La Pérouse, Jean François de Galaup, comte de [key], 1741–c.1788, French navigator. A naval captain, in 1785 he took command of two frigate French government expedition that was to search for the Northwest Passage from the Pacific side and to explore along the coasts of America, China, and Siberia and in the South Seas. He reached Alaska, visited the Hawaiian Islands, Macau, and the Philippines, then went to Japan and Kamchatka, and discovered La Pérouse Strait in 1787. He touched at Samoa and the Friendly Islands. In 1788 he sailed from Botany Bay and was lost at sea. In 1826 it was learned that his ships had apparently wrecked at Vanikolo (or Vanikoro or Manicolo) in the Santa Cruz Islands (now part of the Solomon Islands); an expedition in 2005 found there what it identified as the wreck of one of his ships. La Pérouse's journals have appeared in French in several editions.
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