To early explorers and geographers California represented a terrestrial paradise. It was Atlantis, Arcadia, Avalon, El Dorado, the Garden of Eden, the Land of Milk and Honey, the Pleasure Dome of Kublai Khan. It was always a magnet for dreamers. In this fascinating book Dora Beale Polk examines the dreams and myths that influenced the discovery and exploration of California. Throughout, Polk treats the long-held concept of California as an island, going back to medieval lore that filled an unknown ocean with rich, mysterious ideal islands. Columbus carried the lore to the New World, expecting to find islands teeming with gold, pearls, fabulous creatures, and Amazon women. Cortes was led by the "romance of the islands." Balboa, Cabrillo, Drake, Ascension, Kino, and many others entered into the making of the island myth. The discoveries and explorations of all the major figures are traced and their reports analyzed as they relate to California's geography and to the dreams overlaying it.