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1755 Lisbon earthquake

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Illyria
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2009, 01:19:28 pm »

The king and the prime minister immediately launched efforts to rebuild the city, hiring architects, engineers and organizing labor. In less than a year, the city was cleared of debris. Keen to have a new and perfectly ordained city, the king commissioned the construction of big squares, rectilinear, large avenues and widened streets — the new mottos of Lisbon. When the Marquis of Pombal was asked about the need for such wide streets, he is said to have replied: "one day they will be small."

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Illyria
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2009, 01:19:38 pm »

The Pombaline buildings are among the first seismically-protected constructions in the world. Small wooden models were built for testing, and earthquakes were simulated by marching troops around them. Lisbon's "new" downtown, known today as the Pombaline Downtown (Baixa Pombalina), is one of the city's famed attractions. Sections of other Portuguese cities, like the Vila Real de Santo António in Algarve, were also rebuilt along Pombaline principles.

The Casa Pia, a Portuguese institution founded by Mary I, known as "Pia" (Pious, in English), and organized by Police Intendant Pina Manique in 1780, was founded following the social disarray of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

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Illyria
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2009, 01:20:19 pm »



1755 German copperplate image, The Ruins of Lisbon. Survivors camp in a (rather fanciful) tent city outside the city of Lisbon, following the November 1, 1755 earthquake. The image shows criminal activity and general mayhem, as well as the hanging of quake survivors under constabulary supervision. Priests are present, one holding a crucifix, one possibly a prayer book, so appear to be giving last rites to persons being hanged.

Courtesy of the National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering (NISEE), University of California, Berkeley, with permission permitted under the terms of non-profit sharing agreement (Jan Kozak collection).

Original in: Museu da Cidade, Lisbon, also reproduced in O Terramoto de 1755, Testamunhos Britanicos (The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, British Accounts). Lisbon: British Historical Society of Portugal, 1990.
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Illyria
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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2009, 01:21:16 pm »



Detail from above: Executions in the aftermath of the Lisbon earthquake. At least 34 looters were hanged in the chaotic aftermath of the disaster. As a warning against looting, King Joseph I of Portugal ordered gallows to be constructed in several parts of the city.
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Illyria
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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2009, 01:21:38 pm »

Effect on society and philosophy

The earthquake had wide-ranging effects on the lives of the populace and intelligentsia. The earthquake had struck on an important church holiday and had destroyed almost every important church in the city, causing anxiety and confusion amongst the citizens of a staunch and devout Roman Catholic city and country, which had been a major patron of the Church. Theologians and philosophers would focus and speculate on the religious cause and message, seeing the earthquake as a manifestation of the anger of God. Some people thought the earthquake was a punishment for the massacre of thousands of unarmed natives and missionaries killed in South America (especially Paraguay). This massacre was ordered by the king of Portugal and carried out by Portuguese armies in 1754-1755.

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« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2009, 01:21:49 pm »

The earthquake and its fallout strongly influenced the intelligentsia of the European Age of Enlightenment. The noted writer-philosopher Voltaire used the earthquake in Candide and in his Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne ("Poem on the Lisbon disaster"). Voltaire's Candide attacks the notion that all is for the best in this, "the best of all possible worlds", a world closely supervised by a benevolent deity. The Lisbon disaster provided a salutary counterexample. As Theodor Adorno wrote, "[t]he earthquake of Lisbon sufficed to cure Voltaire of the theodicy of Leibniz" (Negative Dialectics 361). In the later twentieth century, following Adorno, the 1755 earthquake has sometimes been compared to the Holocaust as a catastrophe that transformed European culture and philosophy. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also influenced by the devastation following the earthquake, whose severity he believed was due to too many people living within the close quarters of the city. Rousseau used the earthquake as an argument against cities as part of his desire for a more naturalistic way of life.

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Illyria
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« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2009, 01:21:59 pm »

The concept of the sublime, though it existed before 1755, was developed in philosophy and elevated to greater importance by Immanuel Kant, in part as a result of his attempts to comprehend the enormity of the Lisbon quake and tsunami. Kant published three separate texts on the Lisbon earthquake. The young Kant, fascinated with the earthquake, collected all the information available to him in news pamphlets, and used it to formulate a theory of the causes of earthquakes. Kant's theory, which involved the shifting of huge subterranean caverns filled with hot gases, was (though ultimately shown to be false) one of the first systematic modern attempts to explain earthquakes by positing natural, rather than supernatural, causes. According to Walter Benjamin, Kant's slim early book on the earthquake "probably represents the beginnings of scientific geography in Germany. And certainly the beginnings of seismology."

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Illyria
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2009, 01:22:09 pm »

Werner Hamacher has claimed that the earthquake's consequences extended into the vocabulary of philosophy, making the common metaphor of firm "grounding" for philosophers' arguments shaky and uncertain: "Under the impression exerted by the Lisbon earthquake, which touched the European mind in one [of] its more sensitive epochs, the metaphor of ground and tremor completely lost their apparent innocence; they were no longer merely figures of speech" (263). Hamacher claims that the foundational certainty of Descartes' philosophy began to shake following the Lisbon earthquake.

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Illyria
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« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2009, 01:22:21 pm »

The earthquake had a major impact on Portuguese politics. The prime minister was the favorite of the king, but the aristocracy despised him as an upstart son of a country squire (although the Prime Minister Sebastião de Melo is known today as Marquis of Pombal, the title was only granted in 1770, fifteen years after the earthquake). The prime minister in turn disliked the old nobles, whom he considered corrupt and incapable of practical action. Before November 1, 1755 there was a constant struggle for power and royal favor, but the competent response of the Marquis of Pombal effectively severed the power of the old aristocratic factions. However, silent opposition and resentment of King Joseph I began to rise, which would culminate with the attempted assassination of the king, and the subsequent elimination of the powerful Duke of Aveiro and the Távora family.

