Gabon (S5.03)

Audio: Gabon

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Gabon, officially the Gabonese Republic, an equatorial country on the west coast of Africa. Originally inhabited by Bantu tribes, the area we now know as Gabon was first explored by Europeans in the 15th Century. Local inhabitants began to sell slaves to Europeans in the 18th and 19th centuries, which established the region as a hub for the slave trade. In 1910, Gabon became one of the four territories of French Equatorial Africa, and fifty years later became fully independent. Since then, the politics of the country has been dominated by Omar Bongo, Gabon’s second president, and his son Ali Bongo, who succeeded him in 2009.

Gabon-map-features-locator

Gabon has a total land area of around 257,000 square km or just under 100,000 square miles, making it around the same size as the UK, New Zealand or the US state of Oregon. Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, the Republic of the Congo on the east and south. Gabon is home to just over 2.1 million people, with the vast majority of those being in Libreville, the largest city and capital, lying on the Komo River, near the Gulf of Guinea. The official language is French, although many Gabonese people speak various mother tongues according to their ethnic group, of which there are over 40.

Gabon is one of the most prosperous countries on the continent, with the fifth highest GDP per capita in all of Africa, while almost 85% of Gabon is covered by rainforests, 11% of which has been dedicated for national parks.

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. 

  • Some great examples of ancient ancestral Gabonese art can be found here.
  • For more on early history and archaeology, see iExplore.
  • You can watch a short documentary on the Punu-Lumbo mask at smarthistory.
  • For more on the life of the Dread Pirate Roberts, see here.
  • Liz Alden Wily has written an entire book on land rights in Gabon, which you can read in full online.
  • Christopher Chamberlain’s paper ‘The Migration of the Fang into Central Gabon during the Nineteenth Century: A New Interpretation’ can be found at JSTOR.
  • Gabon : beyond the colonial legacy by James Franklin Barnes can be read for free on archive.org.
  • For some more modern history (1960s onwards), see this page at the University of Central Arkansas.

Some music related to Gabon:

Thanks to all our patrons who support the show. We really appreciate your continued backing of us. If you want to join them, more information is available at www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast

Paraguay (S5.02)

Audio: Paraguay

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Paraguay, a small South American nation sometimes referred to as the “heart of South America”, bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. One of only two landlocked countries in South America, the other being Bolivia, Paraguay was home to a number of Native Indian groups, most prominently the Guarani, before being colonised by Spanish conquistadores in the early 1500s.

Paraguay-map-boundaries-cities-locator

During the 17th century, Paraguay became home to a large number of Jesuit missions, where the native Guaraní people were settled and converted to Christianity. Following independence from Spain in the early 19th century, the country was involved in a number of regional conflicts and subject to the whims of numerous dictatorial governments. This period culminated in the disastrous Paraguayan War, which began in 1864 and resulted in the country losing up to half of its prewar population and up to a third of its territory.  Since colonisation, the Guarani culture, language and traditions have remained integral to the country’s national identity, and the majority of modern day Paraguayans are mestizo, descending from a mix of settlers and Guarani. The country has around seven million inhabitants today, and has a land area of around 400,000 sq km or 150,000 sq miles, comparable in size to Norway and slightly smaller than the US state of California. Despite a history of poverty and political repression, Paraguay often ranks as the “world’s happiest place” based on global polling data.

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. 

Some further reading:

