Pérez, Juan (hwän pāˈrāth) [key], d. 1774, Spanish colonial naval officer, explorer on the coast of the Pacific Northwest. In 1774 he commanded a fleet sent by the Spanish viceroy to investigate Russian advances down the northern coast, to visit the coast to lat. 60°N, and to take formal possession for Spain. He sailed from Monterey northward, but was prevented from landing by bad weather and turned back at lat. 55°N. He encountered the natives of Queen Charlotte Island, sighted Vancouver Island, and on Aug. 8, 1774, discovered Nootka Sound, which he called the harbor of San Lorenzo. He reached Monterey late in August and died at sea while bound for San Blas. The diary of one of the chaplains, Juan Crespi, gives a fine narrative of the voyage.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies