A 1510 romance novel by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo describes “an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise,” that was “peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.” With this in mind, it was easy for early explorers, sailing up the Gulf of California, to mistake the Baja Peninsula for just such an island. One of the most famous errors in cartographic history, it is repeated here by Padre Eusebio Kino (in a copy by Nicolas de Fer), an Italian-born Jesuit missionary and defender of Indian rights who explored Pimeria Alta, Baja California and the Colorado River.
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Eusebio Kino and Nicolas de Fer : “Map of the Island of California or New Carolina” (1720)
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