Henry Hudson (Watts Library)
What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the
1. What year was the
main overland trade route from Europe to Asia closed?
1453. Trade with Asia was very important to the Europeans. They
traded for valuable silk, metals, and spices. Metals were used
by the Europeans for money. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and
cardamom were used to make food more edible. Many of the spices
came from the Moluccas Islands, located halfway between the Philippines
and Australia. The Europeans called the Moluccas Island the Spice
Islands because so many spices could be found there.
The main overland trade route from Europe
to Asia went through Constantinople. In 1453, the Ottoman captured
Constantinople and closed the trade route. The Europeans had to
find a new route if they were to continue trading with Asia.
In 1499, Vasco da Gama discovered a new
trade route around the tip of Africa. This and other trade routes
around Africa were opened. However, they were controlled by Spain
and Portugal. England and other European countries looked to the
northern seas to find a trade route to Asia. John Davis made three
voyages between Greenland and Canada. Although Davis never found
a passage, he made important discoveries to help sailors who followed
him. Some historians believe Henry Hudson was a member of Davis'
crew on one of his voyages.
2. What year was Henry
Circa 1570. Little is known about Henry Hudson's childhood. He
was probably born in the 1570's, possibly in Hoddersdon, about
17 miles northwest of London.
Later, Hudson married a woman named Katherine.
They had three sons. One of his sons, John Hudson, served on all
of Henry Hudson's voyages.
3. What year did Henry
Hudson make his first voyage?
1607. Henry Hudson wanted to find out if it were possible to sail
from England to Asia by way of the North Pole. Geographers Robert
Thorne and Peter Plancius thought it was possible. They reasoned
the sun shines on the North Pole for twenty-four hours each day
in the summer. Therefore, there had to be a warm-water, navigable
sea near the North Pole.
Hudson's voyage was sponsored by the Muscovy
Company. His ship was called the Hopewell. The Hopewell
was a bark which is a small, wooden ship with three masts. In
1607, the ship was three years old and had sailed six other voyages.
The sailors slept in cramped quarters aboard the Hopewell.
They had to supply all their food and drinking water for their
voyage. The food could spoil, and the water might be covered by
a film of scum.
On April 23, 1607, the Hopewell
set sail from London. This was Hudson's first voyage of discovery.
Bad weather delayed the voyage for about a week. On May 1, Hudson
and his crew were again on their way towards Greenland. No one
had explored the east coast of Greenland, and Hudson wanted to
map it. The sailing conditions were difficult. The fog was thick,
the wind picked up, and the sails and ropes froze.
When the weather cleared, Hudson sailed
toward Spitsbergen, a group of islands well north of the Arctic
Circle. Spitsbergen was so remote Dutch sailors had just discovered
it eleven years earlier (in 1596).
By the end of June, 1607, Hudson reached
Spitsbergen. By the middle of July, 1607, Hudson reached the northern
tip of Spitsbergen. They were just 577 miles from the North Pole.
Did you know Hudson was the
first person to ever sail that far north? However, he could not
go any farther because his route was blocked by ice. On July,
16, Hudson wrote, "there is no passage by this way." Eleven days
later the Hopewell almost collided with an iceberg. Hudson
turned back home.
By the middle of September, 1607, the Hopewell
was back in London. The crew had been at sea for four months.
Although Hudson knew there was no passage to Asia through the
North Pole, he continued to look for other water passages to the
4. What year did Henry
Hudson make his second voyage?
1608. On April 22, 1608, Henry Hudson left London on his second
voyage. Again, he was the captain of the Hopewell, and
again the Muscovy Company sponsored the trip. This time, however,
Hudson headed northeast along the northern coast of Russia looking
for a passage to Asia.
Hudson added extra planks to the Hopewell
to better withstand the icy waters. He also hired a larger crew
of fifteen people. Almost immediately, the Hopewell encountered
floating ice. Many of the crew became sick because of the damp
and cold weather.
As the voyage headed farther northeast,
the Hopewell encountered more ice fields. The ice grew
thicker as they neared the islands of Novaya Zemlya, off the coast
of Russia. Hudson intended to sail north around Novaya Zemlya
because he believed a sea on the other side would lead him to
the Pacific Ocean. However, the heavy ice prevented them from
sailing north. Did you know
Novaya Zemlya means "new land" in Russian?
