Messina: ruins of the city after an earthquake

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Messina: ruins of the city after an earthquake. Coloured aquatint, 1809, after L Mayer. " The ruins of the Palazzo Alcontes and the church and convent of the Theatines, which form the subject of the view annexed, display the havoc of one of the most memorable catastrophes recorded in history. The weather in the year 1782 seemed to forbode some commotions in the volcanic country of Calabria, and on the 1st of January 1783, a slight shock of an earthquake was felt. On the 7th of the same month, and on the 1st and 28th of March, three other earthquakes took place. In the course of this year, no less than 949 shocks were noticed, in 1784 there were 151, and they did not entirely cease till the end of the year 1786. These extended more or less over a circle 140 miles in diameter, in the central part of which it was most violent. Of 440,000 persons inhabiting this district, near 30,000 perished beneath the ruins, and near 6,000 died of the disease that ensued. The town of Casal Nuovo was so completely destroyed in an instant, that every vestige of it's streets was confounded in one undistinguishable heap of ruins, and 4,000 persons perished in it; though many were dug out, and some even unhurt. At Scylla, nearly opposite Messina, a vast promontory, falling into the sea, caused such a flux and reflux of the waters, that about 2,500 persons, who had repaired for security to the beach, were at once washed into eternity. During the summer of this memorable year a dry fog overspread all Europe, occasioned no doubt by the immense body of exhalations arising out of the bowels of the earth." – Mayer, loc. cit. Created 1809. Earthquakes. Messina (Italy). Contributors: Luigi Mayer (active 1776–1792). Work ID: w7rtujnw.

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