John Meares, sea captain, entrepreneur, fur trader (b 1756?; d 1809). He entered the Royal Navy in 1771, and was promoted to lieutenant in 1778. After leaving the navy in 1783, Meares formed a company for trading furs on the NORTHWEST COAST. His first trading voyage, to Prince William's Sound, Alaska, was tragic, as many sailors died from scurvy. In 1788 Meares sailed with 2 ships to Nootka, where he built a temporary trading post and North West America, the first ship built on what is now Canada's West Coast. In 1789 Meares formed a company with other British entrepreneurs, and sent 3 ships to build a permanent trading post at Nootka and to trade widely on the Northwest Coast. They found Nootka occupied by a Spanish naval force which seized the British ships and crews. Meares was an effective propagandist in promoting British political and economic interests on the Northwest Coast.