Quebec City (S5.07)

Audio: Quebec City

In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcastwe’ll be talking about the only walled city north of Mexico on the American Continent – Quebec City. The capital city of Canada’s Quebec province, the city is located on the St Lawrence River, around 500 kilometres from the Eastern coast of Canada, and around 700km northeast of New York City. Founded in July 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer, Quebec City originated as Stadacona, a Iroqious Native American settlement, before the arrival of Europeans. A base for the French exploration and colonisation of what would become New France, Quebec remains a hub of French-Canadian culture and history, with French serving as the primary language, as throughout the wider province of Quebec. In 1775, American troops led by Benedict Arnold attempted to invade and take over Quebec City in the Battle of Quebec to “liberate” the region from the British. The siege was unsuccessful, however, and Quebec did not become the 14th colony; instead, it remained under British rule until Canada became its own country in 1867. Today, the city is home to just over half a million residents, making it the eleventh-largest city in Canada, similar in urban population to Albuquerque, New Mexico or Dublin, Ireland. The city’s curious name was taken from the native term for “where the river narrows” after its location on the banks of the St Lawrence River. 



Flag of the City of Quebec (left), and the province of Quebec (right)

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’ve also just launched a merch store in associated with TeePublic. You can find our store by clicking here, with exclusive discounts at the time of publishing. 

Further information and some of the sources we consulted can be found below:

  • You can find A Short History of Quebec By John Alexander Dickinson, Brian J. Young on Google Books here.
  • Another source for this episode was History of Quebec For Dummies By Éric Bédard, found here.
  • We’d also recommend A People’s History of Quebec by Jacques Lacoursière, ‎Robin Philpot · 2009.
  • There’s a great PDF on the geology of this region available from
  • ResearchGate provided a copy of Iroquoians in the St. Lawrence River Valley before European Contact by Christian Gates St-Pierre from the University of Montréal.
  • ArcheoQuebec also shed a lot of light on the early history of the region.
  • Adam Woog’s Great Explorers: Jaques Cartier is also recommended reading for more about the influential early explorer of this region.
  • CBC have an article on the settler women from whom a huge proportion of French Canadians are descended here.
  • More on the Quebec Rockslide of 1889 can be found here.
  • For general reading on the city, The Canadian Encyclopedia is well worth checking out.
  • Further reading on the modern history of Quebec can also be found at Ville De Quebec.
  • Langfocus on YouTube has a breakdown of Quebec French vs Metropolitan French.
  • The final song of the episode is “La Ziguezon” and can be found here.
  • We also featured a clip of some Wendat music, which can be found here.

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

As we mentioned, Patreon proceeds from this episode will go to the Red Cross to help refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.


Minisode: Christmas Traditions Around the World

Audio: Christmas Traditions Around the World

In this festive episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be taking a look at some Christmas traditions from around the world that we’ve discovered. We’re also joined by a special guest or two, as you’ll hear early on in the podcast. Hopefully this episode provides some distraction from the world at large, and brings a bit of festive cheer. Merry Christmas from all of us at 80 Days.

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’ve also just launched a merch store in associated with TeePublic. You can find our store by clicking here, with exclusive discounts at the time of publishing. 

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Mark and his new recording buddies.

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

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 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.



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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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


Easter Island or “Rapa Nui” (S2.02)

S02E02 Easter Island Audio

Welcome to our second episode in season 2 of 80 Days: an exploration podcast. Today we will be exploring the fascinating history and culture of Easter Island.

Named by Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, on Easter Sunday in 1722, the island is best known for the 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, which were built by the early Rapa Nui people. The island is one of the most isolated in the world, lying more than 1,289 miles from its nearest inhabited neighbour, and almost 2,200 miles from the closest continental point, in Chile. The tiny volcanic island consists of just 163.6 km2 or 63.2 sq mi, making it roughly twice the size of Manhattan. The native population, the Rapa Nui, have endured famines, disease, population collapse, civil war, slave raids and colonial power struggles, and the island was most recently annexed by Chile in 1888. Today, Easter Island is home to around 6,000 people, the majority of whom are descended from the original Rapa Nui settlers.


The flag of Rapa Nui (aka Easter Island)

Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne@anbeirneach in Switzerland. (Theme music byThomas O’Boyle) Our guest contributor this week is Dr Mara Mulrooney (Bishop Museum, Honolulu).

Table of Contents:
[01:20] Intro – a seriously isolated island
[05:17] Dr Mara Mulrooney – on polynesian explorers
[14:42] The mystery – where did all the people go?
[18:08] Moai – giant stone heads

[27:50] The other explanations for the mystery
[36:53] “Discovery” – Roggeveen, Dutch idiot
[42:32] Was there a Civil War…?
[46:30] Birdman Cult
[53:38] Catholics, slavery, smallpox and Joseph Byrne
[1:07:44] Dutrou Bornier – A bad man
[1:13:55] Salmond and his sheep and Chile takes over
[1:21:11] Mana and the Routledge archaeological expedition

[1:29:23] Thor Heyerdahl expedition
[1:32:15] Pinochet’s law is like Pinochet’s love
[1:37:07] Modern day


If an almost 2 hour podcast doesn’t sufficiently wet your knowledge whistle as it were, feel free to get into some of the bits and pieces from around the internet that we used for background research.

But before that please feast your eyes on the ill-advised result of Mark’s Moai instagram photoshoot.


And now you can check out some of the main reference links for the podcast!

Thanks this week to backers Nick Ison and Alec Richman. And a massive thank you, as always to our sponsor Hairy Baby, makers of the funniest Irish-themed clothing. Remember to get a 10% discount off anything you buy on their website ( by using our special promo code, read out during the episode. We recommend the 80 Days official tee.