Memorable Events

The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake

One of the deadliest earthquakes in history struck Lisbon, Portugal, in 1755, killing at least 30,000. The earthquake, followed by a tsunami and raging fires, almost totally destroyed the city, leaving just 15% of its buildings standing.

The study of the quake’s causes led to the beginnings of seismology. Geologists today estimate that the temblor, with an epicenter in the Atlantic Ocean, approached magnitude 9 on the moment magnitude scale.

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Bonfim Festival (Festa do Bonfim)

There is a church in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, known as Our Lord of the Happy Ending (bonfim). Today during the Bonfim Festival, hundreds of Brazilian women dress in the traditional white dresses of colonial Bahia and form a procession to the church. The bahianas balance jars of water, scented with blossoms, on their heads. The washing of the steps at Bonfim Basilica on the second Thursday after Epiphany is the highlight of the festival.
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Great Locomotive Chase Festival

This three-day celebration in Adairsville, Georgia, commemorates the storied Civil War locomotive chase that came on April 12, 1862, after the Yankee spy, James J. Andrews, stole the Confederate engine named “The General.” William A. Fuller, the conductor, set off in a handcar; in Adairsville, he boarded the locomotive “Texas” and barreled after “The General.”

Events of the festival include showings of the locomotive-chase movies, a grand parade, fireworks, and gospel singing. There are also such contests as three-legged races, a bean-bag toss, and a tug of war.

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