Friday, December 2, 2011

What the Story of Hagoth Tells Us – Part V

Continuing from the last two posts where questions 1 through 6 were answered, the last question is listed below:

7. If Hagoth's ships with their thousands of immigrants went north beyond the Old Jaredite Land Northward, where is the evidence of Nephite culture to the north of the Land of Promise?

At the time Hagoth built his ships and some 20,000 to 25,000 emigrants sailed north in them (see previous posts), the Land of Promise was an island (2 Nephi 10:20). Between what is Colombia and Mesoamerica today (Guatemala, southern Mexico, Yucatan, and northern Honduras), was a wide expanse of ocean. Referred to in geologic times as a northward passage, or where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans met, this area, about 700 miles across, lay immediately north of the Land Northward of the Land of Promise and referred to in Jaredite times as the Waters of Ripliancum.
Ships leaving the narrow neck of land, today’s Bay of Guayaquil, and sailing north would come directly to this body of water and could either go straight north and alongside the eastern shore of what was then the extension of Central America (mostly submerged beneath the ocean until such time as the Panama isthmust rose up to connect to South America), or the ships could have moved northward along the western shores.

Either way, this was one land at the time, mostly jungle and forest, and the emigrants might well have sailed for a time looking for what they considered the most ideal place to land. Mesoamerican theorists claim the earlier landings in Mesoamerica were along the eastern shores in what is today southern Mexico, around La Venta to Veracruz. But such voyages would have had to circumvent the entire 1000-mile coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula before reaching that coast. On the other hand, Mesoamerican theorists claim that the Lehi Colony landed along the southwestern coast of modern-day Guatemala, which would have been a straighter course for Hagoth’s emigrant ships.

About 30 modern drift voyages, moving north from around the Bay of Guayaquil in Ecuador, toward the southern Mexico coast, a relatively simple voyage, have shown to take between 47 and 59 days, the shortest times from April to July, covering approximately 2,000 miles; however, the return voyage took as much as 226 days, and required a high degree of sailing ability. Obviously, moving northward from the narrow neck of land to Guatemala and southern Mexican coasts was a simple trip of about two months, but the return trip could take over seven months. Thus, a nine month turn-around voyage, plus a couple of months for rest and refitting of the ship, matches Mormon’s time frame of Hagoth’s first ship leaving one year and returning the next (Alma 63:6-7).

The areas of modern day southern Mexico, Guatemala, Yucatan, Belize, and western Honduras (Mesoamerica) would have been within a two month voyage for emigrants of men, women, and children. Any return voyage would have been just with the ship’s crew—thus, it would not have been a very hazardous or lengthy voyage. The Mayflower voyage of 102 passengers and 30 crewmen, took 66 days to reach America from Plymouth, England, making a return trip to England five months later after the emigrants spent four months on board during the winter.

These earlier ships could have been more coastal sailing vessels, with later ships being built stronger as a result of earlier results, for deep sea sailing. Certainly this is typically the experience of ship building efforts, where earlier mistakes or problems are resolved in later models. On the other hand, Mormon records that Hagoth built an “exceedingly large ship” (Alma 63:5).

The point of course, is that the accomplishments of these 20,000 to 25,000 emigrants who went “to a land which was northward” is obviously found throughout Mesoamerica. The ruins of the Andean area of South America, and the ruins of Mesoamerica, show two distinct civilizations who built magnificent structures, buildings, palace, cities, roads, etc., showing a connection between this single culture and a singular history of emigration from “across the sea.” Thus, there is obviously “evidence of Nephite culture to the north of the Land of Promise.“

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