Most kids have heard of the lost city of Atlantis. Whether through books read at school or movies watched at home, the tale of the lost city of Atlantis has been told many times in many different ways.
But is it true? Was an entire city simply lost at some time in the past? If so, where did it go? And where is it today?
The legend of the lost city of Atlantis dates back to around 360 B.C. when it was first mentioned in the works of Greek philosopher Plato. According to Plato, Atlantis was an advanced island nation that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa around 9,600 B.C.
The only clue to its location was Plato's statement that it sat “in front of the Pillars of Hercules." The Pillars of Hercules are the mountaintops that border the sides of the Strait of Gibraltar at the western edge of the Mediterranean Sea.
After Atlantis failed to invade Athens, Greece, it allegedly sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune." Plato's account makes it seem like Atlantis may have fallen victim to a natural catastrophe, such as a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.
Scholars point out that Plato's account may have been based upon legendary stories that had already been told for many years. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, most scholars believed the story of Atlantis was purely fiction.
It is only in modern times that people have started to believe that Atlantis might have been a real place. The story of Atlantis has inspired many works of science fiction. The name itself has become synonymous with the idea of the existence of advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
Given Plato's account, most people who believe Atlantis was real think it was located in or near the Mediterranean Sea. Over time, though, many other locations have been suggested, including areas in the Caribbean and even Antarctica!
In 2011, Professor Richard Freund from the University of Hartford claimed to have found evidence of the lost city of Atlantis in the marshlands of the Doñana National Park mud flats in Spain. Based upon his research, he speculated Atlantis could have been destroyed by a tsunami.
Although a team of archeologists and geologists have used radar, satellite imagery and underwater technology to study the site, no one can know for sure whether Atlantis has truly been discovered or not. And so the mystery lives on!