Henry Hudson

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" No portrait of Hudson is known to be in existence. What has passed with the uncritical for his portrait — a dapper-looking man wearing a ruffed collar — frequently has been, and continues to be, reproduced. Who that man was is unknown. That he was not Hudson is certain." - Thomas A. Janvier, biographer of Henry Hudson. The illustration featured here comes from the (presumably uncritical) Cyclopaedia of Universal History, 1885

Henry Hudson (1570–1611) was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early seventeenth century. His date of birth is September 12, 1570. His place of birth is unknown, but he is sometimes said to have been born in London. He is presumed to have died in 1611 in Hudson Bay, Canada, after he had been set adrift by mutinous crewmen.

Hudson's early life is an unknown, but he obviously must have spent many years at sea. He is said to have begun as a cabin boy at 16 and gradually worked his way up to captain.


[edit] Explorations

In 1607, the Muscovy Company of England hired Hudson to find a Northwest Passage to Asia. Hudson had traveled just 577 nautical miles south of the North Pole, the Arctic Ocean and became trapped by ice glaciers halting him from further traveling. He had to turn back and go to Norway. On the return voyage, Hudson discovered what is now known as Jan Mayen island before reaching home in September. Jan Mayen Island later became part of the Kingdom of Norway.

In 1608, Hudson makes a second attempt, but is again forced to turn back.

[edit] The Half Moon turns west

In 1609 Hudson is chosen by the Dutch East India Company to find an easterly passage to Asia. He is instructed to sail around the Arctic Ocean north of Russia, down into the Pacific and into the Far East. Hudson could not continue his voyage due to the ice that had plagued many others before him. Having heard rumors, he and his crew decide to try to seek out a Northwest Passage through North America.

After crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Halve Maen (Half Moon) sailed around briefly in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, but Hudson concluded that these waterways did not lead to the Pacific. Hudson then moved into New York Harbor and proceeded up what is today the Hudson River. He makes it as far as Albany, New York, where the river narrows, before he is forced to turn around, realizing that it was not the Northwest Passage.

Along the way Hudson traded with numerous indians in the United States indian tribes. He obtained different shells, beads and furs, and did not purchase the island of Manhattan. His voyage established Dutch claims to the region and the fur trade that prospered there. New Amsterdam in Manhattan becomes the capital of New Netherlands.

[edit] Funding from British sources

In 1610 Hudson managed to get the backing for yet another voyage, now under the English flag. This time the funding came from the Virginia Company and the British East India Company. At the helm of his new ship, the Discovery, he stayed to the north (some claim he deliberately went too far south with the Dutch), reaching Iceland on May 11, the south of Greenland on June 4, and then managing to turn around the southern tip of Greenland and continue on west.

Excitement was high due to the expectation that the ship had finally found the Northwest Passage. On June 25th the explorers reached the Hudson Strait at the northern tip of Labrador. Following the southern coast of the strait on August 2, the ship entered Hudson Bay. Hudson spent the following months mapping and exploring the eastern shores. In November, however, the ship became trapped in the ice in James Bay, and the crew moved ashore for the winter.

Image:Last Voyage Of Henry Hudson.jpg
A painting of Henry Hudson with his son and some crew members after a mutiny on his icebound ship. The boat was set adrift and never heard from again.

[edit] Mutiny of Hudson's crew

When the ice cleared in the spring of 1611, Hudson planned to continue exploring. However, his crew wanted to return home. Matters came to a head and the crew mutinied in June 1611. They set Hudson, his teenage son John, and seven crewmen loyal to Hudson adrift in a small open boat. The castaways were provided with no food or water and were clearly meant to die. Hudson was never seen again, although some claim that he successfully made his way as far south as the Ottawa River. Only eight of the mutinous crewmen survived to return to Europe, and although arrested none were ever punished for the mutiny and Hudson's death, for they were too valuable sources of information as men who traveled to the New World.

[edit] Reports of Hudson's voyages

The reports by Hudson of his voyage for the Dutch apparently have been lost, but an account was given by Johannes de Laet in his work Nieuwe Wereldt ofte beschrijvinghe van West-Indien (New World or the description of West India) from 1625. The same situation applies to the voyage of Adriaen Block.

[edit] Trivia

  • Henry Hudson is one of the 'Founding Fathers' that could be found in the game Colonization developed by Sid Meier for Microprose.
  • Hudson's widow, Katherine, sponsored an attempt to find her husband, but no trace was discovered.
  • Captain Oliver Hudson on "seaQuest 2032" was named after him.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

es:Henry Hudson fr:Henry Hudson he:הנרי הדסון it:Henry Hudson ja:ヘンリー・ハドソン nl:Henry Hudson no:Henry Hudson pl:Henry Hudson pt:Henry Hudson tr:Henry Hudson ru:Хадсон, Генри sl:Henry Hudson sv:Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson

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