Disasters · Portugal

Lightning strike armory, destroys most of fort

September 16, 1732
Campo Maior, Portugal
Lightning strikes an armory, igniting gunpowder and causing an explosion which kills roughly 1,500

The lightning strike occurred at 3 a.m., hitting the 6,000 arroba (approx. 194,315 lbs. or 88,140 kg) of gunpowder and 5,000 units of ammunition stored within the fort’s armory. The explosion and resulting fires killed 1,500 (roughly two-thirds of the fort’s inhabitants) and destroyed the majority of the fort itself.

Several sources online state the bones of those killed during the explosion were gathered and made into a chapel to honor their loss. However, the chapel most often referenced, the Capela dos Ossos, is decorated with the skeletons of some 5,000 monks.


Book except: A Civil, Commercial, Political, and Literary History of Spain and Portugal. By the Late Wyndham Beawes, Esq. His Majesty’s Consul for Near Thirty Years at Candiz and Seville. In Two Volumes. Vol. II

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