Black People : CALIFORNIA named after a black women


Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2007
Califia (aka Calafia) is the name of a legendary Black Amazon warrior queen, associated with the mythical Island of California. The U.S. state of California is named after Queen Califia (see Origin of the name California).

The legend of Queen Califia appears to date back to the novel Las sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián), written around 1510 by the Spanish writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo: "It is known that to the right of the Indies there exists an island called California very near the terrestrial paradise; and peopled by black women among whom there was not a single man since they lived in the way of the Amazons. They had beautiful robust bodies, spirited courage and great strength. Their island was the most impregnable in the world with its cliffs and headlands and rocky coasts. Their weapons were all of gold
. . . because in all the island there was no metal except gold. And there ruled over that island of California a queen of majestic proportions, more beautiful than all others, and in the very vigor of her womanhood. She was not petite, nor blond, nor golden-haired. She was large, and black as the ace of clubs. But the prejudice of color did not then exist even among the most brazen-faced or the most copper-headed. For, as you shall learn, she was reputed the most beautiful of women; and it was she, O Californias! who accomplished great deeds, she was valiant and courageous and ardent with a brave heart, and had ambitions to execute nobler actions than had been performed by any other ruler — Queen Califia."

This document helped to precipitate the Spanish hunt for gold in North America. In 1536 when the explorer Hernán Cortés landed with his crew in what is known today as Baja California, that they had arrived in Califia's land. A portion of the original of this document Las sergas de Esplandián was translated by Edward Everett Hale for The Antiquarian Society, and the story was printed in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1864.[1] By 1770, the entire Pacific coast controlled by Spain had been given the name California, and the Spanish speaking people who lived there were called Californios.

Dora Beale Polk, The Island of California,: A History of the Myth, page 126: "In describing his California Amazons as "mujeres negras" Montalvo was following the color prejudices of the period. In his time, and in some places still, black describes any complexion other than white. John Mandeville describes a tribe neighboring his Amazons as "black enough and more than black . . . and they be clept Moors. When the explorers met the inhabitants of what they believed was "Ind," they lumped them automatically into the dark-skinned category of their crude "we/they" classification. Attitudes from the New World, the Crusades, and the invasion of the Moors were fused in Montalvo's California Amazons."[2]
Mural of Queen Califia and her Amazons at Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, California
Mural of Queen Califia and her Amazons at Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco, California

The oldest known imaginative portrayal of Queen Califia and her Amazons is a mural in "The Room of the Dons" at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, was created for the opening of the hotel in 1926, by Maynard Dixon[3] and Frank Von Sloun. This is one of seven foot high panels in the room.



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