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He Sailed The Half Moon

The British explorer Henry Hudson (?-1611) was hired by Holland’s United East India Company to find a safe passage to the so-called Spice Islands of the East. Hudson had twice before attempted this feat for an English company.

Henry Hudson, the Celebrated and Unfortunate Navigator… “The Half Moon [sailing ship, with bow in left foreground] in New York Harbor,” ca. 1909

Hudson left Amsterdam on March 25, 1609, aboard the Half Moon, a small, 80-ton yacht with a crew of 18 sailors. Sailing along the coast of Norway, he reached the North Cape on May 5. Fearful of a setback in the Arctic waters and worried about quarreling among the Dutch and English sailors on his crew, he made a bold decision to head westward toward North America, following a map that his friend Captain John Smith had shown him. There he hoped to find a westward passage to the Far East -- an inlet that would lead to a river across America and into the Pacific.

Hudson made landfall on Labrador and then began to head south along the coast. He entered Chesapeake Bay and stopped briefly at the mouth of the Delaware River before turning north again. In early September he entered what would later be called New York Harbor and the Hudson River. Still searching for a passage to the Far East, the Half Moon sailed almost as far north as present-day Albany before Hudson turned back, convinced by the increasingly shallow water that the river would not lead to the open sea. Although disappointed that he was unable to find the fabled route to Asia, Hudson was impressed by the wealth of the New World. The ship's log describes a country teeming with beaver, deer and otter and dotted with Indian villages that cultivated corn and beans.

“The Atlantic World: America and the Netherlands” explores the history of the Dutch presence in America and the interactions between America and the Netherlands from Henry Hudson's 1609 voyage to the post-World War II period. The project is the result of cooperation between the Library of Congress and the National Library of the Netherlands, which has enlisted the cooperation of other leading Dutch libraries, museums and archives.

“The Atlantic World” is one of several bilingual presentations in Global Gateway, the Library’s Web site of international materials made available through cooperation with libraries and other institutions overseas.

The English-Dutch “Atlantic World” is joined by the “English-Russian “Meeting of Frontiers” and the English-Spanish “Parallel Histories.” More such collaborations are in the making.

You can also access information on more than 130 nations through the “Portals to the World” section of Global Gateway. When this project is completed, all nations of the world will be represented.

With more than one-half of the books and periodicals in its collections in languages other than English, the Library of Congress is truly an international resource. It houses information on nearly every country, region, national, ethnic and religious group, often equal to or surpassing collections found elsewhere. For example, the Library's Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Polish collections are the largest outside of those countries, and the Arabic collections are the largest outside of Egypt. The collection of Luso-Hispanic materials is the largest in the world, and the collection of Judaica ranks among the largest anywhere. You can learn more about these diverse collections, in the illustrated guides on this Web site.

A. Henry Hudson, the Celebrated and Unfortunate Navigator…,” (no date). Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-3923 (b&w film copy neg.); Call No.: PGA - Lewis--Henry Hudson (A size)

B. “The Half Moon [sailing ship, with bow in left foreground] in New York Harbor,” ca. 1909. Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction information: Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-72068 (b&w film copy neg. of half stereo); Call No.: LOT 2780 [item] [P&P]

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