Henry Hudson


Born: c. 1560/70s in England
Nationality: English
Occupation: Sea Commander, Author

Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century.

Early Life

The exact date and place of birth for Hudson is not known. However, he was born somewhere in England in 1565. It is largely believed that Hudson spent many years at sea. He started as a cabin boy and then gradually worked his way up to being a ship’s captain. Very little is known of his life before 1607. He sailed three times for the English and once for the Dutch. On all the voyages, Hudson was searching for a shorter route from Europe to Asia.

Hudson’s Explorations

During spring, 1607, Hudson, his son John and 10 other men went on a voyage for Muscovy Company in search of a passage by the North Pole towards Japan and China. Hudson believed that he would come across an ice-free sea just around the North Pole. When he reached the edge of polar ice pack, he decided to follow it east until he reached Svalbard archipelago.

A year later, the Muscovy Company sent him again to find a Northeast Passage to Asia. However, this time, his exploration was between Svalbard and the Novaya Zemla islands. Once again, his way was blocked by the ice fields and he had to go back to England. While still in Amsterdam, he heard reports of two possible channels to Pacific across the North America. He sailed from Holland in April of 1609.

Hudson River

Due to head winds and storms, he was forced to leave his northeast voyage. Together with his crew they decided to find the Northwest Passage rather than return to Holland. While cruising along the Atlantic seaboard, Hudson came across a beautiful river. This river is now called the Hudson River. After traveling for about 150 miles, he concluded it did not flow into the Pacific.

Hudson Bay

In 1610, Hudson got a backing for another voyage but this time under the English flag. On June 25th of that year, Hudson and his crew members reached Hudson Strait. The ship then entered Hudson Bay. He spent several months mapping and exploring the eastern shores. However, he never managed to find a passage to Asia. In November his ship was trapped in ice at James Bay.


The winter was very harsh and the crew members were starving. On June 12th, 1611, he prepared to go back to England. On their way back, Hudson argued with his crew members and Hudson, his son and 7 other crew member were abandoned in a boat just next to Charlton Island. The remaining crews managed to get back to England; they were tried for mutiny but later acquitted.

Henry Hudson, his son and the other abandoned crew members’ fate is unknown. No one heard from them ever again after they were abandoned.