SQUIZ THE WORLD (1400 × 700px)

Squiz the World goes to… Portugal

World record Big Wave surf: https://www.surfer.com/features/new-world-record-set-for-biggest-wave-ever-surfed/
Portugese tart recipe: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/269064/portuguese-custard-tarts-pasteis-de-nata/#recipe-body



Each week, we give the world globe a spin, and see where we land. Then we take the kids of Australia on an audio excursion to visit that country and its people.

I’m Amanda Bower, and today on Squiz the World we’re visiting Portugal. On June 10, Portugal Day is celebrated all over the world, and what I love about this day is that it’s not linked to the date of the country gaining independence, or winning a war… it’s connected to a famous Portugese poet, Luis de Camoes, who died on June 10. He’s kind of like Portugal’s Shakespeare, and because no one knows exactly when he was born, they celebrate their country’s most special day on the day he died.

Let’s find out more about this southern European country that once dominated huge chunks of our planet … Strap yourselves into the Squiz Kids Super Fast Supersonic Jetliner as we take off and take a squiz at Portugal …

Just the Facts

Portugal is on what’s called the Iberian peninsula – the bit of Europe that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean and is close to North Africa. Spain is to the right, or east, of Portugal, and the ocean to the west. That ocean is really important to a lot of what we’ll talk about in this podcast … but we’ll come back to it in a minute.

Portugal is the oldest country in Europe. That doesn’t mean the soil there is older than anywhere else… it’s just that Portugal has had the same borders since 1139. While everyone else in Europe was fighting wars, invading each other, and changing their borders, Portugal stayed the same.

Now that’s not to say that the Portugese didn’t fight, and didn’t take over other countries. In fact, from the 1500s to the 1800s, Portugal’s king ruled over one of the biggest empires the world has ever seen. That empire—which means a group of countries ruled over by one person or government—stretched over South America, Asia, Africa… the land that Portugal ruled over back then covers 53 different countries today!

Remember I said we’d talk about the ocean again? Well, Portugal’s location on the Atlantic allowed its sailors to explore the world easily, and its empire is described as a maritime empire—maritime meaning connected with the sea. Ferdinand Magellan, the first person in history to circumnavigate the world, was Portugese. Vasco de Gama, who discovered the sea route to India? Portugese. Bartholomew Diaz, the first person to sail around the southern tip of Africa? Portugese. You get the idea.

Nowadays, Portugal doesn’t have a king. This country of 10 million people has a democratically elected government that meets in the capital, Lisbon. Unlike Australia, which has state and federal governments, Portugal has just the one, and it has only one house of Parliament.

Whenever you travel, it’s important to learn a few words in that country’s language. It’s a great way to show respect. So, let’s….

Learn the Lingo
Thanks to that maritime empire, Portuguese is still the official language of 9 countries, including Brazil in South America, Angola – which is a country in Africa – and is also spoken in Goa, which is a place in India. It’s the sixth-most spoken first language in the world, with around 220 million native speakers. Best we learn some, too!

We’ve got Squiz Kid Lourenço here to teach us. Take it away, Lourenço!
(kid audio)
Obrigada, Lourenço!
Now that we can communicate a little bit, it’s….

Time for School
Primary school in Portugal goes from year one all the way to year nine!

It’s divided into three different stages. The first stage, from year one to year four, is a lot like Australian primary school – you have one teacher in charge of your class. The main difference is that starting in year 3, it’s compulsory to learn English.

From year 5 to year 9, every subject is taught by a different teacher. And from year 7 to year 9, Portugese kids are required to learn a second foreign language. Impressive, huh?

Kids go to school from 9am to 4pm, and it’s mandatory – meaning it’s required by law – that kids get at least two hours of PE every week. How much PE do you do?

Speaking of PE, there is something pretty cool in Portugal that connects back to the Atlantic Ocean. I think it’s just about…

Sport Time
Off the coast of Portugal, there’s a deep underwater canyon. It’s 5km deep, it runs for 230km along the coast and it creates big, beautiful waves. Portugal is one of the TOP surfing spots in the world.

Just north of Lisbon is a town called Ericeira, which is the only place in Europe to have been named an official World Surfing Reserve. People say that you can surf there 364 days a year… I’m not sure what happens on the other day, but the waves there are extremely consistent. If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to surf in the summer time, when the waves are smaller. Winter is when the serious surfers come out to play… although if you’re looking for CRAZY big waves, then you’ll head to a place called Nazare.

The world record for the biggest wave ever surfed has been set multiple times at Nazare. The current title holder broke the record in 2020, when he surfed a mammoth 26.21 metre wave. There’s a video in your episode notes… no matter how many times I watch it, I’m scared for him!

Not sure about you, but I’m always starving after I’ve been to the beach! I think it might be…

Dinner Time
Once again, Portugal’s location on the Atlantic means that a lot of its most famous dishes involve the sea. Back when there were no fridges, people would dry and salt fish to preserve it, and Portugal is known for its stews and fritters that are made with salt cod. You can get it here in Australia, too, but you have to soak it for days before you can use it, so… let’s make dessert instead!

Portugal is a majority Catholic country, and back in the olden days, the priests and nuns would use egg whites to stiffen up their collars and habits – habit being the word for a nun’s clothing. That left them with a lot of egg yolks… which are just what you need to make delicious pastries.

There’s a recipe in your episode notes for pasteis de nata, which literally means cream tarts, but the English name for these delicious, sweet, flaky treats is simply Portugese tarts. They were first made over 300 years ago in a Portugese monastery – which is the name for a place where monks live. It uses simple pantry ingredients, and SIX egg yolks!

If you’ve got an adult cooking with you, they may want a little glass of port wine as an accompaniment… yep, “port” gets its name from the country’s second-largest city, Porto. Porto is also where Portugal itself got its name. So now you know.

The S’Quiz
This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening.

Question 1. What’s the name for the kind of empire that Portugal once ruled over?
Question 2. Why does Portugal have such excellent surf?
Question 3. How many houses of Parliament does Portugal have?