Robert Gray was the first American merchant sailor to circumnavigate the globe.
Robert Gray was born in Tiverton, Rhode Island on May 10, 1755. He served in the Continental Navy during the Revolutionary War and later worked for a Massachusetts trading company.
Gray's most notable achievement came on his second voyage to the Oregon coast in 1792 when he found the Columbia River.
The discovery of the Columbia River gave the United States a strong claim to the Oregon Country.
Robert Gray died in 1806 and was buried at sea.
Robert Gray was “a hard man, strictly attentive to the ‘two-penny objects’ of his business—to get sea otter skins and invest them in China goods.”
(Historian Dorothy Johansen)