Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo
In the sequel Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Exploits of Esplandian (1510)), Rodríguez described a mythical Island of California as being west of the Indies:
- 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.
The novel was highly influential in motivating Hernán Cortés and other explorers in the discovery of the Island, which they believed lay along the west coast of North America. In 1539, Francisco de Ulloa, sailing under the commission of Cortés, explored the Gulf of California and the coast of Baja California, determining that it was a peninsula, not an island. Nevertheless, the cartographic misconception of California as an island persisted on many European maps well into the 18th century.
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