Juan José Pérez Hernández explores Alaska

With his crew and ship Santiago, Juan José Pérez Hernández (1725 –1775) departed from New Spain (South America) on January 25, 1777 to explore the northwestern coast of North America, part of Spain’s empire.  He reached the area that was later designated as Anchorage, Alaska, and explored islands around Vancouver.  Perez named a mountain peak in the US State of Washington as Cerro Nevado de Santa Rosalía (“Snowy Peak of St. Rosalia”).  This name was changed to Mount Olympus.  Juan Perez Sound in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, Canada, is named for him.

Juan Bautista de Anza

On January 8, 1774, a Spanish government expedition led by Juan Bautista de Anza departed to explore the territory of the Spanish empire in Arizona, New Mexico, and California.  Anza was searching for a route between Sonora and Alta California, to begin colonizing this territory.  The expedition departed from southern Arizona near the area that is now the city of Tucson, and reached its destination at the Spanish Royal Presidio of San Carlos in Monterey, California in May of that year. This was a small expedition of about 35 men, including 20 soldiers.  The route paralleled the modern border between California and Mexico, crossing the Colorado River.  Later in 1775, Anza led an expedition of 240 men, women and children to found San Francisco, California.