Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January Hudson Quadricentennial Countdown

This special monthly feature to The Tidal Zone blog recounts the highlights that led to Henry Hudson’s sail past the tidal marsh of what is now Yonkers’ Beczak Environmental Education Center on September 13, 1609.

2009 is the Quadricentennial, or 400th anniversary, of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage up the Hudson River. It was Hudson’s third attempt to find a shorter trading route to the Orient—the existing route, around the southern tip of Africa, was lengthy and dangerous with piracy.

In January 1609, Henry Hudson signed a contract with the Dutch United East India Company to find a northeast passage to Asia. His fee for leading the expedition was 800 guilders; his wife would get an additional 200 guilders, plus more, if he failed to return in a year. The contract was quite specific as to where Hudson was meant to explore. He was told to leave about the first of April and sail around the Arctic Ocean north of Russia, into the Pacific and on to the Far East… contract terms that Hudson would soon ignore.

Lenore Person
Marketing and Communications Manager