When Alma and Amulek arrived in Zarahemla, they found a peaceful, prosperous land. But, as usually happens when peace is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, it's coming to an end. One year after they arrived (they left Ammonihah in the 10th year of the reign of the judges), war broke out with the Lamanites. Note that the specific day is mentioned twice in the first verse of Chapter 16.
And it came to pass in the eleventh year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, on the fifth day of the second month, there having been much peace in the land of Zarahemla, there having been no wars nor contentions for a certain number of years, even until the fifth day of the second month in the eleventh year, there was a cry of war heard throughout the land. 16.1Before the Nephites had time to gather an army together, the Lamanites attacked the city of Ammonihah and the surrounding areas. They killed many of the people, and took the rest captive.
For behold, the armies of the Lamanites had come in upon the wilderness side, into the borders of the land, even into the city of Ammonihah, and began to slay the people and destroy the city. 16.2
And now it came to pass, before the Nephites could raise a sufficient army to drive them out of the land, they had destroyed the people who were in the city of Ammonihah, and also some around the borders of Noah, and taken others captive into the wilderness. 16.3The Nephites wanted to rescue the prisoners, and to kill the Lamanites, but their fearless leader (Zoram) decided to first ask Alma to ask God what to do.
Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness. 16.4
Therefore, he that had been appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites, (and his name was Zoram, and he had two sons, Lehi and Aha) -- now Zoram and his two sons, knowing that Alma was high priest over the church, and having heard that he had the spirit of prophecy, therefore they went unto him and desired of him to know whither the Lord would that they should go into the wilderness in search of their brethren, who had been taken captive by the Lamanites. 16.5
Alma asked God what to do, and God laid out the battle plan for Zoram's army. Alma told Zoram, and the plan worked beautifully. They killed the Lamanites, and saved all of the prisoners without losing a single life.
And it came to pass that Alma inquired of the Lord concerning the matter. And Alma returned and said unto them: Behold, the Lamanites will cross the river Sidon in the south wilderness, away up beyond the borders of the land of Manti. And behold there shall ye meet them, on the east of the river Sidon, and there the Lord will deliver unto thee thy brethren who have been taken captive by the Lamanites. 16.6
And it came to pass that Zoram and his sons crossed over the river Sidon, with their armies, and marched away beyond the borders of Manti into the south wilderness, which was on the east side of the river Sidon. 16.7
And they came upon the armies of the Lamanites, and the Lamanites were scattered and driven into the wilderness; and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive. And they were brought by their brethren to possess their own lands. 16.8
Every Ammonihite was killed, and their city was destroyed, too. They had said that the city was so great that even God couldn't destroy it, but apparently they were wrong about that. The dead bodies of the Ammonihites were piled up in the city, and they whole mess stunk so bad that the land wasn't occupied for many years.
And thus ended the eleventh year of the judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites was destroyed, and also their great city, which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness. 16.9 But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and the carcasses were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness. 16.10
Nevertheless, after many days their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering. And now so great was the scent thereof that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years. And it was called Desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, who were slain; and their lands remained desolate. 16.11The land was peaceful, again, for a while. Alma and Amulek went around to all of the temples, sanctuaries and synagogues, preaching repentance. These structures were built "after the manner of the Jews". No evidence of these buildings have ever been found.
And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their temples, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews. 16.13The church was doing really well under Alma's leadership. The Lord was pouring out his blessings among the people, and the word of God was being peached in purity throughout all the land.
And now after the church had been established throughout all the land -- having got the victory over the devil, and the word of God being preached in its purity in all the land, and the Lord pouring out his blessings upon the people -- thus ended the fourteenth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi. 16.21---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I ran across something interesting on Amazon.com that I thought I'd share with all you BOM fanatics. I like to play the game "Settlers of Catan"--- and it looks like someone came up with a "Settlers of Zarahemla". If only it wasn't so damn expensive: