The Yoruba people of West Africa were first brought to the attention of Atlantis seekers in the early years of the 20th century by Leo Frobenius who placed Atlantis in the Yoruba region of Nigeria. Frobenius believed that the Etruscans had an Atlantean culture and were responsible for the
establishment of Benin around 1300 BC and it was a city in this region that had been described by Plato. In 1910 he published, in German, Atop the Rubble of Classical Atlantis which filled three large volumes.
Apart from some initial media attention Frobenius’ claims received little attention until a century later when an exotic suggestion regarding the Etruscans came from Xavier Séguin, who claimed that they share a common ancestry with the Yoruba of West Africa, as both originated in Atlantis(c), a concept clearly ‘borrowed’ from Frobenius! This attempted revival received little attention.
Related, but unconnected with Atlantis studies are the claims of “Dierk Lange(d), Prof. Dr Emeritus, of Bayreuth University in Germany, who has performed extensive research concerning many West African groups and their origins in the Near East. In the abstract to one of his many essays, “Dierk Lange: Origin of the Yoruba and “The Lost Tribes of Israel”,” Dierk confirms the traditions of a Levantine (Israelite) origin of the Yoruba Nigerians.”(a)(b)
Catherine Acholonu-Olumba (1951-2014 ) was from Orlu in Nigeria and well known as a writer(d), researcher and former lecturer on African Cultural and Gender Studies. She was a frequent contributor to the migration-diffusion website(b). In a recent paper(a) she proposed “that ancient West Africans nurtured a high civilization that was an off-shoot of the fall of Atlantis and the migrations of its peoples in search of new lands.” She also maintained that the West African Igbo language was, in earlier times, a global lingus franca.
“By 208,000 BC human evolution was interrupted and Adam, a hybrid, was created through the process of genetic engineering. However, our findings reveal that the creation of Adam was a downward climb on the evolutionary ladder, because he lost his divine essence, he became divided, no longer whole, or wholesome. All over Africa and in ancient Egyptian reports, oral and written traditions maintain that homo erectus people were heavenly beings, and possessed mystical powers such as telepathy, levitation, bi-location, that their words could move rocks and mountains and change the course of rivers. Adam lost all that when his right brain was shut down by those who made him.”
Another paper by Acholonu once again endeavours to link the Igbo language with that of the ancient Egyptians(e).
Even more intriguing is the claim of an association between Ogham and the Igbo language. Erich Fred Legner noted that “All the words that (Edo)Nyland and (Barry)Fell transcribed were Igbo words, which Dr Catherine Acholonu could easily read and translate. She told Edo Nyland that she had translated the words he transcribed from Ogam stones, but he didn’t believe her at first. When Hugo Kennes found Dr Acholonu’s work on the Internet and started telling all the Ogam researchers he knew including Nyland, Nyland then asked him to get an Igbo dictionary from her. It was only after her meeting with (Christine)Pellech in Belgium when she “read “all Acholonu’s books and convinced her to write for her site, that it was decided to do the “Igbo Ogam VCV Dictionary”(g)
Acholonu was one of the authors of They Lived Before Adam: Pre-Historic Origins of the Igbo which includes some rather wild Igbo-centric claims.
A few years later, she published Eden in Sumer On The Niger , which continued in a similar vein. According to an abstract on ResearchGate,(f) “It provides multidisciplinary evidence of the actual geographical location in West Africa of the Garden of Eden, Atlantis and the original homeland of the Sumerian people before their migration to the “Middle East”. By translating hitherto unknown pre-cuneiform inscriptions of the Sumerians, Catherine Acholonu and Sidney Davis have uncovered thousands of years of Africa’s lost pre-history and evidences of the West African origins of the earliest Pharaohs and Kings of Egypt and Sumer such as Menes and Sargon the Great.”
>In 2017, Michelle Lopez Wellansky presented a paper in which she investigated the Igbo people, the majority of whom “today are practicing Christians. Though they identify as Christian, many consider themselves to be “cultural” or “ethnic” Jews.”(h)
John Boze has contributed a series of unconventional posts on Facebook promoting the idea of a West African Genesis including the claim that “Noah, Abraham and Moses were all born, lived and died in West Africa! Not unexpectedly, Boze also claims that Atlantis was situated in Mauritania. For good measure he further claims that the ten Hebrew nations lived in West Africa 4000BC-3000BC! I think comment is unnecessary.<
Leo Frobenius (1873-1938), was a German ethnologist and a leading authority on prehistoric art. He travelled extensively in West Africa and published many books on the cultures of the region. He placed Atlantis in the Yoruba region of Nigeria. Frobenius believed that the Etruscans had an Atlantean culture and were responsible for the establishment of Benin around 1300 BC and that it was a city in this region that had been described by Plato.
Jason Colavito has drawn attention to the racism displayed by Frobenius, an example of which is when he declared that the Atlantean civilisation of Yorubaland had been white(d). A report of his 1912 expedition was published and is now available online.
