Navigator. The early years of his life are almost entirely unknown. Scholars believe that he was born in or near London, and that he went to sea as a boy, probably beginning his career as a cabin boy. It is known, however, that by the time he first appeared in the historic record in 1607, he had married, produced at least three sons, and risen to the rank of captain. That year, he was hired by the merchants, Muscovy Company, to find a new passage to China. On 1 May 1607, he set sail on the 'Hopewell,' traveling as far as the Svalbard archipelago north of Norway, he discovered what is now known as Jan Mayen Island before he was stopped by ice. A second expedition for the Muscovy Company in April 1608, reached as far as Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Ocean, before he was again thwarted by ice. Dropped by the Muscovy Company, in 1609 the Dutch East India Company hired him to lead an expedition to find an easterly passage to Asia. He set set sail in the 'Half Moon,' and sailed northeasterly, but was again blocked by ice, with an unhappy crew at his back, he changed direction to Virginia to search for a Southwest Passage and sailed up the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay before deciding they did not lead to the Pacific. They sailed north, into New York Harbor, and proceeded up what is today the Hudson River before the river narrowed and halted progress. He was the first European to explore the river, and his voyage established Dutch claims to the region and a fur trade with the local tribes. In 1610, again working for the English, under the auspices of their East India Company, he set sail in the 'Discovery' 17 April 1610. By June, he had sailed into what is now called the Hudson Strait, between present day Baffin Island and Quebec, Canada, he was the first European to have explored the straight and followed it into the bay, which is today also named for him. He attempted to find a through passage, but as winter approached, he headed south. The 'Discovery' was hauled close to shore and by 10 November they were trapped in the ice of St James Bay. By spring, rations were short and the decision was made to head back to England; Hudson divided the food that remained and give each man his portion. Some of the men ate their entire allowance of food immediately and then accused the captain of hoarding food and playing favorites. Finally, the crew mutinied, and on 21 June 1611, Hudson, his son John, and seven crewmen loyal to the captain, were set adrift in a small open boat with no food, water, or weapons. They were never seen or heard from again. Some claim that Hudson successfully made his way as far south as the Ottawa River. Others suggest, however, that he had been killed by the mutineers outright. His discoveries led to development of Dutch colonies in the New World and of the fur trade that later developed in the region. He is seen today as a significant early explorer of the New World.
Bio by: Iola