Queen Khalifa (aka Califia/Calafia) the Black Empress of California

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By Jide Uwechia

Khalifia (Queen Califia painting by James Gayle)

California, the land of the ever-living Muurish Empress Calafia/Califia. Calafia was the title of each empress. California was her land. She was known to be black of skin, of the muurish nationality, and ruled over Islands and Islands of black people, from California, Baja, to Hawaii.

A muurish Island, ruled by women. It was first mentioned in the records of the western European christians in the seventh century, and retold “The Song of Roland” where a passing mention of a place called Califerne, was made perhaps because it was the caliph’s domain. See (Putnam, Ruth (1917). Herbert Ingram Priestley. ed. California: the name. Berkeley: University of California)

Spanish conquistadors told stories about a mystical black muurish queen that ruled a State of California, situated in the same location as the present day California. The modern state of State California continues the legacy and the memory of this great black Queendom and its Queens.

CalifiabyTheArthurWright (Califia, Queen of California painting by Arthur Wright)

The Muurs and Calafia

Khalifa means God’s ruler (in Muurish Arabic).

The story of Calafia was later re-narrated in the book The Adventures of Esplandián, a book written in 1500, probably based on stories gleaned from the old Muurish seamen of Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium and England.

Calafia is introduced as “… a regal Muurish black woman, courageous, strong of limb and large in person, full in the bloom of womanhood, the most beautiful of a long line of queens who ruled over the mythical realm of California.”

She supposedly commanded a fleet of ships with which she ruled and maintained peace in the surrounding lands, and islands including Baja and Hawaii. She reportedly kept an aerial defense force of “griffins”, and other fabulous animals which were native to California, trained to defend the land against invanders.

She was so powerful she could project her imperial power over the seas of the mediteranean at will. The Esplandian narrates that Calafia maintained cultural and trading contacts with the Muurs of Africa. It told of her wars in the mediterranean seas, in Anatolia, the Byzantine empire and in southern Europe. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calafia#cite_ref-Sabir2004_23-1

According to the author of The Adventures of Esplandián:

“Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California, very close to that part of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women without a single man among them, and they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body with strong passionate hearts and great virtue. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks.”(Putnam, Ruth (1917). Herbert Ingram Priestley. ed. California: the name. Berkeley: University of California)

The crusader and conqueror of the territory of California Hernán Cortés and his men were familiar with the book. Cortés quoted liberally from the book and it did have an influence on his decision to look for the Island of California. As governor of Mexico he sent out an ill-fated expedition of two ships, one guided by the famous pilot Fortún Ximénez. That expedition did not fare well at all and most of the ships and the men were lost.

In 1535, Cortés led an expedition back to the land of Calafia or California, and decided to re-named it Santa Cruz. However, that name did not stick, as the natives, and the Muurs and the black Indians and red Indians and so-called whites continued to use the ancient and old name of the land “California”.

Cortes himself and his contemporaries appeared to have used the name too. In 1550 and 1556, the name appears three times in reports about Cortés written by Giovanni Battista Ramusio.

Thus over the years of increasing conquest, colonization and rape of the land of California, the ancient land of the muurs has held onto its name and identity, in the knowledge that one day, it will be as it was in the beginning.


African-Americans and Queen Califia

In 2004, the African American Historical and Cultural Society Museum in San Francisco assembled a Queen Califia exhibit, curated by John William Templeton, featuring works by artists such as TheArthur Wright and James Gayles; artistic interpretations of Calafia.

The show displayed a 1936 treatment of Lucille Lloyd’s “California Allegory” triptych, with Queen Califia as the central figure. Templeton said that “Califia is a part of California history, and she also reinforces the fact that African Americans had always been in California. See, Sabir, Wanda. “Wanda’s Picks”. San Francisco Bayview. Retrieved January 2, 2011. http://sigidiart.com/Docs/WandasPicksCalifia.htm

“Califia is a part of California history, and she also reinforces the fact that when Cortes named this place California, he had 300 black people with him. And throughout the whole Spanish-Mexican war, 40 percent of the population was black.” .

Templeton pointed out that most of the navigators on the explorations to the New World were African, because Africans knew how to get the New World.

For instance, Columbus had a black navigator. Muurish (black) folks had been going back and forth between Africa and America from the dawn of time. All they had to do was get in the wind right off the West Coast of Africa.

A Muurish (African) Emperor Abu Bukari took 1,000 ships to the New World in the 1300s. So Muurish navigators and sea men were highly sought in those days that the previously land-bounded Europeans were in their infancy in navigational and maritime sciences.

A black man used to own the San Fernando Valley. That was Pio de Jesus Pico (1801-1894). He was also the last Mexican governor of California. In total, in the 1800s, there were atleast four black governors of the state of California. See Sabir, Wanda. “Wanda’s Picks”. San Francisco Bayview. Retrieved January 2, 2011 http://sigidiart.com/Docs/WandasPicksCalifia.htm

Dr. William E. Hoskins, director of the museum, said that very few people know the story of Queen Califia. He said, “One of the things we’re trying to do is let people have the additional insight and appreciation for the contributions of African Americans to this wonderful country and more specifically to the state of California”. See Sabir, Wanda. “Wanda’s Picks”. San Francisco Bayview. Retrieved January 2, 2011 http://sigidiart.com/Docs/WandasPicksCalifia.htm

Jide Uwechia

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61 thoughts on “Queen Khalifa (aka Califia/Calafia) the Black Empress of California”

  1. It really saddens me that mexican people do not know their black history nor would they accept it. I have always believe that pacific islanders were of black stock. We are every where. Its only sad the last four hundreds years are so has totally limited our beginningtoslavery days….and yet we are so much greater. Sometimes I read things myself and I want to be yeah right they didnt teach this in school..but school teaching is watered down n full of lies.

    1. I just posted that same expression on fb after sharing this article. How can we teach our children if we were never taught. I’m tired of being the lost race.

  2. For example the name Garin Baura means town of Baura(priest) in Hausa language. “Marina” means the place where leather is colored in ancient time.

  3. I am native american of Chumash/Apache and Zacateco descent, My name is Cuetlachtcuicatl. There are no legends of a great black ruler in our sacred lands, we had and still have our names for the land and our origin stories, This is an agenda that will be stomped out by any Native person. Creator guided us all to our sacred land and we never believed in the idea of ownership, leadership, property, worship or government. No way my people would bow before any man nor women. Just because your people have found certain truths that exist showing the link in our paths from a time forgotten, does not mean they have the entirety of the story, and much like the white men this assumes we are not capable of maintaining our own history. And is insulting. Do not forget, even the slaves from across the sea had there own ways of finding there own identity’s here in our beloved Zemanahuak!

    “Wolfsong” Cuetlachtcuicatl.

    1. What is the oldest native tribe….better yet, how where native americans given their land back??? Also, if you look at paintings in pyramid walls or inside mounds you will find art of black Americans and if you research olmec people you may find a stone head with an afro….plus, my family are of native decent and the first people in the americas were afro and Asiatic people…..the pictures of black incas and Moorish people is strong evidence. Plus, tell me that native americans look like they did 200 years ago….truthfully we are all mostly native american but terminology has been used to set the agenda of separating people ethnically. Read the willie lynch letter and find articles written in the early 1800’s about what American Indians looked like….just sayin do the research. Truthfully black Americans dont look like Africans but more like blacks from the pacific islands

    2. Cuetlachtcuicatl, you left out real natives are humble truth seekers who are honest in their quest for knowledge and is willing to listen to both sides of an argument. Since black people are found in the oral histories of many native tribes, a real native would not have a problem with the information presented here. Thus, my conclusion is you are just another Albino who has stolen the identity of a real Native because of some one drop Native blood or your ancestors were part of the 5$ system that saw to it that Albinos were names as Natives. I bet I could not tell the difference between you and any old Albino squatter who claim to be European. Cuetlachtcuicatl, you are just another pink skin 5$ native who want the world to believe that Natives 200 years ago had pink, Central Asian skin. Prior to interbreeding with you pale apes from Central Asia, Natives had brown and black skin colours. Now that you pale apes have stolen the identities of Natives, you are claiming that Native from 200 years ago had pink, Albino skin colour.

      I think identity theft is natural to you Central Asian Albinos. After you the Central Asian Albinos and their Turkish Albino counterpart masquerading as Arabs, complete their genocide on Africa, much like what they did to the brown/black skin people of the Americas, they will assume their identity. Why not? The Albinos have assumed the identity of the original Europeans, middle easterners and North Africans including Egypt.

      There are many stories of Native tribes interacting with black people. I know a Native woman who is married to an African and though they do not speak the same language, they understand each others’ tongue. How can that be if there were no black people running around in the Americas with Natives? The woman told her husband that in their oral history, they are told of interacting with black tribes in the Americas before Columbus.

      I find it interesting that you pale, wanna be natives will fight with a black person who traces black people to the Americas prior to Columbus, with evidence, but you are take no issues with your Albino brethren who have stolen the lands, identities and have left them prisoners (reserves) in your own land.

        1. Seek! And you WILL FIND!
          The oldest known human remains were found on the continent known as Africa!
          Why then is it sooooooo difficult to accept the fact that we are ALL CONNECTED- —— we are Onekind!
          If aliens from some other world came here to conquer- —— I can assure you that they would not bother to differentiate the human species!

