Henry Hudson

Discoverer of the Hudson River

Early Life

Henry Hudson was born in London, England around the year of 1565. He came from a wealthy family and was named after his grandfather who was a founding member of the Merchant Adventurers, which later became the Muscovy Trading Company. Little is known about Hudson's past, but historians believe that he was well educated and studied cartography, navigation, astronomy, mathematics and seamanship in his early life. Historians also believe that he would have accompanied journeys that were funded by the Muscovy Trading Company. Hudson was also married and had three sons.   

Achievements and Discoveries

Henry Hudson made his first voyage west of England in 1607 on behalf of the Muscovy Trading Company, his goal was to find a shorter route to Asia from Europe through the Arctic Ocean. He tried twice and both times being blocked by ice. Hudson’s third journey, he worked for the Dutch East India Company in 1609. This time Hudson went East to look for a more southern route. He had heard rumor of a of a possible channel across North America to the Pacific. After sailing the Atlantic coast, Hudson’s ships sailed up a river that is now called the Hudson River, but turned back when they were determined it wasn't the channel they were looking for. On Hudson’s fourth and final journey, in which he worked for England in 1610-1611. Hudson and his crew spent months drifting through the Hudson Bay and he eventually fell victim to mutiny by his crew. Hudson’s discoveries helped the Dutch set colonies along the Hudson River region, as well as English colonies in Canada.

Impact on the World

There are geographic places named after him such as the Hudson River, Hudson Bay, and the Hudson Strait. Hudson also discovered several islands by Greenland and many others on his journeys. Historians also believe that the knowledge gained by Hudson’s four journeys increased significantly compared to other journeys in the early 1600’s.

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