Wenceslaus Linck

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Wenceslaus Linck (Wenceslau Linck) (1736 – after 1790) was the last of the outstanding Jesuit missionary-explorers in Baja California.

Born in Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), he entered the Jesuit order at age 18 and studied at Brno and Prague. In New Spain, he continued his studies in Mexico City and Puebla between 1756 and 1761. In 1762 he was sent to Baja California, initially to Santa Gertrudis, at that time the northernmost Jesuit establishment[citation needed]. After preparing under Santa Gertrudis' missionary, Georg Retz, Linck moved north in the same year to found San Francisco de Borja Adac among the northern Cochimí.

In addition to administering the mission at San Borja, over the next five years Linck undertook a series of exploring expeditions to scout future mission sites and resolve geographical puzzles. His travels included journeys to the peninsula's west coast, to Isla Angel de la Guarda, and to the north in an ambitious but failed attempt to reach the lower Colorado River and settle once and for all the geographical question of whether Baja California was an island.

When the Jesuits were expelled from Baja California in 1768, Linck returned to Bohemia, where he was still living in 1790.

Linck's geographical and ethnographic contributions have been preserved in a series of letters and reports, as well as accounts by his contemporaries, and his key role in the exploration of the northern portion of the Baja California peninsula has been recognized (Aschmann 1959; Linck 1966, 1967; Barco 1973; Bendímez and Laylander 1985).


  • Aschmann, Homer. 1959. The Central Desert of Baja California: Demography and Ecology. Iberoamericana No. 42. University of California, Berkeley.
  • Barco, Miguel del. 1973. Historia natural y crónica de la antigua California. Edited by Miguel León-Portilla. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City.
  • Bendímez Patterson, Julia, and Don Laylander. 1985. "Wenceslaus Linck y la última frontera jesuita en Baja California". Meyibó 2(6):73–85.
  • Linck, Wenceslaus. 1966. Wenceslaus Linck's Diary of His 1766 Expedition to Northern Baja California. Edited by Ernest J. Burrus. Dawson's Book Shop, Los Angeles.
  • Linck, Wenceslaus. 1967. Wenceslaus Linck's Reports and Letters, 1762–1778. Edited by Ernest J. Burrus. Dawson's Book Shop, Los Angeles.

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