Jul 5, 2011

A Narrow Neck of Land


I have earlier commented (see Of Landmarks and Lighthouses) on the importance of having landmarks that are easily recognized, even by outsiders who are unfamiliar with their meaning and relevance. Today I would like to revisit the subject and examine the impressions of unbiased writers and investigators regarding the Isthmus of Rivas in Nicaragua.  These are people who are completely unfamiliar with the debate over Book of Mormon geography, and very likely were not even aware of this revealed scripture.  Yet they universally recognize this area as a narrow neck of land, although they sometimes use other similar terms to describe it.  
As you are probably aware from previous articles, I feel that the Isthmus of Rivas is the narrow neck of land mentioned in the Book of Mormon.  This reference to a narrow neck was given by Mormon as a clue to the location of their ancient homeland.  
The following quotes are selected from a search on the Internet and are intended to show that numerous individuals have recognized that the Isthmus of Rivas is indeed a "narrow neck of land."  Many of these quotes have reference to the inter-oceanic canal that was being studied in conjunction with the Panamanian one.  They represent the opinions and observations of seventeen different individuals or groups.  The emphasis is mine.  
David McCullough, author. 
"The Nicaragua system was the creation of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who became seriously enough interested in a Nicargua canal to hire Orville Childs, a highly qualified engineer, to survey the narrow neck of land between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific. And in 1851 Orville Childs had the good fortune to hike into a pass that was only 153 feet above sea level. He had found a place, in other words, that was a full 122 feet lower than the summit of the Panama Railroad, and by 1870 no lower point had been discover anywhere else." (The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914, p. 38-9)


Ephriam Squier, author, explorer and diplomat.
The inhabitants of this narrow isthmus [Rivas], between the lake [Nicaragua] and the ocean, were Mexicans [Nicaros], speaking the ancient Mexican language. Nicaragua: its people, scenery, monuments, and the proposed inter-oceanic Canal. p. 309.

Again from Squier
Between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific, there is a narrow strip of land, not exceeding fourteen miles in width at its narrowest part; but it is traversed by an elevated ridge, which at the point deemed most favorable for the construction of a canal, has been found, by measurement, to rise to the height of several hundred feet above the ocean.  p. 220.


Carl Bovanllius, archaeologist.
The last or fourth of the tribes inhabiting Nicaragua was los Niquiranos. The territory occupied by this people was the smallest of all, viz; the narrow isthmus between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific. Nicaraguan Antiquities p. 5.

S. K. Lothrop, archaeologist.
The Isthmus of Rivas, the narrow strip of land which separates the Lake of Nicaragua from the Pacific. 
From: The Stone Statues of Nicaragua, American Anthropologist V23 #3 p.318.

Private webpage.
The Isthmus of Rivas is the narrow expanse of land that separates Lake Nicaragua from the Pacific Ocean.   http://www.zacatan.org/photos.html


Jaime Incer, geographer.
Both lakes are located between an ancient eroded plateau, which constitutes the central portion of Nicaragua, 
and a slender belt, the Isthmus of Rivas (20 km wide in its narrowest part), which separates Lake Nicaragua from the Pacific Ocean. The Geography of Lake Nicaragua. p. 1.


The Free Dictionary
Rivas, a town (1995 est. pop. 22,255), SW Nicaragua. It is on the Isthmus of Rivas, a narrow land strip between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean. http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Rivas


Factmonster.
Nicaragua Canal, proposed waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. It would be 172.8 mi (278 km) long and would generally follow the San Juan River, then go through Lake Nicaragua near the southern shore and across the narrow isthmus of Rivas to the Pacific Ocean. 


Encyclopedia.com.
Rivas town (1995 est. pop. 22,255), SW Nicaragua. It is on the Isthmus of Rivas, a narrow land strip between Lake Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean. Rivas is the commercial center of a region which produces grains, coffee, cacao, and tobacco; livestock is raised. During the California gold rush it controlled the transit route across Nicaragua. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Rivas.html


Regionsunidas.com.
Before construction of the Panama Canal, a stagecoach line owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt's Accessory Transit Company connected the lake [Nicaragua] with the Pacific across the low hills of the narrow Isthmus of Rivas. Plans were made to take advantage of this route to build an interoceanic canal, the Nicaragua Canal, but the Panama Canal was built instead. http://www.regionesunidas.com/portal-latino/index.php?option=com_hwdvideoshare&task=viewvideo&Itemid=1142&video_id=281


Ostional resort.  
El Ostional is part of the Department of Rivas an agricultural region of Nicaragua where papayas, bananas, sugar cane, rice, water melon and mangoes are cultivated. The beach is nestled in this narrow isthmus of Rivas with only 12 miles of land separating the Great Lake of Nicaragua and the Pacific Ocean. Once, the Nicaraguan and the United States governments considered to build a water canal through this region at the beginning of the XX century. http://www.orotravel.com/San_Juan_del_Sur/Ostional

Encyclopedia Britannica.
Facts about Rivas Isthmus: For part of its course, the San Juan [River] forms the boundary between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. To the southwest, the lake [Nicaragua] is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a
narrow land corridor, the Rivas Isthmus, which is 12 miles (19 km) wide.
http://www.britannica.com/facts/5/258411/Rivas-Isthmus-as-discussed-in-Lake-Nicaragua-lake-Nicaragua

Wikipedia.
Before construction of the Panama Canal, a stagecoach line owned by Cornelius Vanderbilt'sAccessory Transit Company connected the lake with the Pacific across the low hills of the narrow Isthmus of Rivas. Plans were made to take advantage of this route to build an interoceanic canal, the Nicaragua Canal, but the Panama Canal was built instead. In order to quell competition with the Panama Canal, the U.S. secured all rights to a canal along this route in the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty of 1916. However, since this treaty was mutually rescinded by the United States and Nicaragua in 1970, the idea of another canal in Nicaragua still periodically resurfaces. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Nicaragua


Revista Geographic Aca.
The study area encompasses the narrow isthmus and province of Rivas of southwestern Nicaragua to the west of Lake Nicaragua. p. 56. Mapping Tropical Dry Forest Cover and Biodiversity Assessment in Nicaragua. Revista geografica Aca. V. 2, #2. http://content.yudu.com/Library/A119z1/RevistaGeograficaAca/resources/56.htm


Richard Arghiris.
Bordering Costa Rica to the south, the slender, well traveled isthmus of Rivas is an exciting region of transition and international activity. Nicaragua  By Richard Arghiris, Richard Leonardi page 134.


Encyclopedia Britannica.
To the southwest the lake is separated from the Pacific Ocean by a narrow land corridor, the Rivas Isthmus, which is 12 miles wide. Encyclopedia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/504793/Rivas-Isthmus

Karl Scherzer.
According to the present position of political affairs, we take for the southern boundary of Nicaragua the river San Juan, the southern shore of the great inland sea, and the wooded ridge that crosses the narrow isthmus [of Rivas] from the mouth of the Sapoa river to the Gulf of Salinas. Travels in the free States of Central America: Nicaragua ..., Volumen 1  Escrito por Karl Scherzer (Ritter von) p. 27.

J. F. Bransford, physician and archaeologist. 
These people [the Chorotegas] possessed the major portion of the country from Fonseca to Nicoya,
their territorial continuity being interrupted in the neighborhood of the present
Leon by the Marabios, and again by an Aztec colony [the Nicaros] occupying the narrowest
part of the belt [isthmus of Rivas] between the Pacific and Lake Nicaragua. Archaeological Researches in Nicaragua.  p.4