Henry Hudson: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Hudson

While no portraits of Hudson are known to exist the Cyclopedia of Universal History offers this popular image to be of the navigator.
Died 1611, most likely[1]
Hudson Bay
Occupation Dutch Sea Commander, former English Sea Commander, Author

Henry Hudson (d. ca. 1611) was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. After several voyages on behalf of English merchants to explore a prospective Northeast Passage to India, Hudson explored the region around modern New York City while looking for a western route to Asia under the auspices of the Dutch East India Company. He explored the Hudson River – and laid the foundation for Dutch colonization of the region.

Hudson's final expedition ranged farther north in search of the Northwest Passage, to the Pacific Coast of Asia, leading to his discovery of the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay. After wintering in the James Bay, Hudson tried to press on with his voyage in the spring of 1611, but his crew mutinied and they cast him adrift.[1] His ultimate fate is unknown.


Life and career

Little is known of his early life. He is thought to have spent many years at sea, beginning as a cabin boy and gradually working his way up to ship's captain.


1607 and 1608 voyages

In 1607, the Muscovy Company of the Kingdom of England hired Hudson to find a northerly route to the Pacific coast of Asia. It was thought at the time that, because the sun shone for three months in the northern latitudes in the summer, the ice would melt and a ship could make it across the top of the world to the Spice Islands. The English were battling the Dutch for Northeast Passage routes.

Hudson sailed on the 1st of May with a crew of ten men and a boy on the 80-ton Hopewell.[2] They reached the east coast of Greenland on June 13, coasting it until the 22nd. Here they named a headland Young's Cape, a "very high mount, like a round castle" near it Mount of God's Mercy, and land at 73° N Hold-with-Hope. On the 27th they sighted "Newland" (i.e Spitsbergen), near the mouth of the great bay Hudson later simply named the Great Indraught (Isfjorden). On July 13 Hudson and his crew thought they had sailed as far north as 80° 23' N,[3] but more likely only reached 79° 23' N. The following day they entered what Hudson later in the voyage would name Whales Bay (Krossfjorden and Kongsfjorden), naming its northwestern point Collins Cape (Kapp Mitra) after his boatswain, William Collins. They sailed north the following two days. On the 16th they reached as far north as Hakluyt's Headland (which Thomas Edge claims Hudson named on this voyage) at 79° 49' N, thinking they saw the land continue to 82° N (Svalbard's northernmost point is 80° 49' N) when really it trended to the east. Ice being packed along the north coast they were forced to turn back south. Hudson wanted to make his return "by the north of Greenland to Davis his Streights, and so for Kingdom of England," but ice conditions would have made this impossible. The expedition returned to Tilberry Hope on the Thames on September 15.

According to Thomas Edge, "William [sic] Hudson" in 1608 discovered an island at 71° N and named it Hudson's Touches (or Tutches).[4] However, he only could have come across it in 1607 (if he had made an illogical detour) and made no mention of it in his journal.[5] There is also no cartographical proof of this supposed discovery.[6] Jonas Poole and Robert Fotherby both had possession of Hudson's journal while searching for his elusive Hold-with-Hope (on the east coast of Greenland) in 1611 and 1615, respectively, but neither had any knowledge of his (later) alleged discovery of Jan Mayen, shedding further doubt on him having discovered the island. The latter actually found Jan Mayen, thinking it a new discovery and naming it Sir Thomas Smith's Island.[7]

It has also been claimed by many authors[8] that it was the discovery of large numbers of whales in Spitsbergen waters by Hudson during this voyage that led to several nations sending whaling expeditions to the islands. While he did indeed report seeing many whales, it wasn't his reports that led to the trade, but that by Jonas Poole in 1610 which led to the establishment of English whaling and the successful voyage of Nicholas Woodcock in 1612 that led to the establishment of Dutch, French, and Spanish whaling.[9]

In 1608, merchants of the Muscovy Company again sent Hudson in the Hopewell on another attempt at a passage to the Indies, this time to the east around northern Norway rather than via a northerly route. Leaving London in April, the ship made it to Novaya Zemlya in July, but the ice was impenetrable and they turned back, reaching England in late August.[10]

1609 voyage

Map of Hudson's voyages to North America.
Replica of Henry Hudson's ship Halve Maen, donated in 1909 by the Dutch to the United States on the occasion of the 300 year anniversary of the discovery of what is now New York.

