Henry Hudson and His Travels:

Nor did prospects improve for Hudson upon his return to England. There, Hudson was arrested in England for illegally sailing for the Dutch, and was accused of treason, a charge of which he was eventually cleared (Chadwick, 1997, “Henry Hudsons third voyage”).

Charting unknown waters was difficult and dangerous during this era of European exploration. It was impossible to accurately determine longitude “Most sailors relied on dead reckoning – the pilots estimated ships speed through the use of a logline,” a “line with knots in it and a weighted wooden float attached to the end” (Chadwick, 1997, “Henry Hudson: Hudsons background and early years”). The other navigational tools available were a magnetic compass, using the North Star as a guide, and determining latitude through a quadrant, using “a plumb line” that “would hang straight down over the curved area to indicate the height of the [North] star in degrees (equivalent to latitude)” (Chadwick, 1997, “Henry Hudson: Hudsons background and early years”).

Given these primitive devices, Hudson cannot be faulted for a lack of fearlessness, although he is also reported to have “appeared weak at times, and vacillated between appeasement and force when dealing with crew, seldom disciplining them when or as required, often showing favoritism to some members at the expense of the others,” which caused other members of the crew to question his authority (Chadwick, 1997, “Henry Hudson: Hudsons background and early years”). The extremity of conditions the crew suffered in the cold, the lack of maps, the presence of the natives, and the fear of the unknown posed additional complications for Hudsons leadership.

“His attempt to show leniency to mutinous crew in Ungava Bay when strength might have been the better choice only led to further abuses and ultimately his demise [in 1611]” (Chadwick, 1997, “Henry Hudson: Hudsons background and early years”).

Hudsons final, fatal journey was commissioned by a group of wealthy Londoners, “who still believed there was a faster route to the east, [and] sent Hudson off as captain of the Discovery to find a North-West passage” through Iceland, through what became called the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay. However, the Discovery became mired in ice in James Bay and after the crew learned they would be forced to spend the winter, the men mutinied. “The ring-leaders, Juet and Henry Greene, set Hudson, his son, and some other men adrift in a small open boat and they were never seen again” (“Who was Henry Hudson anyway,” 1996, the Half Moon). But despite this rather ignominious end, and Hudsons imperfect career as an explorer and navigator, his work in cementing a connection between England and Maine and establishing the fur trade, as well as his travels through the Hudson Bay and River cannot be forgotten or ignored.

Works Cited

Chadwick, Ian. (1997). “Henry Hudson: Hudsons background and early years.” Last updated: 20 Jan 2007. Retrieved 14 Jul 2008 at http://www.ianchadwick.com/hudson/hudson_00.htm

Chadwick, Ian. (1997). “Henry Hudsons third voyage.” 1997. Last updated

20 Jan 2007. Retrieved 14 Jul 2008 at http://www.ianchadwick.com/hudson/hudson_03.htm

Panza, Kenneth. (2007). “Henry Hudson and early Hudson River history.” Hudson River

Maritime Museum. Retrieved 14 Jul 2008 at http://www.hrmm.org/halfmoon/halfmoon.htm

Who was Henry Hudson anyway?” (1996)..


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