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)

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