Mulekite-Nephite region, as well as the capital city in that land. The land of Zarahemla was located in the northern portion of the land southward. The river Sidon “ran by the land of Zarahemla”. The original settlement was founded by a people. The Mulekites had apparently wandered from their original landing spot. In roughly 200 B. C. Mosiah led a group of Nephites northward and downward as they fled out of the land of Nephi. Being “led by the power of. During Mosiah’s reign a man named Zeniff led a group of Nephites back up to the land of Nephi to dwell in their original homeland. Thus there were two Nephite groups: one group in the land of Zarahemla and a Nephite colony living in Lamanite territory in the land of Nephi.
Mosiah’s son Benjamin succeeded him as king in Zarahemla, led his people into victory against the Lamanites, and ruled the Nephites in peace and righteousness. At about 124 B. C. Benjamin turned the kingdom over to his son Mosiah. Some four years later, the descendants of Zeniff’s earlier group of Nephites—the people of Alma and the people of Limhi—arrived in the land of Zarahemla and were reunited into the kingdom. Under Mosiah’s direction Alma established churches in the land of Zarahemla. Originally there were seven congregations. Over the next two generations, the land of Zarahemla grew rapidly in population. It extended its borders and contained multiple cultures. The city of Zarahemla became the hub for sophisticated religious and mercantile systems.
Under Mosiah the kingdom was abolished and a system of judgeships elected by the people was created in every city with the chief judge residing in the city of Zarahemla. The prophet Alma, who was the son of Alma, was the first chief judge. When he became “sorrowful” because of the wickedness of his people, he resigned his judgment-seat and went on a circuit throughout the land of Zarahemla preaching repentance and the pure doctrines of Jesus Christ. His reform effort was mostly successful, but in Ammonihah in the northern reaches of the land, Alma and his companion Amulek were rejected and nearly assassinated. From 73–60 B. C. the Lamanites from the land of Nephi engaged the Nephites in a massive war throughout the entire land of Zarahemla, with the Lamanites finally being expelled from the land.
Toward the end of this period the city of Zarahemla was seized by Nephite rebels. About 51 B. C. a bold Nephite dissenter named Coriantumr marched Lamanite troops through the heart of Nephite territories and took control of the city of Zarahemla. Moronihah soon recaptured the city. A few years later Nephites who dissented to the Lamanites incited the Lamanites to war against the Nephites and captured the land of Zarahemla, as well as many other lands, driving the Nephites northward to the land of Bountiful2. Parts of the land were subsequently won back by the Nephites under the spiritual and military leadership of Moronihah. At about 30 B. C. Nephite dissenters and eight thousand Lamanites in the land of Zarahemla were converted to Christ through the preaching of Nephi and Lehi.
Moreover, many other Lamanite conversions took place as Nephi and Lehi extended their ministry to the Land of Nephi, and as their converts preached the word “throughout all the regions round about”. These Lamanites gave back to the Nephites lands they had taken, presumably including the land of Zarahemla. In 6–5 B. C. Samuel the Lamanite preached in the city of Zarahemla to the wicked Nephites who dwelt there. In the days of chief judge Lachoneus, the land of Zarahemla was designated as the central gathering place for Nephites preparatory to war with the Gadianton robbers.
After Nephite victories, first over Giddianhi, and then Zemnarihah, Nephites in Zarahemla enjoyed peace and prosperity until pride, secret combinations, and the killing of the Lord’s prophets led to destruction. In the great destructions that accompanied the death of Jesus Christ, the city of Zarahemla and its inhabitants were burned. The city of Zarahemla was rebuilt in the first century A. D. Mormon mentioned being taken southward by his father to the land of Zarahemla, and that “the whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea”. Mormon referred to a Nephite/Lamanite war beginning in the borders of Zarahemla.