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Illyria
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« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2009, 01:23:03 pm »



Voltaire
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« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2009, 01:23:37 pm »



Immanuel Kant
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Illyria
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« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2009, 01:24:55 pm »

Development of seismology

The prime minister's response was not limited to the practicalities of reconstruction. He ordered a query sent to all parishes of the country regarding the earthquake and its effects. Questions included:
•   how long did the earthquake last?
•   how many aftershocks were felt?
•   what kind of damage was caused?
•   did animals behave strangely?
•   what happened in wells and water holes?
The answers to these and other questions are still archived in the Torre do Tombo, the national historical archive. Studying and cross-referencing the priests' accounts, modern scientists were able to reconstruct the event from a scientific perspective. Without the query designed by the Marquis of Pombal, this would have been impossible. Because the marquis was the first to attempt an objective scientific description of the broad causes and consequences of an earthquake, he is regarded as a forerunner of modern seismological scientists.
The geological causes of this earthquake and the seismic activity in the region continue to be discussed and debated by contemporary scientists.

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Illyria
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« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2009, 01:25:56 pm »

Notes

1.   ^ Between History and Periodicity: Printed and Hand-Written News in 18th-Century Portuga
2.   ^ Pereira (2006), page 5.
3.   ^ Viana-Baptista MA, Soares PM. Tsunami propagation along Tagus estuary (Lisbon, Portugal) preliminary results. Science of Tsunami Hazards 2006; 24(5):329 Online PDF. Accessed 2009-05-23. Archived 2009-05-27.
4.   ^ Brockhaus' Konversations-Lexikon. 14th ed., Leipzig, Berlin and Vienna 1894; Vol. 6, p. 248
5.   ^ Lyell, Charles. Principles of Geology. 1830. Vol. 1, chapter 25, p. 439 Online electronic edition. Accessed 2009-05-19. Archived 2009-05-21.
6.   ^ Zitellini N. et al., The tectonic source of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami. Anali di Geofisica 1999; 42(1): 49. Online PDF. Accessed 2009-05-23. Archived 2009-05-27.
7.   ^ Blanc P.-L. Earthquakes and tsunami in November 1755 in Morocco: a different reading of contemporaneous documentary sources. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 2009; 9: 725–738. Online PDF. Accessed 2009-05-23. Archived 2009-05-27.
8.   ^ Pereira (2006), pages 8-9.
9.   ^ Kendrick. The Lisbon Earthquake. pp. 75. Kendrick writes that the remark is apocryphal and is attributed to other sources in anti-Pombal literature.
10.   ^ Gunn (2008), page 77.

References
•   Benjamin, Walter. "The Lisbon Earthquake." In Selected Writings vol. 2. Belknap, 1999. ISBN 0-674-94586-7. The often abstruse critic Benjamin gave a series of radio broadcasts for children in the early 1930s; this one, from 1931, discusses the Lisbon earthquake and summarizes some of its impact on European thought.
•   Braun, Theodore E. D., and John B. Radner, eds. The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755: Representations and Reactions (SVEC 2005:02). Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 2005. ISBN 0-7294-0857-4. Recent scholarly essays on the earthquake and its representations in art, with a focus on Voltaire. (In English and French.)
•   Brooks, Charles B. Disaster at Lisbon: The Great Earthquake of 1755. Long Beach: Shangton Longley Press, 1994. (No apparent ISBN.) A narrative history.
•   Chase, J. "The Great Earthquake At Lisbon (1755)". Colliers Magazine, 1920.
•   Dynes, Russell Rowe. "The dialogue between Voltaire and Rousseau on the Lisbon earthquake: The emergence of a social science view." University of Delaware, Disaster Research Center, 1999.
•   Fonseca, J. D. 1755, O Terramoto de Lisboa, The Lisbon Earthquake. Argumentum, Lisbon, 2004.
•   Gunn, A.M. "Encyclopedia of Disasters". Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008. ISBN 0313340021.
•   Hamacher, Werner. "The Quaking of Presentation." In Premises: Essays on Philosophy and Literature from Kant to Celan, pp. 261–293. Stanford University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8047-3620-0.
•   Kendrick, T.D. The Lisbon Earthquake. Philadelphia and New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1957.
•   Neiman, Susan. Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Modern Philosophy. Princeton University Press, 2002. This book centers on philosophical reaction to the earthquake, arguing that the earthquake was responsible for modern conceptions of evil.
•   Pereira, A.S. "The Opportunity of a Disaster: The Economic Impact of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake". Discussion Paper 06/03, Centre for Historical Economics and Related Research at York, York University, 2006.
•   Ray, Gene. "Reading the Lisbon Earthquake: Adorno, Lyotard, and the Contemporary Sublime." Yale Journal of Criticism 17.1 (2004): pp. 1–18.
•   Seco e Pinto, P.S. (Editor). Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering: Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 21–25 June, 1999. ISBN 90-5809-116-3
•   Weinrich, Harald. "Literaturgeschichte eines Weltereignisses: Das Erdbeben von Lissabon." In Literatur für Leser, pp. 64–76. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1971. ISBN 3-17-087225-7. In German. Cited by Hamacher as a broad survey of philosophical and literary reactions to the Lisbon earthquake.

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Illyria
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« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2009, 01:26:46 pm »

External links•   Images and historical depictions of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake
•   The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake
•   More images of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami
•   Contemporary eyewitness account of Rev. Charles Davy
•   Description of the Pan-European consequences of the earthquake and tsunami, by Oliver Wendell Holmes.
•   No Source for Hanging-Priests Calumny


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755_Lisbon_earthquake
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