What Does "California" Mean?
The name California originates from the Spanish conquistadors, after Califia, a mythical island paradise described in Las Serges de Esplandian by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo (a Spanish romance written about 1510). All State Name Origins
Baja California (lower California, which is now in Mexico) was first visited by the Spanish in 1533. What is now the state of California was called Alta California (upper California).