In the 18th century, Lisbon was the flourishing capital of Portugal. Until the fateful day, November 1st, 1755. An earthquake of never before seen magnitude brought the city to its knees. Fifty thousand men and women lost their lives to the quake. After this day, Lisbon was left in shambles, forcing the remaining occupants to rebuild from scratch.

Life Before the Earthquake

Before disaster struck, Lisbon was a trading hotspot for gold and diamond. The trade made many merchants wealthy, respected members of the society. The city was occupied by ten percent of Portugal’s population. The country valued the city for its economic value as a port serving vessels on the Atlantic Ocean. The people of Lisbon were also Catholic Christians, thanks to the settlement of Catholic religious authorities in the city.

November 1st, When Disaster Struck Lisbon.

November 1st was All Saints day in Lisbon. In the wee hours of the morning, the city was hit by three consecutive tremors. The quakes are thought to have had a magnitude of 8.0. These are estimates by scientists as there was no recording equipment invented yet. The earthquake was felt in places as far away as the North-Western country of Morocco.

Because the city sits on the shore, a tsunami was sucked inland due to the negative pressure system. The waves are estimated to have been over 20 feet tall. The raging sea trapped anyone who was not fatally wounded by the quake. The subsequent days were spent rebuilding to bring Lisbon back to her glorious self.