Friday, July 17, 2015

Henry Hudson: Sailing for the Dutch

            Hudson left Amsterdam in 1609 but the ice north of Norway blocked his passage. John Smith, an English explorer about whom we will learn more, is believed to have sent Hudson a letter saying that somewhere north of Virginia there was a sea route to Asia. Contrary to his orders, Hudson convinced his crew to sail to America to look for the passage to India and China. They reached Newfoundland, sailing south from there to the James River in Virginia where an English colony had just been ‘planted.’ Hudson and his crew turned northward, looking for “a gateway through this wild and unknown coast.” They explored Delaware Bay. They reached the mouth of the river later named for him. He wasn’t the first European to find it, but he sailed farther up it than others had.
            He described the area as “very good land to fall in with, and a pleasant land to see.” Natives wrapped in fur robes and feather capes, and wearing copper bangles surrounded the Half Moon, convincing Hudson that he was close to the passage to India and China. He sent men out to explore the harbor and streams. They reported that the land was “as pleasant with grass and flowers as ever they had seen, and very sweet smells.” But before they returned to the Half Moon, natives attacked them, killing one of them with an arrow.
When Native American canoes surrounded the ship again, Hudson ordered his men to capture two of them as hostages. They drove the rest away. As they sailed up what is now the Hudson River, twenty-eight canoes filled with whole families followed them. Hudson’s crew traded with them, “giving them trinkets for oysters and beans.” But they didn’t allow any of the natives aboard the ship. As they sailed up the river, the two captives wiggled out a porthole and swam to shore where they made rude gestures and insulted the crew of the Half Moon. Hudson anchored at the Catskill Mountains. Native people brought corn (maize) and pumpkins and tobacco to trade. Further up river they found a tribe with amazingly vast heaps of corn and beans. They fed Hudson, inviting him to sit on a mat and eat from a red wooden bowl. The natives broke and burned their arrows as a gesture of friendship.
The river grew shallow. When they arrived near where Albany, New York, now is, Hudson sent men in a rowboat further up river. This was not the route to Asia. He sailed down river and returned to Europe, landing first in England. The Half Moon returned to Amsterdam, and the Dutch sent out more explorers and traders. Eventually they established a settlement on Manhattan Island, were New York City is now.
            Before we learn about the colony of New Amsterdam, there is more to tell about Henry Hudson.


roberto said...

Wasn't Hudson an Englishman? Why he sailed for the dutch?

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

The Dutch thought him a great explorer based on his adventures with the Muscovy Company and hired him.

Harry H said...

It might help to give a little background on Hudson at the beginning of the chapter. I was wondering why he was sailing under the Dutch flag too.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

this isnt the start of the chapter.

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