Why Some Historians Say California Is Named After A Black Queen
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Why Some Historians Say California Is Named After A Black Queen

Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Oct 16, 2020

While some historical documents suggest that California was named after “Calida Fornax,” translating to the hot furnace and “cal y fornos,” meaning lime and furnace, some people say California is named after the Black queen: Queen Calafia.

So, how did we get here?

Some historians say that Spanish writer Garci Rodrigues de Montalvo wrote a popular novel known as Las Sergas de Esplandián, or The Adventures of Esplandián in 1500 based on the Island of California, as first reported in Face 2 Face Africa.

Montalvo described the Island of California:

“Know that on the right hand from the Indies exists an island called California very close to a side of the Earthly Paradise; and it was populated by black women, without any man existing there, because they lived in the way of the Amazons. They had beautiful and robust bodies, and were brave and very strong. Their island was the strongest of the World, with its steep cliffs and rocky shores. Their weapons were golden and so were the harnesses of the wild beasts that they were accustomed to taming so that they could be ridden, because there was no other metal in the island than gold.”

In the novel,  Queen Califia is said to have been a beautiful Black Moor and pagan who was on a mission to raise an army of women warriors and sail away from Cali to join a Muslim battle against Christians defending Constantinople.

The story goes on to reveal that Queen Califia was ultimately defeated. Still, the fictional character captured people’s hearts from all over the world, including Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés who would come to explore and name the state of California.

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