  • Do your homework if you haven’t already and check out our Uruguay episode from way back in season 2.
  • Read more on the Jasuka Venda discovery of human habitation dating to 5,000 years, displaying “footprint style rock art”
  • More on the indigenous groups, including the Payaguá (whence the name Paraguay), Guaycurú, M’bayá, Abipón, and Chiriguano.
  • Historian Adalberto Lopez has written extensively on this region. His book on the The Revolt of the Comuñeros, 1721–1735 can be found here.
  • For more on the life of the Guarani and how their traditions have persisted through to the modern day, check out this video, which Joe mentions toward the end of this episode.
  • The trailer for period film The Mission, in all its glory, can be found on YouTube.
  • The UNESCO World Heritage website has more on the Jesuit Missions of La Santísima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesús de Tavarangue.
  • The Library of Congress also has a wealth of info on Paraguay which can be found here.
  • Wikipedia has a whole article dedicated to the unique Paraguayan Flag.
  • This fascinating video shows how the Paraguayan War played out day by day using map visualisations.
  • Military Wiki also has an extensive article on Francisco Solano Lopez, who is discussed at length in this episode.
  • Historian Leslie Bethell has written a paper on the Paraguayan War which can be found here.
  • Thomas L Whigham’s book The Paraguayan War: Causes and Early Conduct, quoted in this episode, is also available in its entirety online is here.
  • Eliza Lynch has an extensive page over on Wikipedia.
  • The two 150th anniversary articles referenced on the impact of the war on Paraguay are available from The Economist and The Guardian.
  • The New York Times has an article on the 1887 Nueva Germania colony that Joe speaks about in his second section.
  • TIME has a piece on the Nazi outposts in San Bernadino that are discussed in this episode, as does OZY.
  • The US Library of Congress has a short paper on Paraguay and WWII.
  • Read more on Paraguay’s hydropower capabilities at hydropower.org.
  • José Felix Estigarribia, who Mark discusses in this episode, is profiled here at Britannica.
  • The graphic below gives an interesting indication of the plurality of languages spoken in Paraguay in the modern day.
  • For more on food, check out Culture Trip for 6 Traditional Foods You Have to Try in Paraguay

Some music by composers from in and around this region include:

  • Sanapana music from the Gran Chaco tribe, taken from this video.
  • The polka song, written in Guarani by Emiliano Fernandez about the Chaco War and performed by Romón Vargas Colman, can be found here.
  • We also include some Paraguayan Harp in this episode, which you can find more of here.
  • For a selection of music from Augustin Barrios, one of Paraguay’s most famous musicians, click here.

Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg (S5.01)

 

Audio: Kaliningrad / Koenigsberg

We’re (finally) kicking off season five! In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Kaliningrad, formerly Koenigsberg, a city on the Pregolya River, at the head of the Vistula Lagoon on the Baltic Sea. This city has a storied history, having been originally established as a Sambian or Old Prussian settlement, before being administered by the State of the Teutonic Order, the Duchy of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, and Nazi Germany. Shortly after the second world war, Königsberg and the lands surrounding it were incorporated into the USSR, being renamed Kaliningrad.

City Flag of Kaliningrad

City Flag of Kaliningrad

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As a major transport hub, the city is home to the headquarters of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy, and is one of the largest industrial centres in Russia. It is situated within the Kaliningrad Oblast, which is separated by around 400km from the next nearest Russian Oblast, bordered by Poland to the south, Lithuania to the north and east, and the Baltic Sea to the west. It is therefore impossible to travel overland between the Oblast and the rest of Russia without passing through at least two other countries. As of 2010, only a small number of ethnic Germans remain in the city, with most of residents being recent immigrants from other parts of the former Soviet Union. With a population of around 450,000, the city is similar in size to Miami, Florida, or Tallinn, Estonia, and is the 40th largest city in Russia. Kaliningrad and the lands surrounding are home to the world’s largest deposits of amber, with over 90% of the world’s supply.

Flag of Kaliningrad Oblast

Flag of Kaliningrad Oblast

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. We also have to give huge thanks to Professor Nicole Eaton of Boston College for her help with this episode, and for giving us a sneak preview of her upcoming book (German Blood, Slavic Soil: How Nazi Germany Became Soviet Kaliningrad (Cornell UP, Fall 2022)). 

Some further reading:

  • One of the few remaining remnants of Old Prussian culture are the so-called “babas” (or “Old Hags”) which are stone figures up to 2m tall of warriors and priests scattered around Poland. Read more about them on Atlas Obscura.
  • Read more on the Sambians and their burial traditions here.
  • The 1963 book Balts by Gimbutas, Marija is available on Archive.org
  • PrussianHistory.org also contains a Short History of Koenigsberg.
  • For more on the Order of the Teutonic Knights, see imperialteutonicorder.com.
  • The architectural history and significance of Koenigsberg Cathedral, as well as some excellent archival photographs see here.
  • For more of the Battle of Grunwald, which Mark mentions in his section, see here.
  • Brandenburg-Prussia, in all it’s glory, can be seen in the map below:
Brandenburg-Prussia within and outside of the Holy Roman Empire (1618)

