THE deep-sea soundings, made of late years in the Atlantic, reveal the fact that the Azores are the mountaintops of a colossal mass of sunken land; and that from this center one great ridge runs southward for some distance, and then, bifurcating, sends out one limb to the shores of Africa, and another to the shores of South America; while there are the evidences that a third great ridge formerly reached northward from the Azores to the British Islands.
When these ridges—really the tops of long and continuous mountain-chains, like the Andes or the Rocky Mountains, the backbone of a vast primeval Atlantic-filling, but, even then, in great part, sunken continent, were above the water, they furnished a wonderful feature in the scenery and geography of the world; they were the pathways over which the migrations of races extended in the ancient days; they wound for thousands of miles, irregular, rocky, wave-washed, through the great ocean, here expanding into islands, there reduced to a narrow strip, or sinking into the sea; they reached from a central civilized land—an ancient, long-settled land, the land of the godlike race—to its colonies, or connections, north, south, east, and west; and they impressed themselves vividly on the imagination and the traditions of mankind, leaving their image even in the religions of the world unto this day.
As, in process of time, they gradually or suddenly settled
into the deep, they must at first have formed long, continuous strings of islands, almost touching each other, resembling very much the Aleutian Archipelago, or the Bahama group; and these islands continued to be used, during later ages, as the stepping-stones for migrations and intercourse between the old and the new worlds, just as the discovery of the Azores helped forward the discovery of the New World by Columbus; he used them, we know, as a halting-place in his great voyage.
When Job speaks of “the island of the innocent,” which was spared from utter destruction, he prefaces it by asking, (chap. xxii):
“15. Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?
“16. Which were (was?) cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood.”
And in chapter xxviii, verse 4, we have what may be another allusion to this “way,” along which go the people who are on their journey, and which “divideth the flood,” and on which some are escaping.
The Quiche manuscript, as translated by the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg, gives an account of the migration of the Quiche race to America from some eastern land in a very early day, in “the day of darkness,” ere the sun was, in the so-called glacial age.
When they moved to America they wandered for a long time through forests and over mountains, and “they had a long passage to make, through the sea, along the shingle and pebbles and drifted sand.” And this long passage was through the sea “which was parted for their passage.” That is, the sea was on both sides of this long ridge of rocks and sand.