The Origins of the name “California”

In an effort to start at the beginning of my love for Los Angeles, I felt that I should really get to know about the state it resides in. My first question… What does the word California mean? If any of you out there have a good answer for this I would love to know, but I will tell you what I found and I’m hoping you all have more insight for me.

The shortest and easiest answer I was able to come up with is that the name is derived from a storied paradise inhabited by the Amazons. Well, that got the wheels in my head turning even more; what story are they talking about? where’s this paradise? and how do I get there? So I looked a further into it and what I found kinda blew my mind. Check it out:

Apparently the name comes from a 16th century romance novel by the name of Las Sergas de Esplandián,(The Adventures of Esplandián) written by Spanish author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. In this novel they describe a wonderful island

California travel

The first California known

populated of only women. The name of the island was Island of California, go figure, right? Now these women were all Amazon Warriors and gold was the only metal they had to make weapons with. Can you imagine cruising up to an island of only women with gold spears. Seriously, think about it… you doc your boat, and these fine-looking ladies roll up on you without a man in sight. I gotta be honest, it sounds a bit like I would imagine heaven to be like. Don’t worry ladies, as the story goes at certain times men from the mainland would come over and impregnate them. If they had a boy they would send it off to the man island and if they had a girl they would keep it. So the novel isn’t all about Amazon women.

When the first Spanish settlers came over, lead by Hernán Cortés, they believed that Baja California was this mystical island. Once the name California started showing up on maps, it stuck. Maybe there are still places in California inhabited by only beautiful amazon women with golden weapons? What do you think?

There are a few other theories out there on where the name California comes from but this one is by far my favorite. So, What do you know about it? I’m all ears…

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