September 08, 2009

Senator Gillibrand Introduces Resolution Commemorating 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson's Voyage

In Honor Of Quadricentennial, Dutch Royalty Visiting New York This Week

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today introduced a resolution commemorating the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's first exploratory sail up what is now called the Hudson River in 1609, as well as the 200th anniversary of Robert Fulton's Hudson River voyage in 1807 in which he introduced steam navigation on a commercial basis.

"This year, we have a unique opportunity to celebrate New York and America's past," Senator Gillibrand said. "It's been 400 years since the Hudson River was first discovered. Today, we're still unlocking its potential. The Hudson River Valley fuels our economy with new jobs, new development and tourism, inspires our artists and offers New Yorkers miles of adventure and endless recreation."

The first European exploration of the Hudson River and the introduction of steam navigation to maritime commerce are celebrated both in the United States and abroad. In 1609, Englishman Henry Hudson, acting in the service of the Dutch East India Company, became the first European to sail up the river later named for him in the vessel Half Moon. Also in 1609, French explorer Samuel de Champlain became the first European to see the lake later named for him, as well as the shores in Northern New York and Vermont.

These explorations led to the establishment of Fort Orange, a Dutch, and later English, settlement of what is now the capital city of the State of New York, as well as the establishment of French trading posts, military posts, and settlements as far south as Lake George.  From these early establishments came trade, commerce, cultural, and religious impact deep into the Mohawk Valley and as far west as Lake Erie.  These settlements influenced American history, culture, law, commerce, and traditions of liberty that extend to the present day.

Almost 200 years later, in 1807, Robert Fulton navigated the Hudson River from the city of New York to Albany in the steamboat Clermont, successfully inaugurating steam navigation on a commercial basis. This event helped revolutionize waterborne commerce on the great rivers of the United States and fostered international relations through transoceanic travel and trade.

This week, New York is proud to welcome Willem-Alexander, Crown Prince of Orange, and his wife, Princess Maxima to be part of the 400 celebration in Albany and New York City. Congressmen Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) introduced this resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives.