I found this excerpt from a website discussing a theory concerning the naming of California. I want to find out what Historians say on this issue. The article is below.
Although some historical documents suggest that California was named after “calida fornax” (hot furnace) and “cal y fornos ” meaning “lime and furnace”, there is growing interest in another possibly true story about the state’s origin: that California was named after a black queen by the name of Queen Calafia.
Historians say that a Spanish writer by the name of Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo wrote a widely popular novel called Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián) around 1500. Las Sergas was staged on the Island of California, said to be east of the Asian mainland. Here is Montalvo’s description:
“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”
.–Las Sergas de Esplandián, (novela de caballería); published 1510.
Montalvo’s island of California was named after its Queen, Califia, who is said to have been a beautiful black Moor and pagan.
She was on a mission to raise an army of women warriors and sail away from California with a women army so to join a Muslim battle against Christians who are defending Constantinople.
Though Queen Califia would ultimately face defeat, she captured the imagination of many around the world, especially that of Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés who would come to explore and name the state of California.
So what do reputable historians think about this;
Was there ever a queen called Calafia?
If yes, was she a Moor?
If yes, was she black?
And if yes, was California named after her?