He reported on his discoveries to the German Kaiser, who showed great interest in his work.
Five expeditions gave him enough information to publish a twelve-volume work entitled Atlantis. During his work there Frobenius wrote to friends complaining that local English officials had confiscated many of his finds(c).
In 1910 he published, in German, Atop the Rubble of Classical Atlantis that filled three large volumes. Much of his work is currently being translated into English and French.
Another site(a) reviewing Frobenius’ work also claims that he linked the ancient Yoruba kingdom with that of the Etruscans and suggests a common Atlantean ancestry. The same site backs a central Atlantic location for Atlantis, citing as ‘evidence’ the 18th century Bauche map(b).
Three papers taken from Frobenius’ work have been published on the Atlantisforschung website, with an English translation here(e)(f)(g).
The Flora and Fauna of Atlantis is mentioned in great detail by Plato in Critias;
“Besides all this, the earth bore freely all the aromatic substances it bears today, roots, herbs, bushes and gums exuded by flowers or fruit. There were cultivated crops, cereals which provide our staple diet. And pulse (to use its generic name) which we need in addition to feed us; there were the fruits of trees, hard to store but providing the drink and food and oil which gives us pleasure and relaxation and which we serve after supper as a welcome refreshment to the weary when appetite is satisfied – all these were produced by that sacred island, then still beneath the sun, in wonderful quality and profusion.” (115a-b)
James Bramwell noted how Leo Frobenius was convinced that his chosen Atlantis location of Yorubaland in Nigeria was reinforced by Plato’s description of the flora of his disappeared island [0195.119].
The lack of sufficient detail in the extract from Critias has led to a variety of interpretations. Jürgen Spanuth in support of his North Sea location for Atlantis has claimed [015.68] that during the Bronze Age the snow line in that region was higher than at any other time since the last Ice Age at 1,900 metres. He claims that as a result, grapes and wheat were cultivated there during that period.
The existence of the same species of plants and animals on both sides of the Atlantic has been noted for some time, so when the Mid Atlantic Ridge (MAR) was discovered in the 19th century and subsequently combined with the realisation that sea levels had dropped during the last Ice Age, it was thought that a stepping-stone/s, if not an actual landbridge, between the continents had been identified. This idea was popular with many geologists and botanists at the beginning of the 20th century, such R.F. Scharff and H.E. Forrest, both of whom also saw the MAR as the location of Atlantis, an idea that still persists today. Emmet Sweeney is a modern writer who also sees the earlier exposed MAR as an explanation for the shared transatlantic biota and is happy to identify the Azores as the last remnants of Atlantis.
Andrew Collins has attempted to squeeze a reference to coconuts out of this text to support his Caribbean location for Atlantis. However, coconuts were not introduced into that region until colonial times(c). Ivar Zapp & George Erikson, driven by similar motivations had made the same claim earlier.
>Dhani Irwanto has noted that “DNA analysis of more than 1,300 coconuts from around the world reveals that the coconut was brought under cultivation in two separate locations, one in the Pacific basin and the other in the Indian Ocean basin. (Baudouin et al, 2008; Gunn et al, 2011).(d)“<
My reading of the text is that Plato is describing food with which he is personally familiar and is unlikely to have been referring to coconuts.
>Michael Hübner in support of his Moroccan location for Atlantis has drawn attention to the argan tree, native to Southern Morocco, from which a valuable oil is produced. He goes further and claims that the appearance of the fruit of the argan tree may also have been the source of the story of the ‘golden apples’ stolen by Hercules from the Hesperides. Critias 114e tells us how Atlantis “brought forth also in abundance all the timbers that a forest provides for the labours of carpenters”. Even today, across the northern regions of Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, woodlands and forests still cover an area of nearly 360,000 square kilometers(e).<
Mary Settegast points out that around 7300 BC there is evidence of crop rotation including cereals at the Tell Aswad site in Syria.
The olive tree thrives best in regions with a Mediterranean climate. Olive trees are mainly found between 25° and 45° N. latitude, while in France, they are only found in its southern Mediterranean region.
Ignatius Donnelly devoted Chapter VI(a) of his Atlantis tome to a review of the Atlantean flora and fauna. The print media at the start of the 20th century kept the general public aware of these theories(b).
Those that believe that Plato’s Atlantis narrative was just an invention to promote Plato’s political philosophy cannot explain the level of detail that is provided relating to the flora and fauna of Atlantis. In Plato’s dialogue Laws, Magnesia, another ideal city-state, which was an invention, had no such embellishment included. For me, the minutiae of the plants and animals noted by Plato in Critias is not what you would expect in a philosophical or political dissertation, but is more in keeping with a factual report.
Capt. Cyril Hammond Elgee, formerly Elgie (1871-1917) was the British Resident (local administrator) in Ibadan, Nigeria from 1902 until 1913. In 1914 he wrote a paper entitled The Evolution of Ibadan(a).