Timeline of natural disasters in the Azores

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Timeline of natural disasters in the Azores

Although this list is not necessarily comprehensive, the following natural disasters have affected the Azores:


    * Around 1432: First recorded famine in the Azores.

    * 1439?-1444?: Volcanic eruption on São Miguel at Sete Cidades. Details of the eruption were not recorded, not even the exact date of the event.

    * 1460?: Another volcanic eruption at Sete Cidades, São Miguel. No specific information was recorded at the time.


    * 1522: Innundation of Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel, by mud. On the night of 21 and 22 October 1522, a violent earthquake brought down a great mudslide from the hills around Vila Franca do Campo, causing damage to the majority of the town, the old island capital. Large mudslides also occurred in Maia, an area near Ponta Garça. The phenomena at Vila Franca inspired many writings, including one that has oral roots, entitled "Novel of Vila Franca" (Romance de Vila Franca), by Teófilo Braga.

    * 1523-1530: An epidemic plague ravaged the island of São Miguel, and the island became isolated for a few years. The plague also reached Faial Island.

    * 1538: A volcanic eruption centered on the cay of Ferraria, São Miguel. In that year, an underwater eruption in the proximity of Ponta da Ferraria lasted for nearly a month. The eruption resulted in the appearance of a small island of "one league in circumference" that shortly disappeared. The eruption caused no damages on land.

    * 1547: An earthquake rocked the northeastern part of Terceira Island. It happened on 17 May and damaged Raminho, (Folhadais), Altares, and Biscoitos.

    * 1562-1564: A volcanic eruption on Prainha do Norte, Pico Island. On 21 September 1562, tremors that lasted for a "third of an hour" shook the land, and they were followed by a bang. An interesting contemporaneous description of the eruption still exists; people in the town of Velas on São Jorge Island observed it.

    * 1563: Volcanic eruption at Lagoa do Fogo, São Miguel. The eruption began on 29 June, and five violent earthquakes shook the area. There was enormous destruction on the island. The violent eruption ended on 3 July. The activity was a Plinian eruption.


    * 1563: A volcanic eruption on São Miguel, almost simultaneous with the eruption on Lagoa do Fogo, caused a strombolian eruption in Pico do Sapateiro parish of Ribeira Seca. The peak was a dome located near the graben of Ribeira Grande where a lagoon used to exist. The volcano spewed large amounts of very fluid basaltic lava. An historian wrote in full detail about the eruption; it is included in the account called Fénix Angrense ("The Phoenix of Angra").

    * 1564: Another volcanic eruption on Lagoa do Fogo, São Miguel. The eruption began on 13 February and lasted for a few days, causing no damages.

    * 1571: A seismic crisis caused great damage in Angra do Heroísmo during the month of June. The earthquake was centered southeast of Terceira Island, probably at Banco D. João de Castro. It shook Terceira, and it was felt in São Miguel as well. Someone noted that a ship was sailing in the area at the time of the onset of the earthquakes.

    * 1580: An eruption of the volcano of Queimada, São Jorge. On the night of 28 April, the land trembled thirty times and fifty times more the next day. On 1 May, there were tremors and an explosion on the top of the volcano. Another explosion happened in front of the upper part of Ribeira do Nabo, two kilometres east of the volcano. The lava flows began near Ribeira do Almeida. The eruption lasted four months, with large lava flows and volcanic ashes spread as far as Terceira.

    * 1588: Large floods in São Bento and Porto de Pipas, Terceira on 26 February. The waters flowed through the valley approaching Porto de Pipas, where they caused destruction to ships and boats.

    * 1588: Large floods in Velas, São Jorge. On 8 November, the flooding began near Velas with a torrent that "took many people into the sea and flooded many homes". This event was the origin of a popular poem.

