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Memorable Manitobans: Henry Hudson (?-1611)


One of those figures who emerge from the darkness of obscurity with an international reputation already made, Hudson first entered the record as an employee of the English Muscovy Company in 1607, hired to find a short route to China over the North Pole. He failed in this, as in a 1608 search for a Northeast Passage through the Russian Arctic. The Dutch hired him in 1609 for another search for the Northeast Passage, but a recalcitrant crew forced him to head west instead, where he ascended the Hudson River. On his return he was hired by the English for a venture aboard the Discovery to find a Northwest Passage. Again he had, from the beginning, a difficult crew, which, after a year’s sailing and wintering in Hudson Bay in conditions of great privation, mutinied and set Hudson and a few others adrift on a shallop. They were never heard from again. The ringleaders of the mutiny were never punished for this crime. A few were eventually arraigned for murder but acquitted. Despite his nautical achievements, Hudson was obviously not a good leader of men.

More information:

Henry Hudson, the Navigator: The Original Documents in Which His Career Is Recorded, Collected, Partly Translated, and Annotated edited by G. M. Asher (1860).

Henry Hudson, Dictionary of Canadian Biography I, 374-79.


Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Page revised: 19 March 2008

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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