[Paleopsych] Where Was God During the Tsunami?

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Where Was God During the Tsunami?

[There follows the Wikipedia article on the Lisbon earthquake of 1755.
Socially, it was the most important earthquake in history, with the
possible exception of the alleged earthquake that destroyed the alleged
Atlantis, since the Lisbon earthquake lead to widespread doubts about
the goodness of the Creator if not his existence.

[The Plague also had by far the most important social impact in Europe,
though it killed the same third of the population in China and India as
it did in Europe. In Europe, the medieval theological fiction of the
"just price" came to differ not greatly from the market price over the
decades. But after the plague struck, the labor supply was so diminished
that its price should have gone way up. The fiction of "finding the law"
in eternal principles like the "just price" ceased to be viable. Common
law, the accretion of judicial decisions, allowed the fiction to be
maintained. If the principles say this happens in case A and that
happens in case B, a judge would decide what happens in case A 1/2. The
judge would not make law; he would find law by filling it in. A major
overhaul of the law, called a statute, was very rare, though there was
some movement in that direction with, say, the Second Statute of
Westminster of 12.  (Exactly why the First Statute was not a true
statute, I am not sure.)

[Anyhow, after the Black Death, one of the first statutes was the
Statute of Laborers, which (futilely) tried to prevent the price of
labor from rising. The trend to the deliberate creation of law, and thus
a new concept of law, really got going as the result of the Black Death.
By 1776 in a world changed, not by another plague, but by the experience
of 193 years of having to deal with changed circumstances (dating from
Roanoke Island), Mr. Jefferson could speak of "the Right of the People
to ... institute new Government, laying its Foundations on such
Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

[In China and India, the Plague caused no such upheaval from law as
eternal to (ultimately) law as fostering happiness, and no earthquake
outside of Europe triggered such a widespread questioning of religion.


Guardian: How can religious people explain something like this?

     How can religious people explain something like this?
     Earthquakes led 18th-century thinkers to ask questions we shy away
     Martin Kettle
     Tuesday December 28, 2004

     The modern era flatters itself that human beings can now know and
     shape almost everything about the world. But an event like the
     Indonesian earthquake exposes much of this for the hubris that it

     Perhaps we have talked so much about our civilization's potential to
     destroy the planet that we have forgotten that the planet also has
     untamed ability to destroy civilisation too. Whatever else it has
     achieved, the Indian Ocean tsunami has at least reminded mankind of
     its enduring vulnerability in the face of nature. The scale of
     suffering that it has wreaked - 20,000 deaths and counting - shows
     that we share such dangers with our ancestors more fully than most
     us realised.

     An entirely understandable reaction to such an event is to set one's
     face against any large questions that it may raise. But this week
     provides an unsought opportunity to consider the largest of all
     implications of any major earthquake: its challenge to religion.

     A few days after the 9/11 attacks on New York, I had dinner with the
     Guardian's late columnist Hugo Young. We were still so close to the
     event itself that only one topic of conversation was possible. At
     stage I asked Hugo how his Catholicism allowed him to explain such a
     terrible act. I'm afraid that's an easy one, he replied.

     We are all fallen beings, Hugo declared, and our life in this world
     a vale of tears. So some human beings will always kill one another.
     The attack on New York should therefore be seen not as an act of
     but as an act of fallen humanity. Then he paused, and added: "But I
     admit I have much more difficulty with earthquakes."

     Earthquakes and the belief in the judgment of God are, indeed, very
     hard to reconcile. However, no religion that offers an explanation
     the world can avoid making some kind of an attempt to fit the two
     together. And an immense earthquake like the one that took place off
     Sumatra on Sunday inevitably poses that challenge afresh in dramatic

     There is, after all, only one big question to ask about an event of
     such destructive power as the one that has taken place this week:
     did it happen?

     As with previous earthquakes, any explanation of this latest one
     us a sharp intellectual choice. Either there is an entirely natural
     explanation for it, or there is some other kind. Even the natural
     is by no means easy to imagine, but it is at least wholly coherent.

     The tsunami took place, say the seismologists, because a massive
     tectonic rupture on the sea bed generated tremors through the ocean.
     These unimaginable forces sent their energy coursing across
     of miles of water, resulting in death and destruction in a vast arc
     from Somalia to Indonesia.

     But what do world views that do not allow scientists undisputed
     authority have to say about such phenomena? Where do the
     stand, for example? Such world views are more widespread, even now,
     than a secularised society such as ours sometimes prefers to think.

     For most of human history people have tried to explain earthquakes
     acts of divine intervention and displeasure. Even as the churches
     collapsed around them in 1755, Lisbon's priests insisted on
     crucifixes and religious icons with which to ward off the
     that would kill more than 50,000 of their fellow citizens.

     Others, though, began to draw different conclusions. Voltaire asked
     what kind of God could permit such a thing to occur. Did Lisbon
     have so many more vices than London or Paris, he asked, that it
     be punished in such a appalling and indiscriminate manner? Immanuel
     Kant was so amazed by what happened to Lisbon that he wrote three
     separate treatises on the problem of earthquakes.

     Our own society seems to be more squeamish about such things. The
     for mutual respect between peoples and traditions of which the Queen
     spoke in her Christmas broadcast seems to require that we must all
     respect religions in equal measure, too. The government, indeed, is
     legislating to prevent expressions of religious hatred in ways that
     could put a cordon around the critical discussion of religion

     Yet it is hard to think of any event in modern times that requires a
     more serious explanation from the forces of religion than this
     earthquake. Voltaire's 18th-century question to Christians - why
     Lisbon? - ought to generate a whole series of 21st-century
     for all the religions of the world.

     Certainly the giant waves generated by the quake made no attempt to
     differentiate between the religions of those whom it made its
     Hindus were swept away in India, Muslims were carried off in
     Indonesia, Buddhists in Thailand. Visiting Christians and Jews
     received no special treatment either. This poses no problem for the
     scientific belief system. Here, it says, was a mindless natural
     which destroyed Muslim and Hindu alike.

     A non-scientific belief system, especially one that is based on any
     kind of notion of a divine order, has some explaining to do,
     What God sanctions an earthquake? What God protects against it? Why
     does the quake strike these places and these peoples and not others?
     What kind of order is it that decrees that a person who went to
     by the edge of the ocean on Christmas night should wake up the next
     morning engulfed by the waves, struggling for life?

     From at least the time of Aristotle, intelligent people have
     to make some sense of earthquakes. Earthquakes do not merely kill
     destroy. They challenge human beings to explain the world order in
     which such apparently indiscriminate acts can occur. Europe in the
     18th century had the intellectual curiosity and independence to ask
     and answer such questions. But can we say the same of 21st-century
     Europe? Or are we too cowed now to even ask if the God can exist
     can do such things?

     [42]martin.kettle at guardian.co.uk
To God, an age-old question
The Telegraph - Calcutta : International

     A woman gestures as she cries on a street of Nagapattinam, some 350
     south of Chennai. (AFP)

     London, Dec. 30 (Reuters): It is one of the oldest, most profound
     questions, posed by some of the most learned minds of every faith
     throughout the course of human history.

     It was put eloquently this week by an old woman in a devastated
     village in southern Indias Tamil Nadu. Why did you do this to us,
     she wailed. What did we do to upset you?

     Perhaps no event in living memory has confronted the worlds great
     religions with such a basic test of faith as this weeks tsunami,
     indiscriminately slaughtered Indonesian Muslims, Indians of all
     faiths, Thai and Sri Lankan Buddhists and tourists who were
     and Jews.

     In temples, mosques, churches and synagogues across the globe,
     are being called upon to explain: How could a benevolent God visit
     such horror on ordinary people?

     Traditionalists of diverse faiths described the destruction as part
     gods plan, proof of his power and punishment for human sins.

     This is an expression of Gods great ire with the world, Israeli
     rabbi Shlomo Amar said.

     Pandit Harikrishna Shastri, a priest of New Delhis Birla temple said
     the disaster was caused by a huge amount of pent-up man-made evil on
     earth and driven by the positions of the planets.

     Azizan Abdul Razak, a Muslim cleric and vice president of Malaysias
     Islamic opposition party, Parti Islam se-Malaysia, said the disaster
     was a reminder from god that he created the world and can destroy

     Many faiths believe disasters foretell the end of time or the coming
     of a Messiah. Some Christians expect chaos and destruction as
     in the Bibles final book, Revelations. Maria, a 32-year-old Jehovahs
     Witness in Cyprus who believes that the apocalypse is coming said
     people who once slammed the door in her face were stopping to

     It is a sign of the last days, she said.

     But for others, such calamities can prompt a repudiation of faith.
     Secularist Martin Kettle wrote in Britains Guardian newspaper that
     tsunamis should force people to ask if the God can exist that can do
     such things? or if there is no God, just nature.

     This poses no problem for the scientific belief system. Here, it
     was a mindless natural event which destroyed Muslim and Hindu alike,
     he wrote. A non-scientific belief system, especially one that is
     on any kind of notion of a divine order, has some explaining to do,

     It is a question that clergy have to deal with nearly every day, not
     just at times of great catastrophe but when providing consolation
     the daily sorrows of life, said US Rabbi Daniel Isaak, of
     Neveh Shalom, in Portland, Oregon. It is really difficult to believe
     in a God that not only creates a tsunami that kills 50 or 60
     people, but that puts birth defects in children, he said.

     In one modern view, he said, God does not interfere in the affairs
     his creation. This is not something that God has done. The world has
     certain imperfections built into the natural order, and we have to
     live with them. The issue isnt Why did God do this to us? but How do
     we human beings care for one another?

Waves of destruction wash away belief in God's benevolence
Sydney Morning Herald
December 30, 2004

     Compassion is the best response when humanity faces the problem of
     evil, writes Edward Spence.

     "Why did you do this to us, God? What did we do to upset you?" asked
     woman in India this week, a heart-wrenching question asked in common
     these past few days by Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians.
     Nothing could have prepared us for what happened when the tsunami
     unleashed its terror. So we seek answers where answers are hard to
     come by, in either secular or sacred realms.

     Traditionally, the Judeo-Christian God, considered the most supreme
     and perfect being in the universe, has been ascribed the following
     necessary attributes: omniscience (all-knowing), omnipresence
     everywhere at all times and at once), omnipotence (almighty and
     powerful) and benevolence (all good and caring).

     How, then, did a God as powerful and benevolent as this allow such a
     thing to happen? If he is benevolent then he cannot also be
     omnipotent, for a God who has both these attributes would have
     to, cared to and been able to prevent such a catastrophe.

     Perhaps, though omnipotent, He is not benevolent. That might explain
     why, although it was within His power to stop the tsunami, He simply
     chose not to: God has His own reasons and we are not to ask why.
     However, this answer will not suffice since by definition God is
     perfect. Being perfect, He must of necessity not merely be
     but benevolent as well.

     A possible solution to this problem, traditionally known as the
     problem of evil, was offered by the heretical Manicheans, who
     not in one supreme being but two: one good God responsible for all
     good things in life and another bad God, Satan, responsible for all
     the evil in the world.

     St Augustine, a follower in his early 20s, became an ardent critic
     this doctrine, thinking a weak God powerless to defeat Satan was not
     worth worshipping.

     Philosophically, if God is perfect, then there can be only one
     God, not two. In any case, evil is an imperfection and thus not a
     characteristic that can be attributed to God.

     If the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are at play and the
     deaths caused by the tsunami are a cosmic payback in the form of
     karma, does that offer a solution, albeit a philosophical one, to
     problem of evil? I think not. For how can children, some as young as
     few months, who had not yet lived their lives, deserve to be
     so cruelly for their past sins - especially when they have not been
     offered the promised divine opportunity to atone for those sins
     through another life?

     Even if solutions are forthcoming to these philosophical conundrums,
     humanely speaking they make little sense. Perhaps that is why some
     people remain sceptical about the presence of any divine providence
     ruling over us.

