Henry Hudson (1565-1611) was an English explorer and navigator who explored parts of the Arctic Ocean and northeastern North America. Little is known about Hudson's early life. In 1607 Hudson was hired by the Muscovy Company to find a waterway from Europe to Asia. He made two trips in 1607 and 1608, but failed to find a route to China. In 1607 he sailed to Spitzbergen, an island north of Scandinavia in the Arctic Ocean, and discovered Jan Mayen Island, a tiny island off Greenland. In 1608 he sailed to Novaya Zemlya, an island north of Russia in the Arctic Ocean.
In the spring of 1609, Henry Hudson and his crew left Amsterdam aboard a ship named the Half Moon and sailed along the coast of Norway. Hudson had been hired by the Dutch East India Company to find a northeast all-water route to Asia. When he encountered ice, he turned west and headed for warmer water. After crossing the Atlantic, Hudson sailed south along the cost of North America to Delaware and Chesapeake bays.
Bypassing these waterways, he headed north again in search of the elusive passage to the Orient. In September, Hudson sailed into New York Bay and began his exploration of the river now named in his honor. Although he failed in his quest for a route to Asia, he and his crew were the first Europeans to travel up the Hudson River.