This month there has been quite a to-do, not to mention a brouhaha – in other words, a fuss – over the fact that it’s an anniversary: it was in September four hundred years ago that Hank Hudson sailed up the river of the same name.
From the local paper: “A fleet of 18 Dutch boats sailed into the New York harbor on Tuesday to begin month-long celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of New York by Dutch Captain Henry Hudson.”
The claim is often made that it was Henry Hudson who was the first European to discover New York; that seems to be what is taught in schools.
But it’s wrong.
The score card should read like this: Hudson second; French first.
It’s simply a fact that not many people are aware that long before Hank H. showed up in New York in 1609, the French Navy had much earlier been there, done that.
It was in 1524 that the French arrived in what is now NYC. Think of it. That’s 85 years before Hudson!
With the warship La Dauphine leading the fleet, the French, who had been sent by the French King Frances I, arrived in New York harbor and gave what is now New York City the name New Angouleme (in honor of the French King, who came from there). It was New Angouleme long, very long, before it was New Amsterdam.
You learn almost nothing about this in schools. Most New Yorkers have no idea that New York was once New Angouleme. But that’s okay; I’ve been to Angouleme and asked around. Most people there don’t seem to be aware of it either.
So here’s a toast of cognac (from the Angouleme region) to Henry Hudson and his trip, 400 years ago, up the river that bears his name. But as far as what the local paper recently wrote – that he discovered New York – that is simply not true.
Vive la Nouvelle Angouleme!
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