List of lost lands

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Map of Mu by James Churchward

Lost lands are islands or continents believed by some to have existed during pre-history, but to have since disappeared as a result of catastrophic geological phenomena.

Legends of lost lands often originated as scholarly or scientific theories, only to be picked up by writers and individuals outside the academy. Occult and New Age writers have made use of Lost Lands, as have subaltern peoples such as the Tamils in India. Phantom islands, as opposed to lost lands, are land masses formerly believed by cartographers to exist in the current historical age, but to have been discredited as a result of expanding geographic knowledge. The classification of lost lands as continents, islands, or other regions is in some cases subjective; for example, Atlantis is variously described as either a "lost island" or a "lost continent". Lost land theories may originate in mythology or philosophy, or in scholarly or scientific theories, such as catastrophic theories of geology.[1]

With the development of plate tectonic simulation software, new lost land has been discovered and confirmed by the scientific community (like Greater Adria in 2019).

Submerged lands[edit]

The Sahul Shelf and the Sunda Shelf during the ice ages and today. The area in between is called "Wallacea".

Although the existence of lost continents in the above sense is mythical (aside from Zealandia[2] and Greater Adria[3]), there were many places on Earth that were once dry land, but submerged after the ice age around 10,000 BCE due to rising sea levels, and possibly were the basis for Neolithic and Bronze Age flood myths. Some were lost due to coastal erosion or volcanic eruptions. An (incomplete) list follows:

  • Sundaland, the now submerged Sunda Shelf.
  • Kerguelen Plateau, a submerged micro-continent which is now 1–2 kilometres (0.62–1.2 miles) below sea level.
  • Beringia, connecting Asia and North America.
  • Doggerland, the bed of the North Sea, which once connected Great Britain to Continental Europe before being inundated by rising sea levels during the Holocene.
  • A large island in the Mediterranean Sea, of which Malta is the only part not now submerged.
  • Maui Nui, once a large island of the Hawaii archipelago; several major islands represent residual high ground of Maui Nui.
  • New Moore Island, an island in the Bay of Bengal which emerged after a cyclone in 1970 and submerged in 2010.
  • Strand, an island off the German coast with the town Rungholt, eroded away by storm surges before being washed away by a final flood in 1634.
  • Jordsand, once an island off the Danish coast, eroded away by storm surges before being washed away by a final flood between 1998 and 1999.
  • Ferdinandea, submerged volcanic island which has appeared at least four times in the past.
  • Ravenser Odd, a large 13th-century town on an old sandbank promontory in East Yorkshire, which became an island and then vanished in January 1392.
  • Dadu Island, which was legally the southernmost point of the United States of America, located at Palmyra Atoll and still shown on the map (an incorporated U.S. territory), was a bare sand islet washed away by a storm in 2014. (It was named after a dog, "Dadu", that had lived at the atoll.[4])
  • Semyonovsky Island, an island that was discovered in 1770, it had rapidly decreased in size, 4.6 km2 (1.8 sq mi) to 1823, 0.5 km2 (0.19 sq mi) in 1936, by the 1950s it was just baydzharakh and when visited in the early 1960s it had been submerged due to erosion.

Lost continents[edit]

Hypothetical lost continents[edit]

In the 1954 book Lost Continents by L. Sprague de Camp, he describes many modern writers who have speculated about ancient civilizations that existed on continents now deluged under the sea.[5] According to de Camp, there is no real scientific evidence for any lost continents whatsoever.

  • The most famous lost continent is Atlantis. Atlantis, like Hyperborea and Thule, is ultimately derived from ancient Greek geographic speculation and possibly memories of the Minoan eruption of the Thera volcano.
  • The name of hypothetical vanished continent Mu originated from the first attempted translation of the Madrid Codex, one of only four remaining Maya codices.
  • Lemuria was a hypothesised continent that was believed to have once connected India, Australia and Southern Africa.

Mythological lands[edit]

Plato's Atlantis described in Timaeus and Critias

Phantom islands[edit]

Phantom islands, as opposed to lost lands, are land masses formerly believed by cartographers to exist in the historical age, but to have been discredited as a result of expanding geographic knowledge. Terra Australis is a phantom continent. While a few phantom islands originated from literary works (an example is Ogygia from Homer's Odyssey), most phantom islands are the result of navigational errors.

In literature and philosophy[edit]

The following individuals are known for having written on the subject of lost lands (either as fiction, hypothesis, or supposed fact):

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lost Lands". The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopaedia.[self-published source]
  2. ^ Yeung, Jessie (23 June 2020). "Maps reveal new details about New Zealand's lost underwater continent". CNN.
  3. ^ Carter, Jamie (15 Sep 2019). "Goodbye Atlantis, Hello 'Greater Adria'. A Lost Continent Has Been Mapped By Geologists". Forbes.
  4. ^ "Requiem for a Shark Dog". December 2014.
  5. ^ L. Sprague de Camp (1954). Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature. Gnome Press.
  6. ^ Corbin, Henry (1977). Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth: From Mazdean Iran to Shi'ite Iran. Princeton University Press. p. xix-xxi.

Further reading[edit]

  • L. Sprague de Camp and Willy Ley, Lands Beyond, Rinehart & Co., New York, 1952.
  • L. Sprague de Camp, Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature, Dover Publications, 1970.