The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake Devastation
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake hold its place on the seismological map of major devastation. This earthquake was a catastrophe of the highest order, featuring violent shaking, spreading fires and even a giant tsunami. Because Lisbon was an important cultural, economical and political centre at the time, there is a great deal of information about the quake. Indeed, although there are no earthquake photos of the Lisbon earthquake, there are a great deal of depictions of the event in carvings, paintings and drawings of the time. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake left an indelible impression upon the minds of the mid-18th Century.
The Lisbon Earthquake and its Impact
On November 1st, a great shaking was felt by people in many countries. A great quake, located in the Atlantic ocean, shook a great deal of the land area in Western Europe and North Africa. The earthquake was felt in France, Italy and Switzerland, as well as in Algiers and Morocco. It was Lisbon, however, that was hit most brutally. Not only was the violence of the earth’s upheaval felt, but fires broke out. Great fires raged through Lisbon for five days.
Additionally there were many waves, and even a huge tsunami. The Lisbon earthquake is thought to be among the most violent in history: estimates measure it at about a 9.0. Even though there were no seismographs available at the time, there is evidence from Finland that the quake was felt even there. Therefore, the 9.0 seems a likely estimate.
Depictions of the Earthquake
Of course, in 1755, there were no earthquake photos available of the destruction. However, so profound was this event that many artists set to work documenting the event. While some of the later works are fantastical and have the quality of legend, there are many drawings and wood carvings that offer a more realistic idea of post-quake Lisbon. We can get an idea of the destruction by viewing earthquake photos of more recent catastrophes, including the destruction following the earthquake-caused tsunami in Southern Asia in 2004.
Due to its enormous impact, and due to the sheer size and scope of the event, there is no question that on the list of major natural disasters in history a major one was the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
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