Nan Madol, an ancient administrative and the former capital of the Micronesian island of Pohnpei, was the earliest among the Pacific islands. However, the most interesting fact about this island is its historical background. This enigmatic city lies in the middle of the Pacific ocean, which is around 1000 kilometers from the coast. The island is also known as the “Venice of the Pacific”.
Mystery associated with Nan Madol
Nan Madol, an old city constructed above a coral reef, has been abandoned for centuries. It’s the largest archaeological site in Micronesia, a series of islands in Oceania’s Caroline Archipelago, and it’s on the remote island of Pohnpei in the northwest Pacific.
The ancient city was once thought to have been founded around the year 1300 CE. Dr. Mark McCoy of Southern Methodist University and his colleagues from the United States, China, Japan, and the United Kingdom narrowed it down to a 20-year period between 1180 and 1200 AD.
“The kind of society that we live in today, it wasn’t born last year, or even 100 years ago.”Dr. McCoy
“It has its roots in a pre-modern era like Nan Madol where you have a king or chief. These islanders invented a new kind of society — that is a socially creative achievement.”
“The idea of chiefs, someone in charge, is not a new thing, but it’s an extremely important precursor. We know tribes and bands predate chiefdoms and states. But it’s not a straight line. By looking at these intermediate stages we get insight into that social phenomenon.”
This island has been home to more than 1,000 people for a certain period of time. However, now it has been vacated entirely. The question is that why would someone build an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean. There are certain unexpected mysteries associated with this island that have left the researchers baffled.
Mysterious Origin of Nan Madol
It is believed that the walls of the island begin to rise from under the sea. Also, some of the blocks were more than 40 tons heavy. It was next to impossible to build a wall that was high from beneath the sea at that time. Hence it is concluded that Nan Madol must have stood higher than the sea in the period it was built. However, the geologists are of the opinion that the island on which Nan Madol never submerged in the sea because of a phenomenon called Bradyseism.
But then the question arises that how did the sea cover the island? If the island did not sink, then it ultimately means that the sea rose. However, the point which is worth noticing is that Nan Madol is not located nearby a small sea, but in the Pacific ocean itself. In order to raise such a massive water body like the Pacific, an extreme amount of water would be required. So, where did that water come from?
The last time when the water level of the Pacific ocean rose was somewhat around 14,000 years ago. It was in the last Deglaciation when the ice which covered most of the Earth melted down. When the ice burgs melted which were almost as large as a continent, the water level rose high and it gave the ocean the water required to rise. So, if we rely on this statement, then it is safe to say that the island originated around 14,000 years ago.
The mainstream researchers disapprove of this theory, and this is the reason that on Wikipedia, you find that Nan Madol was built in the 2nd century AD by Saudeleurs. However, it must be noted that this is the date when the last human remains were found on the island, and not the actual year of its construction.
Another question that baffles the researchers is that how did the builders of the island manage to transport almost 100,000 tonnes of volcanic rock across the sea to build the 92 islands, where Nan Madol stands today. Moreover, Nan Madol is not even built on land, it is built on the sea, like Venice.
The next factor that is worth appreciating is the magnetic rocks using which the island has been built. It has been discovered that if a compass is brought close to the rock, it goes frenzy. So, does it mean that the magnetism factor of the rocks led to the origin of an entire island?
The Tale of the Twin Magicians
There are several theories associated with the origin of Nan Madol. Some believe it to be the work of massive giants, others believe it to be erected by two magicians. According to the Pohnpeian legends, the island was discovered by two magicians who belonged to a mystical land called, Kanamwayso. The island was barren, hence the brothers named, Olisihpa and Olosohpa appeased the Goddess of Agriculture, Nahnisohn Sahpw, and cultivated the island. The shape and the size of the 92 islands are almost identical to each other.
The brothers represented the kingdom of Saudeleur. There are conflicts regarding the origin of this island. As it was also believed by the locals that the twin magicians carried basalt rocks on the back of a giant flying dragon and constructed the city.
When the elder brother out of the two twins died, the younger one named Olosohpa became the first Saudeleur. He married a local woman and sired twelve generations, which led to the origin of sixteen other Saudeleur rulers of the Dipwalip (“Great”) clan.
The founders of the dynasty ruled compassionately, but they are believed to be quite dominating as well. As a result of which till 1628, the island remained in agony under the rule of Saudeleur. However, their ruling came to an end with an invasion by Isokelekel, who also inhabited the same island. However, the lack of food and certain basic resources, among which one of the factors was the distance from the mainland compelled the successors of Isokelekel’s to leave the island.
Signs indicating the rule of Saudeleur still exists on the island. Experts have discovered kitchens, houses, etc that are surrounded by basalt rock and even the monuments to the kingdom of Soudelio. However, still, there are a huge number of mysteries that need to be uncovered.
Is the city of Nan Madol- A lost continent?
Some researchers have proposed a theory that Nan Madol could be the remains of the “lost continents” of Lemuria and Mu. It was one of the earliest sites that are identified as being part of the lost continent of Mu, by James Churchward, and it has been stated in a book written by him titled “The Lost Continent of Mu, Motherland of Man” in 1926.
Another book titled “Lost City of Stones” has been written by Bill S. Ballinger which states that the city has been built by Greek Sailors in 300 BC. Another author and a publisher, David Hatcher Childress, make suppositions that the mysterious city of Nan Madol is connected with the lost continent of Lemuria. Since no such society exists in today’s world, it is speculated that this society must have been destroyed in a dramatic manner.
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