José Longinos Martínez
José Longinos Martínez was a Spanish naturalist whose account of his travels through Baja California Sur, Baja California, and California in 1792 provided an important early account of the region, its fauna, flora, minerals, and native inhabitants.
Longinos was born in Navarre. Coming to New Spain as part of a government-sponsored botanical expedition, he fell out with his superiors and struck off on his own. He traveled from Cabo San Lucas to Monterey between January and September 1792.
Although some sources state that Longinos performed cataract surgery in New Spain, available evidence indicates that he managed cataracts conservatively. However, he favored the procedure of cataract extraction over that of couching, and may have encouraged Narciso Esparragosa of Guatemala to begin performing cataract extractions.
Perhaps because of the rapidity of his journey, his account of the region was sometimes superficial, second-hand, or inaccurate. Nonetheless, it documented substantial otherwise-lost information, particularly on the lifeways of the native peoples.
Longinos travelled to Guatemala in 1795. He opened museums of natural history in Mexico City and in Guatemala.
- Longinos Martínez, José. 1961. Journal of José Longinos Martínez: Notes and Observations of the Naturalist of the Botanical Expedition in Old and New California and the South Coast, 1791-1792. Edited by Lesley Byrd Simpson. J. Howell, San Francisco.
- Longinos Martínez, José. 1994. Diario de las expediciones a las Californias de José Longinos Martínez. Edited by Salvador Bernabéu. Doce Calles, Madrid.