Pérez Hernández, Juan Josef

 Juan Josef Pérez Hernández, naval officer, explorer (b c 1725 at Majorca, Spain; d 2 Nov 1775 off California). Pérez served as a pilot and marine officer in Spain's Pacific trade between Mexico and the Philippines and in the Spanish expansion into Alta California. He was curious about the unknown northern coastline and his request to explore it coincided with the Spanish government's desire for information on Russian penetration southward. In 1774 he sailed aboard the frigate Santiago with orders to reach at least 60°N latitude. Juan Pérez Hernández was the first European to explore Haida Gwaii and to approach Nootka Sound, but unfavourable weather prevented him from landing to take formal possession for Spain. Although he reached only about 55°30´ latitude and left some missions unfulfilled, he collected important data that served future Spanish mariners. Pérez was second officer in the 1775 expedition commanded by Bruno de Hezeta, but he died at sea.