The impact of the 1755 earthquake in the Algarve

Local historian Peter Kingdon Booker will be talking about ‘The Earthquake of 1755 in the Algarve’ on January 22 and 25, in Lagoa and Tavira respectively.

Organised by the Algarve History Association, the talks will take place at the towns’ municipal libraries at 6pm in Lagoa and at 11am in Tavira.

On November 1 1755, there occurred in Portugal an event of monumental importance. The massive earthquake at 9.5 on the Richter scale is still the most powerful and destructive ever experienced in Europe.

It brought death to countless Lisboetas as a direct result of its shaking, and others died as a result of the consequent tsunamis and fires.

The event shocked Europe and caused questions to be posed about the divine causes of natural phenomena, and Voltaire wrote his memorable skit Candide as a result.

The political outcome in Portugal was revolutionary and led directly to the rise of the Marquês de Pombal.

The Kingdom of the Algarve was closest to the epicentre and consequently suffered major devastation, but we hear little of the history of the Algarve at this time.

What exactly happened during the earthquake? How was the Algarve affected? Why do we hear so little about it? What were the consequences for this remote part of Portugal?

The association welcomes monetary voluntary contributions at the talks to enable it to support local cultural initiatives.

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