The Land of Zarahemla is located in the Grijalva River valley in the state of
Chiapas in southern Mexico,
Figures 1 and 2. The valley is surrounded
on the south, west and north by mountainous wildernesses as described in
Alma 22:27. The dark area in the center is an artificial lake created by
construction of a hydroelectric damn at the mouth of the Angostura
Canyon. Before the damn was built, the Grijalva River ran through the
valley in a roughly northwesterly direction with numerous twists and turns
(Archeological Exploration of the Upper Grijalva River, Chiapas, Mexico
by Gareth W. Lowe in Papers of the New World Archeological Foundation
No. 2)
as shown in
Figure 3.

Its source consisted of three tributaries that originate in the southern
wilderness, part of the narrow strip of wilderness mentioned in Alma 22:
27. All three tributaries originate within a 45 mile radius and run from east
to west at the source, Alma 22:27, see
Figure 4.

Many of those who attempt to determine the geographic location of the
Book of Mormon place undo attention on the “narrow neck” which is only
mentioned three times in the Book of Mormon with little geographic
information that would identify it with a specific location on the American
continents, as shown by the myriad of locations proposed for its identity..
The River Sidon, on the other hand, is mentioned over 20 times and in at
least four different geographic contexts. Each of these contexts contain
geographic information which should make it possible to find a river in the
Americas that can be uniquely identified with the River Sidon. The
description of the Nephite and Lamanite lands in Alma 22:27-34 identifies
3 specific geographic attributes relative to the River Sidon.

These are:
1.        Its head, source, is located in a narrow strip of wilderness.
2.        The head runs from east to west
3.        The narrow strip of wilderness is located south of the Land of
Zarahemla
and runs from an east sea to a west sea from the east to the west.

If one accepts that the Book of Mormon is translated correctly from the
plates given to Joseph Smith by the Angel Moroni, then the text of the
book must be accepted as the most authoritative source for information
relative to the geography of the Book of Mormon.

Using the three dimensional satellite maps incorporated into the computer
program “EARTHA Global Explorer DVD” by Delorme, a thorough search
of the geography of America in 3D can be made. Such a search results in
one and only one location that fits the geographic restraints imposed by
the text of Alma 22:27 for the River Sidon. This is as described above for
the Grijalva River, indicating that the Grijalva is the same river described
as the Sidon in the Book of Mormon and as has been proposed by many
proponents of Book of Mormon geographies.

See also:

A Correlation of the Sidon River and the Lands of Manti and Zarahemla
with the Southern End of the Rio Grijalva (San Miguel)
John L. Hilton, Janet F. Hilton
Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1992. Pp. 142—162

Although these authors correctly identify the head of the Grijalva river with
the head of the river Sidon, they present their data so inconsistently that it
is no wonder that no one else has taken them seriously. I found this
reference recently,several years after I had developed my own
conclusions, and was quite surprised that I had not seen it quoted in any of
my reading. One glaring example of their inconsistency is their map of
Book of Mormon lands in which they show an east sea and a west sea
located on a north-south axis according to the compass star in the figure
and then use compass directions of east and west to describe the
headwaters of the Grijalva river as it is correctly found on subsequent
maps in their article. This same figure shows a narrow strip of wilderness
on a north-south axis between the east and west seas which does not
correlate with any range of mountains in or around the Grijalva river.
Figure 1
Satellite photo
courtesy of Nasa's
Visible Earth
Figure 2
Inset area from
Figure 1
Satellite photo
courtesy of Nasa's
Visible Earth
Figure 3
Original course of
the Grijalva River
Figure 4.
Sources of the
Grijalva River
Based on Delorme’s
Eartha Global
Explorer.


The Land of Zarahemla
The Land of Zarahemla