36 minutes | Jun 10, 2020

Recovery part two – Lisbon earthquake

In this second episode of Recovery, a series from The Anthill Podcast exploring key moments in history when the world recovered from a major crisis or shock, we’re looking at what happened after the earthquake, tsunami and fires that devastated Lisbon in 1755 and shocked Europe.In 1755, the grand and prosperous city of Lisbon was devastated by a huge earthquake. The Portuguese capital we see today is a product of the reconstruction and recovery after this catastrophic event. But the impact of the earthquake went far beyond the city it destroyed. It affected politics, trade, philosophy and religion across Europe. It has been described as the first modern disaster.We talk to three academics whose expertise covers the impact and recovery from the Lisbon earthquake in the days, months and years that followed.Mark Sabine, associate professor in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American studies at the University of Nottingham, tells us about the relief efforts immediately after the quake and how the city was rebuilt. The decisive actions of one of the king’s ministers – Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquis of Pombal – fundamentally changed Portuguese politics, religion and society.David McCallum, reader in French 18th century studies at the University of Sheffield, outlines the media sensation caused by the earthquake. News of the disaster followed the shockwaves across Europe. In its wake, Enlightenment philosophical beliefs like optimism, which claimed that the world is the best version of itself it could be, suddenly seemed untenable.Finally, we hear from Katie Cross, research fellow in the school of divinity, history and philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. She explains the questions about divine judgement the earthquake prompted in a profoundly Catholic population, and how it shaped ideas about religion and punishment in 18th century Europe.This episode was produced by Grace Allen, Gemma Ware and Annabel Bligh, with sound design by Eloise Stevens.The Anthill is produced by The Conversation UK. We’re an independent news media outlet that exists purely to take reliable, informed voices direct to a wide audience. We’re a charity, with no wealthy owner nudging an editorial line in one direction or another. The only opinion we hold is that knowledge is crucially important, and must be made widely available to help as many people as possible understand the world and make informed decisions. We’re in the middle of a donations campaign so if you can help us do what we do, please click here. And if you’ve already supported what we do, we want to say a massive thank you! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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