Perry, Matthew C(albraith)

Perry, Matthew C(albraith)

biographical name


Matthew Perry, detail of a Japanese watercolour, c. 1853; in the Chrysler Museum of Art, …—Collection Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia

(born April 10, 1794, South Kingston, R.I., U.S.—died March 4, 1858, New York, N.Y.) U.S. naval officer. He followed his brother Oliver Perry into the navy and commanded the first U.S. navy steamship, the Fulton (1837–40). He led naval forces in the Mexican War and assisted Winfield Scott at Veracruz. In 1852 Pres. Millard Fillmore sent Perry to head a naval expedition to induce Japan to establish diplomatic relations with the U.S. Concluding that the country's centuries-old policy of isolation would be ended only by a show of force, Perry led four ships into the fortified harbour of Uraga (1853) and convinced the Japanese to accept his message. In 1854 he entered Edo (now Tokyo) Bay with nine ships and concluded the first treaty between Japan and the U.S., which granted the U.S. trading privileges and opened the Far East to U.S. influence.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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