Talk:Etymology of California

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The relevance of the passage from the diary of Christopher Columbus's first voyage escapes me. No mention of "California" at all. Does anyone have a clue why this is here? -- Jmabel | Talk 00:24, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)

Columbus' passage talks about hearing about an island populated by only women; Las Sergas de Esplandián describes California as an island populated only by women. — J3ff 00:43, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)

During the time of Colombus´s voyages, the mainstream in literature was heroic fantasy stories. The most famous were the series of adventures of the knight Amadis de Gaula, authored by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo. The success of those books was much bigger than Tolkien stories today. Spanish explorers were very influenced by those stories, so they were expecting to find dragons, giants and other fantasy beings.

When Columbus said about finding amazons in the Antilles, Rodriguez de Montalvo includes them into another Amadis´ story ( Las Sergas de Espandian ), in which the hero reaches the land of the amazons and meets their queen (Califa). Being this novel a great success , the explorers called California ( land of Califa ) to the place they expected to find amazons.

Weird, I thought it, particularly in the Song of Roland, reffered to the middle east, i.e. Caliphates.

Status of translation[edit]

I've marked in red the few passages still needing actual translation; hope no one minds. Once that's done, this could use some cleanup, it's not really a very well-written article. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:54, Mar 23, 2005 (UTC)


Obviously, this article could use better references, but that's not a reason to remove the ones we have.

Accurately acknowledging our references for an article means indicating what references we consulted (both in the course of writing and later, for confirmation). Should the Spanish Wikipedia article be better referenced? Absolutely, as should nearly all of the Spanish Wikipedia. Is it the reference we used? Yes, so we should acknowledge it. The fact that it is broadly part of the same project we are participating in doesn't change this. Many English-language Wikipedia articles site references that are not themselves all that well-referenced.

When we use a reference that is itself a tertiary source based on good references, we usually indicate both our own references and the references at one remove. This happens all the time for 1911 Britannica-derived articles; also, see Paragraph 175 for an example of doing this with an article from the (generally well-referenced) German-language Wikipedia. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:04, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

Calpurnia ?[edit]

Recently added "Or, Calpurnia." I've cut this, pending some citation of who might think this is the origin: totally new to me. -- Jmabel | Talk 09:28, 5 January 2006 (UTC)

Requests for citation[edit]

I believe I have satisfied several of the recent requests for citation in this article; I strongly suspect that the article that I've now cited at was actually the unacknowledged source for a great deal of what was written in the original Spanish-language Wikipedia article.

For one sentence for which citation has been requested, I cannot imagine what could qualify as acceptable citation: it seems like nothing more than a transitional sentence: "This notion of a place of women without men echoes a passage from the diary of Christopher Columbus's first voyage." To say that one description of a place of women without men "echoes" another seems to me to be tautological: User:Zzyzx11, what exactly do you have in mind that needs to be cited for? - Jmabel | Talk 07:45, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Similarly, how does one cite for "There is no agreement among scholars"? The entire article is about scholarly disagreement: what more could one cite to demonstrate that scholars do not agree? - Jmabel | Talk 08:17, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

I see that after ten months there has been no clarification of what is being requested here, so I am going to remove what have seemed to me all along to be unreasonable requests. - Jmabel | Talk 02:14, 5 March 2007 (UTC)


I have cut the following:

It must be noted that there has been a small village called California on the coast of Norfolk, England since at least the 13th Century, which, given the large number of settlers to the United States coming from the area, making it another theory.

According to [1], California, Norfolk received its name in the mid-19th century, during the California Gold Rush. Hence, it was named after California on the West Coast of the United States, not vice versa. (Our article [Ormesby St. Margaret with Scratby] says the same.) Offhand, I see no reason to doubt that. I would need to see quite a solid citation to the contrary. - Jmabel | Talk 22:17, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Could California be a corruption of Kalliovuorena?[edit]

I am British and living in Finland and noticed a striking resemblence between the Finnish word for Rocky Mountain (Kalliovuori, or plural Rocky Mountains which is kalliovuoret) and California. You may not see the similarilty but let me explain. Finnish has a very old form of indicating place, by using the word ending being -na (e.g. "kotona" ="at home", formed from "koti"=home). So "by the Rocky Mountains" could be kalliovuorena. Finns have no C in their language and are used to turning foreign C words into K words, and similarly there is no F in the Finnish language (the name Finland comes from Swedish!) and approximate it to V in their own language. Hence a foreign word such as "Coffee" in Finnish has become "Kahvi". Reversing the process (making an English or Spanish word from Kalliovuorena would amazingly deliver the word Calliofuorena. But Finnish diphthongs io and uo are rare in other languages and thus it could become quite easily Calliforena or simply California.

