Origin of the name CaliforniaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This 1562 map by Diego Gutiérrez was the first map to print the toponym California.
California is a place name used by three North American states: in the United States by the state of California, and in Mexico by the states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Collectively, these three areas constitute the region formerly referred to as Las Californias. The name California is shared by many other places in other parts of the world whose names derive from the original.
California, called the Las Californias Province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, originally referred to the entire region composed of the Baja California peninsula now known as Mexican Baja California and Baja California Sur, and upper mainland now known as the U.S. states of California and parts of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming. After Mexico's independence from Spain, the upper territory became the Alta California province. In even earlier times, the boundaries of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean coastlines were only partially explored and California was shown on early maps as an island. The Sea of Cortez is also known as the Gulf of California.