#382196

Anonymous

Jan Welzl
 (15 August 1868, Zábřeh, Moravia – 19 September 1948 Dawson, Canada) was a Moravian traveller, adventurer, hunter, gold-digger, Eskimo chief and Chief Justice in New Siberia and later story-teller and writer. He is known under the pseudonym Eskymo Welzl or the nickname Arctic Bismarck.

He was working on the transsiberia railroad in Irkutsk in 1893. When the job was over, he decided to try his luck in the North. He purchased a horse and a two wheel cart and started walking without maps with just a description how and where to go. He eventually made it in three years or so going through cities: Krasnojarsk, Vitimsk, Olekminsk, Yakutsk Verchoyansk and Kolymsk. 

For the end of the journey he traded the horse in for 4 caribous and sled and after initial trip to the arctic sea – whale hunt with russian ship – settled at New Siberian Islands. These islands were his home address for next 30 years, he made his living as locksmith, hunter, fisherman, peddler, postman and eventually local chief of the settlement of 50 or so white settlers and tribes of Inuits.

As a peddler he would travel to Nome to shop for food and necessary supplies for himself and his friends and deliver the merchandise all over the area on ship or on sled. With his friends he travelled several times to Mackenzie river to trap fur animals and trade pelts and such. He also participated in 13 trips to the arctic sea and got as high as 85,53. 

One of his business trips was also delivering steam engines for miners from New Siberia Islands to the area of Iditarod – by expedition of sleds.

Nobody would know anything about him, but his ship wrecked near Seattle in summer 1924 and since he was de facto citizen of Czechoslovakia they sent him to Europe.

Here he struggled to make some money and eventually put together a book with help of Rudolf Těsnohlídek. Pavel Eisner continued this but did not finish and later Bedřich Golombek and Edvard Valenta completed the work. The book "Třicet let na zlatém severu" (literally "Thirty Years in the Golden North") had great success in Czechoslovakia and also abroad, where people suspected that "Eskymo Welzl" did not exist and that the real author was Karel Čapek who wrote the preface to foreign editions.

With the money from the book he was able to return to Alaska. He return too late, there was no connection that way between USA and the Siberian Islands anymore and he died in Dawson city 1951.

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