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Andrew Alden

The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755

By November 1, 2013

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It was 258 years ago: 1 November, All Souls Day, in 1755, when a gigantic earthquake struck off the Iberian coast, leveling the capital city of Lisbon and killing tens of thousands of people.

The shock was a not just a physical and economic catastrophe but a moral one as well: how could such a pious, virtuous city be felled on one of its holiest days? All of Europe was so affected by the tragedy that the scientific class began to turn their minds to the troublesome topic of earthquakes. The problem was not totally intractable, but progress has been slow and difficult to this day.

About earthquakes
Earthquake prediction: Mission nearly impossible


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