- Historic Sites
Strangers In A New Land
Henry Hudson’s First American Adventure
Spring 2009 | Volume 59, Issue 1
True to his word, he set sail the following year, this time to find the passage further north. But the troubles he had found in 1609 paled in comparison to what faced him no At least he had survived the trip to Manhattan and up the river that now bears his name. But he never came back from the American Arctic, succumbing, like poor John Coleman, to unpredictable violence. In Hudson's case, though, the assault came from his own, mutinous crew, who abandoned him, his 17-year-old son, and several other sailors. Those who got home eventually found themselves being prosecuted for murder.
Hudson was in all likelihood not the first European to lay eyes on what became New York. That honor, such as it was, belongs to the Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who sailed into the harbor in 1524, though he never ventured upriver as Hudson did. But Hudson, English captain of the Dutch-owned Halve Maen , was the first to report on that rich country and thus encourage Dutch colonization. Juet’s report, published in 1625, added to the growing body of travel literature that inspired the English to seek permanent outposts on the North American mainland. In 1664 they wrested control of New York from the Dutch, keeping it until their last soldiers sailed homeward in 1783 from the new republic. By then the Munsee and other Algonquians whose ancestors had both hosted and confronted Hudson’s crew no longer controlled the harbor, the sweet-smelling forests of the Hudson Valley, or the rich fishing grounds—a future that Hudson, who dreamt of seaways far to the north of Mannahata and Munsee territory, could not have imagined.