Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Ocean Sea

There seems to be a lot of discussion among Great Lakes and other Heartland Theorists about what the word “sea” means when written by Joseph Smith regarding the waters surrounding the Land of Promise. Perhaps a discussion of the words “sea” and “ocean” might be in order.

First of all, the word “ocean,” from the Greek “okeanos” or “oceanus,” is a major body of saline water and a principal component of the hydrosphere, which is approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.

The word “sea” generally refers to a large body of salt water, but the term is used in other contexts as well. Most commonly, it refers to a large expanse of saline water connected with an ocean, and is commonly used as a synonym for ocean.

Daniel Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language states that the word “ocean” is described as “the vast body of water which covers more than three fifths of the surface of the globe, called also the sea or great sea.” The word “sea” is described as “The ocean, sea, or high seas.”

Clearly, these two terms are synonymous, separated by map makers today to illustrate smaller bodies of the ocean, such as the Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and Sea of Japan, all part of the overall Pacific Ocean; or the Bismark Sea, Solomon Sea, Coral Sea, all part of the south Pacific Ocean. Actually, there are 35 “seas” that are part of the Pacific Ocean; 10 seas part of the Indian Ocean; 19 seas that are part of the Southern Ocean; 17 seas as part of the Arctic Ocean; 17 seas as part of the Mediterranean Sea which, in turn, is part of the Atlantic Ocean, as is the Baltic Sea, which has 9 seas attached.

The point is, the use of the word “sea” by any standard refers to a saline area that is part of a large ocean which, in turn, is divided into basically five oceans: Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Southern, and Indian.

It also might be of interest to know, that in the 13th to 16th centuries, on the first maps that truly suggested a world map similar to what we know today, the term “ocean sea” was a singular expression of the sea to the west that we know today as the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1291, the Vivaldi Brothers, wrote of their pending voyage, “plan to sail through the ocean Sea to parts of India and to bring back useful merchandise from there.”

Poggio Bracciolini, the Florentine, in a letter to Prince Henry in 1488, referred to the sea to the west as the Ocean Sea.

In his copy of the Book of Marco Polo, when the author wrote about the islands and sea of Cathay, Columbus added in the margin the words “Ocean sea.”

In a letter from Isabella and Ferdinand to Columbus on April 30, 1492, Columbus was “to set forth on a mission to discover and acquire certain islands and mainland in the Ocean sea.”

In a preamble to his journal addressed to Isabella and Ferdinand, Columbus wrote of his journey across the Ocean Sea.

Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain and King Joao of Portugal, signed an agreement in the fall of 1494 dividing the Western Ocean between them, referring to it as the Ocean Sea.

Columbus himself called it the Ocean Sea in a letter to the king on October 18, 1498.

Amerigo Vespucci in a letter to Lorenzo de Pierfrancesco de’Medici of Florence, called it the Ocean Sea.

In the first decade of the 16th century, Bartolome de Las Casas, a 16th century historian, called it the Ocean Sea.

Thus, it should be understood that the words “ocean” and “sea” referred to throughout history as a saline body of water, connected to the world ocean that makes up three-fifths of the earth’s surface. Stating it any differently, as some Theorists do to try and prove their isolated or land-locked area, is simply erroneous and often plain disingenuous.

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