Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Calafia, Queen of California

Long before there was Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, there was Calafia. Long before there was Themyscira, there was California, a mythical African island.

Do you know that California, from Arabic (Calif/caliph) and Spanish (Ornia) -is the inspiration for the U.S. state of California?

Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks. Chapter CLVII of The Adventures of Esplandi├ín[25]

According to Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, the Spanish author of The Adventures of Esplandian, Calafia ruled over a legendary island of black women warriors called California--a land that has an abundance of gold as its precious metal.

Persuaded to join the crusade in Jerusalem. she brought her griffins with her. The griffins were trained to kill men (not women) and could not tell the feuding men (Christians/Muslims) apart, and subsequently killed indiscriminately.  The Christians won the battle, and Calafia was captured in a fight with Esplandian, a knight.

In captivity she fell for Esplandian and converted to Christianity. She subsequently married his cousin, Talanque, and returned to California, along with him, her sister, and the men the Amazons fell in love with along the way.

Calafia's story was written as a distraction in The Adventures of Esplandian/Amadis de Gaula love sagas, 1510. It, however, has endured long after the novels themselves were burned during the Spanish Inquisition and forgotten to history.

In honor of this Amazon queen, I present the first part of Calafia, Queen of California, a short story that serves as a sequel to Calafia's first adventure.