Nature: Lisbon Earthquake 1755

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Nature: Lisbon Earthquake 1755 Gender: N/A
born on 1 November 1755 at 09:40 (= 09:40 AM )
Place Lisbon, Portugal, 38n43, 9w08
Timezone LMT m9w08 (is local mean time)
Data source
Timed documented source, news
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 08°42' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 00°50 Asc.s_sagcol.18.gif 16°48'

Nature: Lisbon Earthquake 1755 (Unknownwikidata:Q4233718)


Portuguese Earthquake, estimated equivalent to Richter 9. at a time when the thriving port and capital was teemed with activity; at the harbor, work gangs unloaded vessels at the magnificent new gray marble Cays de Prada; merchants argued loudly over prices and noisy children dodged the bellowing stevedores.

A rolling, swaying surge ground marble and timbers together; like a ship in a storm, buildings groaned, heaved, and then crumbled. For a relentless three-and-a-half minutes a terrible violence shattered Lisbon; gigantic fissures 15 feet wide ripped through the center of the city; as aftershocks heaved and rumbled, choking dust rose from more than 18,000 collapsed buildings: fire licked, then roared through the ruins. In the first two minutes, 30,000 died.

The terrified survivors rushed to open space of the docks for safety. They stared at the ocean in stunned fascination as the water receded and the seafloor lay revealed, a litter of lost cargo and old shipwrecks; suddenly someone screamed a warning, but it was too late. The withdrawn ocean had coiled and reared up into a huge wall of water, rushing to engulf them. In a moment, 20,000 more were gone.

The proud Basilica de Santa Maria, Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, Sao Vincente de Fora, the Misericordia, all had become a rubble of carved stone grave piles for thousands. Hundreds of patients in the Hospital Real burned to death; out of a city of 230,000, about 90,000 were dead, (another 10,000 were killed across the Mediterranean in Morocco); 85% of the city's buildings were destroyed including all of Lisbon's magnificent museums and libraries. The king's palace, housing a 70,000-volume library and hundreds of priceless works of art including paintings by Titian, Rubens and Correggio, burned to the ground.

As the stunned survivors desperately tried to save their families, priests of the Inquisition roamed the ruins rounding up innocent people, dubbing them "heretics," and hanging them on the spot for angering God.

The shock waves of the Lisbon earthquake were felt over 1,300,000 square miles through Europe and North Africa, and seitches (sea waves) up to 60 feet high hit a vast area stretching from Finland to North Africa, and across the Atlantic to Martinique and Barbados. Vesuvius, which had been in eruption, abruptly stopped! There were no recording instruments in 1755, let alone a Richter scale, but modern experts have estimated that the Great Lisbon Earthquake may have been an incredible Magnitude 9!

Link to Wikipedia biography



Source Notes

Diana K. Rosenberg quotes historic news reference: It was all Saint's Day and Lisbon's cathedrals were packed with kneeling worshippers. At 9:30 in the huge Basilica de Sao Vincente de Fora the chant of the Introit had just begun.

From "Stalking the Wild Earthquake," copyright 1989 Diana K. Rosenberg


  • Mundane : Disasters : Natural Disasters (Earthquake 9.)