California, the Last Frontier

By Robert Durrenberger; G. Etzel Pearcy et al. | Go to book overview

2
Island California

Know ye that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very near to the terrestrial paradise, which was peopled with black women without any men among them, because they were accustomed to live after the fashion of Amazons. They were of strong and hardened bodies, of ardent courage, and of great force. The island was the strongest in the world from its steep rocks and great cliffs. Their arms were all of gold, and so were the caparisons of the wild beasts which they rode after having tamed them; for in all the island there is no other metal. . . .

In this island, called California, there were many griffins, on account of the great ruggedness of the country, and its infinite host of wild beasts, such as never were seen in any other part of the world; and when these griffins were yet small, the women went out with traps to take them; they covered themselves over with very thick hides, and when they had caught the little griffins they took them to their caves and brought them up there. And being themselves quite a match for the griffins, they fed them with the men whom they took prisoners and with the boys to whom they gave birth, and brought them up with such arts that they got much good from them, and no harm. Every man who landed on the island was immediately devoured by these griffins; and although they had had enough, none the less they would seize them, and carry them high up in the air in their flight; and when they were tired of carrying them, would let them fall anywhere as soon as they died.

Over this island of California rules a queen, Calafia, statuesque in proportions, more beautiful than all the rest, in the flower of her womanhood, eager to perform great deeds, valiant and spirited, and ambitious to excel all those who have ruled before her.1

____________________
1
From the novel, Las Sergas de Esplandian, by Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo , Toledo, Spain, c. 1510.

-20-

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California, the Last Frontier
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Preface 3
  • Contents 5
  • 1 - California as a Distinct Region 7
  • 2 - Island California 20
  • 3 - Spanish California 32
  • 4 - The Golden State 43
  • 5 - One California -- or Many Californias? 59
  • 6 - Migrants and Migrations 77
  • 7 - Change and Growth 93
  • 8 - The California of Tomorrow 131
  • Study Guide 147
  • General References 153
  • Index 158
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