Meares, John (mērz) [key], 1756?–1809, British naval officer, explorer, and trader. He served in the navy, in which he attained the rank of lieutenant, until after the Peace of Paris (1783), when he entered the merchant service. In Macao he formed a commercial company for trade with the northwest coast of America, to which he paid his first visit in 1786. He explored along the coast of Alaska, wintered in Prince William Sound, and then returned to East Asia. Two years later he went to Nootka Sound, erected a trading post on its shores, and built the Northwest America, first ship launched in British Columbia. In 1789 his establishment at Nootka Sound was seized by the Spanish; war between England and Spain was narrowly averted. Meares later returned to the British navy and became (1795) a commander. He wrote Voyages Made in the Years 1788 and 1789 to the North West Coast of America (1790).