On July 2, 1608, Hudson decided to get
to the other side of the largest island by sailing through it.
He thought he saw a "fair river" running through the island. As
the Hopewell started into the river, the ice began floating
towards the ship. The crew had to push the Hopewell to
safety. As it turned out, the river did not cut through the island.
It only led to a landlocked bay.
After two months, Hudson decided he could
not find a water passage along the coast of Russia, and he turned
the Hopewell around. Hudson did not go back to London.
He continued to look for a passage to Asia. This time he sailed
west into the Atlantic Ocean and toward North America. They crew
became angry when they realized they were not headed back to London.
Some historians believe the crew turned against Hudson and forced
him to return home. By the end of August, 1608, the Hopewell
was back in England.
5. What year did Henry
Hudson make his third voyage?
1609. The Muscovy Company did not want to sponsor Hudson on another
voyage because he was unable to find a trade route on his first
two voyages. Hudson had to find a new sponsor. He found The Dutch
East India Company. It was a larger, richer, and more powerful
company than the Muscovy Company.
On January 8, 1609, the Dutch East India
Company agreed to pay Hudson to look for a passage to Asia with
one condition. The charter stated, Hudson was "to think of discovering
no other route or passage, except the route around the north or
northeast above Novaya Zembla." This meant Hudson was supposed
to find a passage along the northern coast of Russia. This was
the same route he had attempted on his previous voyage. Hudson,
on the other hand, wanted to explore the interior of North America.
Hudson, however, agreed to look for a route around Russia.
Hudson was given a small, aging ship called
the Half Moon. The ship would be difficult to handle in
bad weather. The crew was made up of English and Dutch sailors.
This was also difficult because Hudson did not speak Dutch.
On April 6, 1609, Hudson set sail from
Amsterdam. The cold weather and rough seas was difficult for the
crew. Hudson used this opportunity to change the goal of the trip.
Instead of sailing through the cold and icy waters, Hudson wanted
to sail to North America. The crew agreed thinking it would be
warmer. Hudson ignored the charter and headed to North America.
By July, 1609, the Half Moon was
off the coast of Canada, and on July 18, the crew went ashore
at Penobscot Bay, in present-day Maine. They spent a week at Penobscot
Bay, making repairs to the mast of the Half Moon and catching
Hudson headed towards Virginia. Through
late July and into August, 1609, he looked for a strait leading
to the Pacific Ocean. This was the same water passage the Lewis
and Clark Exploration was looking for in 1804.
6. On September 3, 1609,
Henry Hudson discovered a river in North America. The local Indians
called it Muhheakunnuk, meaning "great waters constantly in motion."
Hudson later called it the "River of Mountains." Today, what is
this river called?
The Hudson River. When Hudson spotted this river he was at the
site of present-day New York City. He claimed the area for the
Hudson went ashore and met Lenape Indians.
The Lenape lived along the Atlantic coast of what is now New Jersey.
They gave Hudson his first taste of American corn. Hudson traded
beads and knives for Indian tobacco.
Hudson continued upriver. A week later,
he was in view of the Catskill Mountains. The crew went ashore
and met with a Mahican chief. Hudson wrote the Mahicans were "a
very good people."
As Hudson sailed north on the river, it
became more shallow. Hudson realized this river would not lead
to the Pacific Ocean. He turned the Half Moon around near
present-day Albany, New York. On this trip up the river, Hudson
encountered a few conflicts with some of the Indians.
On October 4, 1609, the Half Moon
sailed out of the Hudson River and into the Atlantic Ocean. Winter
was approaching so Hudson returned to Europe. He was concerned
how the Dutch company would react when they heard Hudson had explored
North America rather than following the charter. Instead of sailing
to Holland, Hudson landed in Dartmouth, England, on November 7,
1609. The English authorities held him in custody for sailing
under the Dutch flag, forbade him from working for a foreign company,
and told him not to leave England.
7. What year did Henry
Hudson make his forth voyage?
1610. Hudson wanted to make a forth voyage. This time he would
have to sail under the flag of England. Hudson convinced five
English noblemen (including Prince Henry) to support his trip.