In 1609, Hudson was chosen by the Dutch East India Company to find an easterly passage to Asia. He was told to sail through the Arctic Ocean north of Russia, into the Pacific and so to the Far East. Hudson departed Amsterdam on April 4 in command of the Dutch ship Halve Maen.[11] He could not complete the specified route due to ice like that which had plagued all previous such voyages, and he turned the ship around in mid-May while somewhere east of Norway's North Cape. At that point, acting entirely outside his instructions, Hudson pointed the ship west to try to find a passage in that direction.[12]

Having heard rumors by way of John Smith of Jamestown and Samuel de Champlain, of a passage to the Pacific, he and his crew decided to try to seek a westerly passage through North America. The Native Americans, who gave the information to Smith and Champlain, were likely referring to what are known today as the Great Lakes (and which could not be reached via any navigable waterways).

They reached the Grand Banks, south of Newfoundland, on the second of July, and in mid-July made landfall near what is now LaHave, Nova Scotia.[13] Here they encountered Native Americans who were accustomed to trading with the French; they were willing to trade beaver pelts, but apparently no trades occurred.[14] The ship stayed in the area about ten days, replacing a broken mast and fishing for food. On the 25th, a dozen men from the ship, using muskets and small cannon, went ashore assaulted the village near their anchorage. They drove the people from the settlement and took their boat and other property (probably pelts and trade goods).[15]

On August 4 the ship was at Cape Cod, from which Hudson sailed south to the entrance of Chesapeake Bay. Rather than entering the Chesapeake he explored the coast to the north, finding Delaware Bay but continuing on north. On September 3 he reached the estuary of the river that initially was called the North River or Mauritius but now carries his name. He wasn't the first to discover the estuary, though, as it had been known since the voyage of Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524. On September 6, 1609 John Colman of his crew was killed by Native Americans with arrow to his neck.[16] On September 11, 1609 he sailed into the upper bay.[17] The following day Hudson began a journey up what is now known as the Hudson River.[18] Over the next ten days his ship ascended the river, reaching a point about where present-day Albany, New York is located.[19]

On September 23 he decided to return to Europe. On November 7, he put in at Dartmouth in England 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.[20]

While exploring the river, Hudson had traded with several native groups, mainly obtaining furs. His voyage was used to establish Dutch claims to the region and to the fur trade that prospered there when a trading post was established at Albany in 1614. New Amsterdam in Manhattan became the capital of New Netherland in 1625.

1610-1611 voyage

In 1610 Hudson managed to get backing for yet another voyage, this time under the English flag. 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 stayed too far south on his Dutch-funded voyage), reaching Iceland on May 11, the south of Greenland on June 4, and then rounding the southern tip of Greenland.

A map of Hudson's fourth voyage

Excitement was very high due to the expectation that the ship had finally found the Northwest Passage through the continent. On June 25, 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 its eastern shores. In November however, the ship became trapped in the ice in the James Bay, and the crew moved ashore for the winter.

John Collier's 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.


When the ice cleared in the spring of 1611, Hudson planned to continue exploring but his crew wanted to return home. Matters came to a head and the crew mutinied in June 1611. According to the mutineers, they set Hudson, his teenage son John, and six crewmen—either sick and infirm, or loyal to Hudson, adrift in a small open boat, effectively marooning them. According to Abacuk Pricket'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 knew he and the other mutineers would be tried in England. 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. Hudson was never seen again and his fate is not known. However, speculation that the crew killed Hudson has occurred.[1]

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 (presumably resulting) death. One theory holds that they were considered valuable as sources of information, having traveled to the New World.[21] Perhaps for this reason they were charged with murder, of which they were acquitted, rather than mutiny, for which they most certainly would have been convicted and executed.


