Few people know anything about the Lisbon earthquake of 1755, even though it marked a turning point for Western philosophy, religion and science. The quake, estimated to have been between 8.0 and 9.0 on the Richter scale, devastated the city of Lisbon, destroying 85% of its buildings outright. To escape the debris falling in aftershocks, many of the survivors congregated at the docks only to be swept away by a series of tsunamis. The final insult, a fire, then consumed the remainder of the city.
The earthquake struck on November 1, All Saints' Day, at 9:30am, a time when the churches were filled with worshippers. The belief that there was a loving God who took care of people and that everything that happened was for the best, known as the Philosophy of Optimism, was shaken more fiercely than the city. The earthquake marked the end