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Why is Henry Hudson significant to American History?

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Quick Answer

Henry Hudson is important to American history for having discovered and provided information on several previously uncharted North American waterways. He is also famous for searching for a water passage through the North American continent to the Pacific Ocean. For these reasons, the Hudson River as well as the Hudson Bay are named after him. He is also known for sparking European interest in the exploration of America.

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Full Answer

Henry Hudson was an English explorer who made his first voyage in 1607. Initially, he had hoped to discover a trading route to Asia that was free of ice. During his life, he made a total of four voyages across the Atlantic in hopes of finding this passage, as well as a rumored "Northeastern Passage" through North America to the Pacific. During his attempts to locate this passage, he sailed up the large river that would later come to bear his name before turning around and sailing back into the large bay that would also one day bear his name.

During Hudson's fourth and final voyage to North America, his crew became hostile when they suspected him of hoarding rations for himself. This led to a mutiny in June, 1611, sending Hudson, his son and several other crew members adrift on a small life boat in Hudson Bay, and he was never heard from again.

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