There are many sailors who navigated the sea from as early as the 15th century in an effort to discover new routes. At that time, it was difficult, because the ships were not as string as todays, but that was not a reason to hold them back. Some sailors died in the seas and were never heard of again. Henry Hudson is one of then, who navigated the seas with the aim of finding the route that links England to China and India. This research paper examines the life of Hudson on the sea. The birth of Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson was a great explorer, who achieved his greatest exploits in the service of a foreign nation. He was born in England, (London) at around 1565-1575. The exact date of his birth is not known. His parents are said to be William and Barbara Hudson, meaning that he was from a rich family. (Doyle J. A. , pg 7). Henry Hudson’s grand father was the founder and the executive of the Muscovy Company, a great British company in the 15th century. According to Doyle, Hudson was a pupil at a school of seamanship, and is said to have grown and spent most of his childhood near the sea.
Very little is known about Hudson’s life as a youth, but it is said that he married a stubborn lady called Katherine, and together they had three sons, whom they called John, Richard and Oliver. (Elizabeth Era) Discovering river Hudson Steve Otfinoski says that Henry started out his sea life as a cabin boy, where he leant to sail and to navigate the sea, and while he was not in the sea, he was a trader and a learner of foreign languages. He says the eventually, the sailor was able to work his way up to become a sailor, and later on a captain of a ship.
By the year 1606, Hudson had become an experienced sea captain and a navigator, and was now ready to set his own voyage in search of a new route to Cathay, which is today known as China. (Otfinoski Steven, pg 8-9) Henry’s voyages began in 1606, when the Muscovy Company was experiencing difficulties in its trade with Russia because the sea route that was used for transport froze during winter. The company was interested in trading with China too, and they thought that they could find a route around Russia to reach China.
Henry learnt of the plan and proposed a daring way that the company could use to reach China, which was even shorter than that another sailor, John Davis had discovered. Impressed with his proposal because he was an experienced man who possessed information that could lead his to find the passage; they hired Hudson to search the route. The voyage was dangerous, so Hudson was denied the company of reputable sea men, and was forced to take his son John as a cabin boy and other hired men to sail with him. (Doyle J. A, pg 7)
Hudson had been instructed by the company to sail through the Northeastern route, and that he would not find another route under any circumstances, but he opted to take any route that seemed best to him to reach the west. The journey was rough and terrifying, and Hudson’s crew, which consisted of eighteen members from England and Dutch, sailed from the Netherlands in the Half-moon in early April. This ship was not huge enough, and his crew did not share a common language. It disliked each other and detested its captain.
By mid May, the seas were surrounded by Barents, and the crew threatened to rebel if Hudson failed to abandon his quest in search of the route to China and take another course to better seas. The crew made a stop at the Faroe Islands to take fresh water before sailing to North America. There was a major storm along the way, which forced Hudson to anchor in at a place called Penobscot, so that the ship could be repaired. The crew then sailed southwards, along the coast until she reached the mouth of a large river, which was surrounded by “a very good land fall, which had a pleasant land to look at.
” (Lewis Tom, pg 40) The arrival of Hudson and his crew marked the arrival of the first Europeans to the land of Native Americans. Lewis says that an Italian sailor, Giovanniors Verrazano had arrived at the river in 1524 with his crew in a ship called the Dauphine. He also talks of Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese sailor sailing for the Spanish in 1525. However, these two did not document their arrivals, so there has been no evidence to prove that they actually arrived earlier at the mouth of the river.
Therefore the first true European discoverer of the river, if only because he and a crew member recorded in their journey to its headwaters in the early autumn of 1609 was Henry Hudson. (Lewis Tom, pg 42) Thus the river which he found was the one which today bears the name, the beautiful river “Hudson” of New York after its discoverer. Hudson then sailed up stream for more than two hundred English miles and observed how extremely qualified it was to be colonized and that it could be used for commercial activities. (Kohl J. G. etal, pg 37) Henry’s encounter with the Native Americans
In the book ‘Hudson’, it’s written that after several encounters with the native population, Hudson concluded that they were very good people. (Stanne S. P. , pg 96) The crew in the ship was violent, and at one time when the ship had anchored for repair, some of the sailors went ahead to kill about twelve people, and destroyed their property. (Keller Allan, pg 7) Lewis says that not all the contacts with the Native Americans were pleasant. The sailors who accompanied Hudson and others who ventured in navigation were brave men, who were used to problems and the hardships encountered at the seas and lands they barely knew.
This made them daring, unpleasant, undisciplined and at times violent. (Lewis Tom, pg 42) They could capture and steal properties from the natives or destroy them. They were not afraid to kill; to them, it was just like killing a deer and a part of what they were used to doing. Lewis said that the few who could read and write left behind their journals, and from what they wrote, it is true that they never thought twice about killing the people; they were single minded. They were also a determined lot, and if killing was the only way to get what they wanted, then they would do it.
