Juan José Pérez Hernández

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Juan José Pérez Hernández (born Joan Perés [1] ca. 1725 November 3, 1775), often simply Juan Pérez, was an 18th-century Spanish explorer. He was the first known European to sight, examine, name, and record the islands near present-day British Columbia, Canada. Born in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, he first served as a piloto in western Spanish colonial North America on Manila galleons en route to and from the Philippines in the Spanish East Indies. In 1768, he was assigned to the Pacific port of San Blas, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain (present day Mexico), and acquired the rank of ensign (alférez).

British Columbia Province of Canada

British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains. With an estimated population of 5.016 million as of 2018, it is Canada's third-most populous province.

Palma de Mallorca City and Municipality in Balearic Islands, Spain

Palma de Mallorca, since December 2016 Palma, is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situated on the south coast of Mallorca on the Bay of Palma. The Cabrera Archipelago, though widely separated from Palma proper, is administratively considered part of the municipality. As of 2018, Palma de Mallorca Airport serves over 29 million passengers per year.

Master (naval) historic term for a ships officer

The master, or sailing master, was a historical rank for a naval officer trained in and responsible for the navigation of a sailing vessel. The rank can be equated to a professional seaman and specialist in navigation, rather than as a military commander.


1774 expedition

Confident of their territorial claims, the Spanish Empire did not explore or settle the northwest coast of North America in the 250 years after being claimed for the crown by Vasco Núñez de Balboa. By the late 18th century; however, learning of Russian and British arrivals along the Pacific Northwest and Alaskan coasts, Spain finally grew sufficiently concerned about their claims to the region and set out to discover the extent of any colonial Russian and British encroachment.

Vasco Núñez de Balboa Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador

Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a Spanish explorer, governor, and conquistador. He is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.

Russian Empire former country, 1721–1917

The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

In early 1774, the Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio María Bucareli y Ursúa, commanded Pérez to explore the Pacific coast with the objective of reaching 60° north latitude (about the latitude of present-day Cordova, Alaska) to discover possible Russian America and British settlements and to re-assert the long-standing Spanish claim to the Pacific Northwest. Rumors of Russian fur traders caused the Spanish to send the frigate Santiago north under the command of Pérez, with a crew mostly from New Spain. [2] [3] Pérez was given explicit instructions to treat all indigenous peoples with respect, and to establish friendly relations with any encountered. [4]

A viceroy is an official who runs a country, colony, city, province, or sub-national state, in the name of and as the representative of the monarch of the territory. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roy, meaning "king". A viceroy's territory may be called a viceroyalty, though this term is not always applied. The adjective form is viceregal, less often viceroyal. The term vicereine is sometimes used to indicate a female viceroy suo jure, although viceroy can serve as a gender-neutral term. Vicereine is more commonly used to indicate a viceroy's wife.

Cordova, Alaska City in Alaska, United States

Cordova is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census, down from 2,454 in 2000. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing. It was cleaned up shortly after, but there are lingering effects, such as a lowered population of some birds.

Russian America Russian possessions in North America until October 1867

Russian America was the name of the Russian colonial possessions in North America from 1733 to 1867. Its capital was Novo-Archangelsk, which is now Sitka, Alaska, USA. Settlements spanned parts of what are now the U.S. states of California, Alaska and two ports in Hawaii. Formal incorporation of the possessions by Russia did not take place until the Ukase of 1799 which established a monopoly for the Russian–American Company and also granted the Russian Orthodox Church certain rights in the new possessions. Many of its possessions were abandoned in the 19th century. In 1867, Russia sold its last remaining possessions to the United States of America for $7.2 million.

In July 1774, he reached 54°40' north latitude, just off the northwestern tip of Langara Island, one of the islands of Haida Gwaii. There he had an interaction with a group of Haida natives, but he did not go ashore. Due to a lack of provisions and the poor health of his crew, Pérez turned south at this point despite the viceroy's orders to attain 60° north. He reached Nootka Sound on August 7, 1774 (at about 49.6° north latitude), part of today's Vancouver Island and had an extended set of interactions with the natives, including the first trade of trade goods. Again, he did not go ashore, this time because of bad weather that almost ran his ship aground.

