Portuguese Maritime History & Global Exploration

Portugal has a rich history with the sea and global exploration. Through their bravery and innovative methods, Portuguese explorers developed vital trade routes and found uncharted lands. Before, many had considered the Atlantic Ocean a treacherous place to explore. The Portuguese connected Europe to new cultures that helped their economy flourish.

This video explores how Portuguese maritime explorers and navigators played a vital role during the Age of Discovery. Portugal developed innovative ships that allowed mariners to reach places previously unseen by Europeans. Because of their efforts, Portugal made it able for Europe to have global political and cultural relationships that would last for centuries.

1755 Earthquake

At 9:30 AM on November 1st, 1755 – All Saints Day – large parts of the country’s population were attending mass when a massive earthquake struck. Church roofs collapsed because they were not constructed to withstand strong seismic forces. Three tsunamis followed the earthquake beginning about an hour after ground movements. After the tsunamis, the areas that were not completely damaged by the earthquake or the tsunamis caught on fire and continued to burn for the next five days. The fires were started by candles that were burning in the churches, ultimately destroying the Lisbon everyone knew before the catastrophe.  

Cultural and social effects after the earthquake resulted in many questioning their faith. The tragedy happened on a very important day to the Catholics called “All Saints Day” and many were in Mass when the earthquake struck. There were many who questioned why the Lord would have such a disastrous event happen on such a large occasion for worship. One of the most important short-term impacts of the 1755 earthquake concerned the dramatic changes in prices, both at the national and regional level. In general, the changes in prices were only transitory, but remained for some time. This is especially true for some of the main staples, like wheat, in the most affected regions such as Lisbon. The price of wheat increased by 20 percent and stayed that way for a little over a year after the tragic event. The earthquake also had a significant effect on wages, increasing the common wage to construction workers. The demand came from a lack of trained individuals as a result of the decrease in population from the catastrophe. Wages returned to pre-earthquake data about 10 years after the earthquake struck.  

19th Century Building Development after 1755 Earthquake

Following the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon, Portugal, the city had to be strategic with how they redeveloped. New construction had antiseismic qualities and needed to be produced at a low cost. Besides the aftermath of the earthquake, Portugal was facing bankruptcy and multiple foreign disputes during this turbulent time. Buildings were most commonly in the Pombaline architectural style, or a gaioleiro, which was a branch of the Pombaline style.

19th Century Development of Lapa and Casa Carlucci

Lapa, a residential neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, was an aristocratic area during the nineteenth century. It is known for its lavish and historic buildings. Lapa is still considered a desirable neighborhood to this day. It is home to the Basílica da Estrela, the Assembleia da República, and one of the highest hills in Lisbon.Casa Carlucci, built in 1878 for the Count of Olivais e Penha Longa, is also located in this neighborhood. It sits on Rua de Sacramento along with other stately buildings.

Renaming of Casa Carlucci

In September 2019, the official residence of the American ambassador to Portugal was renamed Casa Carlucci, in honor of Frank Carlucci, Ambassador of the United States to Portugal from 1975 to 1978. Carlucci supported Portugal during a turbulent time in their political history.