The family of Lehi landed in the Americas about 589 BC…The Mulekites came a little after that, “journeyed in the wilderness, and were brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters, in the land where Moshiah discovered them and had dwelt there from that time forth.” (Omni vs. 16)
When the Mulekites came to the Americas, they settled where they landed, “for they had dwelt there from that time forth.” It may explain in part why the Nephites and the Mulekites lived 300 years apart and never discovered one another. That’s remarkable considering they had become “exceedingly numerous.” It’s not until Moshiah discovered the people of Zarahemla, sometime between 279-130 BC that they became one people, Nephites.
Moshiah became their king and “a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it.” Moshiah was able to interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God.” The engravings gave an account of one Coriantumr that was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons.
Coriantumr was the last person living of the Jaredite civilization. His kingdom had been at war with their enemies for many years. At that time there was a prophet, Ether who had prophesied unto Coriantumr that if did not repent “all his household save it were himself should be destroyed. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophesies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr.” (Ether 13:21)
And as was prophesied, “…he began to remember the words which Ether had spoken unto him. He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people…of mighty men, and also their wives and their children.” (Ether 15:2) This may have been 5 or 6 million people within Coriantumr’s life. It must have taken years of uninterrupted massacre to destroy the lives of that many people. I can’t even imagine.
It’s interesting to consider a corollary between Coriantumr’s and Moroni’s solitary lives. Coriantumr must have wondered about knowing his people were destroyed because of his wickedness. On the other hand, Moroni’s people were destroyed irrespective of his righteousness. Moroni fought for the lives of his people while Coriantumr fought for the destruction of his enemy. Their actions may have been the same but their purpose was altogether different.
The Jaredites would have inhabited part of the land during the time that the Nephites and the Mulekites were living in other areas. They must not have been living close to each other. How long were the Jaredites a civilization or nation before the people of Zarahemla discovered Coriantumr; we don’t know. It could have been shortly after the Mulekites landed or years later. It may have been many years before Mosiah discovered Zarahemla, because the engravings on this large stone had to be interpreted. The people of Zarahemla couldn’t read them. We know, “their language had become corrupted” and changed since the time of Coriantumr. It seems that they were able to understand Coriantumr’s language in order to record what he told them “concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower at the time the Lord had confounded the language of the people.” (Omni vs. 21-22)
Having been the king, Coriantumr may have had records of events since they occurred hundreds of years after the tower of babel. The Jaredites may have kept their language from becoming corrupted because like the Nephites, they had a language that was written.
Another reason I think the people of Zarahemla found Coriantumr shortly after their arrival is because of the discovery of the prophet Ether’s 24 plates by the people of Limhi hundreds of years later. When Limhi send a small number of men to find the land of Zarahemla, they “traveled in a land among many waters, having discovered a land which was covered with (dry) bones of men, and of beasts…” (Mosiah 8:8) This was 121 BC. If the Mulekites had found Coriantumr within the first 50 years of their arrival, there would have been 400 years between these two events, plenty of time to dry the bones of a destroyed people.