Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Hudson Bay is a large body of water in northeastern Canada. It drains a large portion of the northern areas of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba and the southeastern area of Nunavut. A smaller offshoot of the bay, James Bay, lies to the south. The IHO lists Hudson Bay as part of the Arctic Ocean. On the east it is connected with the Atlantic Ocean by Hudson Strait, and on the north with the rest of the Arctic Ocean by Foxe Channel (which is not considered part of the bay) and Fury and Hecla Strait . All islands in the bay (and in James Bay) are part of Nunavut.
- Geographic coordinates: 78° to 95° W, 51° to 70° N
The area around the bay is a lowland known as the Hudson Bay Lowlands which covers 324,000 kmē. The area is drained by a large number of rivers and has formed a characteristic vegetation known as muskeg. Much of the landform has been shaped by the actions of glaciers and the shrinkage of the bay over long periods of time. Signs of numerous former beachfronts can be seen far inland from the current shore.
Hudson Bay was named after Henry Hudson who explored the bay in 1610 on his ship the Discovery. On this fourth voyage he worked his way around the west coast of Greenland and into the bay, mapping much of its eastern coast. The Discovery became trapped in the ice over the winter, and the crew survived onshore at the southern tip of James Bay. When the ice cleared in the spring Hudson wanted to explore the rest of the area, but the crew mutinied on June 22, 1611.
Sixty years later the Nonsuch reached the Bay and successfully traded for beaver pelts with the Cree. This led to the creation of the Hudson's Bay Company which bears its name to this day. The British crown awarded a trading monopoly on the Hudson Bay watershed, called Rupert's Land, to the Hudson's Bay Company. This land, an area of approximately 3.9 million sq.km., would in 1870 be ceded to Canada as part of the Northwest Territories when the trade monopoly was abolished. Although the company is called the Hudson's Bay Company (with "'s"), the body of water does not have the "'s". Due to this inconsistancy, both the body of water and the company are often misspelled or misnamed.
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