History of Commodore Matthew C. Perry and the Expedition to Japan
Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry (April 10, 1794 – March 4, 1858) was an American naval officer who commanded ships in several wars, including the War of 1812 and the Mexican–American War. He played a leading role in the opening of Japan to the West with the Convention of Kanagawa in 1854.
Perry was born in Newport, Rhode Island, and he joined the United States Navy in 1809. He served in the War of 1812, and he was promoted to captain in 1841. In 1852, Perry was appointed to lead a naval expedition to Japan. The goal of the expedition was to open Japan to trade with the United States.
Historic Impact to Highlight
• Perry was interested in the education of naval officers and assisted in the development of an apprentice system that helped establish the curriculum at the United States Naval Academy.
• With the advent of the steam engine, he became a leading advocate of modernizing the U.S. Navy and came to be considered "The Father of the Steam Navy" in the United States.
• Perry was a key agent in both the making and recording of Japanese history, as well as in the shaping of Japanese history; 90% of school children in Japan can identify him.
• He was responsible for gaining partnership with Japan and establishing a "firm, lasting, and sincere friendship between the two nations..."
Dig Deeper: Opening of Japan
- State Department History of the Perry Expedition
- Navy History of the Perry Expedition
- Brown University on the Perry Expedition
- Digital Public Library collection from the Perry Expedition
- Smithsonian Collections from Commodore Matthew Perry's Japan Expedition (1853-1854)
- MIT: Black Ships and Samurai: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan
Commodore Matthew C. Perry
- Navy History of Commodore Matthew C. Perry
- Brown University History of Commodore Matthew C. Perry
- Text of the Treaty of Kanagawa