James Cook’s Second Voyage

James Cook made three significant voyages to the Pacific Ocean. Flat-Earthers often made their case with his second voyage. In this voyage, James Cook was tasked to find the hypothetical continent, the Terra Australis, that was predicted to be around the southern Pacific Ocean. In his second voyage, James Cook proved no such continent exists.

Flat-Earthers often take the second voyage of James Cook as ‘proof’ that Antarctica is not a continent, but a massive landmass encircling the flat-Earth. Their ‘proof’ is that Cook traveled more than 60000 miles, and 60000 miles is much farther than the circumference of Antarctica. They are wrong.

James Cook was tasked to find the Terra Australis continent, not just for circumnavigating Antarctica. In his voyage, he visited many islands in the southern Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

According to our calculation, the number 60000 miles is roughly the distance of his second voyage from the Cape of Good Hope and back again to the same location.

Flat-Earthers only looked at the number 60000 miles and compared it to the circumference of Antarctica, then rashly conclude what they want to conclude. But if we look carefully the route James Cook took in his second voyage, we can easily find the distance of 60000 miles is reasonable and does not require an extraordinary explanation.


The illustration is the route of James Cook’s second voyage, plotted on an azimuthal equidistant map. The path was taken from a KML published by Digital Archives and Pacific Cultures.