In 360 BC, Greek philosopher Plato wrote about a battle between his city Athens and a great empire named Atlantis. He described this war, which ended when Atlantis disappeared in the ocean due to "violent earthquakes and floods," in two of his dialogues: "Timaeus" and "Critias" (Read here: https://spaceandai.com/project/platos-story-of-atlantis).
According to Plato, all this happened 9,000 years before his time. That would date this event to at least 9,400 BC, some 12,400 years ago. Intriguingly, this corresponds to the period when the geological age of the Younger Dryas suddenly ended with an abrupt warming of more than 10°C in only a few years. This event marked the beginning of the Holocene, the era in which we are still living today.
Sea levels must have risen rapidly and dramatically, and as a result entire civilizations, if any existed, would have disappeared under water. It's still unclear what caused this extreme climate change around 9,700 BC, although some evidence seems to point to solar activity. The onset of the Younger Dryas, only 1300 years before that, was also due to an extreme climate change but the cause of this catastrophic event is generally known as being a comet impact.
Whether Atlantis really existed is hard to say. In that era, sealevels were at least 80 to 100 meters lower than today and any archeological evidence would be buried under sand at the bottom of the sea. Sofar, nothing has been found.
It is much more likely that Plato's main concern was not to be historically accurate, but rather to illustrate and put forward his political views. He was very much opposed to Athen's new democracy and held the opinion that it would inevitably lead to dictatorship and tyranny. Indeed, Atlantis owed its greatness to the oligarchy that happened to govern the city-empire exactly the way Plato propagated in his famous work “The Republic.”
Moreover, only the first 20 pages of Plato's narrative have been preserved so we don't know how the ending. It's still remarkable though, how Plato's story reflects climatic events and other facts of which he could not have had any direct knowledge.
He explains, for instance, how in ancient times the higher and less fertile areas were inhabited by primitive pastoral peoples, while more advanced civilizations lived in the coastal regions. In this way, more primitive societies were able to escape the catastrophic rise in sea levels that destroyed the coastal regions. Due to Egypt's location further inland in the Nile valley, the advanced Egyptian civilization was the only exception to this rule.
Other intriguing issues, such as the frequent use of “orichalcum” in Atlantis, are mentioned in the Critias as well. This mysterious metal is very reminiscent of tumbaga, an alloy of gold and copper in varying proportions which was much used by the Inca and other peoples in the New World. This, however, became known only 2,000 years later after Columbus discovered America.
Plato wasn't the first to mention Atlantis as it is often believed. In Herodotus' time, the sea outside Gibraltar was on occasion called the Atlantis Sea. In the Great Hall of the temple of Ramses at Karnak a column shows a depiction of a great festival, along with an accompanying text memorializing “the loss of a drowned continent in the Western Ocean.” Plato described Atlantis as being ruled by ten kings and Egyptian king-lists going back thousands of years before Plato also talk of ten god-kings called “Atlanteans.”
The Sanskrit writings of ancient India contain several descriptions of Atlantis, and even assert that Atlantis was destroyed as the result of a war between the Gods and Asuras, a giant and sometimes demonic creature. The Mahabharata speaks of "Atala, the White Island" and describes it as an "island of great splendour."
Megalithic structures like the Sphynx in Egypt, Göbekli Tepe in Turkey and maybe even Yonaguni in Japan that were built more than 10.000 years ago, point to the existence of advanced cultures in ancient times.
A geological feature named the Richat Structure, located "beyond the Pillars of Hercules" in the Sahara dessert near Ouadane in central Mauritania, fits perfectly with Plato's descriptions. Also, the Sahara was a green and fertile land with lakes and rivers until about 5,000 years BC.
The only problem is that the Richat Structure is about 500 meters above sea level but perhaps Atlantis, which after all was a world empire that ruled the oceans, consisted of several cities with the same structure. Or Plato simply composed his illustrious story by combining different events and accounts from several eras of history.
Fantasizing about a mythological Atlantis and its location has become part of our collective and historical consciousness in almost Jungian fashion. Which is precisely why Plato remains the greatest storyteller of all time.