Some music by composers from in and around this city include:

Minisode: Christmas Stories

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Minisode: Christmas Stories

In this festive episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’re inviting you all to join us for a little festive celebration, after what’s been a very hard year for many of you out there. On the menu we have three Christmas stories, as well as a surprise or two, and a short sneak preview of what’s to come in season 5. We really want to take the time to thank our patrons, many of whom joined us in the past 12 months, so we’ll be sprinkling our thanks to them throughout this episode.

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Kildare, Ireland. Brand spanking new minisode theme music comes from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. Cover image from Алсу Ягудина on Unsplash.

Tierra Del Fuego (S4.09)

S04E09 Tierra Del Fuego

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Tierra Del Fuego, an archipelago off the southernmost tip of the South American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. Tierra Del Fuego, which translates to Land of Fire, consists of a main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, often called simply Tierra del Fuego or Isla Grande, with an area of 48,100 km2 (18,572 sq mi), and a group of smaller islands. First settled by humans around 8,000 BCE, Ferdinand Magellan was among the first Europeans to explore the islands in 1520, giving them their name. In 1830, a British crew visited the region in HMS Beagle, naming the main channel that runs through the archipelago after the vessel. Widespread displacement and genocide of the native populations took place in the second half of the 19th century, particularly after the discovery of gold in the region in 1879.

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Map of Tierra Del Fuego (via GeoCurrents)

Following a dispute in 1978, the main island is now split between Argentina and Chile. The eastern part of the main island, and a few small islands in the Beagle Channel (around 39% of the total area) belong to Argentina, while the western part of the main island, and almost all the other islands (61% of the total area) officially belong to Chile. The archipelago is divided by an east–west channel, the Beagle Channel, immediately south of the main island, and in total, the land area of Tierra Del Fuego is roughly equivalent in size to Slovakia or slightly smaller than the US state of West Virginia. The climate here is generally cold and wet, and has been compared to that of the Faroe Islands.

Although the region is split between two nations, total population as a whole is estimated to be around 135,000 (2010), of whom around 125,000 live on the Argentinean side. Tierra Del Fuego is also famous its biodiversity, but since the 1940s, a colony of invasive beavers have been perhaps the most notorious animal resident.

This episode, just like all of our recent ones, is supported by our Patreon backers. If you want to help out the show, you can help out by joining us over on www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast to give us whatever you can in terms of financial support and avail of all the lovely awards and extras that entitles you to. If you’re unable to support us financially, you can always leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.

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The map of various border claims in Tierra Del Fuego, via Wikipedia

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella).


Some further reading:

  • An article on the Bahia Wulaia Dome Middens which Joe mentions early on can be found on Archive.org
  • Antiquity also has an extensive paper on the early settlers of Tierra Del Fuego, which can be found here.
  • A short description of Magellan’s discovery of the strait which now bears his name can be found here.
  • Some of Captain Cook’s accounts of his time in Tierra Del Fuego, which Mark quotes from, are available here.
  • An account of the HMS Beagle’s first voyage to Tierra Del Fuego, part of which is quoted in this episode, can be found on Google Books.
  • The Wikipedia page which details explorers who committed suicide is here.
  • The Uttermost Part of the Earth by Lucas Bridges, which is referenced a number of times in this episode, is available in its entirety on archive.org.
  • Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle is also available in full online. The segment which deals with his visit to Tierra Del Fuego can be found here.
  • A biography (Spanish language) of the notorious Julius Popper can be read at Taringa.net.
  • You can read more about the work of anthropologist Martin Gusinde on Google Books, or watch the documentary we reference in this episode on YouTube, featuring some truly breathtaking photographs.
  • Petroleum Economist has an article dealing with the discovery and production of oil in this region, which you can find here.
  • There’s been a lot written about Tierra Del Fuego’s “Beaver Plague”, you can find articles on it from BBC, National Geographic and Nature.
  • The Beagle Conflict, which Luke discusses at length in this episode has also been the subject of a a lot of discussion. Read more at Military Wiki, The American Journal of International Law, and even an official US Government Report.
  • The full text of the May 1977 Arbitration Agreement can also be found here.
  • The Rome Reports documentary about the Pope’s involvement is available on YouTube.

