Words are our Best Weapon Against the Lies of History (Truth in the Root of the Word).
Queen Califia (Calafia) is the name of A Legacy- A Myth and The Truth.
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 California! 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.
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.
The Legend of Queen Califia appears to date back to the novel Los Sergas de Esplandian (The Adventures of Esplandian), written around 1500 by the Spanish writer Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo:
He described the island in this passage:
“Know, that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.”
Califia’s Life and Land, as described by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo. To some extent, this document helped to precipitate the Spanish hunt for gold in North America. In fact, some thirty years later, 1536 when the explorer Hernán Cortés landed with his crew in what is known today as Baja, it is said that he announced to his men (of which 300 were of African descent) that they had arrived in Califia’s land.
Sanson’s 1650 Map of California- until nearly the end of the 17th century [up to the Reconstruction Era] California was believed to be an Island.
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. A portion of the original of this document was translated by Edward Everett Hale for The Antiquarian Society, and the story was printed in the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1864. The best known depictions of Queen Califia are murals done by well-known artists.
One seven-foot high panel showing Califia as a Black woman with her Amazons in The Room of the Dons at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco, and was created for the opening of the hotel in 1926, by Maynard Dixon and Frank Von Sloun.
(Note: Don (Spanish origin) is a title reserved for Royalty.)
Another famous depiction, created by Louise Lloyd and entitled “The Naming of California”, can be seen in Sacramento in the Senate Rules Committee Hearing Chamber on the 4th floor of the State Building. Could Queen Califia’s legend possibly bear seeds of truth regarding her True identity?
First image can be found here: