On today’s date in 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson reached the Grand Banks, south of Newfoundland, on De Halve Maen (The Half Moon).
Hudson eventually made landfall near present-day LaHave, N.S. before reaching the river that bears his name in September 1609. Working for the Dutch East India Company, he was searching for the Northwest Passage—a water route linking the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean through North America.
Though the river itself had been noted by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano nearly a century earlier, it was Hudson who explored it in detail. He also identified Manhattan Island as a prime location for agriculture. Within two decades, the Dutch would settle the area of present-day New York City (then New Amsterdam).
2015 GREAT CANADIAN EXPLORERS COIN
In 2015, the Royal Canadian Mint issued the fourth coin of its Great Canadian Explorers series. The $200 pure gold coin depicts Hudson, who navigated and charted both the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay in 1610 before his crew mutinied in June 1611. The coin’s reverse, designed by Laurie McGaw, depicts Hudson on his final Arctic voyage and features a full portrait of the iconic explorer, who is gazing to the right through a spyglass.
He wears a heavy fur coat and hat as well as long leather boots. To the right side is a stylized map of Hudson Bay with Hudson’s spyglass pointing directly to the bay’s centre. Below the map, Hudson’s ship Discovery rests at anchor. To the left side is an Elizabethan-era directional wind rose.
The reverse design also includes the issuing country “CANADA,” the face value “200 DOLLARS” and the year-date “2015.” The coin has a diameter of 29 millimetres, a weight of 15.43 grams and a mintage of 2,000 pieces.