Music that might interest listeners:

SELKNAM (onas)- Cantos Ancestrales

 

Nepal (S4.08)

S04E08 Nepal Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Nepal, a small, landlocked country in South Asia. Nepal borders China in the north, India in the south, east and west, and Bhutan is separated from it by the Indian state of Sikkim. Home to eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, this small nation has an expansive and complex history, and was only declared a republic in 2008.

Nepal-map-boundaries-cities-locator

Today Nepal is home to over 28 million people, and has a total land area of around 147,000 square kilometres or 56,000 miles, making it roughly the size of Greece, or the US state of New York. Aside from Everest, Nepal is famous for its strong military, exemplified by the Ghurkas, who played an important role in both world wars, as well as one of the world’s most recognisable flags.

This episode, just like all of our recent ones, is supported by our Patreon backers. If you want to help out the show, you can help out by joining us over on www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast to give us whatever you can in terms of financial support and avail of all the lovely awards and extras that entitles you to. If you’re unable to support us financially, you can always leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.

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Parliament house of Nepal, Kathmandu – Sujitabh Chaudhary

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Namche Bazaar, Nepal – Sebastian Pena Lambarri

You can find more on the state flag of Ohio, which we discuss in this episode, here on Wikipedia.

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella). We’d also like to thank Professor Lamont Lindstrom for his contribution to this episode. You can find more about him here.


Some further reading:

Music that might interest listeners:

 

Vanuatu (S4.07)

S04E06 Vanuatu Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about The Republic of Vanuatu, a Pacific island country located in the South Pacific Ocean, around 1,700 kilometres (or 1,000 miles) east of northern Australia and 540 kilometres (340 miles) northeast of New Caledonia.

Vanuatu_in_Oceania.svg

First inhabited by Melanesian people around 3,000 years ago, parts of the archipelago were settled by British and French colonists in the 1800s, and in 1906 France and the United Kingdom agreed to administer the islands jointly in a unique form of government known as the British-French Condominium. Vanuatu gained its independence in July 1980, and is today home to around 270,000 people.

Only around 65 of the archipelago’s 82 islands are inhabited, and although the country is spread across 12,200 square kilometres (4,700 sq mi) its land surface is very limited to around 4,700 square kilometres or 1,800 sq miles, a similar size to the Falkland Islands or our old friend The Gambia. The indigenous population, called ni-Vanuatu, is overwhelmingly Melanesian, and the main language is a pidgin creole known as Bislama, though English and French are both widely spoken, as are up to 113 indigenous languages. According to The NYT Magazine, “A meaningful national identity has been constructed from a common appreciation of ceremonial pig-tusk bracelets and the taking of kava, a very mild narcotic root that looks like primordial pea soup and tastes like a fine astringent dirt.”

Straddling the seismic strip called the ‘Ring of Fire’, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis have all been relatively commonplace over recent decades, earning Vanuatu the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most dangerous place when it comes to natural disasters.

This episode, just like all of our recent ones, is supported by our Patreon backers. If you want to help out the show, you can help out by joining us over on www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast to give us whatever you can in terms of financial support and avail of all the lovely awards and extras that entitles you to. If you’re unable to support us financially, you can always leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Port_Vila_aerial

A panorama of Port Vila, capital and largest city of Vanuatu

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella). We’d also like to thank Professor Lamont Lindstrom for his contribution to this episode. You can find more about him here.


