The longitude problem: history's deadliest riddle

Get Surfshark VPN at
Enter promo code MAPMEN for 83% off and 3 extra months for FREE!



Written, presented and edited by
JAY FOREMAN jayforeman
MARK COOPER-JONES markcooperjones

AD, Camera, Props and Costumes
JADE NAGI jade_nagi

Baby John Harrison

Bassa Island Game Loop - Latinesque by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.


  1. Alexandre Nunes de Oliveira

    Alexandre Nunes de Oliveira

    20 minutter siden

    The story about stabbing the dog can't be true. Please tell me it's just a joke. 😎

  2. Michael Green

    Michael Green

    14 timer siden

    Much of the research for this was done on a church tower where I grew up.

  3. ab c

    ab c

    21 time siden

    That's what put the great into Great Britain. John Harrison's marine chronometer!

  4. Ryan Harris

    Ryan Harris

    Dag siden

    Great video.

  5. Oktay Yildirim

    Oktay Yildirim

    Dag siden

    Sorry, but it appears that the tale of that sailor warning Admiral Shovell is a total myth.

  6. Denos


    Dag siden

    2:10 "Which in today's money is 20,000£ pounds plus inflation" I died

  7. Matt & Amal

    Matt & Amal

    Dag siden

    I even stay for the ads

  8. famousblueraincoats


    Dag siden

    Oh my goodness, laughed so hard at this. And learned a lot. So, awesome.

  9. Robert


    2 dager siden

    I see in the background another map without N.Z

  10. Shallibodhran


    2 dager siden

    "But for navigating semen/seamen" annnd I choked on my coffee....

  11. Onions Opinions

    Onions Opinions

    3 dager siden


  12. Victor Finberg

    Victor Finberg

    3 dager siden

    I was pretty sure that the longitude problem was solved hundreds of years before the late 18th century. After all, the Europeans had been reliably sailing all over the worlds since about 1500.

  13. Hansel


    3 dager siden

    What is the song that plays at 2:05? I swear I recognize it, but I can't remember the name and it isn't the Bassa Island song linked in the description.

  14. liquidsonly


    3 dager siden

    Dava's book is good, you read.

  15. Ismail Azeem

    Ismail Azeem

    3 dager siden

    For map men u used the wrong map of Pakistan



    3 dager siden

    @4:00 sounds accurate.

  17. Nasyith Rahman

    Nasyith Rahman

    4 dager siden

    0:58 Yeah, I agree. Mark is a big problem.

  18. Luca Brandalesi

    Luca Brandalesi

    5 dager siden

    6:00 there's an italian comical character that relies only on banging his balls, Tafazzi. Amazing

  19. Rohan Srinivasan

    Rohan Srinivasan

    5 dager siden

    6:40 Sorry. That's appreciated.

  20. Yordster


    5 dager siden

    With inflation, the prize would be £4,911,511.01 today, according to the Bank of Enlgand inflation calculator.

  21. __


    5 dager siden

    Turns out £20,000 + inflation is about £4,000,000, so a pretty decent sum

  22. Paul Sophocleous

    Paul Sophocleous

    5 dager siden

    That there was a guy who came to say that they were off course and that Shovell hanged him seems to be just a myth.

  23. YourLocalGP


    6 dager siden

    Haitch 1?

  24. 一三Gnefitisis


    6 dager siden

    Already new this story, but wanted to hear the commentary.

  25. Henrys Adventures

    Henrys Adventures

    6 dager siden

    I remember when Blue Peter told this story! It wasn't nearly as funny!

  26. a far out super hip swinging swing drum solo

    a far out super hip swinging swing drum solo

    6 dager siden

    This was the most hilarious one so far.

  27. txvoltaire


    6 dager siden

    I always wanted Monty Python to make a movie that starts out on the Scilly Islands. From there they go to Peru to meet the Dalai Llama!