The Hudson River in New York and New Jersey, explored by Hudson, is named after him, as are Hudson County, New Jersey, and Hudson, New York. In the Canadian Arctic, Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait, also discovered by Hudson, are named after him. He also appears as a mythic character in the famous story of Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Did Henry Hudson's crew murder him? Yahoo news Possible alternative link:Did Henry Hudson's crew murder him in the Arctic?, which draws on Mancall, Peter C. (2009), Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson, Basic Books
  2. ^ The following paragraph relies on Asher (1860), pp. 1-22; and Conway (1906), pp. 23-30.
  3. ^ Observations made during this voyage were often wrong, sometimes greatly so. See Conway (1906).
  4. ^ Purchas (1625), p. 11.
  5. ^ "The above relation by Thomas Edge is obviously incorrect. Hudson's Christian name is wrongly given, and the year in which he visited the north coast of Spitsbergen was 1607, not 1608. Moreover, Hudson himself has given an account of the voyage and makes absolutely no mention of Hudson's Tutches. It would have been hardly possible indeed for him to visit Jan Mayen on his way home from Bear Island to the Thames." Wordie (1922), p. 182.
  6. ^ Hacquebord (2004), p.229.
  7. ^ Purchas (1625), pp. 35-36 and pp. 83-88.
  8. ^ Many uncritical authors have blindly stated the above. Among them are Sandler (2008), p. 407; Umbreit (2005), p. 1; Shorto (2004), p. 21; Mulvaney (2001), p. 38; Davis et al. (1997), p. 31; Francis (1990), p. 30; Rudmose-Brown (1920), p. 312; Chisholm (Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911), p. 942; among many others.
  9. ^ See Poole's commission from the Muscovy Company in Purchas (1625), p. 24. For Woodcock see Conway (1906), p. 53, among others.
  10. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 19-20.
  11. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 11.
  12. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 56-7.
  13. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 92-4.
  14. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 98, and Juet (1609), July 19th entry.
  15. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 102-105, and Juet (1609), July 25th entry.
  16. ^ "New York’s Coldest Case: A Murder 400 Years Old". New York Times. September 4, 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/05/nyregion/05murder.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1252080165-+D9yYyiF6xMjibXoyas7fA. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  17. ^ Nevius, Michelle and James, "New York's many 9/11 anniversaries: the Staten Island Peace Conference", Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, 2008-09-08. Retrieved 2009-05-31.
  18. ^ Juet (1609).
  19. ^ Hunter (2009), p. 230-5.
  20. ^ Shorto 2004, pg.31
  21. ^ "Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Biographi.ca. 2007-10-18. http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?BioId=34410. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 


  • Asher, Georg Michael (1860). Henry Hudson the Navigator. Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, 27. ISBN 1402195583. 
  • Conway, William Martin (1906). No Man's Land: A History of Spitsbergen from Its Discovery in 1596 to the Beginning of the Scientific Exploration of the Country. Cambridge, At the University Press. 
  • 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.
  • Juet, Robert (1609), Juet's Journal of Hudson's 1609 Voyage from the 1625 edition of Purchas His Pilgrimes and transcribed 2006 by Brea Barthel, "Juet's Journal of Hudson's 1609 Voyage" (PDF). http://www.halfmoon.mus.ny.us/Juets-modified.pdf. Retrieved 2009-10-22. .
  • Purchas, S. 1625. Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas His Pilgrimes: Contayning a History of the World in Sea Voyages and Lande Travells by Englishmen and others. Volumes XIII and XIV (Reprint 1906 J. Maclehose and sons).
  • Hunter, Douglas (2009), Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the voyage that redrew the map of the New World, Bloomsbury Press, ISBN 1-59691-680-X 
  • Shorto, Russell (2004), The Island at the Center of the World, Vintage Books, ISBN 1-4000-7867-9 
  • Wordie, J.M. (1922) "Jan Mayen Island", The Geographical Journal Vol 59 (3).
  • Mancall, Peter C. (2009), Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson, Basic Books, ISBN 046500511X & ISBN 9780465005116

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

HENRY HUDSON, English navigator and explorer. Nothing is known of his personal history excepting such as falls within the period of the four voyages on which his fame rests. The first of these voyages in quest of new trade and a short route to China by way of the North Pole, in accordance with the suggestion of Robert Thorne (d. 1527), was made for the Muscovy Company with ten men and a boy in 1607. Hudson first coasted the east side of Greenland, and being prevented from proceeding northwards by the great ice barrier which stretches thence to Spitzbergen sailed along it until he reached "Newland," as Spitzbergen was then called, and followed its northern coast to beyond 80° N. lat. On the homeward voyage he accidentally discovered an island in lat. 71° which he named Hudson's Touches, and which has since been identified with Jan Mayen Island. Molineux's chart, published by Hakluyt about 1600, was Hudson's. blind guide in this voyage, and the polar map of 1611 by Pontanus illustrates well what he attempted, and the valuable results both negative and positive which he reached. He investigated the trade prospects at Bear Island, and recommended his patrons to seek higher game in Newland; hence he may be called the father of the English whale-fisheries at Spitzbergen.

Next year Hudson was again sent by the Muscovy Company to open a passage to China, this time by the north-east route between Spitzbergen and Novaya Zemlya, which had been attempted by his predecessors and especially by the Dutch navigator William Barents. This voyage lasted from the 22nd of April to the 26th of August 1608. He raked the Barents Sea in vain between 75° 30' N.W. and 71° 15' S.E. for an opening through the ice, and on the 6th of July, "voide of hope of a north-east passage (except by the Waygats, for which I was not fitted to trie or prove)," he resolved to sail to the north-west, and if time and means permitted to run a hundred leagues up Lumley's Inlet (Frobisher Strait) or Davis's "overfall" (Hudson Strait). But his voyage being delayed by contrary winds he was finally compelled to return without accomplishing his wish. The failure of this second attempt satisfied the Muscovy Company, which thenceforward directed all its energies to the profitable Spitzbergen trade.

Towards the end of 1608 Hudson "had a call" to Amsterdam, where he saw the celebrated cosmographer the Rev. Peter Plancius and the cartographer Hondius, and after some delay, due to the rivalry which was exhibited in the attempt to secure his services, he undertook for the Dutch East India Company his important third voyage to find a passage to China either by the north-east or north-west route. With a mixed crew of eighteen or twenty men he left the Texel in the "Half-Moon" on the 6th of April, and by the 5th of May was in the Barents Sea, and soon afterwards among the ice near Novaya Zemlya, where he had been the year before. Some of his men becoming disheartened and mutinous (it is now supposed that he had arrived two or three months too early), he lost hope of effecting anything by that route, and submitted to his men, as alternative proposals, either to go to Lumley's Inlet and follow up Waymouth's light, or to make for North Virginia and seek the passage in about 40° lat., according to the letter and map sent him by his friend Captain John Smith. The latter plan was adopted, and on the 14th of May Hudson set his face towards the Chesapeake and China. He touched at Stromo in the Faroe Islands for water, and on the r 5th of June off Newfoundland the "Half-Moon" "spent overboard her foremast." This accident compelled him to put into the Kennebec river, where a mast was procured, and some communication and an unnecessary encounter with the Indians took place. Sailing again on the 26th of July, he began on the 28th of August the survey where Smith left off, at 37° 36' according to his map, and coasted northwards. On the 3rd of September, in 4 0° 3 o', he entered the fine bay of New York, and after having gone 150 m. up the river which now bears his name to near the position of the present Albany, treating with the Indians, surveying the country, and trying the stream above tide-water, he became satisfied that this course did not lead to the South Sea or China, a conclusion in harmony with that of Champlain, who the same summer had been making his way south through Lake Champlain and Lake St Sacrement (now Lake George). The two explorers by opposite routes approached within 20 leagues of each other. On the 4th of October the "Half-Moon" weighed for the Texel, and on the 7th of November arrived at Dartmouth, where she was seized and detained by the English government, Hudson and the other Englishmen of the ship being commanded not to leave England, but rather to serve their own country. The voyage had fallen short of Hudson's expectations, but it served many purposes perhaps as important to the world. Among other results it exploded Hakluyt's myth, which from the publication of Lok's map in 1582 to the 2nd charter of Virginia in May 1609 he had lost no opportunity of promulgating, that near 40° lat. there was a narrow isthmus, formed by the sea of Verrazano, like that of Tehuantepec or Panama.

