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Celebrating 400 years

June 27, 2006

New York state and the region around Quebec, Canada, are preparing to mark the 400th anniversary of two historic journeys.

The Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission is helping to coordinate some of the activities scheduled for 2009 to celebrate Henry Hudson's sail up the river that would come to bear his name, and Samuel de Champlain's expedition to the lake that would come to bear his name.

In 1609, the two men set out on their voyages.

In July of that year, French explorer Champlain journeyed into the area around what is now called Lake Champlain. He had founded the city of Quebec the year before and had been dubbed the "Father of New France."

In August of that year, explorer Hudson sailed into New York Bay on the vessel the Half Moon. An Englishman serving the Netherlands, Hudson traveled up the river to a point near present-day Albany.

Events also will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton's maiden steamship voyage up the Hudson in 1807. With his partner, Robert R. Livingston Jr., Fulton made the first long-distance trip by a steamboat, from New York City to Albany in 32 hours.

The commission has a Web site, www.exploreny400.com, with information about the events and ways to get your community involved.

The main events will begin July 4, 2009, with replica vessels setting sail and other events at Lake Champlain, through the entire Hudson Valley and in New York City.

The finale will be Oct. 4, 2009, with fireworks from Quebec to New York City, through the entire Hudson River corridor.