Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson’s Map
Photo by: Jeangagnon Creative Commons

There is no recorded detail about the early life of Henry Hudson. Historians cannot even agree on his date of birth: Mancall would say that he was born in 1560s while others are convinced he was born in the 1570s. Hudson was a seafarer. He began working as a cabin boy until he became a captain. His grandfather, also named Henry Hudson, was an alderman in London who helped him to be hired by the Muscovy Trading Company of England.

Henry Hudson was a bold English Sea Explorer and navigator of the 17th century. Hudson had three ships, namely: the Hopewell, the Half Moon and the Discovery. He started his voyage as early as in 1607 under the Muscovy Company. He was ordered to look for waterway in the northeast.


Sailing on his Hopewell, he and his crew reached Greenland in June. They continued to sail until they reached the Whales Bay and farther north at Hakluyt’s Headland. Hudson thought they saw an island; however, he was heading towards a different direction. He did not find any waterway.

Again in 1608, he attempted to find a passage to the East. Hudson was able to progress to Novaya Zemlya, but the ice was so dense that it was impossible to penetrate. The crew had no choice but to return to England. These consecutive failures frustrated the Muscovy Company.

Hudson did not lose courage though. He was determined to accomplish his goal and was hired by the Dutch East India Company. He intended to discover an eastern passageway to Asia. He traversed the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific and the Far East as instructed. But just like his previous expeditions, his crew met blockades of ice that caused them to divert to North Cape.

Daring Voyage

John Smith and Samuel de Champlain were informed by the Native Americans that there was a passage to the Pacific. Hudson violated his instructions by sailing to the west to look for the suspected passageway. The rumour probably referred to what are known to be the Great Lakes which are non-navigable bodies of water.

On board the Dutch ship Halve Maen, they navigated the south of Newfoundland and arrived at Nova Scotia in the middle of July. Here they met American aboriginals who were accustomed to trading. The crew traded some of their things for food.

Hudson continued sailing until he reached the Chesapeake Bay. He did not stop but instead penetrated the north, discovering the Delaware Bay. He reached what is known today as Mauritius estuary on September 3. Note however that it was Giovanni da Verrazzano who discovered the estuary in 1524.

When they passed through the Narrows, which lie between Staten Island and Bergen Neck, they found land abundant with trees and pasture. Unfortunately, they were assailed by two canoes. One of his crewmen, John Colman, was shot with an arrow on September 6, 1609. Hudson buried Colman on the shore and named the place Colman’s Point.

As Hudson ascended the Hudson River, he engaged in several trade exchanges. Natives embarked the ship to bring corn, tobacco and pumpkins. After voyaging five miles, he went onshore the Castleton where he was humbly received by the governor. Old savages gave them pumpkins, grapes and beaver in exchange for knives and beads. These incidents prevented him from checking out the narrow channel he found.


Hudson sensed that the natives were conspiring against them. To uncover their plot, he plied the men with wine that left them intoxicated. The savages feasted on the brandy and slept very soundly that night. In the following morning, they gave Hudson ample presents like tobacco and beads, and toured him around the country.

Hudson’s crew returned to the boat and continued to explore the river. What he found was rather disappointing because of highly irregular depths of the water. It was futile to continue traversing the river, so he decided to come back to his homeland.

In spite of his failure to discover the waterways to the Indies, it can be gleaned from his journal that he was well satisfied with his accomplishments. He was able to explore unknown navigable rivers totalling approximately one hundred forty miles; he discovered inhabited areas along the river banks; and he reached what is now the capital of Albany and as far as the Waterford.

New Jersey

As they descended the river, their ship could only advance slowly due to the strong winds. Oftentimes, Hudson would journey on the shore discovering fertile grounds for corn, herbs, chestnut trees and ewe trees. When the weather got better, Hudson continued to sail until he reached the Stony Point. The contents of their ship attracted the attention of the old savages. A battle ensued and they were fired at by muskets. The fight ended only after the canoes of the enemies were pitted against the more powerful canons. Hudson descended five more miles and anchored near Hoboken. He continued to explore the bay and stream of New York.

Satisfied with the result of his expedition, he returned to Dartmouth, England in November 1611. Dutch authors claimed that after his arrival at England, he was not allowed to travel to Amsterdam. Whether this was true or not, the fact remains that the Dutch Company was able to receive his reports and charts.

