James Churchward, was born in Bridestow, Devon (England), and liked to be known as ‘Lieutenant-Colonel’ (and although no-one seems to have discovered where he served, his claims knowledge of India and/or Tibet suggest that it was in British India: at least one author makes him a Colonel in India during 1868, at the impossibly tender age of seventeen!). By 1872, he was living in Sri Lanka and borrowed money to finance a tea plantation in 1879. Two years later, he was back in England, where he is listed in the census of 1881 as a tea planter, now living in Croydon (Surrey); before the end of the decade, though, he was living in Brooklyn (USA).later referring to himself as 'Colonel' was a close friend of Auguste and Alice Le Plongeon. This French doctor and his wife had propounded the theory of the sunken lost civilization of Atlantis in the later part of the 19th when all manner of occult and theosophical speculation was rife.
Although they had done legitimately useful work in discovering and photographing ancient Mayan cities that had been lost in the jungles of Central America, the Le Plongeons' theories were based on fanciful and widely inaccurate translations of Mayan texts alongside all manner of pseudo-historical and scientific hokum. They had a Queen Moo who ruled over the ancient Mayan civilization and the couple went on to construct an ever more elaborate 'history' for Atlantis and created a sub-culture of 'occult' writing that continues to this day.
It seems that Churchward wanted an ancient civilization of his own, and using Le Plongeon's doubtful methodology set about 'discovering' one. His findings were set down in the five main volumes of the Mu series published during the 1920s and 30s.
According to author Churchward - Lemuria or Mu - was about 5,000 miles long and 3,000 miles wide, a beautiful tropical paradise like the Garden of Eden.