Parallel 54°40′ north

Parallel 54°40′ north is a line of latitude between the 54th and 55th parallels north that forms the southernmost boundary between the U.S. State of Alaska and the Canadian Province of British Columbia. The boundary was originally established as a result of tripartite negotiations between the Russian Empire, the British Empire and the United States, resulting in parallel treaties in 1824 and 1825.

Langara Island is the northernmost Island of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia, Canada. The island is approximately 8,080 acres (3,270 ha) in size. It is located approximately 45 kilometres (28 mi) south of Alaska.

Haida Gwaii archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada

Haida Gwaii, is an archipelago approximately 45–60 km off the northern Pacific coast of Canada. They are separated from the mainland to the east by the Hecate Strait. Queen Charlotte Sound lies to the south, with Vancouver Island beyond. To the north, the disputed Dixon Entrance separates Haida Gwaii from the Alexander Archipelago in the U.S. state of Alaska.

Pérez was accompanied by Fray Juan Crespí and his assistant Fray Tomas de la Pena Y Saravia. [4] Pérez gave the name of Cerro Nevado de Santa Rosalía ("Snowy Peak of St. Rosalia") to present day Mount Olympus in the U.S. state of Washington. [4]

Mount Olympus (Washington) mountain in the Olympic Mountains of western Washington state

Mount Olympus, at 7,980 feet, is the tallest and most prominent mountain in the Olympic Mountains of western Washington state. Located on the Olympic Peninsula, it is also the central feature of Olympic National Park. Mount Olympus is the highest summit of the Olympic Mountains; however, peaks such as Mount Constance, on the eastern margin of the range, are better known, being visible from the Seattle metropolitan area.

Washington (state) State of the United States of America

Washington, officially the State of Washington, is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Named for George Washington, the first president of the United States, the state was made out of the western part of the Washington Territory, which was ceded by Britain in 1846 in accordance with the Oregon Treaty in the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute. It was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Olympia is the state capital; the state's largest city is Seattle. Washington is sometimes referred to as Washington State to distinguish it from Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States.

Pérez continued south to the Presidio of Monterey, Las Californias, which he reached on August 28, 1774. After a brief stay, he continued on to reach San Blas on November 5, 1774, thus completing his expedition.

The Californias Region of North America

The Californias, occasionally known as the Three Californias or Two Californias, are a region of North America spanning the United States and Mexico and consisting of the U.S. state of California and the Mexican states of Baja California and Baja California Sur. Historically, the term "The Californias" was used to define the vast northwestern region of Spanish America, as the Province of the Californias, and later as a collective term for Alta California and the Baja California Peninsula.

1775 expedition

In 1775, a second expedition under Bruno de Heceta and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra was organized. Pérez participated as piloto of Heceta's ship, the Santiago.

Pérez died on the return journey, on November 3, 1775, between Monterey, California and San Blas.


Juan Perez Sound, off the east coast of Moresby Island of Haida Gwaii, is named for him.

See also


  1. Catalan Encyclopaedia
  2. Geographical Society of the Pacific (1907). Transactions and Proceedings of the Geographical Society of the Pacific, Volume 4. San Francisco. p. 65. OCLC   15737543.
  3. Rodríguez Sala, María Luisa (2006). De San Blas Hasta la Alta California: Los Viajes y Diarios de Juan Joseph Pérez Hernández (in Spanish). Universidad Autónoma de México. p. 35. ISBN   978-970-32-3474-5.
  4. 1 2 3 Official State of Washington history of Pérez.

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The Nootka Sound Conventions were a series of three agreements between the Kingdom of Spain and the Kingdom of Great Britain, signed in the 1790s, which averted a war between the two empires over overlapping claims to portions of the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. The inhabitants of the region were not consulted by either European kingdom.

Nootka Sound sound

Nootka Sound is a sound of the Pacific Ocean on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, historically known as King George's Sound. It separates Vancouver Island and Nootka Island. It played a historically important role in the maritime fur trade.

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Salvador Fidalgo y Lopegarcía was a Spanish explorer. He commanded an exploring expedition for Spain to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest during the late 18th century.

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Spanish claims to Alaska and the West Coast of North America date to the papal bull of 1493, and the Treaty of Tordesillas. In 1513, this claim was reinforced by Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European to sight the Pacific Ocean, when he claimed all lands adjoining this ocean for the Spanish Crown. Spain only started to colonize the claimed territory north of present-day Mexico in the 18th century, when it settled the northern coast of Las Californias (California).

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