The 1755 Lisbon earthquake took place on November 1, 1755, at 9:20 in the morning. It was one of the most destructive and deadly earthquakes in history, killing well over 100,000 people. The quake was followed by a tsunami and fire, resulting in the near total destruction of Lisbon. The earthquake accelerated political tensions in Portugal and profoundly disrupted thecountry's 18th century colonial ambitions. The event was widely discussed by European Enlightenment philosophers, and inspired major developments in theodicy and in the philosophy of the sublime. The first to be studied scientifically for its effects over a large area, the quake signalled the birth of modern seismology. Geologists today estimate the Lisbon earthquake approached magnitude 9 on theRichter scale, with an epicenter in the Atlantic Ocean about 200 km west-southwest of Cape St. Vincent.
Contemporary reports state that the earthquake lasted between three-and-a-half and six minutes, causing gigantic fissures five meters wide to rip apart the city center. The survivors rushed to the open space of the docks for safety and watched as the water receded, revealing a sea floor littered bylost cargo and old shipwrecks. Several tens of minutes after the earthquake, an enormous tsunami engulfed the harbor and downtown, rushing up the Tagus River. It was followed by two more waves. In the areas unaffected by the tsunami, fire quickly broke out, and flames raged for five days.
Lisbon was not the only Portuguese city affected by the catastrophe. Throughout the south of the country, inparticular the Algarve, destruction was generalized. The shockwaves of the earthquake were felt throughout Europe as far as Finland and North Africa. Tsunamis up to twenty meters in height swept the coast of North Africa, and struck Martinique and Barbados across the Atlantic. A three meter tsunami hit the Southern English coast.
Of a Lisbon population of 275,000, up to 90,000 were killed.Another 10,000 were killed across the Mediterranean in Morocco. Eighty-five percent of Lisbon's buildings were destroyed, including its famous palaces and libraries, as well as most examples of Portugal's distinctive 16th century Manueline architecture. Several buildings which had suffered little damage due to the earthquake were destroyed by the fire. The brand new Opera House, opened only six monthsbefore (under the ill-fated name Phoenix Opera), was burned to the ground. The Royal Palace, which stood just beside the Tagus River in the modern square of Terreiro do Paço, was destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami. Inside, the 70,000-volume royal library as well as hundreds of works of art, including paintings by Titian, Rubens, and Correggio, were lost. The precious royal archivesdisappeared together with detailed historical records of explorations by Vasco da Gama and other early navigators. The earthquake also destroyed major churches in Lisbon, namely the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Basilicas of São Paulo, Santa Catarina, São Vicente de Fora, and the Misericordia Church. The Royal Hospital of All-Saints (the biggest public hospital at the time) was consumed by fire and hundredsof patients burned to death.
The tomb of national hero Nuno Alvares Pereira was also lost. Visitors to Lisbon may still walk the ruins of the Carmo convent, which were preserved to remind Lisboners of the destruction. Many animals sensed danger and fled to higher ground before the water arrived. The Lisbon quake is the first documented case of such a phenomenon in Europe.
Earthquake in HaitiEarthquakes are earth´s natural phenomenon that many times causes great disasters in the society. Depending on the magnitude, an earthquake can cause more of fewer damages. The damages in undeveloped countries use to be more severe and the recovery period is more difficult and slower than in developed countries.
One of the last highest earthquakes happened in Haiti, very underdeveloped...