A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 764 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04.
copper, and many other circumstances which are here omitted for the sake of brevity; though it is certain that several customs and ceremonies mentioned by Plato are still practised in the provinces of Peru.  Beyond the great island of Atlantis, there were other large islands not far distant from the Firm Land, beyond which again was the True Sea.  The following are the words which Plato attributes, in his Timaeus, to Socrates, as spoken to the Athenians.  “It is held certain, that in ancient times your city resisted an immense number of enemies from the Atlantic Ocean, who had conquered almost all Europe and Asia.  In those days the Straits were navigable, and immediately beyond them there was an island, commencing almost at the Pillars of Hercules, which was said to be larger than Asia and Africa united; from whence the passage was easy to other islands near and opposite to the continent of the True Sea.”  A little after this passage, it is added.  “That nine thousand years before his days, a great change took place, as the sea adjoining that island was so increased by the accession of a prodigious quantity of water, that in the course of one day it swallowed up the whole island; since when that sea has remained so full of shallows and sand banks as to be no longer navigable, neither has any one been able to reach the other islands and the Firm Land.”

Some authors hare believed this recital to be merely allegorical, while most of the commentators on Plato considered it as a real historical narrative.  The nine thousand years, mentioned by Plato, must not be considered as an indication of this discourse being fabulous; since, according to Eudoxus, we must understand them as lunar years or moons, after the Egyptian mode of computation, or nine thousand months, which are seven hundred and fifty years.  All historians and cosmographers, ancient as well as modern, have concurred to name the sea by which that great island was swallowed up, the Atlantic Ocean, in which the name of that ancient island is retained, giving a strong evidence of its former existence.  Adopting, therefore the truth of this historical fact, it must be granted that this island of Atlantis, beginning from the Straits of Gibraltar near Cadiz, must have stretched a vast way from north to south, and from east to west, since it was larger than all Asia and Africa.  The other islands in the neighbourhood must have been those now named Hispaniola, Cuba, Porto Rico, Jamaica, and others of the West Indies; and the Firm Land, that part of the Continent to which we still give the name of Tierra Firma, together with the other countries and provinces of America, from the Straits of Magellan in the south to the extreme north; as Peru, Popayan, Golden Castille, Veragua, Nicaragua, Guatimala, New Spain, the Seven Cities, Florida, Baccalaos, and so on along the north to Norway.  The authority

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