Matthew C. Perry
(1794 - 1858)
Commodore Matthew C. Perry entered the U.S. Navy at the age of sixteen, later fighting in the War of 1812 and combating pirates in the West Indies. In 1852, he was chosen to broker a treaty with Japan to open the country’s ports for Western trade, an idea the Japanese had shunned since the 1600s. It was signed two years later, Perry having reappeared with a fleet of nine ships.