History Timeline 1600s

Picture above: Pocahontas, Source: World Noted Women, D. Appleton and Company, 1883, Wikipedia Commons. Right: Pocahontas Saving the Life of Captain John Smith, New England Chromo. Lithograph Company, 1870. Courtesy Library of Congress.


Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1600s


Sponsor this page for $100 per year. Your banner or text ad can fill the space above.
Click here to Sponsor the page and how to reserve your ad.

  • Timeline

  • 1609 Detail

    September 3, 1609 - Henry Hudson, working for the Dutch, sails into New York harbor and up the river that would bear his name to Albany.

    Henry Hudson Exploration

    First, a little background as his tenures on the sea sometimes has us confused. Henry Hudson was an Englishman, and yes, his first exploration of the Americas, looking for that elusive Northeast passage to the Orient, occurred in 1607 and 1608 for English merchants, i.e. the Muscovy Company, and attempted these attempts above the Artic Circle. He knew of the rivalry to find this passage before the Dutch. Both years, he was unsuccessful, reaching ice packed waterways too tough to penetrate, the first year to the west, i.e. above today's Canada, the later to the east above Russia.

    However, Hudson had no great loyalty to anyone but his next employer, so in 1609, he switched sides, working for the Dutch East India Company, the later New Netherlands group.

    "The Dutch United Company signed a contract for me to search for a northeast passage. They promised me 800 guilders for leading the expedition. They also said they'd pay my expenses while I'm gone. What a wonderful deal," Henry Hudson, January 8, 1609.

    Hudson and his men left Amsterdam on April 4, 1609 to the east on the ship Half Moon. He was acccompanied by Robert Juet (Ivet) as first mate. Juet had been first mate on Hudson's journey the year before and would sail with Hudson on his next exploration. Both men approached these explorations as scientists, noting their positions and what they witnessed.

    "I set sail with my men on a new ship call the Half Moon. A beautiful and speedy vessel. A second vessel set sail right after me. We have finally left all Dutch land and now we are sailing on open waters," Henry Hudson, April 6-8, 1609.

    However, like his 1608 journey, the ice pack halted him again within one month, so he, on his own volition, decided to head west and attempt to find passage through the inland waters of North America.

    "The Half Moon is currently blocked icy waters and the weather is bad. We could hardly get to Nova Zemblya. Fights between my English and Dutch men seems to occur periodically. Another mutiny broke out between my men once more. I believe it's time to change our course and set sail toward the New World," Henry Hudson, mid-late May.

    The New World, Here Hudson Comes

    By July 2, they reached Newfoundland. While passing through the territory of today's Maine, Robert Juet notes that they saw Frenchmen already there.

    "The third (July 3), faire Sun-shining weather, with a faire gale of wind at East North-east, and wee steered away West South-west by our Compasse, which varyed 17. degrees Westward. This morning we were among a great Fleet of French-men, which lay Fishing on the Banke; but we spake with none of them. At noone wee found our heighth to bee 43 degrees 41 minutes. And we sounded at ten of the clocke, and had thirtie fathoms gray sand. At two of the clocke wee sounded, and had five and thirtie fathoms gray sand. At eight of the clocke at night, we sounded again, and had eight and thirtie fathoms gray sand, as before," Robert Juit.

    By August 4, they sailed into Cape Cod. When the Half Moon left the coast of New England, Hudson directed them south, to the Chesapeake Bay, but did not enter. Englishmen were even seen along King's River in Virginia. Hudson found the Delaware Bay, but continued north, before entering the estuary of the North River, now known as the Hudson, on September 3, 1609. It had not been his to initially discover by Europeans, as Verrazzano had already seen the North River estuary during his exploits in 1524.