Being curious about words I immediately started to seek out the actual origin of the word California and although it seems that it may come from a Spanish writer, it seems that its not exactly certain. And even if this writer did invent the name, where did he get the name from? So there are still a lot of unanswered questions. And of course the Rockies and California are not exactly adjacent (but maybe to far away explorers maybe they are close enough - you may have to cross the Rockies to get to California). It may be very far-fetched to think that a Finn was somehow responsible for giving California its name, but stranger things have happened! If this is possibly true, it would really please the Finns because the only word they have ever donated to other languages is the word "sauna" Tom

The name was invented by a Spanish writer in the 11th century, before the discovery of the actual place. There was no natural contact available with Finnish speakers. The construction itself is too complicated and against known patterns. --Vuo 18:52, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
And as for the Rockies and California, please remember that the name originally applied mainly to what is now Baja California. - Jmabel | Talk 03:36, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Recent addition ("black women") questioned[edit]

Rcently added: "Equally important is that this island, inhabited by Black women, was in the imagination of Spaniards. This demonstrates the relative position that race did not have the same currency as it does to this day."

  • "Equally important" compared to what?
  • Second sentence makes no sense, at least to me. I cannot even parse it confidently.

I'll allow at least a few days for someone to address this, otherwise I'll just cut it. - Jmabel | Talk 18:35, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I reversed the order of information regarding "The Song of Roland," because it is, at best, an obscure connection. The most commonly cited origin of "California" is the Queen Califia/black Amazon legend. There are, in fact, murals of Queen Califia clearly showing her to be black. Further, the information about the work of Montalvo isn't quite accurate. I've included the correct information in California here,[2] but just don't have the patience to make the corrections here. Someone else might want to have at it. deeceevoice 21:11, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

Major Rewrite[edit]

I am in the process of finishing a major rewrite of this article. Unfortunately, the current article perpetuates a number of theories that have long been discredited. There is no disagreement among historians as to the origin of the name (it is from Esplandian). The original article is not based on reliable of sources. I hope people agree that this is an improvement. Lagringa 20:49, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

The history of discredited theories should be retained, even though it should indicate that they are discredited. I agree that Las sergas de Esplandián is almost certainly the correct explanation; still, the history of the false conjectures is interesting in and of itself; these appear to be a veriyiable part of lexicographical history, and should be there for the benefit of people who are interested. - Jmabel | Talk 23:34, 5 September 2006 (UTC)


It may be derived from caliente fornalia, Spanish for hot furnace, or it may come from calida fornax, Latin for hot climate.[5]

fornax is Latin for furnace and fornalia seems Portuguese for an oven-related term. But hot is quente in Portuguese. So it seems that somebody is mixing languages and even references here. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15 September 2006.

Sorry if this isn't the best place, I'm new here. But remember the Portuguese words: "Cal", "Fornia", and "Forno", and the old California Beach in Sesimbra, and that it comes from the "forno de cal" (ovens made of lime) made by the Romans and found on that beach. That's why they called the beach "California", for having ovens (forno) made of lime (cal) by the Romans. Not only the "cal" and "forno" exist, but the word "fornia" exists in Portuguese also. Also, there is a small river called "Ribeira da Califórnia" in Palmela village, 15 or 20km away from Sesimbra's California Beach. So in those two places, in less than 20km of distance, the old people already had those two names long before California being discovered, two times in the same place. The "Ribeira da California" is a very old location, but the beach is a tradition passed from father to sun generation after generation and has that name but I don't know for how much time. But California exists in Portugal long before California was ever discovered, like "Cuba" or "Canada".

--Crashh (talk) 02:14, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Crashh

Califas merge[edit]

Support merge of Califas, but please merge only what can be referenced, otherwise just bring it here to the talk page. - Jmabel | Talk 05:51, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Would this be an accurate summary of the roots?:[edit]

Would this be an accurate summary of the roots?:

Californo in Sicily

Calafornina in Sicily

Calahorra, Spain






Cali (disambiguation)

There are these quotes which seem to have been scribed on April Fools' Day:

Some suggest that the word California may signify that a place is "hot as an oven" (cali > hot, fornia > oven). It may be derived from caliente fornalia, Spanish for hot furnace, or it may come from calida fornax, Latin for hot climate.

These possibilities are mentioned in Etimología de California on; however, they are cited only as "Gracias: Maximiliano Mena Perez". Accessed 1 April 2006. They are also alluded to on the site of Centro de Investigación Científica y Educación Superior de Ensenada:Baja California, accessed 1 April 2006. The site of the New Mexico State University, on its page on Field Ecology of Baja, states this etymology as fact, and cites it to "Zwinger, 1961", presumably A. Zwinger, A Desert Country Near the Sea: A Natural History of the Cape Region of Baja California New York: Harper and Row (1961).</ref>

Another possible source may be kali forno, an indigenous phrase meaning "high mountains".

According to the Chronology of California History (accessed 1 April 2006) on the site of Sons of the Revolution in California, Mexican priest Miguél Venegas put forth this theory in 1757.</ref> There is no agreement among scholars.[citation needed]

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Thank You.

