Lemuria is, like Atlantis, a legendary lost civilisation. Unlike Atlantis – which is usually said to have been a city or island – Lemuria is believed to have been a vast continent.
The Continent of Mu
The Lemurian civilisation is said to have emerged on a continent originally known as Mu, later called Lemuria. It’s usually believed to have been situated in the area now known as the Indian and/or South Pacific ocean.
The modern name comes from the work of British scientist Philip Sclater who in 1864 hypothesised the existence of the lost continent. He believed that Madagascar had once been connected by land to South East Asia, hence explaining the presence of lemurs in India and Madagascar yet not in Africa (this was in the days before the theory of plate tectonics was widely accepted).
Sclater made no suggestion of an advanced race – he was simply interested in how the new theory of Darwinian evolution could be made consistent with the observed distribution of species. However others took the Lemuria idea further. In particular German biologist Ernst Haekel suggested that the lost continent could have been the birthplace of the human race, explaining the problem of the “missing link” in human evolution. Some religious minded scholars interpreted this to mean that Lemuria had been the site of the Christian Garden of Eden.
Madame Blavatsky and the theosophists then built on this idea as part of their cosmology and claimed the Lemurians to have been one of the “Root Races”. According to Blavatsky, Lemuria was destroyed by the gods and its place in human evolution taken by Atlantis. Others have also suggested a link between the two lost civilisations – one theory is that as as Lemuria sank beneath the waves the resultant geological shifts created the land mass of Atlantis.
The technological level of the Lemurians is said to have been extremely advanced for the time, yet not as high as that of the Atlanteans.
There is another, less pleasant, theory concerning Lemuria. Some believe it to have been the home of a race of evil reptillian beings, possibly demons or aliens from space. In Ufology the various reptillian dragon species are often considered to be part of a larger interplanetary war in which they are on the opposing side to humanity.
This link with reptillian aliens has been taken up by many writers and conspiracy theorists. It’s also been used in many works of fiction leading to some confusion as to what if any information on the subject is reliable.