The family of Lehi landed in the Northern South America / Southern Central America area. When Nephi separated from his brethren, he took his people to the North. When at the time Zeniff came among them, he took a group of Nephites Southward from Zerahemla, to live in a place once inhabited by the people of Nephi, which was then inhabited by the Lamanites. The Lamanites let them have the land, only to later subject them into bondage, for use of their agricultural increase.
At a later time, these people were under a new king Limhi, who sent out some of his people to find the land of Zarahemla, that they might receive help in becoming made free.
They went North, and passed by, missing the land of Zarahemla, instead finding many great waters, which were part of the landscape, before the face of the land was changed at the death of our Savior on the Eastern hemisphere.
They also found remains of a vast civilization, a people who were named by Moroni, the second compiler and abridger of the Book of Mormon, as the Jaredites. They had come out from Babylon, at the time the Lord had confounded the languages at the tower therein.
These people had been destroyed, and their records had been kept by their kings and prophets over the years. This group of seekers, sent out by king Limhi, at not finding Zarahemla, brought back with them 24 metal plates, upon which was recorded the Jaredite history.
Moroni abridged this people’s record, now known in the Book of Mormon as the Book of Ether, who was their last prophet, who also witnessed their entire destruction.
Their records were taken by this group, brought before king Limhi, then before Ammon who had come out of Zarahemla to find the people whom Zeniff originally brought out of the land, and then to king Mosiah of Zarahemla, who translated them through the gift and power of God.