The Origin of the Name “California”

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Check out this interesting an informative article on the origin of the name “California” by Robert Petersen, in which the author points to the influence of a 16th century romance novel written by a Spanish author named Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo.

For an idea of one way in which Europeans understood the topography of California in the 16th century, here is a 1597 map by Cornelius Wytfliet, the first printed map to focus on California and the American Southwest, from the first atlas devoted entirely to maps of the Americas.