Cartographic errors can persist for centuries, surviving even evidence to the contrary. One of the most famous examples is the curious case of California as an island. In 1533, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortes sent an expedition to the westernmost portion of the United States. His men landed on the southern tip of what is now Baja and promptly named this newly discovered territory the island of California—a direct reference to Las Sergas de Esplandian, a Spanish chivalric novel from 1510, describing "on the right hand of the Indies […] an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons."
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