Lithograph by P S Duval & Co after a drawing by James Queen, of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's (1794-1858) ship, the 'Misisippi', pasing north west of Madeira. The USA wanted to end Japanese isolationist policies and increase their trade routes in the western Pacific. They also wanted a coaling station for the new steam-powered US Navy ships. The arrival of Perry and his 'black ships' in Edo (Tokyo) in July 1853 proved to be a turning point in Japanese history. The notes and journals kept by Perry and his officers were compiled by Francis L Hawkes and published as 'Narrative of the expedition of a USA squadron to the China Seas and Japan : performed in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854 …', (Washington, 1856).
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library