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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Postcard Thursday: Henry Hudson's 1609 arrival

As we've noted on this blog before, there is a disagreement among historians about when Henry Hudson arrived in New York Harbor and first spied Manhattan island and the river that would eventually bear his name.

September 13th is the day traditionally held to be New York's anniversary and back in 2009, it was on that date that the city celebrated its 400th birthday, complete with a royal visit from the Prince of Orange (now the King of Netherlands) and Princess Maxima.

In fact, Hudson was already in and around New York days earlier.

For the record, this probably isn't Henry Hudson
We have a detailed description of Hudson's voyage thanks to the journal of his first mate, Robert Juet. Here's Juet's entry for September 13:
The thirteenth, fair weather, the wind northerly. At seven of the clock in the morning, as the flood came we weighed, and turned four miles into the river. The tide being done we anchored. Then there came four canoes aboard: but we suffered none of them to come into our ship. . . .
So, yes it appears that on September 13, the Halve Maen sailed four miles into the river. (A river which would only come to be known as the Hudson many years later; for a great portion of New York's history it was called the North River.)

The day before (Sept. 12), Juet notes:
Very fair and hot....we turned into the river two leagues and anchored.
And here is Juet's entry for September 11:
The eleventh was fair and very hot weather. At one of the clock in the afternoon we weighed and went into the river, the wind at south south-west, little wind. Our soundings were seven, six, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen fathoms. Then it shoaled again, and came to five fathoms. Then we anchored, and saw that it was a very good harbor for all winds, and rode all night.

Thus, it would appear that on September 11, Hudson "went into the river" and anchored in the "very good harbor," which means that on September 11, 1609, the Halve Maen was at anchor somewhere in New York harbor. Today, of course, we cannot think of September 11 without turning to more recent New York City events, but there's still no reason not to commemorate Hudson on the day he actually sailed into the harbor.

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