The journeys 400 years ago of a French and Dutch explorer would forever alter the history of North America
Four hundred years ago, at almost exactly the same historical moment, two intrepid European explorers came near to meeting in the wilderness of today’s New York State. Each left his name on the waters he visited, but the impact of their journeys left a far larger shadow on America’s history. This year, from New York City up the Hudson and along the shores of Lake Champlain, dozens of towns, cities, and museums will celebrate the quadricentennial of the arrival of Henry Hudson and Samuel de Champlain.
The river that disappointed him bears his name, but Alexander Mackenzie’s great achievement in slogging to the Pacific is now almost forgotten.
The most momentous event in the geographical history of the North American continent, aside from its discovery, was the first complete crossing of it from coast to coast—a feat that was three centuries in the doing.