  28. King Critical

    King Critical

    6 dager siden

    I'm a bit confused? It isn't hard to find on the wikipedia page for the Scilly naval disaster that the idea that a seaman aboard the ship was keeping how navigational records and was hanged for disagreeing with Shovell is plained refered to as a myth: "Another myth associated with the disaster alleges that a common sailor on the flagship tried to warn Shovell that the fleet was off course but the Admiral had him hanged at the yardarm for inciting mutiny. The story first appeared in the Scilly Isles in 1780, with the common sailor being a Scilly native who recognised the waters as being close to home but was punished for warning the Admiral. It was claimed that grass will never grow on the grave where Shovell was first buried at Porthellick Cove because of his tyrannical act against an islander. The myth was embellished in the 19th century when the punishment became instant execution and the sailor's knowledge of the fleet's position was attributed to superior navigational skills instead of local knowledge."

  29. LucasPlayz 846

    LucasPlayz 846

    6 dager siden

    all i knew about time was that somewhere in florida was 12 hours off of chua chu kang's time

  30. CharlieRC


    7 dager siden

    ooh, can I have a go on your hammer? *bang*bang*bang*bang*bang*bang*bang*bang

  31. Sophia-Helene Mees de Tricht

    Sophia-Helene Mees de Tricht

    7 dager siden

    Navy sailor here: On the plus side, with digital engine readouts for speed and digital (read: inertial) compasses, dead reckoning is WAY more accurate than when this was done with a knotted rope and a shoddy magnetic compass. Navigating on an ever shifting seemingly-infinite flat-on-a-good-day featureless non-euclidean plane is always going to be a problem, complicated by drift but if GPS fails, we can still get a rough sense of where we are. This is something we had to practice, like kinda all the time. They'd make us compare our dead reckoning track on the chart with the quartermaster's astronomically-ascertained position every half hour and I could typically get us within a few miles.

  32. Ryan Lintott

    Ryan Lintott

    7 dager siden

    Actually it seems to be just a myth that Shovell hanged the sailor for inciting mutiny, and that "such debates were common upon entering the English Channel " see wikipedia

  33. EdgeGaming


    7 dager siden

    "ay, check out ma latest tick tock" lol I'm dying that was so good

  34. H.W. Robots

    H.W. Robots

    8 dager siden

    my favourite bit is the happy baby. 3:47

  35. FinniKey


    8 dager siden

    2:11 £20,000 in 1714 is about £3,994,609.36 today

  36. Wired Wrong

    Wired Wrong

    8 dager siden

    The inflation on the 20,000 would be around 4 million even if it's an over under and it's over the 3.5 million and closer to the 4 million by a lot.

  37. Louis Emery

    Louis Emery

    8 dager siden

    3:48 more baby, less talking.

  38. Olin Bullard

    Olin Bullard

    8 dager siden

    Well Done , those men .

  39. Frank Harr

    Frank Harr

    8 dager siden

    It's always nice to hear this story. 67 cm= 26 in. 62 cm= 24 in. 13 cm= 5.1 (or 5 1/8) in. Dudes, come on! You'll use miles but not inches?

  40. Николай Новицкий

    Николай Новицкий

    8 dager siden

    What is it "17 miles"? Ah, 27.35885 km, okay.

  41. eksiarvamus


    8 dager siden

    " one of the many years before Christ." xD

  42. LP Jones

    LP Jones

    9 dager siden

    £20,000 + inflation for 1714 to 2020 is £3,994,609.36

  43. Jared Gaston

    Jared Gaston

    9 dager siden

    I guess you could say Harrison suffered from a case of … toxic Maskelyn-ity

  44. Richard Kuberski

    Richard Kuberski

    10 dager siden

    Pure fluff and unnecessary BS! I was looking for facts and details. Not to be found here.

  45. Aleksandra Lobodziec

    Aleksandra Lobodziec

    10 dager siden


    • Timothy Menard

      Timothy Menard

      10 dager siden

      I'm glad map men is doing so well, it's genuinely one of the best youtube series ever.

  46. Boost


    10 dager siden

    Hands up who knew about John Harrison already from the original Only Fools and Horses finale

  47. Richard Geering

    Richard Geering

    11 dager siden

    I think Matthew Flinders Chronometer, from his 1803 circumnavigation of Australia, is still in Sydney at the NSW State Library, but not sure as I couldn't see it online.

