I wrote it before, and I’ll probably going to write it every time that the subject is Lisbon, but Lisbon has hundreds of years of history and since I’m a bit of an history buffer, that will always be something that’s important to me.
Although in Lisbon we lived through invasions, wars and sieges one of the most important and singular moment of the Lisbon history happened exactly 260 years ago, on the 1755 Day of All Saints, an earthquake.
That day, 1st of November of 1755, especially in a country as religious as Portugal was at the time, meant that most of the population were in churches at the time of the earthquake, around 09h40 in the morning, making it a disaster for all of the population with no classes discrimination, being noble or a simple slave, everyone felt it, and most of the population were in the same places.
After the earthquake that is estimated to have a 8.5/9 magnitude, Lisbon was devastated by a tsunami, that some studies indicate that it could have reached the coast of Brazil, all the way across the Atlantic.
In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, Lisbon was also destroyed by fires, that started with the earthquake:
imagine a medieval city, with way too narrow streets, and in which there were hundreds, if not thousands of candles being lit in all of the hundreds of churches in Lisbon. It was a recipe to disaster.
No one exactly knows how many deaths there were with this earthquake, it’s estimated between 10.000 and 100.000, ( but all of those that studied it agree that it was on the deadliest earthquakes in history.
There was something that also was the pivotal moment to transform Lisbon from a medieval city to a modern one, even though, previously to the earthquake, Lisbon was already a big metropolis to the eyes of Europe, the reconstruction that it suffered at Marques de Pombal orders, was designed for the future, with wide streets, and some of the first buildings designed to survive earthquakes.
PS: there’s an amazing video on youtube by the Smithsonian Channel if you want a more visual way to know about it