On September 12, 1609, Henry Hudson sailed into the river that now bears his name. He had departed Amsterdam on April 4 on his ship the Halve Maen (Half Moon), on a mission from the Dutch East India Company to find a passage to Asia through the Arctic Ocean. However, due to some slightly fortuitous ice blockage, he wound up around Newfoundland, where he and his crew (not so fortuitously) raided a village near the shore and stole boats and pelts.
Hudson’s crew then made their way south, looping around the Delaware Bay and eventually finding the “North River.” The estuary had actually been known to Europeans since Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed it in 1524, but Hudson helped lay Dutch claim to the area, and also brought back a number of pelts, inspiring the Dutch to settle and get into the fur trade. As you may remember, beaver pelt trade remained a booming business in the region for some time.
Unfortunately for Henry Hudson, his next voyage wouldn’t turn out so well. Sailing under the English flag this time, he sailed to Iceland and Greenland, but in the James Bay the ship became trapped in ice, and the crew had to move ashore. By the time the ice cleared after months, most of the crew wanted to return home, and mutinied. Hudson, his son, and a few loyal crewmembers were put on a small boat, which was set adrift and never found again.