Hudson's confidence in the existence of a North-West Passage had not been diminished by his three failures, and a new company was formed to support him in a fourth attempt, the principal promoters being Sir Thomas Smith (or Smythe), Sir Dudley Digges and John (afterwards Sir John) Wolstenholme. He determined this time to carry out his old plan of searching for a passage up Davis's "overf all" - so-called in allusion to the overfall of the tide which Davis had observed rushing through the strait. Hudson sailed from London in the little ship "Discovery" of 55 tons, on the 17th of April 1610, and entered the strait which now bears his name about the middle of June. Sailing steadily westward he entered Hudson Bay on the 3rd of August, and passing southward spent the next three months examining the eastern shore of the bay. On the 1st of November the "Discovery" went into winter quarters in the S.W. corner of James Bay, being frozen in a few days later, and during the long winter months which were passed there only a scanty supply of game was secured to eke out the ship's provisions. Discontent became rife, and on the ship breaking out of the ice in the spring Hudson had a violent quarrel with a dissolute young fellow named Henry Greene, whom he had befriended by taking him on board, and who now retaliated by inciting the discontented part of the crew to put Hudson and eight others (including the sick men) out of the ship. This happened on the 22nd of June r 6 r 1. Robert Bylot was elected master and brought the ship back to England. During the voyage home Greene and several others were killed in a fight with the Eskimo, while others again died of starvation, and the feeble remnant which reached England in September were thrown into prison. No more tidings were ever received of the deserted men.

Although it is certain that the four great geographical landmarks which to-day serve to keep Hudson's memory alive, namely the Hudson Bay, Strait, Territory and River, had repeatedly been visited and even drawn on maps and charts before he set out on his voyages, yet he deserves to take a very high rank among northern navigators for the mere extent of his discoveries and the success with which he pushed them beyond the limits of his predecessors. The rich fisheries of Spitzbergen and the fur industry of the Hudson Bay Territory were the immediate fruit of his labours.

See Henry Hudson, the Navigator (Hakluyt Society, 1860); and T. A. Janvier, Henry Hudson (1909). In 1909 a great celebration of the tercentenary was held in the United States.

<< George Hudson

John Hudson >>

Simple English

[[File:|thumb|Henry Hudson]]

File:Henry Hudson
Hudson's map of the North Atlantic

Henry Hudson (1570 - 1611) was an English explorer. He died in the Hudson Bay in Canada. Hudson died during an exploration trip when his crew did not want to continue the trip. The crew put Hudson off the ship and into another ship. He was never seen again.

He discovered Hudson Bay and Hudson River in North America. He claimed Hudson Bay for England. He was working for the Dutch when he found Hudson River. He found the Hudson River in 1609 while he was looking for a way to get from North America to Asia by water. This was called the Northwest Passage.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address