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Henry Hudson
In 1609 the English King, James I, called upon Henry Hudson to sail to the Arctic. Hudson was eminently qualified: he had sailed through Russia's northern seas, had been across the Atlantic to America where he navigated -- and named -- the Hudson River. And he had been to Greenland and the edge of the polar ice.
In June 1610 explorer Henry Hudson sailed his ship, 'The Discovery,' along Baffin Island's south shore, through Hudson Strait and far into Hudson Bay.
In June 1610 explorer Henry Hudson sailed his ship, 'The Discovery,' along Baffin Island's south shore, through Hudson Strait and far into Hudson Bay.

By June 1610 Hudson was sailing his ship, The Discovery, along Baffin Island's south shore, into a waterway that had been named "Furious Overfall." Hudson renamed it Hudson Strait.

As he pressed further into frigid, unknown waters, he added new names to his charts: the Island of Good Fortune, Gods Mercies, Hold With Hope and Desire Provoketh. But the bleakness of the Arctic descended around the crew like a shroud. Tension spread and factions split as the ice floes moved in around them.

Abacuck Prickett, one of the only literate crew members, kept an account of what transpired on the voyage:

"(It was) a labyrinth without end... We had a storme and the wind brought the Ice so fast upon us, that in the end we were driven to put her into the chiefest of the ice, and there to let her lie. Some of our men this day fell sicke, I will not say it was for feare, although I saw small signe of other griefe."

The winter ice was forming, chasing the Discovery south. Hudson desperately was hoping for a southern outlet back to the Atlantic ocean. But his men wanted to turn around, to try and find a route back north to open water...

Hudson would not hear of it and he stubbornly carried on. It brought The Discovery to a dead end.

Prickett wrote: "Here our Master was in despaire and he thought he should never have got out of this Ice, but there have perished."

As the ice moved in all around, the Discovery became trapped. The sailors were in another realm, stranded in a place they deemed unfit for man. "To speak of all of our troubles would be too tedious," Pickett wrote.

Hudson and his crew were stuck in the ice, through the long, bitter winter, with no contact from anyone except a brief encounter with a Native man who chanced upon the ship. He was a trapper moving ably through the wilderness. He had come to trade with those on board.

"To this Savage our Master gave a Knife, a looking glasse and buttons, who received them thankefully and made signes that after hee had slept hee would come againe, which hee did. When hee came, hee brought with him a Sled, which hee drew after him, and upon it two Deeres skinnes and two Beaver Skinnes."

This was the first quiet episode of trade between the Europeans and the Indians along the shores of a bay that would one day bear Hudson's name. The place would one day become famous for its fur trade but on this day, the episode was brief and modest. Once he was finished, the trapper moved on, leaving Hudson and his crew alone once more.


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