In 1609, two years after English settlers established the colony of Jamestown in Virginia, the Dutch East India Company hired English sailor Henry Hudson to find a northeast passage to India. After unsuccessfully searching for a route above Norway, Hudson turned his ship west and sailed across the Atlantic. Hudson hoped to discover a “northwest passage,” that would allow a ship to cross the entirety of the North American continent and gain access to the Pacific Ocean, and from there, India.
The area lay unmolested until English explorer Henry Hudson stumbled on it while searching for the Northwest Passage in 1609. After arriving off the coast of Cape Cod, Hudson eventually sailed into the mouth of a large river, today called the Hudson River, in his honor on September 12, 1609.
Lenapes, Mohawks and Mahicans, who were doing fine before Henry Hudson met the Dutch in 1609. Hudson reported them to be “very loving“.
Making his way as far as present-day Albany before the river became too shallow for his ship to continue north, Hudson returned to Europe and claimed the entire Hudson River Valley for his Dutch employers. “It is as beautiful a land as one can hope to tread upon ‘”reported Hudson, who claimed the place for the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch would return in 1614 to establish Albany and in 1624 to establish New York as posts to trade with the Indians.