Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 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.

Henry Hudson does not have a ship of his own. Although he has been at sea since he was a boy and has already captained two other sea expeditions, he must depend on his employers for a vessel.

In March 1609, the Dutch East India Company assigns the Halve Maen to Hudson. She is a fast sailing yacht, but lighter than usual and cramped for an eighteen-man crew. Hudson complains of the choice, saying, “she will prove difficult to handle in foul weather.” The director, Dirk Van Os, replies, “The Half Moon is the only ship at the disposal of the Dutch East India Company... We can give you no other ship. If you do not want the Half Moon, the Company will be obliged to find another Captain to carry out this assignment.”

The directors instruct Hudson to sail no later than the fifteenth day of March. But Hudson delays; still conflicted about the route he will take to the Spice Islands of the Orient.

Lenore Person
Marketing and Communications Manager