  48. Cairo Sun

    Cairo Sun

    11 dager siden

    "... Apart from not changing his name" LOL 😂😂😂

  49. Pedro Augusto

    Pedro Augusto

    11 dager siden

    Did someone did the math ? 20k how much is that ?

  50. Apollo Mars

    Apollo Mars

    12 dager siden

    now make a video about the mercator globes :D

  51. pokoyo


    13 dager siden

    I swear you had 993k subs yesterday, your channel is growing pretty fast now

  52. Stein Gaming

    Stein Gaming

    13 dager siden

    Almost at a million! Congratulations in advance 🎉!

  53. Shibani Sen

    Shibani Sen

    13 dager siden

    When will you do another stereo episode?

  54. NeonPROD


    15 dager siden

    You shouldve put on the even louder and more bitrated black and white test card! 😎

  55. AMiGMan


    15 dager siden

    How was the flight?

  56. marcoscolga24


    16 dager siden

    0:58 Subtle roast on Mark there Jay

  57. DavenTube


    16 dager siden

    Ed Petrie was on Map Men? Lol

  58. By the Numbers

    By the Numbers

    17 dager siden

    Another product of slavery. All those Brits getting rich buying slaves in Africa, transporting them to the America's and selling them there, and then trading and transporting the products those slaves made such as tobacco, cotton,sugar, and rum. And thus that merchant fleet required a navy to protect them, didn't they. And all those ships needed a better navigation system. A system that covered the globe so that the Empire could spread . The slave traders then drew the Prime Meridian through Greenwich z(London), to measure not only the earth from there. This also is the place from which time is measured.

  59. Tammytime757


    17 dager siden

    Road to 1mil!

  60. northam films inc.

    northam films inc.

    17 dager siden

    From now on I imagine shovell as a shovel

  61. hussain malik

    hussain malik

    18 dager siden


  62. Luke Harington

    Luke Harington

    18 dager siden

    I had to actually stop the video and take 5 minutes to calm myself after that TikTok joke :(

  63. Logical Spaghetti

    Logical Spaghetti

    19 dager siden

    Almost 1mill! can't wait your great and I forgot how to speak bye.

  64. andrei_rouvinthe2nd


    22 dager siden

    I kinda wanna have more map men I already watched everything nothing new

  65. James Johnson

    James Johnson

    22 dager siden

    Today I learned one more difference between British and American English

  66. RamadaArtist


    22 dager siden

    So you're telling me a dude named Cloudesly Shovell got lost in the fog and then buried his ships on some silly islands? The dudes running the Matrix are just fucking with us now.

    • andrei_rouvinthe2nd


      22 dager siden

      Lol that's kinda ridiculous

  67. Muqarab Awan

    Muqarab Awan

    23 dager siden

    Nicely explained

  68. Scribble 10

    Scribble 10

    23 dager siden

    You look like that Serbian dude that assassinated Franz Ferdinand

  69. Kaiserkase


    24 dager siden

    navigating semen XD

  70. Thomas Morten

    Thomas Morten

    24 dager siden

    Its been a month i need more Map men in my lifeeeeee

  71. Aviation Mode

    Aviation Mode

    24 dager siden

    with inflation the money would roghly be half a million pounds

  72. LiveYourLifeBeFree


    25 dager siden

    I enjoy your videos so much 👍

  73. Miniak


    25 dager siden

    Hello Jay, just bought the two albums to download, here's a question: where's the link?

    • Miniak


      25 dager siden

      Oops, just got it! Thanks!

  74. Say It how it is!

    Say It how it is!

    25 dager siden

    These days you dont need TV, however, these guys need a TV deal. Id say kids cbbc, but maaan im learning from these, eitherway, they need to be on TV.

  75. Joseph Heiskell

    Joseph Heiskell

    25 dager siden

    5:36 Perhaps the most literal and physical form a metaphor could be in

  76. Martin Cregan

    Martin Cregan

    25 dager siden

    Presume this mentions the Harrison chronometer. First time I heard that term was on 'Only Fools and Horses' although previous to that I had a copy of a book, 'Longitude' by Dava Sobel that I had neglected to read. Still haven't and now I've lost the book. Still am all at sea, it seems.

