Photographer's Note

Picture taken at Ruins of the Convento do Carmo in downtown Lisbon which was almost completely destroyed when a strong earthquake hit Portugal in the morning of November 1st, 1755. Today, the ruins of the Covent are a national monument and the home of the Carmo Archaeological Museum.


The earthquake began at 9:20 and was centered in the Atlantic Ocean, about 200 km WSW of Cape St. Vincent. The total duration of shaking lasted ten minutes. Effects from the earthquake were far reaching. Most of the damage occurred in the south-west of Portugal and Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, was the most important of the cities damaged.

A devastating fire followed the earthquake and destroyed all of the downtown Lisbon, from St. Roque to Carmo and Trindade, from the Rossio square area to the Castle and Alfama quarters. Bairro Alto and Alfama quarters were partially burned. The flames raged for five days.

Immediately after the earthquake, many of the Lisbon residents looked for safety on the sea by boarding the ships moored on the river Tejo. But, 30 minutes after the quake, a large wave swamped the area near Bugio Tower on the mouth of the Tejo. The area in the western part of the city was the most heavily damaged by the wave, but further destruction occurred upstream. The Cais das Colunas at Terreiro do Paço and parts of the nearby custom house were flattened. A total of three waves struck the shore, each dragging people and debris out to sea and leaving exposed large stretches of the river bottom. In front of the Terreiro do Paço, the maximum height of the waves was estimated at 6 meters. Boats overcrowded with refugees capsized and sank.

It is estimated that 60,000 and 100,000 people perished during the quake, fire and tsunami.

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Additional Photos by Antonio Ribeiro (ribeiroantonio) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4685 W: 455 N: 6473] (22730)
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