Some further reading:

  • Science Magazine has more on the graves of the Lapita peoples, the first settlers of the Western Pacific.
  • The DNA research by David Reich of Harvard Med School on these ancient civilisations can be found here.
  • Early Vanuatu Chief Roi Mata, discussed in this episode, is profiled by Lonely Planet.
  • His domain has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You can read more about that at the UNESCO website.
  • Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, the French navigator mentioned in this episode, is profiled by Brittanica here.
  • You can read more about Peter Dillon, the sandalwood trader, at the Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  • The Australian National University has further reading on Erromango, the Martyr’s Isle.
  • There is also further reading from the same source on the British-French Condominium (definitely our favourite form of government).
  • Joe’s stories of planters gambling with the servitude of natives as currency were sourced from this article at The Pacific Historial Review.
  • The Wall Street Journal has an extensive article about the Allied bases that were set up on Vanuatu during World War II.
  • Some excellent photos of the same bases can be found at WW2Wrecks.
  • The obituary of Jimmy Stevens, the Coconut War revolutionary, can be found here.
  • The New International has more information on The Phoenix Foundation and the role they played in the so-called Coconut War.
  • Walter Lini, Vanuatu’s first Prime Minister, is profiled here by Brittanica.
  • Extensive info on the Flag of Vanuatu can be found on Gettysburg Flag Works.
  • The United Nations University report on Vanuatu’s vulnerability to natural disasters can be found here.
  • More info on Vanuatu’s economy can be found at The Commonwealth.
  • You can also find Vanuatu on the Happy Planet Index — it currently ranks #4 in the world.
  • If you’d like to hear more about Bislama, there is a TED Talk on it and other similar languages by Tess Walraven here.
  • The mindblowing video of Land Diving that we all enjoyed can be seen below:

Music that might interest listeners:

 

Utah (S4.06)

S04E06 Utah Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Utah, the Beehive State. Named for the Ute people, a Native American tribe that has occupied for area for hundreds of years, Utah became the 45th state admitted to the U.S. on January 4, 1896, after the territory was won in the Mexican-American War in 1848.

utah-map-3

With a total land area of 82,144 sq mi (212,761 km), Utah is a shade larger than Uganda, and just smaller than Romania. The state is bordered by Colorado to the east, Wyoming to the northeast, Idaho to the north, Arizona to the south, and Nevada to the west. It also touches a corner of New Mexico in the southeast, where the famous ‘four corners’ monument can be found. The state is currently home to around 3.2 million people, 62% of whom are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or LDS, known to most people as Mormons. The LDS church migrated there in 1847, while it was still Mexican territory, to escape persecution, but it soon became part of the United States. Utah has the second highest birth rate of any US state, and it is the only state to have a majority of its population belonging to a single church.

This episode, just like all of our recent ones, is supported by our Patreon backers. If you want to help out the show, you can help out by joining us over on www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast to give us whatever you can in terms of financial support and avail of all the lovely awards and extras that entitles you to. If you’re unable to support us financially, you can always leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Salt-Lake-City

Salt Lake City, Utah

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland. Our guest in this episode is Prof. Greg Jackson from the podcast History That Doesn’t Suck. (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella)


Some further reading:

  • For more on the early history of Utah’s native settlers, see A History of Utah’s American Indians by Forrest Cuch.
  • The Fremont Culture discussed in this episode is detailed further in this whitepaper from the National Parks Service.
  • ThoughtCo discusses the Puebloans here.
  • The website of Hovenweep National Park, which Joe mentioned in this episode can be found here.
  • National Geographic’s discussion of “The Lost World Of The Old Ones” reveals more on the cliffside granaries used by the Puebloans.
  • For the more visually-minded, this YouTube documentary discusses the tragic fate of the Donner Party.
  • Prof. Greg Jackson’s History That Doesn’t Suck podcast also has an episode on the Donner Party
  • Joe touched on the design of Utah’s city blocks, which is elaborated on in this episode of the design podcast 99% Invisible.
  • The History Channel has a documentary on The Utah War, a clip of which is used in this episode.
  • David Roberts’ article on the same topic, entitled “The Brink of War” on Smithsonian.com is also worth reading.
  • Hubert Howe Bancroft’s History of Utah is also referenced in this episode.
  • The joining of the coasts by telegraph is detailed online by the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.
  • Joe also quotes from Beehive History, Vol. 8, which can be found here.

