On Saturday, March 9, Dr. Mark Molesky presented “Russian Reactions to the Great Lisbon Earthquake” as a part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday online lecture series.

The Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 was one of the most consequential natural disasters in world history. On November 1, 1755, an earthquake, followed by an enormous tsunami and a firestorm, largely destroyed the capital of the Portuguese Empire.

In his lecture, Dr. Mark Molesky, Professor of History at Seton Hall University, focused on how Russia—both its government and its people—reacted to the disaster. He discussed how the earthquake was depicted in Russian newspapers at the time, how Russian science sought to explain the physical causes of the disaster, and how the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna strove to aid the survivors.

In the Q&A section, Dr. Molesky talked about the possibility of further research in the Russian archives, as well as how other European powers reacted to the earthquake.

About the Speaker

Mark Molesky is Professor of History at Seton Hall University. He specializes in modern European intellectual and cultural history, the history of classical studies, and environmental history. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard, where he served as Lecturer on History and Literature.

His latest book, This Gulf of Fire: The Great Lisbon Earthquake, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reason (Knopf, 2015) was a Finalist for the Los Angeles Time Book Prize in history and a winner of the Phi Alpha Theta Best Subsequent Book Award. He has received grants and fellowships from the Luso-American Development Foundation, the National Library of Portugal, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.