The Life and Accomplishments of Explorer Henry Hudson
The life and accomplishments of the English explorer Henry Hudson.
Henry Hudson was an Englishman by birth. We know very little of his early days. It is believed that he was the grandson of an alderman or council member and that he co-founded the Muscovy Company. He made his way up from being a mere cabin boy to become the captain of the ship.
In 1607, the Muscovy Company authorized him to find a northeastern sea route to the China. Though Hudson failed to do so, he is believed by some to have discovered the Jan Mayen Island in Norway. In1609, the Dutch East India Company selected Hudson with the same objective. He was specifically briefed to sail around the Arctic Ocean, into the pacific and reach the East. However, this time too he was unsuccessful because of the thick ice. Therefore, he decided to try reaching the East by a southwest passage through North America.
Hudson set sail in his ship the Half Moon and crossed the Atlantic Ocean. He explored the Chesapeake and Delaware bays and became convinced that these would were unlikely to show him the way to Pacific Ocean. Then, the Half Moon sailed to the mouth of the Hudson River. Hudson explored the region intensively. Based on his explorations, the Dutch could claim the territories to themselves. The region came to be known as New Amsterdam. In October of the year, just as it approached Manhattan, native Indians attacked the Half Moon. The attackers had to be repulsed and many natives were killed in the process. Soon after, the Half Moon began her journey back to Europe. The ship anchored at Dartmouth, Devonshire in England on November 7.Here, Hudson and his English crew was detained while the rest were allowed to complete the journey to Holland.
In 1610, Hudson made what was to be his last voyage. He was backed financially in this venture by two British companies, the British East India Company and the Virginia Company. As the Captain of the new ship the Discovery, he reached Iceland, sailed around the southern tip of Greenland and was confident that he was going to discover the much sought after North West Passage. On August 2, the ship reached Hudson Bay. Here, Hudson explored and mapped the shores. Soon the winter set in and the ship was trapped in ice. The crew shifted to the shores. When spring came, Hudson was keen on continuing the voyage, but some of his crew wanted to sail home and staged a mutiny. They put Hudson and his young son and seven of Hudson’s supporters in a small boat and set it adrift. Without any food, water or arms they were sure to die.
Mystery shrouds Hudson’s death. He was never seen again. It is held that he did survive for some time but died in1611. Only a few of the mutineers reached Europe. They were allowed to go free, presumably because they had plenty of precious information about the new continent.