Where does the name California come from?

A. It's a Native American phrase meaning "bountiful land"

B. It's based on a 16th century romance novel featuring a black warrior queen

C. It's a reference to a presidio (military fort) of the same name in the Mexican state of Sonora

D. It's taken from an early text on methods of religious conversion used by Franciscan missionaries to convert indigenous people to Catholicism


The name California was used officially in Spanish documents as early as 1542. It comes from a description of a fabled, gold-laden island called California in the popular Spanish romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián) by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo. The island was ruled by a black warrior queen named Queen Califia who ruled over a kingdom of black women. Some historians believe that the early Spanish explorers who moved north from Mexico may have thought that what is now California was an island.

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