List of lost lands
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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. Such continents are generally thought to have subsided into the sea (an occurrance ruled impossible by current theories of geology), leaving behind only a few traces or legends by which they may be known.
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 Tamil 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.
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. 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 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.
- Zealandia, a scientifically accepted continent that is now 94% submerged under the Pacific Ocean, surrounding the areas of New Zealand and New Caledonia.
- Mu (lost continent)
- A land connecting India and South Africa was believed by some to exist at various times. Lemuria and Kumari Kandam.
- Atlantis, Plato's utopian paradise
- Avalon, the mythical lost land or island in Arthurian, Cornish and Welsh legend.
- Brasil, a phantom island said to lie in the Atlantic Ocean west of Ireland.
- Buyan, an island with the ability to appear and disappear in Slavic mythology.
- Cantre'r Gwaelod, in Welsh legend, the ancient sunken realm said to have occupied a tract of fertile land lying between Ramsey Island and Bardsey Island in what is now Cardigan Bay to the west of Wales.
- Dvārakā, mythical city of Krishna, claimed by some to be found in marine archeology in the Gulf of Khambhat
- Iram of the Pillars, A reference to a lost city, country or area mentioned in the Qur'an.
- Kitezh, A legendary underwater city located in Russia, populated by spiritual people.
- Kumari Kandam, a mythical lost continent with an ancient Tamil civilization in the Indian or the Pacific Ocean
- Llys Helig Welsh legends regarding the local rock formations conceal the palace of Prince Helig ap Glanawg, said to be part of a larger drowned kingdom near Penmaenmawr, Wales.
- Lyonesse in Arthurian literature, it was the home of Tristan and is associated with the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall (an area inundated by the sea c.2500BC), the tale parallels the Welsh and particularly Breton legendary lost lands.
- Quivira and Cibola, also known as the Seven Cities of Gold. These were suspected somewhere in America by the Conquistadors.
- El Dorado, mythic city of gold.
- Ys; a mythical drowned city in Brittany, similar to other Celtic lost lands in Welsh and Cornish tradition. Most versions of the legend place the city in the Baie de Douarnenez.
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
The following individuals are known for having written on the subject of lost lands (either as fiction, hypothesis, or supposed fact):
- H.P. Blavatsky
- Edgar Rice Burroughs (The Land That Time Forgot, Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, At the Earth's Core)
- James Churchward
- Ignatius L. Donnelly
- Arthur Conan Doyle (The Lost World)
- Burak Eldem
- Warren Ellis
- Philip José Farmer
- Geoffrey of Monmouth first mention of Avalon in his Historia Regum Britanniae
- James Gurney (Dinotopia)
- H. Rider Haggard
- Robert A. Heinlein (Lost Legacy)
- James Hilton (Lost Horizon)
- Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian)
- Édouard Lalo (Le roi d'Ys)
- H. P. Lovecraft often invoked the names of lost lands of his own invention, a practice that subsequently gave birth to the Cthulhu mythos.
- Augustus Le Plongeon
- Zecharia Sitchin
- J. R. R. Tolkien partially based the story of Númenor, referenced in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, on Atlantis.
- Samael Aun Weor
- Jack Vance (Lyonesse Trilogy)
- Jules Verne used the idea of a partially hollow Earth in his novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864).
- Lost lands figured prominently in the philosophy of the Nazi Thule Society in regards to researchers of the occult and Nazi mysticism such as Karl Maria Wiligut, Heinrich Himmler and Otto Rahn.
- 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.
- Raymond H. Ramsay, No Longer on the Map: Discovering Places that Never Were, Ballantine, 1972.