top of page

Henry Hudson (1565-1611) (W8:D3)



Henry Hudson was a well-trained seaman, from early in his life, starting as a cabin boy, and making his way up to ship’s Captain. The Muscovy Company of England hired him to sail in search for a northern route to Asia. The expedition for a northern route became a race between the French, Dutch, and English, and the winner would control the northern route. The problem was that the ice covered the route for over three fourths (3/4) of the year, so they only had 3 months to search those waters.


1607 Expedition

Hudson took his first shot, sailing with only 10 men and a ship’s boy. They reached the East coast of Greenland, and then sailed East to the area later called Hakluyt's Headland, in what is now known as Svalbard, north of the Netherlands. See, at this point they were not sailing to find the northern route over the Americas, but that of Europe and Russia. They wanted to find a way to travel to Asia from any route possible. They found that, because of too much ice, they had traveled too far North and had to turn South, and back to England. He brought back stories of large quantities of whales, which spurred new whaling fleets to travel north to harvest their meat and oil for lamplight.


1608 Expedition

This time, both the British East India and Muscovy Companies joined forces and hired Hudson to sail north of the land now known as Russia. The ice became too thick, though, and he had to return; however, records do show he was able to travel north of the Arctic Circle and make it as far as Novaya Zemlya, near Northern Russia. This is where the ice became too thick to penetrate, and for fear it would crush his ship, they turned around. He turned back near the end of August, still during the summer heat.


1609 Expedition

On this expedition, only the Dutch East India Company would hire Hudson to try again, to sail above modern-day Russia, but by May, he turned around, abandoning this route. Instead, it was still early enough to try a new route. There was a rumor of a northern route above the Americas and Hudson was determined to find it. On his first attempt, he arrived in the New World, near Newfoundland, in early July, and then sailed south to Nova Scotia, Cape Cod, and even as far south as the Hudson River (which he sailed up and claimed for the Netherlands, before returning North up the coast). On this trip, they encountered the First Nations tribes, a group of indigenous tribes that banded together for war against their enemy native nations. Hudson traded with many native tribes on this expedition, trading beaver skins and fur for manufactured goods, like glass and other merchandise, brought for this purpose. When his men ran out of things to trade, their greed got the better of them. According to a journal entry of one of his ship’s crew, the men attacked the native village by night, taking the things they could not trade. This was reported in the personal journal of the drunken shipmate, Robert Juet. Remember his name.


Now this entire coastal area of North America had already been discovered and explored by John Cabot’s son, Sebastian, in 1508, and Giovanni da Verrazzano, as early as 1524, but it was Hudson who traveled upriver and dedicated the land for the Netherlands - and recorded it by map. By mid-September, they return to Europe after a crew member was killed, by being shot in the neck by a native’s arrow. As soon as Hudson arrived, the Ambassador of the Netherlands took his logs and maps and had the land recorded as property of the Netherlands.


1610-1611 Expedition – After his last journey, Hudson was determined to make it to Asia through the Northern route. This time, he had gained the confidence and funding of the London Company and British East India Company, who heard his successes and offered him more funding, supplies, and a new ship, the Discovery. He released his contract with the Netherlands and accepted those of his own country. He added to his crew, beyond his normal members: Edward Wilson, as surgeon; Abacuk Pricket, the serving-man of one of the expedition’s funders; Thomas Wydowse, a mathematician; and Henry Greene, a good-natured friend. This time, he sailed above Iceland, just south of Greenland. By June, he reached North America in what is now called the Hudson Strait. This proved to them that they had found the Northern Passage and they spent the next few months mapping the area. During this time, Juet stirred up the crew to mutiny, but so loyal were the men to their captain that it fell upon deaf ears and Juet was stripped of his position. Though some called for him to be marooned, the captain had mercy on him, and simply demoted him to the lowest crewmember as they continued their journey. So determined were they to find their passage, that they explored into November, when their ship became stuck in the ice and the crew was forced to head to shore. Staffe, the ship’s carpenter, reported it too cold to build shelters; this sent the captain into a rage, and an argument that lasted a few days. Staffe finally agreed to build a single shelter. The men, led this time by Greene, were again stirred up, due to not being supplied more provisions, and became angry with their captain again.


When the ice melted, Hudson wanted to continue his expedition to find the northern passage, but most of his crew was determined to go home. As long as Hudson’s navigator, Robert Bylot, was on the Captain's side, the crew knew they could not make it home. It may have been Hudson’s transfer of the position of first mate to John King, his illiterate quartermaster, or when he commanded the crew to ration their supplies even more, but Bylot turned and became neutral. The crew was empowered. Led by Juet and Greene, they mutinied in June, leaving Hudson, his teenage son, and seven men, including Staffe - who volunteered to stay with the captain due to his loyalty - adrift in an open rowboat. The marooned tried to keep pace, rowing after the Discovery, until the Discovery opened their sails to quicken their pace away from the Captain’s rowboat. Hudson and crew were never heard from again. On the Discovery’s voyage back, the crew turned on each other again, and almost marooned a few other crew members. If not for the fact that they needed Pricket’s master to pardon them, they would have thrown him overboard. The Discovery returned to England, where the men were arrested. But, because of their knowledge of the New World, they were released, and kept as a source of information about the conditions and the Northern Route. Many expeditions went to search for Hudson, but never found him. Instead, the area he discovered was named after him and the fur trade by the English, through the Hudson Bay Company, grew quickly, through the information his men brought back.


Activity: Surviving the Northern Passage – If you were stranded in Hudson Bay, thousands of sailing miles away from home, what would you do? This may be your greatest fear, or the greatest adventure you could ever imagine. For this activity, I would like you to come up with a plan, after your men had marooned you on a rowboat. What would you have done to survive or return home? Remember that in your party you have the ship’s carpenter, your teenage son, and 6 very ill crewmembers, and it is June 1611. What would you do first, to survive, and next, to be rescued, or escape? Would you interact with natives of the area? What would you do if you were in Hudson’s position?


Below is a map to show you how far from England they were and how returning to England was not an option.


Create a plan in the space below of how you would survive until you could be rescued.


_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_____________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Opmerkingen


Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page