Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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YARELA y ULLOA, Jose (vah-ray'-lah-ee-ool-yo'-ah), Spanish naval officer, born in Santiago de Galicia, 14 August, 1748; died in Havana, Cuba, 23 July, 1794. He entered the navy in 1759, and afterward became well known in learned circles throughout Europe for his scientific acquirements. In 1776 he was employed in assisting to measure geometrically the peak of Teneriffe and in determining the true position of islands and ports on the American and African coasts, among others the island of Santa Catharina in Brazil and the harbors on the Rio de la Plata. After discharging various important commissions, he was selected by the Spanish government to fix the boundaries of the Spanish and Portuguese possessions in America. He gave proof of his abilities as a statesman and philosopher by his exhaustive reports on the productions of the Spanish-American colonies, their situation, relation to neighboring countries, and the advantages that the Spanish government could derive from them. On his return to Spain he was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. In 1794 he sailed for South America in command of a squadron, and having put in at Havana, on 16 April, was attacked there by the illness of which he died.
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