     A compromise solution, between secular scepticism and a
     need for the sacred, was offered by the Greek philosopher Epicurus.
     Although believing in gods, he claimed these divine beings would not
     want to diminish their heavenly happiness by mingling in the sordid
     affairs of mortals. For Epicurus, the gods were not crazy but simply
     indifferent to both human joys and sorrows. When it comes to social
     natural evils, we are all alone.

     But if natural disasters are merely random events caused by the
     uncaring and blind forces of nature, does this offer us any comfort
     meaning in the face of the apocalyptic events on Boxing Day?

     Even if our heads offer us such solutions, our hearts refuse to
     follow. For the problem of evil is an existential problem that
     confronts our own individual mortality and vulnerability to unknown
     and unexpected disasters.

     Ultimately, heartfelt tears shed in earnest and with compassion,
     offerings of charity for those who have suffered, are more
     than any theological and philosophical treatise on the problem of
     evil. Especially at Christmas when, according to the gospels, love
     the single core message.

     Perhaps this is the essence, if the legend is true, of what God
     from us when He walked and suffered as a man among us. Ultimately,
     problem of evil confronts us not as a puzzle to be solved but as a
     mystery to be experienced. And as Jesus and Plato before him
     indicated, the meaning of the mystery of life can be found only by
     experiencing another great mystery - the mystery of love.

     Dr Edward Spence is a philosopher at the Centre for Applied
     and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University.
Tremors of Doubt: What kind of God would allow a deadly tsunami?
     Wall St. Journal.
     Friday, December 31, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

     On Nov. 1, 1755, a great earthquake struck offshore of Lisbon. In
     city alone, some 60,000 perished, first from the tremors, then from
     the massive tsunami that arrived half an hour later. Fires consumed
     much of what remained of the city. The tidal waves spread death
     the coasts of Iberia and North Africa.

     Voltaire's "Poëme sur le désastre de Lisbonne" of the following year
     was an exquisitely savage--though sober--assault upon the theodicies
     prevalent in his time. For those who would argue that "all is good"
     and "all is necessary," that the universe is an elaborately
     harmony of pain and pleasure, or that this is the best of all
     worlds, Voltaire's scorn was boundless: By what calculus of
     good can one reckon the value of "infants crushed upon their
     breasts," the dying "sad inhabitants of desolate shores," the whole
     "fatal chaos of individual miseries"?

     Perhaps the most disturbing argument against submission to "the will
     of God" in human suffering--especially the suffering of
     placed in the mouth of Ivan Karamazov by Dostoyevsky; but the evils
     Ivan enumerates are all acts of human cruelty, for which one can at
     least assign a clear culpability. Natural calamities usually seem a
     greater challenge to the certitudes of believers in a just and
     beneficent God than the sorrows induced by human iniquity.

     Considered dispassionately, though, man is part of the natural
     and his propensity for malice should be no less a scandal to the
     conscience of the metaphysical optimist than the most violent
     convulsions of the physical world. The same ancient question is
     apposite to the horrors of history and nature alike: Whence comes
     evil? And as Voltaire so elegantly apostrophizes, it is useless to
     invoke the balances of the great chain of being, for that chain is
     held in God's hand and he is not enchained.

     As a Christian, I cannot imagine any answer to the question of evil
     likely to satisfy an unbeliever; I can note, though, that--for all
     urgency--Voltaire's version of the question is not in any proper
     "theological." The God of Voltaire's poem is a particular kind of
     "deist" God, who has shaped and ordered the world just as it now is,
     in accord with his exact intentions, and who presides over all its
     eventualities austerely attentive to a precise equilibrium between
     felicity and morality. Not that reckless Christians have not
     occasionally spoken in such terms; but this is not the Christian

     The Christian understanding of evil has always been more radical and
     fantastic than that of any theodicist; for it denies from the outset
     that suffering, death and evil have any ultimate meaning at all.
     Perhaps no doctrine is more insufferably fabulous to non-Christians
     than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a
     primordial catastrophe, that this is a broken and wounded world,
     cosmic time is the shadow of true time, and that the universe
     languishes in bondage to "powers" and "principalities"--spiritual
     terrestrial--alien to God. In the Gospel of John, especially, the
     incarnate God enters a world at once his own and yet hostile to
     him--"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the
     world knew him not"--and his appearance within "this cosmos" is both
     an act of judgment and a rescue of the beauties of creation from the
     torments of fallen nature.

