"This book is an attempt to demonstrate several distinct and novel propositions. These are:
1. That there once existed in the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, a large island, which was the remnant of an Atlantic continent, and known to the ancient world as Atlantis.
2. That the description of this island given by Plato is not, as has been long supposed, fable, but veritable history.
3. That Atlantis was the region where man first rose from a state of barbarism to civilization.
4. That it became, in the course of ages, a populous and mighty nation, from whose overflowings the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, the Amazon, the Pacific coast of South America, the Mediterranean, the west coast of Europe and Africa, the Baltic, the Black Sea, and the Caspian were populated by civilized nations.
5. That it was the true Antediluvian world; the Garden of Eden; the Gardens of the Hesperides; the Elysian Fields; the Gardens of Alcinous; the Mesomphalos; the Olympos; the Asgard of the traditions of the ancient nations; representing a universal memory of a great land, where early mankind dwelt for ages in peace and happiness.
6. That the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greeks, the Phnicians, the Hindoos, and the Scandinavians were simply the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis; and the acts attributed to them in mythology are a confused recollection of real historical events.
7. That the mythology of Egypt and Peru represented the original religion of Atlantis, which was sun-worship.
8. That the oldest colony formed by the Atlanteans was probably in Egypt, whose civilization was a reproduction of that of the Atlantic island.
9. That the implements of the "Bronze Age" of Europe were derived from Atlantis. The Atlanteans were also the first manufacturers of iron.
10. That the Phnician alphabet, parent of all the European alphabets, was derived from au Atlantis alphabet, which was also conveyed from Atlantis to the Mayas of Central America.
11. That Atlantis was the original seat of the Aryan or Indo-European family of nations, as well as of the Semitic peoples, and possibly also of the Turanian races.
12. That Atlantis perished in a terrible convulsion of nature, in which the whole island sunk into the ocean, with nearly all its inhabitants.
13. That a few persons escaped in ships and on rafts, and, carried to the nations east and west the tidings of the appalling catastrophe, which has survived to our own time in the Flood and Deluge legends of the different nations of the old and new worlds."
The Azores Islands are directly past the Strait of Gibraltar, the exit from the Mediterranean Sea and which was, in ancient times, marked by the two mountains known as the Pillars of Hercules. They are merely the tips of a chain of underwater mountains rising 9,843 yds (9,000 m). They are part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a tectonic plate boundary, aligned north-south for 10,936 mi (17,600 km).
The theory that they were Atlantis was proposed by Ignatius Donnelly, in his book Atlantis: The Antediluvian Soil (which became the foundation for the many books written on Atlantis since). Donnelly suggested that Atlantis was where civilization began. Although Donnelly had many factual errors, many other scholars have championed the Azores. The modern theory of an Azorean Atlantis states that either the sea level was over 547 yds (500 m) lower, or the island sank into the mantle.
There are several rivers on the Azores, and hydrographic surveys have shown that, if the land around the Azores was above sea level, there would be several large river valleys. The rivers would all come together in a massive river valley, conforming to Plato's Atlantean plain in all respects. The Azorean continent would be as big as Plato stated (as big as Plato thought north Africa and Asia combined were). There is just one problem with this theory.
The islands were discovered twice in known history. The first time was by 3rd century B. C. Carthaginian vessels. The second time was by Portuguese navigators in 1427. There has never been any sign of an indigenous culture on the island. The plants in the picture above are not native. There is, in fact, no native flora or fauna in the Azores. And although Plato stated that Atlantis was the size of northern Africa and Asia combined, in the Critias he stated that it is much smaller. It is more likely that he meant the territory of Atlantis, not the size of the island.