Music that might interest listeners:

Trinidad and Tobago (S4.05)

S04E04 Trinidad and Tobago Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Trinidad & Tobago, a twin island nation, located just off the northern coast of the South American mainland, around 11 kilometres or 7 miles from Venezuela. It is the southernmost of the West Indies island group, and today is home to around 1.3 million people.

trinidad

Trinidad, the southernmost and larger of the two islands, has a landmass of around 4,760 km2 (1,840 sq miles), comprising 93% of the country’s territory. Tobago, around 40km or 25 miles to the northeast, is around 300 km2 (120 sq mi) in total. The islands enjoy a warm, tropical climate, and only have two seasons – a dry season for the first five months of the year, and a wet season for the remaining seven. Occupied by Amerindian tribes up to 1498, the islands were then discovered by Christopher Columbus and later became a Spanish colony. Sovereignty over the islands was disputed throughout the 19th century, before the two were unified as one British colony in 1888. Independent since 1962, the country has benefited greatly from the discovery of oil in 1857, and is today one of the richest and most ethnically diverse countries in the region. Trinidad and Tobago is also famous for its extravagant carnival celebrations, and is known as the birthplace of limbo dancing.

This episode, just like all of our recent ones, is supported by our Patreon backers. If you want to help out the show, you can help out by joining us over on www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast to give us whatever you can in terms of financial support and avail of all the lovely awards and extras that entitles you to. If you’re unable to support us financially, you can always leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.

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Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella)


Some further reading:

Music that might interest listeners:

 

Djibouti (S4.03)

S04E03 Djibouti Audio

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about Djibouti, a small nation located on the Northeast Coast of the Horn of Africa. Bordered by Eritrea to the North, Ethiopia to the West and Somalia to the south, Djibouti lies on the west side of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the narrowest point of Gulf of Aden.

djcolor

Around 30km across the strait lies Yemen. This chokepoint into the Red Sea, which overlooks the approaches to the Suez Canal, has long made Djibouti a desirable location for naval bases. Dominated by two main groups – the Afar and Issa Somali people, Djibouti today is balanced between these two factions, having endured a protracted civil war in the wake of winning its independence from France in 1977. Occupying a total area of around 23,000 km2 (9,000 sq mi), Djibouti is the third smallest country in continental Africa, and today has a population of around 880,000, the vast majority of whom live in the captial city of Djibouti City. Nearly 94% of the population is Muslim while the remaining 6% are Christian, and official languages are French and Arabic. Djibouti today attracts plenty of foreign investment, and aims to become “Africa’s Dubai.”

This episode, just like all of our recent ones, is supported by our Patreon backers. If you want to help out the show, you can help out by joining us over on www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast to give us whatever you can in terms of financial support and avail of all the lovely awards and extras that entitles you to. If you’re unable to support us financially, you can always leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts from.

Djibouti

Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Ireland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella)


Some further reading:

  • Peter Tyson, writing for PBS Nova, attempts to tackle the “Where Is Punt” question here.
  • Brittanica has loads of additional info on Adal and the Adal Sultanate, discussed by Joe in this episode.
  • You can find additional info on the Ifat Sultanate which succeeded it at openedition.org.
  • The New World Encyclopedia has a wonderful, long form post on the Scramble for Africa, which Djibouti was caught up in.
  • For more info on our old friend Ferdinand de Lesseps and his ill-fated other canal project, you can listen to our season one episode on Panama.
  • We also touch on old friend Vasco Da Gama in this episode. The Christmas special minisode referenced is here.
  • The disastrous Cossack invasion of Sagallo in what was then French Somaliland is profiled in an excellent blog by towardsthegreatocean.com, which Luke quotes from in this episode.
  • Bruno Macaes profiles modern Djibouti in a recent article for Politico, entitled “The most valuable military real estate in the world.”
  • The LSE has a long-form article on Somali regiments during WW1.
  • The Guardian also profiles the “forgotten Muslim heroes who fought for Britain in the trenches” in WW1.
  • You can read the New York Time report on Djibouti’s declaration of independence in 1977 in the paper’s archives here.
  • To learn more about the Djiboutian Civil War, which broke out in 1991, see New World Encyclopedia’s lengthy article on the conflict here.
  • The plans to turn modern Djibouti into “Africa’s Dubai” are detailed by The Culture Trip here.
  • The SCMP journalist James Jeffrey details his experiences with the new Chinese-backed railway revitalisation project here.