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Just after half past nine on the morning of Sunday 1 November 1755 the end of the world came to the city of Lisbon On a day that had begun with blue skies and gentle warmth Portugal's proud capital was struck by a massive earthuake After a brief two minute tremor came six minutes of horror as Lisbon swayed 'like corn in the wind before the avalanches of descending masonry hid the ruins under a cloud of dust' A third tremor shook most of the buildings still standing to the ground causing catastrophic loss of life Lisbon had been struck by a seismic disturbance estimated at 87 on the Richter scale powerful than the 1906 San Francisco earthuake An ho. Fascinating look at the defining moment in Lisbon s history The earthuake tsunami and great fire destroyed Lisbon in 1755 Prior to this Brazilian gold was financing the grandeur of the city Portugal was dependent on Britain for it s imports and the British were only too pleased to fill their pockets with gold and diamonds Then disaster struck Various British visitors were present at the time and their stories convey the total destruction and misery bestowed on Lisbon and the Iberian peninsula The cause was discussed by philosophers and scientists The Jesuits made scapegoats and expelled Pomball asserted his authority started the rebuild of not just a city but a nation I will look at the Baxia and centre of Lisbon with new eyes when I visit next time

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Wrath of God

Ur later riverine Lisbon and the Algarve coast were engulfed by a series of tsunamis In areas of the city unaffected by the waves fires raged for six days completing the destruction of Europe's fourth largest city By the time it was all over 60000 souls had perished and 85% of Lisbon's buildings plus an unimaginable wealth of cultural treasures had been destroyed by uake fire or water The earthuake had a searing impact on the European psyche Theologians and philosophers were baffled by this awesome manifestation of the anger of God How could the presence of such suffering in the world be reconciled with the existence of a beneficent deity For Port. Fascinating account of the earthuake and tsunami that wiped out the Portuguese city of Lisbon in 1755 and was regarded as proof of God s displeasure with the sinful world prompting a religious cull of those deemed responsible

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Ugal itself despite an ambitious programme of reconstruction which gave birth to the modern science of seismology the uake ushered in a period of decline in which her seaborne supremacy was eclipsed by the inexorable rise of the British Empire Drawing on primary sources Edward Paice paints a vivid picture of a city and society changed for ever by a day of terror He describes in thrilling detail the uake itself and its immediate aftermath but he is interested just as much in its political economic and cultural conseuences Wrath of God is a gripping account from a master writer of a natural disaster that had a transformative impact on European socie. This is a thoroughly researched and excellently written account of the Lisbon Earthuake of 1755 Although nowadays many well travelled educated people have not even heard of the event in the eighteenth century its impact on how people came to see themselves and their place in the world was massive As the title suggests it was generally interpreted as a punishment by a God angry with human sinfulness not only in Lisbon but worldwide It famously inspired Voltaire to mock and destroy the philosophical position that we live in the best of all possible worlds The bulk of the book is concerned with a minute reconstruction of the actual earthuake possibly 9 on the Richter scale which was followed by a tsunami and then massive fires and daily aftershocks which together laid waste to the entire city which had grown rich from the Portuguese colony of Brazil Most of the witnesses are British and Irish businessmen who had been in Lisbon for the rich pickings to be had there Arguably the country never recovered from this devastation and indeed the book links up with many current concerns and experiences not just the massive indebtedness of a southern country to the north but also the 2004 tsunami and the March 2011 earthuake that struck Japan A great book not only for readers who know and love Lisbon


10 thoughts on “Wrath of God

  1. says:

    Fascinating subject especially for me as I was on holiday in Lisbon for a few days last month I'd never heard of the earthuake before then amazing to think that an earthuake followed by a huge fire it was All Saints Day so most of the population were at church and the candles in there all fell over and set the place alightand then a

  2. says:

    Brilliant I thought this would be a dry read but no it is fascinating and maintains one's interest throughout I bought it many years ago after my first visit to Lisbon and allowed it to linger on my shelves It would appear that anyt

  3. says:

    Fascinating look at the defining moment in Lisbonā€™s history The earthuake tsunami and great fire destroyed Lisbon in 1755 Prior to this Brazilian gold was financing the grandeur of the city Portugal was dependent on Britain for itā

  4. says:

    A gripping book about Lisbon as the trade centre leading up to the 1755 Earthuake Surprisingly detailed description of the Earthuake pieced together by various accounts by eye witnesses and shocking political and religious impact the Earthuake

  5. says:

    Fasc

  6. says:

    Gripping and insightful from beginning to end Good book to read before visiting Lisbon

  7. says:

    The great earthuake of Lisbon is one of the largest calamities to strike the European continent and ironically the event appears to h

  8. says:

    A history seen through the eyes of the resident English community in Lisbon in the second half of the eighteenth century made interesting with dialogue and behaviour of those men who were uite good at keeping diaries Mr Paice certainly loves t

  9. says:

    This is a thoroughly researched and excellently written account of the Lisbon Earthuake of 1755 Although nowadays many well travelled educated people have not even heard of the event in the eighteenth century its impact on how people came to see themselves and their place in the world was massive As the title suggests it was generally interpreted as a punishment by a God angry with human sinfulness not only in

  10. says:

    A good popular introduction to the great Lisbon earthuake but if it whetted your appetite the lack of a bibliography makes it difficult to follow up some of the primary and secondary material Written mostly using English eye witness accounts it perhaps lacks perspective from Portuguese and other continental sources although uite a number of French sources are uoted The ultra uick assessment of Voltaire's Candide and J

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