     Whatever one makes of this story, it is no bland cosmic optimism.
     at the heart of the gospel is an ineradicable triumphalism, a
     conviction that the victory over evil and death has been won; but it
     is also a victory yet to come. As Paul says, all creation groans in
     anguished anticipation of the day when God's glory will transfigure
     all things. For now, we live amid a strife of darkness and light.

     When confronted by the sheer savage immensity of worldly
     suffering--when we see the entire littoral rim of the Indian Ocean
     strewn with tens of thousands of corpses, a third of them
     children's--no Christian is licensed to utter odious banalities
     God's inscrutable counsels or blasphemous suggestions that all this
     mysteriously serves God's good ends. We are permitted only to hate
     death and waste and the imbecile forces of chance that shatter
     souls, to believe that creation is in agony in its bonds, to see
     world as divided between two kingdoms--knowing all the while that it
     is only charity that can sustain us against "fate," and that must do
     so until the end of days.

     Mr. Hart, an Eastern Orthodox theologian, is the author of "The
     of the Infinite" (Eerdmans).


CHE: The Cultural and Historical Significance of the Tsunami Disaster
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5.1.7


     The terrible Lisbon earthquake of 1755 inspired poems, novels, and
     decades of theological debate. The Managua earthquake of 1972 is
     widely believed to have hastened the end of Anastasio Somoza
     regime in Nicaragua. (Somoza diverted international relief aid into
     private bank accounts; citizens were not amused.) Last month's
     Ocean tsunamis will almost certainly have long-term repercussions of
     their own. Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, a professor of earth science at
     Wesleyan University, explores the aftermath of trauma in his new
     Earthquakes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Seismic
     Disruptions (Princeton University Press), which he wrote with Donald
     Theodore Sanders, a freelance science writer.
     Q. You were born in Indonesia. Based on your studies of other
     earthquakes worldwide, how do you think this new disaster will shape
     the country's future?
     A. Events don't just stop short. The present situation that we have
     Sumatra is very indicative of that. We are now terribly concerned
     about possibly as many as 100,000 people who might have died there.
     But we should also think about those who survived. There are many
     people who have settled along the coast to serve tourists...and have
     been able to invest, let's say, first in a bike, then a small
     motorbike, then maybe a small Toyota. And they were coming up in
     from the lowermost poverty levels. Now, suddenly, within a few
     minutes, in an hour, all that is gone....It will take at least a
     decade for those people to reconstruct their lives.
     Q. In your book, you point out that after almost every major
     historical earthquake, people have argued that divine retribution
     at work.
     A. Many people in Indonesia are well educated enough by now to no
     longer really believe in that. But there is still a strong religious
     undercurrent. So I'm very sure that a number of people there do
     believe that this is some kind of a punishment....That kind of fear
     will continue as long as there are aftershocks. And we know that
     an earthquake like this, we'll have aftershocks for at least a year.
     So during this period, of course, people will go to churches and
     mosques and pray for liberation from continuing punishment, not
     realizing that this is a natural phenomenon that cannot be handled
     whoever is upstairs.
     Q. It took weeks for people in the American colonies to learn about
     the Lisbon earthquake. Images of last week's tsunamis were
     A. It may mean that we also forget more quickly. We now see this,
     we think, How terrible and how incredible, and We'll have to send
     money. But like everything else in this world, things are going
     faster. So maybe in another month, other difficulties will attract
     headlines. That's the kind of thing that I always find the most
     unfortunate. Over time I think we have become more shallow.

1755 Lisbon earthquake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1755 Lisbon earthquake

     According to Paul Kiernan, expert of Lisbon history and Partner at
     H&K law firm in Washington DC, the 1755 [5]Lisbon earthquake took
     place on [6]November 1, [7]1755 at 9:20 in the morning. It was one
     the most destructive and deadly [8]earthquakes in history, killing
     over 100,000 people. The quake was followed by a [9]tsunami and
     resulting in the near total destruction of Lisbon. The quake had a
     strong impact on [10]18th century society, including accelerating a
     political conflict in [11]Portugal and being the subject of the
     scientific study of an earthquake's effect over a large area. Modern
     [12]geologists estimate that the Lisbon earthquake approached
     magnitude 9 on the [13]Richter scale.
     [14]1 The earthquake
     [15]2 The day after
     [16]3 Social implications
     [17]4 The birth of seismology
     [18]5 External link

The earthquake

     Missing image
     The [20]ruins of the Carmo convent, which was destroyed in the

     The earthquake struck in early morning of November 1, the [21]All
     Saints Day [22]Catholic holiday. Contemporary reports state that the
     earthquake lasted between three-and-a-half to six minutes, causing
     gigantic fissures five meters wide to rip apart the city centre. The
     survivors rushed to the open space of the docks for safety and
     as the water receded, revealing the sea floor, littered by lost
     and old shipwrecks. Tens of minutes later an enormous [23]tsunami
     engulfed the harbour, and the city downtown. In the areas unaffected
     by the tsunami, fire quickly broke out, and flames raged for five

     Lisbon was not the only [24]Portuguese city affected by the
     catastrophe. All the south of the country, namely the [25]Algarve,
     affected and destruction was generalized. The shockwaves of the
     earthquake were felt throughout [26]Europe and [27]North Africa.
     Tsunamis up to twenty meters in height swept the coast from North
     Africa to [28]Finland and across the [29]Atlantic to [30]Martinique
     and [31]Barbados.

     Of a population of 275,000, about 90,000 were killed. Another 10,000
     were killed across the [32]Mediterranean in [33]Morocco. Eighty-five
     percent of Lisbon's buildings were destroyed, including its famous
     palaces and libraries. Several buildings which had suffered little
     damage due to the earthquake were destroyed by the fire. The brand
     Opera House, opened only six months before, was burned to the
     The Royal Palace stood just beside the [34]Tagus river in the modern
     square of Terreiro do Paço, and was destroyed by the earthquake and
     the tsunami. Inside, the 70,000-volume library and hundreds of works
     of art, including paintings by [35]Titian, [36]Rubens, and
     [37]Correggio, were lost. The precious royal archives concerning the
     exploration of the Atlantic and old documents also disappeared. The
     earthquake also destroyed the major churches of Lisbon, namely the
     [38]Cathedral of Santa Maria, and the [39]Basilicas of São Paulo,
     Santa Catarina, São Vincente de Fora, and the Misericordia. The
     of the Carmo convent can still be visited today in the centre of the
     city. The Royal Hospital of All-Saints was consumed by fire and
     hundreds of patients burned to death.

The day after

     Due to a stroke of luck, the royal family escaped unharmed from the
     catastrophe. King [41]Joseph I of Portugal and the court had left
     city, after attending mass at sunrise. The reason was the will of
     of the princesses to have a holy day away from the city. The king
     very fond of his four daughters and decided to oblige her wishes.
     After the catastrophe, Joseph I developed a fear of living within
     walls, and the court was accommodated in a huge complex of tents and
     pavilions in the hills of Ajuda, then in the outskirts of Lisbon.

     Like the king, the prime minister Sebastião de Melo (the [42]Marquis
     of Pombal) survived the earthquake. With the pragmatism that
     characterized his rule, the prime minister immediately started to
     organize the reconstruction. He was not paralysed with shock and is
     reported to have answered: Now? We bury the dead and take care of
     living. His quick response put fire-fighters in the city to
     the flames, and sent in teams to remove the thousands of corpses,
     quelling fears that corpses would lead to an epidemic.

