Academic Scholarship

The Vicar and the Earthquake: Conflict, Controversy, and a Christening during the Great Lisbon Disaster of 1755

E-Journal of Portuguese History, Volume 10, Number 2, Winter 2012, 76-94, December 2012

Photo Needed Mark C. Molesky, Ph.D.
Department of History

This article analyzes five letters written by Richard Goddard, an Anglican pastor from Swindon, England and a survivor of the Lisbon earthquake. Produced on faded paper in a legible cursive script, they offer a personal, detailed, and highly revealing description of the events of All Saints’ Day (November 1) 1755, discussing not only the earthquake and tsunami, but also the great fire that began almost immediately after the first tremor and burned for more than a week. In one notable and well publicized episode at the time, Reverend Goddard is forcibly baptized into the Catholic Church by a crowd of pious Lisboetas in the hour after the earthquake.


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