However, they regarded the people who inhibited the river valley with a lot of suspicion and mistrust. To them, the Native Americans were wild, (neither tamed nor domesticated). They were regarded as savages, who had a hint of the ‘fang and claw. ’ If Native Americans dared to provoke the Europeans, they would easily be destroyed. (Lewis Tom, pg 42) Hudson’s voyages After discovering that the Hudson River was not the passage to China, Hudson never gave up the search for the route. The crew set out North on ‘Hopewell’, a small ship.
The seas were rough and frosty, with dense fogs around the ship, and the rain froze into ice sheets on the decks and the sails. The hands of the crew were sore from pulling the ropes coated in ice. This forced Hudson to abandon his ship and turn back to England. While at home, he decided to try out a new route towards Northeastern, traveling along the Northern coast of Russia and then around the great land mass of China towards India. Although another Englishman had already tried following this route, he had failed because his ships were driven to shore by ice and frozen in, killing everyone.
Hudson was convinced that his attempt would be more successful. So, he hired a new crew and began the journey during spring, when the waters at the Northern shore would have no ice. (Panza Kenneth S. , 2007) Three months of sailing found the crew up against a long and thin barrier of land. They sailed along; looking for a way through, but the weather was getting colder as they went deeper. Soon, the water began to turn to ice, and the crew begged Hudson to return to England. So again, he was forced to turn the ship around. Instead of heading towards England, he sailed across Atlantic towards North America.
Robert Juet, Hudson’s first mate and other crew members realized that they weren’t headed home and threatened a mutiny. This forced Hudson to return to England, failing his third attempt to find the route. Again he planned a fourth attempt to find the route, but this time, he planned to go across North America through a narrow channel, the Furious Overall, hoping it would lead to the North West passage. No ship had sailed far into the passage because it had floating cakes of ice, sucking Whirlpools and rocks. Hudson found a ship, ‘The Discovery’, selected a crew and made his son John the cabin boy.
He made a mistake by hiring Robert Juet, despite the fact that he had threatened a mutiny before. As the ship sailed along the Furious Overall, the tide began to pour away with alarming speed. The sharp rocks which were above the water’s surface suddenly jutted above the waves, threatening to tear the boat. The sailors begged Hudson to turn back, but he failed to listen. They sailed on for six weeks, and managed through the Furious Overall and came to a wide space, which they thought as the Pacific, but it was not. They sailed on, but the weather was growing cold again, and the crew started to complain.
The water became icier and the crew had to haul the ship at the shore. There was no food, so they had to eat frogs. At spring, the ice melted and the crew was ready to head home. The death of Hudson Instead of going back to England, Hudson wanted to head west again. One summer morning, Hudson got out of his cabin to check the weather. He was suddenly attacked by three men, who tied his hands and his feet. They dragged Hudson, his son, the faithful crew members and the sick sailors into the ships tiny life boat. They then pushed the boat in to the bay, leaving Hudson and the sick men to die of hunger and returned home. (Johnston H. H.
, pg 48) The sailors had a hard time finding their way to England, and the journey was getting longer. Due to hunger, they ate bones of birds and candles, sprinkled with salt and vinegar. When the crew arrived home, only five people were alive, and Robert Juet had died of hunger. Henry Hudson was never heard of again. Furious Overall was renamed Hudson Strait and the huge body of water Hudson had discovered, Hudson Bay. (Bauer S. W, etal, pg 47-50) Conclusion Hudson was one of the sailors who set the pace for others to find not only the route connecting England and China, but also others that connected England with other continents.
(Sherman J. etal, pg 9) Although little is known about his child hood, he came to be known when he was a middle aged man. Today, he is remembered mostly through the Hudson River and the Hudson Bay, which he discovered, and the Hudson Strait. Later on, other navigators found the sea way Hudson was looking for. Works cited 1) Bauer S. W. , Park Sarah, Wise James, The Story of the World: Early modern times, from Elizabeth the First to the forty-niners, Peace Hill Press, 2004 2) Doyle J. A. , The Middle Colonies, Kessinger Publishing, 2005
3) Fleming Fergus, Off the map: tales of endurance and exploration, Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005 4) Elizabeth Era, Henry Hudson, retrieved on 3/17/2009 from http://www. elizabethan-era. org. uk/henry-hudson. htm 5) Johnston Harry Hamilton, Pioneers in Canada, BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2007, pg 48 6) Keller Allan, Life along the Hudson, 2nd edition, Fordham Univ Press, 1997, pg 7 7) Kohl Johann George, Noel Robert Ralph, A Popular History of the Discovery of America from Columbus to Franklin, University of California, Chapman and Hall, 1865
8) Lewis Tom, The Hudson: A History, Yale University Press, 2007, pg 41-42 9) Otfinoski Steven, Henry Hudson: In Search of the Northwest Passage, Marshall Cavendish, 2006 10) Panza Kemmeth S. , Henry Hudson and Early Hudson River History,2007, retrieved on 3/17/2009 from http://www. hrmm. org/halfmoon/halfmoon. htm 11) Sherman Josepha, Henry Hudson: English Explorer of the Northwest Passage, The Rosen Publishing Group, 2003, pg 9 12) Stanne S. P. , Panetta R. G. , Forist B. E. , Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc, The Hudson: an illustrated guide to the living river Rutgers University Press, 1996