 men immigrated elsewhere, plus their wives and children, which would mean 5,400 men plus 5,400 wives equals 10,800 adults. Add 2 children per couple, 10,800 children, the total is 21,600 adults and children. Use 4 children per couple, 21,600 children, the total is 32,400 adults and children.
    Probably most of the emigrants were families who had lost their lands and some their loved ones in the war and were now looking for a new start. If this is true, then likely they were established families with full numbers, possibly even indicating more than four children per couple. Young couples, following such a war, would also be likely to emigrate elsewhere, consequently, a conservative average of 2 to 4 children per couple is used.
    In any event, we are likely looking at tens of thousands of immigrants who went north in Hagoth’s ships. Over a period of time, such a large group would certainly have left its mark somewhere north of the land of promise—yet, be far enough away that the ensuing Nephites traveling north by land never encountered them, leading Mormon to say nearly 400 years later that these people were never heard from again. And such a place can unquestionably be found since archaeologists report concrete evidence that sea travel along the Pacific coast from Ecuador to Mexico took place in ancient times (Clinton R. Edwards, “Possibilities of Pre-Columbian Maritime Contacts Among New World Civilizations,” Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts, University of Texas Press, Austin, 1971, edited by Carroll L. Riley, pp 3-10; Michael D. Coe, “Archaeological Linkages with North and South America at La Victoria, Guatemala,” American Anthropologist vol 62, 1960, pp 363-393; Carolyn Baus Reed Czitrom, Figurillas Solidas de Estilo Colima: Una Tipologia, Institute Nacional de Antropologia de Historia, Departmento de Investigationes Historicas, Colection Cientifica: Arqueologia 66, Mexico, 1978, p 55).
Families boarded Hagoth’s ships and immigrated “to a land which was northward”

In 55-53 BC, at the time of Hagoth’s emigrants going to “a land which was northward, scattered settlements were starting up along the coast of Oaxaca (Donald L. Brockington, Investigaciones Arqueologicas en la Costa de Oax- aca, Boletin INAH 38, 1969, pp 33-40). The great flowering of Monte Alban civilization began and two hundred years later, Teotihuacan started to flower Donald L. Brockington, Investigaciones Arqueologicas en la Costa de Oax- aca, Boletin INAH 38, 1969, pp33-40;IgnacioBernal, The Olmec World, translated by Doris Heydonand Gernando Horcasitas, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1969, p 166; John F. Scott, The Danzantes of Monte Alban, Part I, Dumbarton Oakes Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology 19, Washington, 1978, pp 58-59, 70-71). In addition, during the 2nd century A.D., other major sites in Mesoamerica were started—sites that today pockmark the Central American interior with ruins of stunning proportions.
4. Where did Hagoth’s ships go when they left the shipyard? According to the record, we can definitely know the land of promise site of Hagoth’s shipyards. This is quite clear for Mormon tells us that he: Built a ship on the borders of the land Bountiful by the land Desolation and launched it forth into the west sea by the narrow neck which led into the land northward” (Alma 63:5).
    The question is of course, where was the narrow neck of land?  
(See the next post, “What Does the Record Tell Us About Hagoth? – Part IV,” regarding this continuing article about Hagoth and the role he played in the Nephite immigration)

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