The British East India Company provided Hudson with a ship called
the Discovery. The Discovery was the largest ship
Hudson had commanded. Hudson hired twenty-two crew members, including
his son John.
The goal of Hudson's forth voyage was to
look for a route to Asia in the waters of North America. On April
17, 1610, the Discovery set sail from England. It was the
last time Hudson would see England. Less than one month into the
voyage, the Discovery was stalled near Iceland due to rough
water, and the crew began to fight.
By the end of June, 1610, Hudson reached
a body of water in North America called the Furious Overfall.
It had been discovered by explorer John Davis in 1587, and Davis
gave it its name because of the rushing torrents of water. Today,
it is called Hudson's Strait. Hudson and the Discovery
took shelter in a bay. The crew wanted to return home. Hudson
told them they had traveled hundreds of miles farther than any
other Englishmen, and the crew reluctantly agreed to continue.
On August 2, 1610, the Discovery
entered what today is known as Hudson Bay. Hudson thought he had
found the water passage to Asia. By the end of October, 1610,
the Discovery was trapped by ice at the southern tip of
the bay. As winter approached, the crew's condition worsened.
Men were sick and cold. Food was scarce. Somehow, they made it
through the winter.
By May, 1611, the ice began to break up.
By June, 1611, the crew was ready to leave. Trouble broke out
between Hudson and his crew. On June 22, the crew began to mutiny.
The crew put Hudson, his son, and seven other sick sailors in
a small boat. The mutineers cut the small boat free, and the Discovery
sailed away. Hudson was never seen again.
What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the
Charter: An official document
granting, guaranteeing, or showing the limits of the rights and
duties of the group to which it is given
Floe: A flat mass of ice formed
on the surface of a body of water
Mast: A tall pole supporting the
sails rising from the deck of a ship
Navigable: Deep or wide enough to
provide passage for vessels
Rigging: The ropes and chains holding
and moving the masts, sails, and spars of a ship
Strait: A narrow passage of water
connecting two large bodies of water
Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the
Following Questions for Your FREE
a. How many voyages did
Henry Hudson make to find a passage to Asia through the northern
Four. During his life, Hudson tried four times to find a passage
through the northern seas to Asia. He sailed farther north than
anyone ever had before. He explored new places, including a river
and a bay in North America. Did you know
this river and bay are called the Hudson River and the Hudson
Hudson's achievements are remarkable. He
mapped much of the icy Arctic waters. His efforts laid the foundation
for future exploration. His third voyage led to the Dutch colonization
of the Hudson River valley. His final voyage laid the basis for
English claims in Canada.
b. Describe ONE of Henry
Hopewell: A bark or small, wooden ship with three masts.
It was Henry Hudson's ship for his first voyage which left London
on April 23, 1607. At the time, it was three years old and had
sailed six other voyages. Hudson sailed this ship again in 1608.
This ship was supplied to him by the Muscovy Company.
Half Moon: A small aging ship used by Henry Hudson
on his third voyage. It was supplied to him by the Dutch East
Discovery: Henry Hudson used this ship on his forth
voyage. It was the largest ship Hudson commanded. Did
you know the Lewis and Clark Expedition named their
keelboat the Discovery in 1804, and NASA named one of its
Space Shuttles Discovery in honor of Hudson's ship?
c. Describe ONE of the
John Davis: An English sailor who made three voyages
between Greenland and Canada. In 1587, Davis discovered a body
of water called the Furious Overfall. Today, we call this Hudson's
Strait. Although Davis never found a passage to Asia, he made
important discoveries to help sailors who followed him. Some historians
believe Henry Hudson was a member of Davis' crew on one of his
Willem Barents: A Dutch explorer who sailed along the
northern coast of Russia three times looking for a way to Asia.
On his third trip, his ship become trapped in huge ice floes.
Barents and his crew spent the winter of 1596-1597, in crude cabins
they built on the frozen shore of Novaya Zemlya. The cabins gave
little protection from the cold, and Barents died.
Robert Thorne: A geographer who made a map showing
how ships could sail a warm-watered, navigable sea near the North
Pole because the sun shines on the North Pole twenty-four hours
each day during the summer. Henry Hudson discovered this thinking
Peter Plancius: A Dutch geographer believed ships could
sail near the North Pole.
