A History of the Valley of Virginia

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Excerpt from A History of the Valley of Virginia

From what particular part of the old world the aboriginals found their way to this continent, is a question which has given rise to much philosophical and learned disquisition among historians. It however appears now to be the settled opinion that America first received its inhabitants from Asia. Mr. Snowden, in his History of America, advances many able and ingenious arguments in support of this opinion. After citing many great revolutions which have from time to time taken place in various parts of our globe, Mr. Snowden states:

"In the strait which separates America from Asia, many islands are found, which are supposed to be the mountainous parts of land, formerly swallowed up by earthquakes: which appears the more probable, by the multitude of volcanoes, now known in the peninsula of Kamtschatka. It is imagined, however, that the sinking of that land and the separation of the new continents, has been occasioned by those great earthquakes, mentioned in the history of the Americans; which formed an era almost as memorable as that of the deluge. We can form no conjecture of the time mentioned in the histories of the Taltecas, or of the year 1, (Teepatl,) when that great calamity happened.

"If a great earthquake should overwhelm the isthmus of Suez, and there should be at the same time as great a scarcity of historians as there was in the first age of the deluge, it would be doubted in three or four hundred years after, whether Asia had ever been united by that part of Africa; and many would finally deny it.

"Whether that great event, the separation of the continents, took place before or after the population of America, it is impossible to determine; but we are indebted to the above mentioned navigators, (Cook and others), for settling the long dispute about the point from which it was effected. Their observations prove, that in one place the distance between continent and continent is only thirty-nine miles; and in the middle of this narrow strait, there are two islands, which would greatly facilitate the passage of the Asiatics into the new world, supposing it took place in canoes, after the convulsion which rent the two continents asunder.

"It may also be added, that these straits are, even in the summer, often filled with ice; in winter frozen over, so as to admit a passage for mankind, and by which quadrupeds might easily cross, and stock the continent.

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