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Matthew Calbraith Perry
Date: 1794 - 1858
Remarks: Matthew Calbraith Perry began his career in the Navy at the age of fifteen. By 1852, he had become a commodore and the commandent of the New York Naval Yard; he had also commanded the African squadron and served in the Mexican War as commander of the Gulf Fleet. In March of 1852, he was given the mission he is most well known for today: to enter the isolated Japan and come to some sort of agreement involving trade and the opening of ports. Perry entered Tokyo harbor on July 8, 1853, and presented papers to Japanese officials stating his purpose. He returned in February of the next year, with an even large fleet than before, hoping to impress the Japanese shogunate into agreeing. Perry was successful and on March 31, 1854, an agreement was signed between the two nations. His brother, Oliver Hazard Perry, also gained fame through Naval service. -Source: