The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755: The Wrath of God with Ian Sumpter

The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755: The Wrath of God with Ian Sumpter


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Very few cities in the Old World are planned in their entirety from day one. But the devastating earthquake of 1755 left Lisbon in tatters. The city was destroyed by the 8.5-9 quake or by one of the three resulting tsunamis. The city needed a leader, but King Jose I was so terrified of the events of this day that he would never again step inside a building. So what happened? Up steps, the Marquis do Pombal, a middle-class upstart who had risen to head the King's Court. His rule was nothing short of Machiavellian; brilliant and ruthless: he ruled with an iron fist. He removed the influence of the Inquisition and the Jesuits, he arrested and murdered whole aristocratic families. Yet at the same time of this brutality, he managed to modernize the city through modern urban planning, revolutionizing agriculture (most importantly Port) and taking Lisbon from a mound of burning ashes and transforming her to the glistening city we see today.

Led by an expert archaeologist Ian Sumpter, this interactive seminar will explore the impact that the earthquake of 1755 had on politics, religion, daily life and urban planning, not just in Lisbon but also in a more global context. We will explore the birth of seismology, the fall of inquisition, the rise of humanism, and much more.

Born in Liverpool in the North of England, Ian was raised around the historic docks of the city where a love of Maritime history was born. He went on to study Archaeological sciences with the aim of specializing in Marine archaeology. His four years of the study saw him divert from his original aim and concentrate Urbanisation in the Ancient world. Working as an archaeologist for a number of years across Italy, the UK and South Asia, Ian has spent 13 years working in total working as a tour guide in Rome before the lure of the sea and sunshine brought him to Lisbon where he continues to research the urban landscape and the city's vital relationship with the sea.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.