Christopher Columbus: An Italian explorer who sailed
Sebastian Cabot: An Italian explorer who sailed for
England and Spain.
Giovanni da Verrazano: An Italian explorer in the French
service. In 1524, he explored the area along the Atlantic coast
known as New Jersey.
Lewis and Clark: Two hundred years after Henry Hudson,
Lewis and Clark were two American explorers looking for a water
route across North America in a keelboat named Discovery.
In 1804, Lewis and Clark traveled part of the way up the Missouri
River in this vessel. They did not find the water passage.
Roald Amundsen: Norwegian explorer who was the first
explorer to sail the Northwest Passage in 1906.
d. Define ONE of the
Constantinople: A city located on the Bosporus, a strait
many people considered the dividing line between Asia and Europe.
Today, the city is called Istanbul, and it is the largest city
Merchant Adventurers: Henry Hudson was part of this
group of merchants sending several ships in search of a northern
passage to Asia. Henry Hudson's grandfather was probably one of
its founders. The group later became known as the Muscovy Company;
it was named for the Russian city, Moscow.
Spitsbergen: A group of islands well north of the Arctic
Circle discovered by Dutch whalers in 1596. There are four main
islands and about 150 smaller ones located about 400 miles north
of Norway. Glaciers cover about sixty percent of this region.
Today, it is called Svalbard, and it is a part of Norway.
Novaya Zemlya: Means "new land" in Russian.
Mutiny: Sailors defying a captain's authority. If a
sailor took part in a mutiny, he could be executed without a trial.
The Dutch East India Company: It was formed in 1602,
and traded goods with other countries. It was larger, richer,
and more powerful than the Muscovy Company. It owned a fleet of
forty large ships and many more small ones, and it employed 5,000
sailors. The Dutch Company's ships were sailing around the Cape
of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa to trade with Asia.
This was a long route, and the Dutch Company was looking for a
shorter trade route. Did you know
the Dutch Company's charter with the government of Holland gave
the company the right to wage war?
Lenape: American Indians living along the Atlantic
coast what is now New Jersey. In 1524, they had come in contact
with Europeans when Giovanni da Verrazano explored this area.
They had decades of bad experiences with some Europeans who raided
the Lenape. By the time Hudson arrived, they distrusted Europeans
so it was not long before they came into conflict with Hudson's
Mahicans: American Indians living inland from the Atlantic
Ocean. They had not had contact with Europeans before Hudson's
arrival so they were not as hostile as the Lenape. Hudson was
able to establish friendly relations with the Mahicans.
Northwest Passage: The name for the water route across
North America. This route is a series of channels through the
Arctic islands of Canada. Explorers searched for this route for
centuries. In 1906, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the
first explorer to sail the Northwest Passage.
e. Make a Henry Hudson
c. 1570: Henry Hudson born.
April 23, 1607: Hudson leaves London
as captain of the Hopewell on his first voyage of discovery.
April 22, 1608: Hudson leaves on
second voyage on board the Hopewell.
April 6, 1609: Half Moon
July 18, 1609: Hudson goes ashore
in what is now Maine.
September 3, 1609: Hudson sails
up what will become known as the Hudson River.
November 7, 1609: Half Moon
returns to Dartmouth, England.
April 17, 1610: Discovery
departs for North America.
August 2, 1610: Hudson comes to
what is now Hudson Bay.
November, 1610 - May, 1611: Hudson
and crew winter on the southern shore of Hudson Bay.
June 22, 1611: Members of Hudson's
crew mutiny and abandon him at sea.
f. Use five of the words
in Section 2 in a sentence.
Hudson did not follow the charter
on his third voyage.
Henry Hudson encountered many floes
when he sailed near the North Pole.
A mast on a sail boat
is tall enough to hold a sail.
A ship can only sail through navigable
The rigging of a ship
is important to sail the ship.
The Hudson Strait connects
Hudson Bay with the Atlantic Ocean.
g. Have a parent or friend give you
a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.
More Valuable Information about Henry
Hudson (Mariners' Museum)
Hudson Explorer of the Hudson River
Hudson Links (Social Studies for Kids)
of Henry Hudson's 4 Voyages (Mariners' Museum)
Moon Facts (Henry Hudson's Ship)