On November 1, 1755 a powerful
earthquake occurred off the
western coast of Portugal. As All
Saints' Day is a holy day in the
Roman Catholic liturgical
calendar, most Portuguese were
at church. This concentrated
many people in vulnerable
buildings. Those who survived
the collapsing churches and
cathedrals in cities like Lisbon,
Pearl of the Atlantic, fled into
the streets only to be savaged by
a series of three tsunami waves.
Cities and towns all over Iberia
and northwestern Africa were
A major earthquake on a significant day in the Islamic calendar would be
disastrous.  Numbers in green are based on the Istanbul metropolitan area.