[[ hopiakuta | [[ [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] -]] 17:36, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Is "calico" "hot color"?

{tortoiseshell_cat; calico cat.}

[[ hopiakuta | [[ [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] -]] 17:42, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Californo in Sicily

Calafornina in Sicily

Calahorra, Spain



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It does seem that searching for these words, largely, leads back to this article.

[[ hopiakuta | [[ [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] -]] 22:52, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


< >.

This has been deleted, w/ very little discussion.

[[ hopiakuta | [[ [[%c2%a1]] [[%c2%bf]] [[ %7e%7e%7e%7e ]] -]] 15:13, 25 December 2006 (UTC)


The Californian coast was first explored by a Portuguese sailor at the service of the Castillan crown (1594/1595 when Portugal was under Castilan rule of Philip II of Spain (Philip I of Portugal). Roiz Soromenho (Sebastião Rodrigues Soromenho) was a native of Sesimbra, a fishing town 30 km south of Lisbon where there is a place (part of the Sesimbra sand beach) called California Beach.

Besides the lack of citation to anyone suggesting this as an origin:

  1. What is the even possible relevance of exploration by a Portuguese sailor decades after the name California had become established?
  2. Is there any evidence that the name "California Beach" in Sesimbra predates the California in the Americas? We've also had people pointing at a "California" in the UK which (unsurprisingly) dates from the 19th century. - Jmabel | Talk 23:16, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

About the Portuguese origin:

Hi, I've read this and I feel I should tell you what I know. I have a house in Sesimbra, and the Califórnia Beach has always had that name passed to us from the ancients, because ovens ("fornos" in Portuguese) made of lime/whitewash ("Cal" in Portuguese) by the Romans were found there near the beach in a cliff. So, like we usually do, we assign names that relate to things that the place has in History, etc. So ancients told me that it passes generations, that the junction of the words "forno" (oven) and "cal" (lime), from the Roman lime ovens left here thousands of years ago, the name "Califórnia" gave birth and the beach was called Califórnia a long time ago. The words "Cal", "Forno" exist in Portuguese (cal = lime, forno = oven), and the word "fornia" exists also in Portuguese. So, as another one told here, and as you already know, Portuguese like the Magellion that made the trip around the world for the first time in a ship from the Spanish, the Spanish crews had usually lots of Portuguese in them (during the Iberian Empire when Portugal and Spain were under the same king) so there were always Portuguese on those travels. And Sesimbra is an old fishing village and port, where lots of sailors departed. This is an old story that is told to us by the ancient. Anyway there is a village in Portugal called Cuba much before the discoveries, there is a land called "Canada" in southern Portugal long before the discoveries, places called "Bacalao" (ancient Portuguese word for "codfish" in Canada, etc. So don't think it's strange, it's pretty normal. About ancient documents, as you may know, Lisbon was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 and almost all the secret documents with it, so nowadays Portuguese History is still being discovered as we speak. Not only Sesimbra but around 15km away from Sesimbra, also in Portugal, in Palmela, there is the "Ribeira da California", a place that exists long before California was discovered in USA by ships with Spanish and Portuguese (Iberian Empire). So the first place in the world to have that exact name is in Portugal in two places, before the discoveries age.

--Crashh (talk) 02:02, 1 June 2011 (UTC)Crashh


I have added a "{{prod}}" template to the article Califas, suggesting that it be deleted according to the proposed deletion process. All contributions are appreciated, but I don't believe it satisfies Wikipedia's criteria for inclusion, and I've explained why in the deletion notice (see also "What Wikipedia is not" and Wikipedia's deletion policy). You may contest the proposed deletion by removing the {{dated prod}} notice, but please explain why you disagree with the proposed deletion in your edit summary or on its talk page. Also, please consider improving the article to address the issues raised. Even though removing the deletion notice will prevent deletion through the proposed deletion process, the article may still be deleted if it matches any of the speedy deletion criteria or it can be sent to Articles for Deletion, where it may be deleted if consensus to delete is reached. FelisLeoTalk! 09:58, 20 April 2007 (UTC)

Origin of the name[edit]

The word "califa" (meaning "caliph") did not entered in Spanish until the 19th century (from French "calife"). Previously, Spanish language use the word "miramamolín" (from Arabian "amir al-mu'minim", prince of believers, a title inherent to caliphs). So I don't think California referred the Cordoba Caliphate.

Calida fornax[edit]

The supposed origin from calida fornax can be traced back to before Noticia de la California by Miguel Venegas (edited by Miguel del Barco) published in 1757 (see for instance a quote on pp. 419 - 420 in Narrative of a voyage round the world, during the years 1835,36, and 37 by William Ruschenberger where Venegas is sceptical to this idea). It is also mentioned by Francisco Javier Clavijero in 1789.

Thus it seems a bit out of place to imply that it came from "some astrologer" in 2008, as it does in the section Other origin theories...

--Episcophagus (talk) 00:43, 25 December 2012 (UTC)