Little Bits of History

Mutiny on the Discovery

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 23, 2010
Searching for the Pacific Ocean

The rigors of travel and the desire for fame didn't mix

June 23, 1611: Henry Hudson, on his fourth voyage in search of a northwest passage to Asia, is set adrift with his son and seven other loyal crew members. They were never seen again. Hudson heard of the search for a westward route to Asia while still a boy. He signed on as a cabin boy at the age of 16 and advanced to apprentice within seven years. By 1607, he was a seasoned seaman and the Muscovy Company hired him to search out the fabled northwest passage.

His first and second trips, were both blocked by ice and winds. He was within 577 nautical miles of the North Pole while seeking a way to the Pacific Ocean. After two years of failures, Hudson found financing with the Dutch in 1609. He sailed to the New World via Newfoundland, exploring what is today Manhattan, Maine, and Cape Cod and then sailed for a distance up the Hudson River. The Dutch used his information and set up the colony New Amsterdam, although Hudson called it Staaten Eylandt.

In 1610, he sailed under the English flag. Hudson went as far north as Iceland and then sailed on to Greenland. He continued west, looking for the passage to the Pacific Ocean. His ship reached the Hudson Strait and sailed into the Hudson Bay. Hudson continued his explorations until his ship became trapped in ice at James Bay, forcing the crew to winter in Canada.

When the ice finally melted the next spring, the Discovery was free to sail again. Hudson wanted to continue his study of the region for the waterway leading to the Pacific. The weary crew mutinied and eventually returned to Europe, although they went to Holland rather than England. They were never punished for the mutiny.

“Mistakes, even occasional incompetence, could be understood and forgiven, but not disloyalty.” – Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

“A succession of small duties always faithfully done demands no less than do heroic actions.” – Rousseau

“[History] is made up of the total effect of all our decisions and actions.” – Thomas Merton

“The impulse to escape an untenable situation often prompts human beings not to shrink back but to plunge ahead.” – Eric Hoffer

Also on this day, in 1868 an improved typewriter was patented.

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