      1. Mike, my brother. Although there is accuracy in what you state, there is also lack of humble. For instance “you are just another pink skin 5$ native” is a direct personal thrash on Cuetlachtcuicatl. You realizing the inaccuracies and biases Cuetlachtcuicatlhas made leaves no need to address him personally. But, more of what he needs is learning through discipline, which was your attempt successfully made. Don’t get me wrong. You are right about$5 Indians and that today they are the ones running the reservations, opening casinos, and receiving recognition from the U.S. federal government. You are even correct about the oral history of dark skin indigenous Americans. You make quite a few accurate points that may get lost in defending the personal statements.

      2. took the words outta my mouth..Cuetlachtcuicatl you truly need to know what the definition of an American is.. The ABORIGINALS OR VARIOUS COPPERED COLORED RACES FOUND HERE BEFORE THE EUROPEANS BUT NOW APPLIES TO PEOPLE OF EUROPEAN DECENT……..aboriginal and copper colored races.. you may have history of a scared land and a good name but you make no sense

      1. It’s a powerful name for a woman. I strongly recommend that not give this name to your daughter, but also to raise her as a strong warrior like queen. Most activities for young girls focus on vanity vice mental, emotional, and physical conciuous and subconscious strengthening. These three are important. Good luck as a mother and best wishes to a good life for your daughter.

    3. Cuetlachtcuicatl, maybe you aren’t well versed on your history. So many things have been manipulated and twisted in favor of the white race, who have pillaged most everything. None of us know all there is to know about history. But what we do know, is that black history continues to wash up ALL OVER THE WORLD. Murals, statues, hidden cities under water. Too many things to say we didn’t exist or create much of the historical existence that has been distorted or appropriated today. I wish you all the best in your future discovery and understanding of Black culture. The essence of Black culture. ~Peace~

    4. First I’ll start with Queen Khalifa. If this is such a bogus made up story then why is the state of California named after her? The original Seal of California contained the dark skin Queen Khalifa. It was later replaced with an image of the Roman goddess Minerva to protect the white man ability to keep the land.
      According to test done on the Olmec stone heads in central and South America they date to over 20,000 years. Aztec and Mayan art are of dark skin people. This continues to the north east coast of America with the dark skin Powhatan indigenous people of Virginia. The1828 Webster dictionary that defines American as copper color indigenous people. The stories and ancient drawings all show dark skin indigenous people of America. Over the last 200 plus years a strong effort has continued to white out images of indigenous Americans.
      The modern day “Native American” are of either Mongolian ancestry or Caucasian immigrants. Genghis Khan crushed a lot of tribes and states in eastern Asia. The Mongolian “Native Americans” are refugees received by indigenous Americans to these lands.
      The stories of slaves from Africa are lies. Indigenous copper colored Americans were genocide by the millions. Roughly 90% of the indigenous populations were killed by first Spanish conquerors starting in central America heading south then north along the western parts of America. Then the French came and started their genocide throughout central north America. Finally, a century later the English began their genocide along the eastern coast of America. The motto for each country genocide was the spread of disease or poisoning water supplies. These tactics devastated the indigenous Americans. Some entire villages were destroyed. Others were attacked while the warriors were still weak. Those who survived were taken as prisoners of war and were either sold into slavery or kept to work the crop fields and dig for precious metals. Columbus was the first Caucasian to take slaves from the Americas to Europe, Arabic nations, and Africa. The slave story is told in reverse.
      Also, read the declaration of Liberia.
      In a nut shell, the so called “African American” are the indigenous people of America. I have a few books that state this. That also state the census classified Indians as negroes. The truth is well guarded because the conquerors to this day because local, state, federal, and private corporations do not want the indigenous people to know who they are. That the land from southern Peru to northern Canada, Hawaii and Caribbean islands belongs to them. The Caucasians have genocide murdered and raped the indigenous peoples in tens of millions. They have also raped and murdered the land, the rivers/waters, and animals.

    5. Don’t be so brain washed, Native American is a name you we’re given by another agenda to hide the true identity of Turtle Islands first inhibitors. The same agenda that coined the term “African American ” in the 1900s. The true natives are copper and brown colored aboriginals who still exist in America today under great oppression and identity crisis, but don’t take my word just check any legal, documented record prior to the 1800s.

  4. actually its known that columbus used a very ancient map.

    A map which was stolen from egypt/ethiopia by some thug called alexander.

    A map stone from an Afrikan library.

  5. Its a shame stop lieing. Iam african american and my great grandmother is native american of the blackfoot tribe down south. Black foot, that says it all. We arent going to rub it in your face it just brings us all more info.

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