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Califia
(myth) West Africa

Califia

Amazons' Queen

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Legendary queen of a tribe of Black Amazons in West Africa. It is postulated that Spanish "conquistadores" knew of the story of Califia as did other prominent Spaniards of those times. Early Spanish explorers hoped to find the Terrestrial Paradise in the New World. They believed California was an island, inhabited by beautiful Amazon women with arms of gold.

Experts have proposed that when in 1535 Hernando Cortez was dazzled by the beauty of the west coast of America he named it "California" from the name of Queen Califia. His companion Juan Paez states in his journal of 1542 "... We came in sight of California ..." and a map of 1562 applies this name for the region. The same applies to Francisco de Orellana, who encountered fascinating natives living along the banks of an enormous and beautiful river he named "Amazon".

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