[ ahl-tuh ]
/ ˈɑl tə /
a former Spanish colony of New Spain, in the modern-day states of California, Nevada, and N Arizona: ceded by Mexico to the United States 1848.
What Bizarre Error Gave California Its Name?When the Spanish first began exploring the Pacific Coast of North America, they mistakenly believed that California was an island. (Some of the earliest and most fascinating maps of the state depict it as separated from the mainland.) This is considered one of the greatest, albeit short-lived, cartographic errors. Early mapmakers began labeling the “island” as California, the name of a mythical island in a book …
Also called Upper California.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019