The Hudson River and Henry Hudson

The Hudson River and its valley together with that of the Mohawk River, formed one of the most important trade routes in the United States. The route was entirely in New York State and carried goods by water, rail and road.

The Hudson River rises in the Adirondack Mountains and flows southwards for nearly 500 kilometres to the great city of New York at its mouth. The Mowhawk River rises not far from the eastern end of Lake Ontario and joins the Hudson River at Cohoes, a short distance north of Albany. Between them, these river valleys formed a very important corridor throuth the Appalachian Mountains, leading from the Atlantic Ocean to central Canada, the Middle West region of the United States and the Great Lakes.

The upper part of the river valley has many rapids which were used to give water power for power stations and for making electricity. Below Troy the river is tidal and is really an inlet of the sea. It runs through fine scenery past the Catskill Mountains and later in a steep-walled gorge through the Hudson Highlands, with the famous academy of West Point where army officers were trained, on its west bank. As it approaches New York it flows at the foot of the Palisides, cliffs 500 feet high. Seagoing ships could reach Albany which was a bustling and busy port. Canals were used by barges to connect the Mowhawk River with Lake Ontario at Oswego and with Lake Erie at Buffalo but those canals froze during winter.

The Hudson River was first explored in 1609 by the Englishman Henry Hudson, who was then working for a Dutch trading company. This led to early settlement by the Dutch and New York was at first called New Amsterdam.