The Explorations of Henry Hudson

The great explorers of mankind date back to the era of the Vikings, who took to the seas when long trips of discovery and conquest were in order and well before background checks were done. A well known, more recent English explorer and navigator was Henry Hudson who, like many, was in search of a Northwest Passage to the great land of India. While on the payroll of the Dutch East India Company, his perseverance paid off with the discovery of the Hudson River, the Hudson Strait and eventually the Hudson Bay. The early years of Hudson’s life are not well documented, but at 16 years of age he started working on his first ship. From this point forward, he gradually worked his way up to the prestigious position of captain. 

Henry Hudson dedicated a majority of his life to navigation and exploration with humble beginnings as a cabin boy. In the year 1607, a Russian company hired Hudson to seek out and locate the then mystical Northeast Passage. This was the discovery that the English and the Dutch were also searching for because this would secure quicker access to trading with India. In May of 1607, Hudson and a crew of nearly a dozen men set out on a mission for a shorter route to the West Indies. On the 27th they sailed by the present day, mouth of the Hudson Bay and thought they were much farther north. It wasn’t until 1608 that Hudson made a 2nd attempt to locate the Northwest Passage, but again he was unsuccessful. In 1609 he was hired by the Dutch East India Company and he was sent towards Russia, with intentions of sailing above it, in search of the Northwest Passage yet again. On the 11th day of September he sailed into modern day New York City. Once there, Hudson and his crew made the decision to search for a Southwest Passage and this resulted in trading with multiple tribes, along the way.  When he returned home, he made the decision to stop in England where he was ultimately detained by authorities. In 1610, Hudson made another voyage with the same intention, as the previous trips with England supporting him this time around. On May 11th, Hudson discovered Iceland and on June 4th, he also discovered Greenland. The following winter, tough conditions and ice forced the crew inland until the spring of 1611. By this time the crew had enough and desired to go home, but Henry had other plans of exploration in mind. This resulted in a mutiny of the crew and they forced Hudson and a few sailors, who were loyal to him, into a small boat. Sadly, Henry Hudson was never seen again, but by this point in time his adventures would never be forgotten. 

Although the explorer and seasoned navigator is now long gone, his legacy still lives on strong to the present day. He has been credited with the discoveries of the Hudson River, the Hudson Strait, the Hudson Bay, and the discoveries of Iceland and Greenland. There is also a city in the state of New York named after him, as well as a county in the state of New Jersey. For additional resources about Henry Hudson, please visit: