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Why California Was An Island For 250 Years

Tom Sapinski

Why California Was An Island For 250 Years
From the early 1500's when it was first discovered until the middle of the 1700's, California was thought to be an island by many people.  In fact, some of the most noted cartographers published maps showing "The Island of California". Some of the exploration voyages sent out to determine if California was indeed an island, returned with the news that "The Island of California" was an Atlantis-Like paradise inhabited by large, dark-skinned women (no men).
Obviously, they were misidentifying the Baja California Peninsula as the island in their reports. Determining the truth should not have been so difficult.  You place a marker on the land and then  take a boat and circle the island until you see that marker again.  If you don't come to the marker again then - no island. Some of the possible reasons responsible for the "Island or No-Island"  controversy are:
• The explorers sent out to check if California was an island were drinking too much of that ship's rum.
• Why take the time to find out - who is going to check, so tell them what they want to hear.
• They were paid more for discovering an island versus an extension of mainland.
• Apparently, the island rumor was started by Juan de Fuca - He should have stuck to his straights.
The issue was finally settled beyond all dispute in about 1776, the year of the "Declaration of Independence".
One of the Many "Island of California" Maps
Owning a map with California as an island would make an interesting conversation piece. You could hang it on the wall next to your square map of the world.
About the Author:
SANDTIQUE is one of the largest sellers of Antique Prints and Rare Maps on E-Bay with over 11,500 listings. Sandtique specializes in chromolithographs and hand-colored engravings and has antique prints in 40 plus categories. Check us out at

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