Henry Hudson, a British navigator and discoverer, born about the middle of the 16th century. He was first employed by a company of London merchants to search for the N. W. passage in 1607, when he sailed in a small vessel with a crew of only ten men and a boy to the E. coast of Greenland, lat. 80°, where he was stopped by ice. After three months of fruitless exploration he returned to England, whence he sailed again, April 21, 1608, hoping to find the passage between Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen, but was again hindered by ice, not being able to get to the eastward of the former land. On April 6, 1609, he began another voyage to the N. E. of Asia, sailing from Amsterdam in the service of the Dutch East India company. His crew being unable to endure the climate, he sailed for Davis strait, but came to the American coast in lat. 44°. Sailing S., he discovered the mouth of the river which has received his name. Having sailed up the river to the head of navigation and explored it in a boat for some miles further, and afterward followed the coast S. as far as Chesapeake bay, he returned to England. In April, 1610, he began his fourth voyage with 23 sailors, passing in June and July through the strait and into the bay which now bears his name.

Finding, however, that this did not give him an open route westward, he resolved to winter there and resume explorations in the spring. His provisions ran short, and he was compelled to return. It is said that he incautiously declared that in their destitute condition he would have to leave some behind, and in a mutiny he was seized and placed with his son and seven others who remained faithful to him in an open boat, and abandoned. His fate was revealed by one of the mutineers, and an expedition was sent from England in quest of him, but no trace of him was ever discovered. "A Collection of Documents forming a Monograph of the Voyages of Henry Hudson," edited, with an introduction, by George Asher, was published in London by the Hakluyt society in 1860. See also a "Historical Inquiry concerning Henry Hudson," by J. M. Read, jr. (Albany, 1866). '