    "The third, the morning mystie until ten of the clocke, then it cleered, and the wind came from the South-South-east, so wee weighed and stood to the Northward. The Land is very pleasant and high, and bold to fall withall. At three of the clocke in the after-noone, wee came to three great Rivers. We we stood along the Northernmost, thinking to have gone into it, be we found it to have a very shoald barre before it, for we had but ten foot water. Then wee cast about to the Southward, and found two fathomes, three fathoms, and three and a quarter, till we can to the Souther side of them, then we had five and six fathoms, and Anchored. So wee sent in our Boate to sound, and they found no lesse water then four, five, six, or seven fathoms. Ozie ground, and saw many Salmons, and Mullets, and Rayes very great. The height is 40. degrees 30 minutes," Robert Juit, September 3, 1609.

    "We came in contact with some natives who traded us tobacco for knives and beads. There men were very civil," Henry Hudson, September 5, 1609.

    "The fifth, in the morning as soone as the day was light, the wind ceased and the Flood came. So we heaved off our ship againe into five fathoms water, and sent our Boate to sound the Bay, and we found that there was three fathoms hard by the Souther shore. Our men went on Land there, and saw great store of Men, Women, and Children, who gave them Tabacco at their coming on Land. So they went up into the Woods and saw great store of very goodly Oakes, and some Currants. For one of them came aboard and brought some dryed, and gave me some, which were sweet and good. This day many of the people came aboard, some in Mantles of Feathers, and some in Skins of divers sorts of good Furres. Some women also came to us with Hempe. They had red Copper Tabacco pipes, and other things of Copper they did weare about their neckes. At night they went on Land againe, so we rode very quiet, but durst not trust them," Robert Juit, September 5, 1609.

    Hudson continued into New York harbor, reaching upper New York Bay on September 11, 1609.

    "The eleventh, was faire and very hot weather. At one of the clocke in the after-noone, wee weighed and went into the River, the wind at South South-west, little winde. Our soundings were seven, six, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen fathoms. Then it shoalded againe, and came to five fathoms. Then we Anchored, and saw that it was a very good Harbour for all windes, and rode all night. The people of the Country came aboard of us, making shew of love, and gave us Tabacoo and Indian Wheat and departed for the night; but we durst not trust them.

    September 12, twenty-eight Lenape canoes approached the Half Moon, with Hudson trading for oysters and beans from the Native Americans. The Half Moon continued north up the Hudson River to the area of Albany. On September 23, 1609, he began his journey downriver, then back to Europe, arriving at Dartmouth, England on November 7.

    "The Half Moon returned to Dartmouth, England once more," Henry Hudson, November 7, 1609.

    But this was a problem that Hudson had not fully anticipated, as English authorities were not too pleased that Hudson was sailing for the Dutch, their economic rival, and wanted the log of his excursion. In spy novel trickery, Hudson passed the log off to the Dutch ambassador before the English could find it.

    Teepossible.com T-Shirts and Gifts

    Outcome of the Journey

    So why was that important? For centuries to come, the Dutch would claim that territory as their own since Hudson, working for them, had established exploration to Albany and trade with the natives. It would take until 1614 for the Dutch to establish a trading post at Albany, and Manhattan Island as their capital, known as New Amsterdam, in their territory of New Netherlands in 1625. So, in effect, it was all Hudson's fault, even though his next adventure, in 1610, would proceed those actions and be done under the auspices of the English.

    Image above: Drawing of Henry Hudson and crew trading with the Indians with canoe and ship in background, 1856, Ballou's Pictorial. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Hudson and crew and ship Half Moon (Halve Maen), again trading with natives, plus pictures of what Hudson would find three hundred years later at the Hudson-Fulton Celebration in 1909, 1909, Will Crawford, Puck. Courtesy Library of Congress. Info source: Prezi.com, "Henry Hudson's Journal Entries,"; "Juet's Journal of Hudson's 1609 Voyage," 1625, aka Purchas His Pilgrims transcribed by Brea Barthel; Library of Congress; Wikipedia.

    Henry Hudson and the Hudson-Fulton Celebration

    History Photo Bomb