Major Explorers of
New York State
In 1493, Christopher Columbus returned to Spain from America with tales of his voyage to the islands he had discovered off the coast of what he thought was India. Soon other countries in Europe began sending ships to explore these new lands seeking the riches they might provide. One of their primary goals was also to try to find a quicker trade route to Asia, the land of silks and spices. This search for the Northwest Passage, lead to many new discoveries and claims. By the early 16th century (1500ís) France, Italy, and England had begun their explorations.
Cabot, like Columbus, believed that Asia could be reached by sailing
westward. Cabot, an Italian
ship captain, made two voyages to the new world.
In 1497, he sailed for the King of England.
He reached the northern coast of North America in what today is
part of Canada. He sailed
southward, exploring possibly as far as New York.
In 1524, Giovanni da
Verrazano, an Italian explorer, sailing for France, reached the eastern
coast of North America. He
sailed up and down the coast looking for a passage that would take him
west through the continent. He
reached the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Bay, and wrote
"we found a very pleasant situation amongst some steep hills ..."
In 1534, the French
king, Francis I, sent Jacques Cartier, a French navigator and explorer
to North America. He wanted
Cartier to search for gold and other precious metals, as well as to seek
a water route through North America. Cartier sailed into what is now the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
claiming the land along the river for France.
In 1609, an English sea captain, Henry Hudson sailed to America for a Dutch trading company. Hudson and his crew aboard the ship, Half Moon, were searching for the Northwest Passage. They sailed into a great river know today as the Hudson. The crew of the Half Moon fished, traded with the Native Americans, and explored the river. They sailed up the river until it became too shallow to navigate near present-day Albany. Hudson claimed the land they explored in the Hudson River Valley for Holland.
Samuel de Champlain:
Champlain was a French explorer who became known as the "Father of New
France." In 1603 he went on his first voyage to North America on an
exploration and fur-trading expedition. He returned a year later, to look
for a place in which to make a permanent French settlement. He remained
until 1607, exploring the Atlantic coast from Canada to Massachusetts.
Letís Review the
Major Explorers of New York State