19th-century illustration of the Halve Maen
Halve Maen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɦɑlvə maːn]; English: Half Moon) was a Dutch East India Company vlieboot (similar to a carrack) that sailed into what is now New York Harbor in September 1609. She was commissioned by the VOC Chamber of Amsterdam in 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.
In 1909, the Kingdom of the Netherlands presented the United States with a replica of Halve Maen to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Hudson's voyage; the replica was destroyed in a fire in 1934. Fifty years later, the New Netherland Museum commissioned a second replica.
In his 1625 book New World, 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 the Chesapeake Bay 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. 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 further 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 Mauritius 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.
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 in order to attend the 1909 Hudson-Fulton Celebration in New York, arriving in July. She appeared in a parade with the American replica ship Clermont celebrating Robert Fulton This replica was eventually towed to Cohoes, New York and perished in a fire on 22 July 1934.
Another replica of 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. 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 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, the construction of the Half Moon was completed by the New Netherland Museum.
The year 2009 marked the 400th anniversary of 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.
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, Half Moon is run by a crew of volunteers that range in age from their teens to octogenarians.
In April 2015 the ship was transported on loan to the Netherlands. She is located at the West Frisian Ship Museum in Hoorn and open to the public at a permanent mooring at the Oostereiland at the Centre Sailing Heritage. The replica took part in SAIL Amsterdam 2015. The Hoorn city council recently announced that 2019 will be the final year for the replica in the Dutch harbour. After 2019 the ship will be transported back to its American owner.
At 10 feet (3.0 m) in both height and length, the model of Halve Maen on top of the SUNY System Administration Building in Albany, New York, is claimed to be the largest working weathervane in North America.
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