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Cf. Wikipedia:Origin of the name California Apparently this name stems from the Spanish novel Las sergas de Esplandián by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo where a paradise-like island California ruled by an Amazon queen Calafia is described. This novel inspired Hernán Cortés when he found and named the Baja California.
It is disputed from which language the word california derives. In my opinion it comes from the word "califate".