  77. Someone You Don't Know

    Someone You Don't Know

    25 dager siden

    So I finally cracked and looked up how much £20000 would be in today's money and I'm now even more surprised that John Harrison waited to turn something in because it would be £4000000 in today's money

  78. bingola45


    26 dager siden

    Do Yorkshiremen say 'Haich'? I thought that was Cockneys.

  79. The commenter

    The commenter

    27 dager siden

    These guys should do ads for the super bowl

  80. Pagbo Z

    Pagbo Z

    27 dager siden

    There’s no Map Men map of the Moon. I sure would like to know where the chavs park their Burberry spaceship?

  81. laberlaban


    28 dager siden

    My grandson is 7 and your vids are his favourites.😁

  82. Ulkomaalainen


    28 dager siden

    Somebody had way too much fun writing the "longitude help" ad and you hid it in three frames or so ...

  83. Amazing_SVP


    Måned siden

    “Can I have a go at your hammer” “Bang bang bang bang bang bang” I laughed so hard...

  84. My Cubber's Channel

    My Cubber's Channel

    Måned siden

    Map Men (2016; 2019-2020; 2020-2021)

  85. Who let you in here?!

    Who let you in here?!

    Måned siden

    Shoutout to my boy sir cloudesley shovell!!!! I think you missed an E in there going by how its normally spelled but with a name like that who gives a hoot

  86. Colin Richardson

    Colin Richardson

    Måned siden

    Is this the watch from only fools and horses?

  87. Erik Tempelman

    Erik Tempelman

    Måned siden

    Brilliant script!!

  88. Huw Thomas

    Huw Thomas

    Måned siden

    Googling... how can you double like a NOnet video??

  89. We don't eat bears.

    We don't eat bears.

    Måned siden

    Jay, Surfshark doesn't work on Netflix anymore! You lied!

  90. Kurt Richter

    Kurt Richter

    Måned siden

    I want a Hedge 3!

  91. Lulabye


    Måned siden

    Where can I play among us

  92. Ryland Malcolm

    Ryland Malcolm

    Måned siden

    if the sailors of then asked how we navigated today we would have describe how we bounce invisible messages off of boxes in space that can be read by our magic crystal books

  93. Pratosaurus Rex

    Pratosaurus Rex

    Måned siden

    If you guys are branching out to map related topics you can go completely off topic with noodle history. It can be called Ramen, or Soumen, or tantanmen. Oh the possibilities!

  94. Liquid Flames

    Liquid Flames

    Måned siden

    If John Harrison could have held out just four more months, he could helped squash that pesky American revolution that began on July 4 the same year he died, 1776. He was 83, though, so I don't they'd put him in a redcoat's uniform and march him into Boston to shut down the tea party.

  95. Liquid Flames

    Liquid Flames

    Måned siden

    I reckon (not deadly) that £20,000 in 1714 is equivalent to about £3.9m today. Converting that to American Dollars, that's about $5.4m the queen was giving out to the solver of the problem.

  96. toonbat


    Måned siden

    The real longitude problem was the longitude of time it took for this dude to be happy with his watch.

  97. Steve


    Måned siden

    I've had Surf Shark ever since you guys told me about it. It works absolutely great!!! Now I'm watching all kinds of British programming that is not available in the US. Love, love, love Surf Shark!

  98. Slivra Says

    Slivra Says

    Måned siden

    20000 Great British Pounds in 1714 is in the region of 5 million pounds today.

  99. AJ


    Måned siden

    Why is the channel called Jay Foreman not Map Men? Is Jay an egomaniac?

    • AJ


      Måned siden

      @Jay Foreman Poor Mark

    • Jay Foreman

      Jay Foreman

      Måned siden

      No, it’s cos my channel has lots of other stuff without Mark.

  100. Renaigh


    Måned siden

    all those poor puppies out of the job, such a tragedy.