    * 1591: An earthquake was felt in São Miguel and on Terceira. As a consequence, the earthquake ruined many buildings, especially in Vila Franca do Campo and Água de Pau. The population lost their best homes. The king spent 150,000 reals for reconstruction. On Terceira, the land shook four times and seemed to want to "subvert itself"

    * 1593: The worst agricultural year in memory caused a famine in the islands of Terceira and São Jorge, which was associated with the war of 1580-1593.

    * 1599-1600: Bubonic plague caused seven thousand deaths on Terceira. The year 1599 was known as the "bad year" because of the epidemic crisis. It affected much of the population, and, for two years, it was the worst disaster in Terceira's history. Plague revisited, off and on, for nearly two decades.


    * 1606 - Flooding in Velas, São Jorge, in February caused large damages to the town of Velas, many roads were "the way that no one could walk a foot".
    * 1608 — Large flooding in Angra, Terceira - On February 11 at about 9 at night, and created a huge intense mudslide in Angra, situated during the area all night. At dawn, the mudslide intensed causing to excave a cave named Santa Luzia. The waters flooded Rua Miragaia as well as Rus do Marquês and Rua do Palácio and also flooded Rua Direita. The flood knocked down walls at its port (the famous "Porta do Mar"), the flood damaged properties and ruined various homes and buildings.
    * 1613 — Year of the sterility of the grass. It killed two cows. That year was a combination of drought and gale force winds in the winter and spring leaving in one dramatic situation. It killed many animals. It would have been the year of La Niña?
    * 1614 — The first "Caída da Praia" ("Falling of Praia") - earthquakes on April 9 in Fontinhas and May 24 in Praia, Terceira - On April 9, an earthquake destroyed almost all of the parish of Fontinhas and created large damages to other parishes. On May 24, an earthquake with a huge magnitude ruined almost all of the parishes of Agualva, Vila Nova, Lajes and Santa Cruz de Praia caused injuries. Francisco Ferreira Drummond described in the Annals of Terceira "Fallen" in the reconstruction with a great detail.
    * 1630 — A Plinian-type Eruption of Furnas, São Miguel and occurred on Septemnber 3. It was known as the "Year of the Ashtray", 191 people were killed in the eruption. The eruption was accompanied with a vulcanic explosions in sea and the sone located near Fogo and around Ribeira Quente. It also created large mudslides in lants of the south coast of the island of São Miguel.

# 1630 — Mudslide in Castelo, São Miguel, in 1630 occurred a gigantic mudslide happened in where today lies the westernmost point of the "cape" located near Ribeira Quente, São Miguel. The mudslide torn a part of Castelo in the area now known as Ponta da Albufeira. The mudslide was associated with an eruption on Furnas in the same year.
# 1637 — A hurricane reached Terceira - On August 3, a major storm pounded the island and caused great damages
# 1638 — underwater eruption near Candelária, São Miguel island, the eruption was a Surtseyan, it began on July 3 located about 2 km off the Ponta da Candelária. For 29 days produced a ring-formed island. During the eruption, the sulfur affected about 8 leagues in distance and killed many fishes which created "To load eight vessels to India".
# 1641 — A great wave (probably from seaquake) in Velas, São Jorge, on December 21, it created a wave near Monte dos Fachos causing great destruction to the town.
# 1647 — Seismic crisis in Terceira and caused the worst agricultural year in all of the islands. It lasted from the end of December up until the beginning of July causing violent tremors causing panic in Angra.
# 1649 — A storm wrecked four boats in Angra, earthquake in Terceira, a storm caused strong southeast winds to overturn four boats in Angra. A small earthquake shook Terceira. It was the year that celebrated good wine productions.
# 1652 — Eruption on Pico do Fogo, São Miguel, after one week of violent eruption, which caused great phenomena in Lagoa and parts of Ponta Delgada, On October 19 caused a Strombolian eruption. A basaltic lava destroyed the areas near Calhetas as well as parts of Portões Vermelhos. The eruption lasted for 15 days and caused phenomena.


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