Halve Maen

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For other ships with this name, see Half Moon.
Half Moon in Hudson.jpg
The Halve Maen in the Hudson River
Career (Dutch Republic) Flag of the Dutch East India Company.svg
Name: Halve Maen
Owner: Dutch East India Company
Chamber of Amsterdam
Completed: 1608

The Halve Maen (English: Half Moon) was a Dutch East India Company vlieboot (similar to a carrack) which sailed into what is now New York Harbor in September 1609. It was commissioned by the Dutch Republic to covertly find a western passage to China. The ship was captained by Henry Hudson, an Englishman in the service of the Dutch Republic.[1]

In 1909, the Kingdom of the Netherlands presented the United States with a replica of the Halve Maen in order to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Hudson's voyage; the replica was destroyed in a 1934 fire. Eighty years later, the New Netherland Museum commissioned a third replica.

History[edit]

The Halve Maen sailed from Amsterdam to the Arctic, turning westward to traverse the Atlantic Ocean, then sailed from Newfoundland to the south in search of the Northwest Passage.

In his 1625 book New World,[2] which contains invaluable extracts from Hudson’s lost journal, Johannes de Laet, a director of the West India Company, writes that they "bent their course to the south until, running south-southwest and southwest by south, they again made land in latitude 41° 43’, which they supposed to be an island, and gave it the name of New Holland, but afterwards discovered that it was Cape Cod".

From there they sailed south to Chesapeake and then went north along the coast navigating first the Delaware Bay and, subsequently, the bay of the river which Hudson named the Mauritius River, for Holland's Lord-Lieutenant Maurits. The Halve Maen sailed up Hudson's river as far as the present day location of Albany, New York, where the crew determined the water was too narrow and too shallow for farther progress. Concluding then that the river was also not a passage to the west, Hudson exited the river, naming the natives that dwelled on either side of the Mauritus estuary the Manahata. Leaving the estuary, he sailed north-eastward, never realizing that what are now the islands of Manhattan and Long Island were islands, and crossed the Atlantic to England where he sailed into Dartmouth harbor with the Dutch East India Company ship and crew.[3]

In, or a few years after, 1618 the ship was destroyed during an English attack on Jakarta in the Dutch East Indies.[4]

Replicas[edit]

Halve Maen replica, being towed along the Amstel.
1909 Replica of Halve Maen

In 1909 a replica of Halve Maen was given to the United States by the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Hudson's voyage. The ship was constructed at the Rijksmarinewerf in Amsterdam. The keel was laid on 29 October 1908 and on 15 April 1909 the ship was launched and then transported to the US on the Holland America Lines freight liner Soestdijk. This replica was eventually towed to Cohoes, New York and perished in a fire on July 22, 1934.

1989 replica of Halve Maen docked in the Hudson River at Albany, New York.

Another replica of the Halve Maen (officially Anglicized as Half Moon) was constructed in Albany, New York in 1989 by the New Netherland Museum. The museum contracted with Nicholas S. Benton to design and build the replica. Mr. Benton, a master ship-rigger and shipwright, was president of the Rigging Gang of Middletown, Rhode Island, which specialized in colonial ship restoration and design. To prepare for building the Half Moon, a $1 million project, he visited maritime museums in the Netherlands and the United States. After his death while assisting with the rigging of another vessel,[5] the construction of the Half Moon was completed by the New Netherland Museum.

The year 2009 marked the 400th anniversary of the Halve Maen's voyage. For the anniversary, the crown prince of the Netherlands and his wife were on board, as well as students from a Dutch school. This anniversary was marked in September 2009 with festivals, music, sailing ships parading around New York Harbor.[6]

The replica ship sails in and around the Hudson River and serves as a traveling museum that conducts programs for youth and adults about the history of the Dutch colony called New Netherland. With its voyages of discovery and 4th and 7th grade interdisciplinary curricula, the ship pursues a comprehensive education program. A non-for-profit organization, the Half Moon is run by a crew of volunteers that range in age from their teens to octogenarians.[7]

At 10-foot (3.0 m) in both height and length, the model of the Halve Maen on top of the SUNY System Administration Building in Albany, New York, is the largest working weathervane in North America.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mancall, Peter C., "Strangers in a New Land," American Heritage, Spring 2009.
  2. ^ Johannes de Laet (Dutch Wikipedia) (1625). Nieuwe Wereldt, ofte beschrijvinghe van West-Indien (New World, or the description of West India). Leiden. 
  3. ^ Robert Juet. Transcribed by Brea Barthel "Purchas His Pilgrimes (Juet's Journal of Hudson's 1609 Voyage)," June 28, 2006.
  4. ^ Johnson, Donald S. (1992). Charting the Sea of Darkness: The Four Voyages of Henry Hudson. p. 218. ISBN 978-0877423218. 
  5. ^ Nicholas Benton, 35, Builder of Ship Replica, a June 21, 1989 obituary from The New York Times
  6. ^ "NY400 Events". ny400.org. Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2012-05-08. [dead link]
  7. ^ "What is the Half Moon and New Netherland Museum?". Archived from the original on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 
  8. ^ "Albany Trivia & Fun Facts". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2012-05-08. 

External links[edit]