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Hudson Bay,inland sea of North America, c.475,000 sq mi (1,230,000 sq km), c.850 mi (1,370 km) long and c.650 mi (1,050 km) wide, E central Canada. Hudson Bay and James Bay (its southern extension) and all their islands border Nunavut Territory, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Hudson Strait (c.450 mi/720 km long) connects Hudson Bay with the Atlantic Ocean, and Foxe Channel leads to the Arctic Ocean. Mansel, Coats, and Southampton islands are at the northern end of the bay. Hudson Bay occupies the southernmost portion of the Hudson Bay Lowlands, a depression in the Canadian ShieldCanadian Shield
or Laurentian Plateau
, U-shaped region of ancient rock, the nucleus of North America, stretching N from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean. Covering more than half of Canada, it also includes most of Greenland and extends into the United States as the
..... Click the link for more information. formed during the Pleistocene epoch by the weight of the continental ice sheet. As the ice retreated, the region was flooded by the sea, and sediments were deposited in it. With the burden of ice removed, the floor of the lowlands has been slowly rising and the bay is gradually becoming shallower. The western shores are generally low and marshy and covered by tundra, while the east coast is barren and rocky, with the Ottawa and Belcher island groups offshore. Many rivers, including the Churchill and Nelson, drain into the bay. Hudson Bay moderates the local climate; it is ice-free and open to navigation from mid-July to October. The bay was explored and named (1610) by Henry Hudson in his search for the Northwest Passage. The surrounding region was a rich source of furs, and France and England struggled for its possession until 1713, when France ceded its claim by the Peace of Utrecht. Hudson's Bay Company set up many trading posts there, especially at river mouths; some of the posts have operated continuously since 1670. The Hudson Bay Railway (opened 1929) links the prairie provinces with Churchill, Man., a port for oceangoing freighters.
an inland sea of the Arctic Ocean, which juts from the north deep into Canada. Linked by Hudson Strait to the Atlantic Ocean in the east, by a system of Canadian straits to the Arctic Ocean in the north. Area, 819,000 sq km. Average depth, 112 m; maximum depth, 301 m. Average volume, 92,000 cu km. The climate is arctic. The average temperature of the air in January is from −22‰ to −31‰ C, and in July from 5‰ C in the north to 15‰ C in the south. The currents form a cyclonic cycle. The temperature of the water in winter is below 0‰ C. In August it is from 3‰ C in the north to 9‰ C in the south. A salinity of 23–28.5 parts per thousand (‰) increases in the northwest to 29–30.5‰. From October through July the bay is covered with ice. Tides are semidiurnal, and their height reaches 7.9 m. In the deepwater layer the temperature of the water is from −1.8‰ to −2.2‰ C, and salinity is 32.5–33.3‰. Cod, herring, and flounder are caught, and there is seal hunting. The chief ports are Churchill and Port Nelson. The bay was discovered in 1610 by the English navigator H. Hudson.