Henry Hudson

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Henry Hudson
English Sea Commander, Author

Hudson, Henry,

fl. 1607–11, English navigator and explorer. He was hired (1607) by the English Muscovy Company to find the Northeast PassageNortheast Passage,
water route along the northern coast of Europe and Asia, between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Beginning in the 15th cent., efforts were made to find a new all-water route to India and China.
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 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 PassageNorthwest Passage,
water routes through the Arctic Archipelago, N Canada, and along the northern coast of Alaska between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Even though the explorers of the 16th cent.
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. 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).

Hudson, Henry


Born about 1550; died 1611. English navigator.

In search of a northern sea route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, Hudson made four voyages in the arctic seas from 1607 to 1611, voyages organized by London and Amsterdam merchants who were seeking new routes to China and India that would circumvent Spanish and Portuguese possessions. In 1607, intending to get through to the Pacific Ocean by way of the north pole, he went to 80° 23” N lat. and discovered Jan Mayen Island on the way. In 1608 he tried unsuccessfully to find a passage between Spitsbergen and Novaia Zemlia. In 1609, in the service of the Dutch East India Company, he set off first to the Barents Sea and from there to the shores of North America to seek the Northwest Passage; he surveyed part of the coast of the continent, discovered the mouth of the Hudson River, and traveled 250 km up the river. In 1610 he got through to the west by a strait (Hudson Strait) between Labrador and Baffin Island and discovered a vast bay (Hudson Bay). In its southern part (James Bay) Hudson’s ship spent the winter. On the return voyage in 1611, the crew mutinied. Hudson, his son, and seven sailors, who were put off the ship into a small boat, disappeared without a trace.


Mowat, F. Ispytanie I’dom. Moscow, 1966. Chapter 2. (Translated from English.)
Powys, L. Henry Hudson. London, 1928.
Neatby, L. H. In Quest of the North West Passage. Toronto, 1958.

Hudson, Henry

seeking a northwest passage to the Orient, in 1609 he explored the river later named for him. [Am. Hist.: Benét, 482]