Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo
Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈɡarθi roˈðɾiɣeθ ðe monˈtalβo]) (or Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo) (~1450 – 1504) was a Spanish author who arranged the modern version of the chivalric romance Amadis of Gaul, written in three books in the 14th century by an unknown author. Montalvo added a fourth book of his own and also wrote a sequel, Las sergas de Esplandián (The Exploits of Esplandián or The Adventures of Esplandián) (oldest known printing, 1510), in which he tells the life and wandering of Amadis' eldest son.
The saga was continued by books by later authors. The books were the sixth novel, Florisando (by Ruiz Paez de Ribera, 1510), followed by Lisuarte of Greece (by Feliciano de Silva, 1514), Lisuarte of Greece (by Juan Diaz, 1525), Amadis of Greece (by Feliciano de Silva, 1530), etc.
In the sequel, Las sergas de Esplandián, 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 peninsula, 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.
- Rodríguez de Montalvo, Garci (1526) . Las sergas de Esplandián [The Adventures of Esplandián] (in Spanish). "Sabed que ala diestra mano de las Indias ouo una Isla llamada California mucho llegada ala parte del paraiso terrenal la qual sue poblada de mugeres negras sin que algun uaro entre ellas ouiesse: que casi como las amazonas ..." (The first mention of "California" occurs on the unnumbered page after page CVIII, in the right column.)
- Hale, Edward Everett (March 1864), "The Queen of California", Atlantic Monthly 13 (77): 265–279
- "Montalvo, Garci Rodríguez de" Dictionary of Literary Biography volume 286, Gale Research Company, Detroit, Michigan