The Age of Enlightenment
Signs of social responsibility: enlightened absolutism
The rebuilding of Lisbon after the disastrous earthquake was the first campaign of international cooperation in European history.
In Portugal, the rebuilding of Lisbon after the disastrous earthquake of 1755 can be considered as a milestone of enlightened practice. The financing of the enterprise, locally coordinated by the prime minister, Marques de Pombal, was the first campaign of international cooperation in European history and the result of a deeper feeling of social responsibility by government. The centre of the devastated city was rebuilt, not only in the actual preferred rational axial raster system, but also with housing that followed principles of economy and modesty. Thereby, the aqueduct called Águas Livres was restored. Like the famous Spanish Steps in Rome, it is seen as a comparable enlightened improvement to public infrastructure



The famous statesman and prime minister of Portugal, Marquis de Pombal, became the major figure for the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake. In the foreground are the plans for a college founded by him to educate the nobility according to enlightened values.