Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Stature of the Jaredites – Part III

Continuing from the last two posts in discussing the legends and myths of giants in the land in the area of Ecuador in Andean South America:

According to the 16th-century writings of Pedro de Cieza de Leon, the ancient Mantamanian Indians, also called Manta Indians, one of the three indigenous tribes along the coastal area of Ecuador, north of the Bay of Guayaquil, were said to have Egyptian characteristics, and they called the area where the “giants” landed “Jocay,” meaning "golden doors," as it has always been a port and center for trade since the first men appeared. The Manta Indians claimed they received from their ancestors of very remote times, the following legend:

“Ages ago, at Point Santa Elena, a barren peninsula on the north side of the Bay of Guayaquil, Ecuador, there arrived on the coast giants “of such size” that an ordinary man was only as tall as their kneecaps. They had long hair and eyes as large as small plates, and they were covered in skins. This colony of giants put great pressure on the region’s resources, consuming “more meat than fifty of the natives of the country could.” All the giants were destroyed at one time by God, with only bones, skulls, and teeth remaining.”

Pedro de Cieza de Leon concluded his report by saying, “We may gather, that since so many persons saw and affirmed these things, these giants really did exist.” Cieza had set off at the age of fourteen for adventures in the New World. His Chronicle of Peru, dated 1553, recounts his travels in the Andes from 1532 to 1550. He conversed sympathetically with the indigenous people and described the natural history of the land, as well as customs and beliefs. He encountered the Manta Indians of Ecuador and received from their ancestors from very remote times several legends about giants

In 1543, the deputy governor of Truxillo, Juan de Olmos, and some men reportedly dug up huge skeletons, including skulls, ribs, and other bones of giants, matching the legends of Ecuador, and “from that time forward the native tradition of giants was believed.” In 1570, Arica Indian legends about gigantic bones unearthed at Manta and Puerto Viejo—about 100 miles north of Santa Elena—were recorded by Father Jose de Acosta, who said that the Indians made “great mention of certain giants” of huge dimensions. And that “they came by sea to make war, and for their abominable sins, they were consumed by fire from heaven.”

These legends mention that giants destroyed the game of the area, perhaps referring to Jaredite times when most of the animals in the Land Northward were killed off by the fiery serpents, with others escaping into the Land Southward (Ether 9:31-32; 10:19). There are traditions of a race of giants of Tarija on the eastern slopes of the Andes and in Ecuador, who fought Gods and men, and traditions of giants who arrived on boats were recorded on ancient quipos, the knotted cord mnemonic system of the Inca. There are legends of giants among the Carta Indians of Ecuador, and there are Aztec legends in Mexico and Inca legends of Peru about giants called Quinames (or Quinameti or Quinametinime) meaning monstrous or deformed giants legends and considered to be relict survivors of the great flood and earthquakes that destroyed the past worlds.

There are legends of giants recorded by Jesuits as far north as Baja California, and as far south as Chile, with bones of giants found in caves during the construction of a railroad line in Ecuador. Pizarro himself was supposed to have seen stone statues eight feet high with mitres and other insignia, representing the giants. Spaniards of the Conquest saw two massive sculptured figures of these giants, a male and female, and that the Indians preserved from father to son many particulars of the giants, especially concerning their end, which they claimed had been annihilated by Divine wrath, who drove the giants into a valley and killed them with flames of fire, with great ruins attributed to the giants.

(See the next post, “The Stature of the Jaredites – Part IV,” for the continuation of this subject about the Jaredites and where they landed based on legends and myths of giants in the land)

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