Portuguese American Journal

Japan’s tsunami brings back memories – Lisbon

Japan’s killer waves are a reminder of Sunday morning, November 1, 1755, when a large earthquake   struck , Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, and a subsequent tsunami killed more than 60,000  people within minutes.  A huge fire completed the destruction of the great Renascence Portuguese city, its wealth, prosperity and sophistication reduced to rubble.

The total duration of shaking lasted ten minutes  and was comprised of three distinct jolts. Effects from the earthquake were far reaching. The worst damage occurred in the south-west of Portugal. Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, was the largest and the most important of the cities damaged. Severe shaking was felt in North Africa and there was heavy loss of life in Fez and Mequinez. Moderate damage was done in Algiers and in southwest Spain. Shaking was also felt in France, Switzerland, and Northern Italy. A devastating fire following the earthquake destroyed a large part of Lisbon, and a very strong tsunami caused heavy destruction along the coasts of Portugal, southwest Spain, and western Morocco.

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