"'Infobox Military Person
caption="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
lived=(1565? – 1611)
Henry Hudson (1570 – 1611) was an English
sea explorerand navigatorin the early 17th century.
Hudson was born in
London, England. He is presumed to have died in 1611 in Hudson Bay, Canada, after he was set adrift, along with his son and seven others, by his crewmen following a mutiny.
Hudson's early life is fairly unknown, but he is thought to have spent many years at sea. He is said to have begun as a
cabin boyat 16 and gradually worked his way up to ship's captain.
1607 to 1609
In 1607, the
Muscovy Companyof England hired Hudson to find the Northeast Passageto China. Hudson traveled just convert|577|nmi|km|0 south of the North Poleand is claimed by Thomas Edge(who was often inaccurate) to have discovered what is now known as Jan Mayen—although there is no cartographical or written proof of this discovery [Hacquebord (2004), p.229.] —before turning around and returning home in September. Jan Mayenlater became part of the Kingdom of Norway. It was thought at the time that because the sun shone for three months in the north latitudes the ice would melt and a ship could travel across the top of the world to the Spice Islands. The English were battling the Dutch and Spanish for routes. He landed in Svalbard and, later, whaling and coal economies sprang up there. In 1608, Hudson made a second attempt, trying to go across the top of Russia. He made it to Novaya Zemlyabut was forced to turn back.
In 1609, Hudson was chosen by the
Dutch East India Companyto find an easterly passage to Asia. He was told to sail around the Arctic Oceannorth of Russia, into the Pacific and to the Far East. Hudson could not continue his voyage due to the ice that had plagued his previous voyages, and many others before him. Having heard rumors by way of Jamestown and John Smith, he and his crew decided to try to seek out a Southwest Passage through North America.
After crossing the
Atlantic Ocean, his vessel, the " Halve Maen" ("Half Moon"), sailed around briefly in the Chesapeake Bayand entered Delaware Bayon August 28, but Hudson concluded that these waterways did not lead to the Pacific. Hudson then moved into New York Harborand proceeded up what is today the Hudson River. He made it as far as Albany, New York, where the river narrows, before he was forced to turn around, realizing that it was not the Southwest Passage. In fact, no Southwest Passage to the Pacific existed north of the Strait of Magellan until one was created by the construction of the Panama Canalbetween 1903 and 1914. The Native Americans, who relayed the information to John Smith, were likely referring to what are known today as the Great Lakes.
Along the way, Hudson traded with several native tribes and obtained different shells, beads and furs. His voyage established Dutch claims to the region and the
fur tradethat prospered there. New Amsterdamin Manhattanbecame the capital of New Netherlandin 1625. On his return trip to Amsterdam, he stopped in Dartmouth, England for some reason and was detained by authorities there, who wanted access to his log. He managed to pass the log to the Dutch ambassador to England who sent it, along with his report, to Amsterdam[Shorto 2004, pg.31] .
In 1610, Hudson managed to get the backing for yet another voyage, now under the English flag. The funding came from the
Virginia Companyand 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 Icelandon May 11, the south of Greenland on June 4, and then managing to turn around the southern tip of Greenland.
Excitement was very high due to the expectation that the ship had finally found the
Northwest Passagethrough the continent. On June 25, the explorers reached the Hudson Straitat 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.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 eight crewmen - either sick and infirm, or loyal to Hudson - adrift in a small open boat. According to Abacuck Prickett's journal, the castaways were provided with powder and shot, some pikes, an iron pot, some meal, and other miscellaneous items as well as clothing. However, Prickett's journal was disingenous insofar that it was written to be advantageous to the point of view of the mutineers (as they knew they would be tried in England). Some argue that the abandoned men were provided with nothing and expected to die. The small boat kept pace with the Discovery for some time as the abandoned men rowed towards her but eventually Discovery's sails were let loose. [ [http://www.ianchadwick.com/hudson/hudson_04.htm Henry Hudson's Fourth Voyage, 1610: The Northwest Passage ] ] Hudson was never seen again.
Only eight of the thirteen mutinous crewmen survived to return to Europe, and although arrested, none were ever punished for the mutiny and Hudson's death. One theory holds that they were considered valuable as sources of information, having travelled to the New World. [ [http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=34410 Dictionary of Canadian Biography] ] Henry Hudson has landmarks named after him, including
Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Hudson County, New Jersey, and the Hudson River.
* Hacquebord, Lawrens. (2004). The Jan Mayen Whaling Industry. Its Exploitation of the Greenland Right Whale and its Impact on the Marine Ecosystem. In: S. Skreslet (ed.), Jan Mayen in Scientific Focus. Amsterdam, Kluwer Academic Publishers. 229-238.
Age of Discovery
History of Canada
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=343 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [http://www.gutenberg.net/etext/13442 Henry Hudson - A Brief Statement Of His Aims And His Achievements] by
Thomas Allibone Janvier, at Project Gutenberg
* [http://www.hudsonriver.com/halfmoonpress/stories/hudson.htm Hudson and the river named for him]
* [http://www.elizabethan-era.org.uk/henry-hudson.htm Henry Hudson biography page]
* [http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1146.html Henry Hudson at US-History.com]
*Find A Grave|id=6621707
* [http://www.concharto.com/search/eventsearch.htm?_tag=hudson's+1609+voyage&_maptype=3 A Map and Timeline] of Hudson's 1609 voyage of discovery.
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