|Event 1 - Final Signs
The Great Earthquake
was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair,
and the moon become as blood." Revelation 6:12
In the year 1755 occurred the most terrible earthquake that has ever been
recorded. Though commonly known as the earthquake of Lisbon, it extended
to the greater part of Europe, Africa, and America. It was felt in Greenland,
in the West Indies, in the island of Madeira, in Norway and Sweden, Great
Britain and Ireland. It pervaded an extent of not less than four million
square miles. In Africa the shock was almost as severe as in Europe. A
great part of Algiers was destroyed; and a short distance from Morocco,
a village containing eight or ten thousand inhabitants was swallowed up.
A vast wave swept over the coast of Spain and Africa, engulfing cities,
and causing great destruction.
It was in Spain and Portugal that the shock manifested its extreme violence.
At Cadiz the inflowing wave was said to be sixty feet high. Mountains--some of
the largest in Portugal--"were impetuously shaken, as it were from the very foundation;
and some of them opened at their summits, which were split and rent in a wonderful
manner, huge masses of them being thrown down into the subjacent valleys. Flames
are related to have issued from these mountains."
At Lisbon "a sound of thunder was heard underground, and immediately afterward
a violent shock threw down the greater part of that city. In the course of about
six minutes sixty thousand persons perished. The sea first retired, and laid
the bar dry, it then rolled in, rising fifty feet above its ordinary level." "The
most extraordinary circumstance which occurred at Lisbon during the catastrophe,
was the subsidence of the new quay, built entirely of marble, at an immense expense.
A great concourse of people had collected there for safety, as a spot where they
might be beyond the reach of falling ruins; but suddenly the quay sunk down with
all the people on it, and not one of the dead bodies ever floated to the surface."
The shock of the earthquake "was instantly followed by the fall of every church
and convent, almost all the large and public buildings, and one-fourth of the
houses. In about two hours afterward, fires broke out in different quarters,
and raged with such violence for the space of nearly three days that the city
was completely desolated. The earthquake happened on a holy day, when the churches
and convents were full of people, very few of whom escaped." "The terror of the
people was beyond description. Nobody wept; it was beyond tears. They ran hither
and thither, delirious with horror and astonishment, beating their faces and
breasts, crying, 'Misericordia! the world's at an end!' Mothers forgot their
children, and ran loaded with crucifixed images. Unfortunately, many ran to the
churches for protection; but in vain was the sacrament exposed; in vain did the
poor creatures embrace the altars; images, priests, and people were buried in
one common ruin."