The 1755 Lisbon earthquake

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake took place on 1st November 1755. Estimated by modern geologists as approaching magnitude 9 on the Richter Scale, it is one of the most destructive and deadly earthquakes in history, possibly killing between 60,000 and 100,000 people. Another 10 000 were killed in Morocco, along with large numbers living on the coast of Andalucia. The quake was followed by a tsunami which rushed up engulfed the harbour and rushed up the Tagus and a fire, resulting in the almost-total destruction of Lisbon and profoundly disrupting the country’s eighteenth-century colonial ambitions.

The event was widely discussed by European Enlightenment philosophers, and inspired major developments in thinking, and also signalled the birth of modern seismology.

Lisbon in flames with a tsunami overwhelming the ships in the harbor (1755 engraving)

1755 Lisbon earthquake

1755 Lisbon earthquake

1755 German copperplate image, “The Ruins of Lisbon. Survivors camp in a (rather fanciful) tent city outside the city of Lisbon, following the November 1, 1755 earthquake. The image shows criminal activity and general mayhem, as well as the hanging of quake survivors under constabulary supervision. Priests are present, one holding a crucifix, one possibly a prayer book, so appear to be giving last rites to persons being hanged. ” Wikipedia

See also

Tsunamis in Spain

earthquakes in Spain