Captains Journals

Hudson’s journals were published and part of them remained in Holland. It was recorded that in the following year, the Dutch were able to trade in Hudson River. This significant event would have been highly improbable had they not have Hudson’s journal and charts in their possession. Consequently, all doubts pertaining to his voyage to Amsterdam were removed.

As to his alleged discovery of Jan Mayen in 1608 as put forth by Thomas Edge, this finds no support in his journal. Jonas Poole and Robert Fotherby who had Hudson’s journal could not decipher any detail pertaining to Jan Mayen.

Although his goal to discover the waterways was not fulfilled, Hudson reached higher latitudes than all other navigators. In all, Hudson’s efforts are well recognized. Several North American geographic rivers and lands were named after him. This includes the Hudson Strait, the Hudson River, the Hudson Bay, the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Hudson County, and even the city of Hudson in New York.

49 responses to “Henry Hudson”

  1. alexus garbacz says:

    we need more info you got any more alexus garbcz

  2. alexus garbacz says:

    are still alive

  3. Kati says:

    heyy can u pls tell me the history of the Hudson Bay??? I cant find nothing!!

  4. Mitch says:

    You realy need moor info of relidgen

  5. cynthia navarrete says:

    u need more info like when he died and ya

  6. Charles hong says:

    Please get more information for henry hudson

  7. macy says:

    i liked it but it needs more info!!!

  8. Brenna says:

    hey were did he die i mean were in the bay

  9. morgan says:

    his birth date is 1590

  10. marissa says:

    i am trying to find who henry hudson was and cant find it anyone have suggestions of a website

  11. Billy says:

    I love it

  12. Brenna says:

    its amazing how many facts there r on henry hudson 🙂

  13. brenna says:

    im doing a report on him

  14. Brenna says:

    OMG ITS DUE MONDAY IM NOT GOING 2 MAKE IT!!!! jk she’ll give us i mean me more time 🙂

  15. Brenna says:

    im @ home just reading about henry’s life as a sailor :l im kinda bored idkw

  16. sammie says:

    hi henry me and my friend kianna are doing a report about you and its going well you were an awesome explorer i wish you were still alive and i cant believe hudson bay was named after you

  17. Gabriel says:

    I’m in fifth grade and I’m doing a report on the Hudson River, this doesn’t tell that much. 🙁

  18. evelyn says:

    i’m trying to find out about any family life he had like, ‘was he married? & did he had any children? etc…would appreciate any statements & info on him.Thanks,,,

    • puppylover says:

      he did have some children (dont know how many) 😛

    • Priya says:

      u go on google and write Henry Hudson life Answer.com and then first search and if u don’t find the answer go to the question section and write down your question and u will receive your answer by someone in 2-3 minutes
      i found all the information there and i got A+ i was so appreciated i was the only one in the class to get an A+. that was so cool JUST Hoping u get good mark!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. d coop says:

    omg i cant find anything about henry hudsons child hood for my little bros wax museum thing any websites yall know of tht could help

  20. 16kxfaggins says:

    Are all these things that you guys are saying true? dont sound like it . but anyway henry hudson has a son but i dont know if he is still alive.

  21. Camryn says:

    Hudson had one kid. John Hudson

  22. Shawna says:

    Please put when his famous exsporathion started I need it by tommorow or else ill have to stay after school!!

  23. Ethan says:

    add more info

  24. zendaya says:

    i love the story of Henry Hudson because tells the real story about him, because Henry Hudson his amazing his very talent person but i am learning about him because his amazing you no why because many children if they will be in 7th grade they will learn about him I LOVE THE STORY

  25. zendaya says:

    And put more information so that we can no all details that we need to no

  26. bella says:

    do Henry Hudson have children and how many children

  27. Josh says:

    He made four voyages

  28. juan says:

    it needs more info … im dead i have to turn it in by next friday…….. this is a waste of time okay so dont read

  29. Andre says:

    He died in 1611 did not return to england

  30. Harrison says:

    Needs more info

  31. Priya says:

    OH MY GOSH is there something wrong with u all

    he only had 3 sons

  32. henry says:

    henry Hudson is awesome

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