Make your own free website on

Back Home Up Next

Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson

b. 1565 England d. 1611 Hudson Bay


Looking, just like everyone else, for an alternate route to China, the English Muscovy Company  hired Hudson in 1607 to find a northeast passage that would lead to fancy silks and popular spices of the Orient (Far East). He sailed all the way up to Greenland and tried to work his way around the polar ice barrier that guarded the Norwegian islands of Spitsbergen, but the ice-clogged seas, with their hidden under crusts, blocked his way and he turned back to England. The next year he managed to reach Novaya Zemlya, a cluster of islands north of Russia, but once more he was kept at bay by ice.
With no further British sponsorship (money to support his trip), Hudson approached the Dutch East India Company  and in 1609 was given command of the Half Moon. Again he sailed eastward - but again high ice and extreme cold won. Determined not to return a loser this time, he ignored his orders to find a northeast passage and turned around to sail due west - all the way to the New World. He reached the coast of Canada in July and then, heading south toward Virginia, made it through both the  Chesapeake Bay  and the Delaware Bay, always looking for a passage that would send him sailing clear through the continent. Before returning to Europe in October, he headed back up the coast to the mouth of the river that now has his name, then followed its course almost to where the city of Albany, New York, stands today. It was this voyage that gave the Dutch their claim to those regions.
By now, English merchants were eager to finance another Henry Hudson expedition. He was given a ship, optimistically, called the Discovery and a crew of 25 men, and sent back to America in the high summer of 1610. On August 2, he reached what is now known as Hudson Strait, which led him to the great Canadian bay that would also take his name. He explored its eastern coast to the southern most point, spent the winter trapped in the ice, then sailed northward. The Discovery was soon locked in ice again. In June 1611 the crew mutinied (when the crew rebels against the captain), and Hudson, together with his son and seven loyal sailors, was forced into a small boat and sent to freeze, or starve to death.
The crew returned to England and, according to some, were imprisoned for their crime; according to others, the survivors were tried for mutiny and found not guilty. Henry Hudson could meanwhile be said to have outwitted death and time, his discoveries gave England its claim to the entire Hudson Bay Region.
Click to enlarge routes
Caption follows

Henry Hudson's two final voyages in search of a Northwest Passage.


Below are links and sites for more information on Henry Hudson.


Henry Hudson English Navigator

Henry Hudson

Biography of Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson Links




This site was last updated 08/04/2004 08:08 PM -0400