Hudson, Henry

Hudson, Henry

Hudson, Henry, fl. 1607-11, English navigator and explorer. He was hired (1607) by the English Muscovy Company to find the Northeast Passage to Asia. He failed, and another attempt (1608) to find a new route was also fruitless. Engaged (1609) for the same purpose by the Dutch East India Company, he sailed in the Half Moon to Spitsbergen, where extreme ice and cold brought his crew near mutiny. Hudson, determined not to lose his reputation as an explorer, disregarded his instructions and sailed westward hoping to find the Northwest Passage. He entered Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and later New York Bay. He was the first European to ascend (1609) the Hudson River (named for him), nearly to present-day Albany. His voyage gave the Dutch their claim to the region. His fourth expedition (1610), financed by English adventurers, started from England. Again he sailed westward, hoping to find the Northwest Passage. Between Greenland and Labrador he entered Hudson Strait and by it reached Hudson Bay. After weeks of exploration, he was forced by ice to winter there. By the next summer (1611) his starved and diseased crew mutinied and set Hudson, with his son and seven men, adrift in a small boat, without food or water. He was never seen again. His discoveries, however, gave England its claim to the Hudson Bay region.

See R. O'Connell, Hudson's Fourth Voyage (1978); D. Hunter, Half Moon: Henry Hudson and the Voyage that Redrew the Map of the New World (2009); P. C. Marshall, Fatal Journey: The Final Expedition of Henry Hudson (2009).

(born circa 1565, England—died after June 22, 1611, in or near Hudson Bay?) English navigator and explorer. Sailing for the Muscovy Company of London in search of the Northeast Passage to the Far East, he was blocked by ice fields. In 1609 he set out in the Half Moon to find a similar passage for the Dutch East India Company, but, when stopped by storms, he instead sought the Northwest Passage, which he had recently heard about from other explorers, and cruised along the Atlantic coast and up the Hudson River. In 1610 he set out again for America, this time on behalf of the Muscovy Company and the English East India Company, and discovered Hudson Bay. Finding no outlet to the Pacific and in the close confinement of an Arctic winter, Hudson's crew fell to quarreling, and on the homeward voyage they mutinied and set Hudson adrift in a small boat, never to be found. His discoveries formed the basis for Dutch colonization of the Hudson River and for English claims to much of Canada.

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