     As for the city itself, the prime minister and the king hired
     architects and engineers and less than a year later, Lisbon was
     already free from the debris and being reconstructed. The king was
     keen to have a new, perfectly ordained city. Big squares and
     rectilinear, large avenues were the mottos of the new Lisbon. At the
     time, somebody asked the Marquis of Pombal what was the need of such
     wide streets. The Marquis answered: one day they will be small...
     indeed, the chaotic traffic of Lisbon reflects the wisdom of the

     The new downtown, known nowadays as the Pombaline Downtown, is one
     Lisbon's attractions. These buildings are also among the first
     protected constructions in the world. Small wooden models were built
     for testing and the earthquake was simulated by marching troops

Social implications

     The earthquake shook a lot more than a city and its buildings.
     was the capital of a devout Catholic country, with a history of
     investments in the church and evangelisation of the colonies.
     Moreover, the catastrophe struck on a Catholic holiday and destroyed
     every important church. For the religious minds of the 18th century,
     this manifestation of the anger of God was difficult to explain. In
     the following days, priests roamed the city hanging people suspected
     of heresy on sight, blaming them for the disaster. Many contemporary
     writers, such as [44]Voltaire, mentioned the earthquake on their
     writings. The Lisbon earthquake made many people wonder about the
     existence of a God who permitted these events to happen.

     In the internal politics, the earthquake was also devastating. The
     prime minister was the favourite of the king, but the high nobility
     despised him as an upstart. The feelings were returned and a
     struggle for power and royal favour was taking place. After November
     1, the competent response of the Marquis of Pombal severed the power
     of the aristocratic faction. Conflicts were constant and silent
     opposition to King Joseph I started to rise. This would end in an
     attempted murder of the king and the elimination of the powerful
     Tavora family. See [45]Tavora affair for the whole account.

The birth of [47]seismology

     The competent action of the prime minister was not limited to the
     practicalities of the reconstruction. The Marquis ordered a query to
     be sent to all [48]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? (this question may sound strange
         it anticipated studies by [49]Chinese seismologists in the
       * what happened in the water holes?

     and many others. The answers are still archived in the Tower of
     the national historical archive. Studying and cross-referencing the
     priests' accounts, modern scientists were able to reconstruct the
     event in a scientific perspective. Without the query designed by the
     [50]Marquis of Pombal, the first attempt of a seismological,
     description, this would be impossible. This is why the Marquis is
     regarded as the precursor of seismological sciences.

     The [51]geological causes of this earthquake and the seismic
     in the region of Lisbon are still being discussed by modern
     scientists. Since Lisbon is located in a centre of a [52]tectonic
     plate, there are no obvious reasons for the event. Portuguese
     geologists have suggested that the earthquake is related with the
     first steps of development of an [53]Atlantic [54]subduction zone.

     Note: Despite the fact that the prime minister Sebastião de Melo is
     mentioned here as [55]Marquis of Pombal, the title was only granted

     See also: [57]List of earthquakes

External link

       * [59]Historical Depictions of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake


     5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisbon
     6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_1
     7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755
     8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake
     9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami
    10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th_century
    11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal
    12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologist
    13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_scale
    15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755_Lisbon_earthquake#The_day_after
    18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1755_Lisbon_earthquake#External_link
    20. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruins
    21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Saints_Day
    22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic
    23. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsunami
    24. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal
    25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algarve
    26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe
    27. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Africa
    28. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finland
    29. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean
    30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martinique
    31. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbados
    32. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_sea
    33. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morocco
    34. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagus
    35. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titian
    36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubens
    37. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_da_Correggio
    38. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral
    39. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica
    41. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_I_of_Portugal
    42. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_of_Pombal
    44. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltaire
    45. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavora_affair
    47. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seismology
    48. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parish
    49. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China
    50. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_of_Pombal
    51. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology
    52. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics
    53. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean
    54. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subduction
    55. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marquis_of_Pombal
    56. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1770
    57. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_earthquakes
    59. http://nisee.berkeley.edu/lisbon/

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