Henry Hudson was born in England in about 1550. Little is known of his early life but in April, 1607, he set sail with eleven sailors in the vessel, the Hopewell, in an attempt to seek a north-west passage across the pole to China and the Far East. Employed by the Muscovy Company of London, he reached Spitsbergen. On his second voyage in 1608 he reached the islands of Novaya Zemlya, which lie to the east of the Barents Sea.
In 1609 Hudson the Dutch East India Company sponsored a third voyage. His ship, Half Moon, headed north-west and sailed for the Davis Strait, then steered southwards and arrived in America, laying anchor at Sandy Hook, before sailing up what is now known as the Hudson River.
In April, 1610, Hudson set out of his fourth voyage on the Discovery with a crew of twenty. He reached Greenland and entered the great bay which now bears his name. He followed the coast round but during the winter he got trapped in the ice in James Bay.
Living in close quarters in an Arctic winter, passionate arguments took place. Hudson was accused of distributing the food unfairly and in June, 1611, some of the men, led by Henry Green and Robert Juet, mutinied. Hudson, his twelve year old son, and seven others, were cast adrift in a small boat and were never seen again. Green and Juet were later killed by Eskimos but some of the men eventually reached England and were able to give a full account of their adventures.
Last updated: 8th June, 2002