Vega Baja resilience: Remembering the 1829 Costa Blanca earthquake

File prepared to find out the damage caused by the 1829 earthquake.

File prepared to find out the damage caused by the 1829 earthquake. Image: Archivo Histórico Municipal de Elche.

As we near the 200th anniversary of the Costa Blanca earthquake on March 21, 1829, its impact still echoes.

The quake of 1829 caused widespread devastation not only in Torrevieja but also in neighbouring towns like Guardamar and Almoradí.

In the Alicante province, the damage was severe, with around 20 churches and 4,000 houses collapsing in towns such as Orihuela, Torrevieja, Almoradí, and more.

The toll was heavy, particularly in Almoradí and Bigastro, where many lost their lives and the town had to be rebuilt from scratch.

The memory of the 1829 earthquake remains deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness of the Vega Baja region.

Every year, the people of Almoradí pay tribute by honouring San Emigdio, the patron saint of earthquakes, through a solemn procession and prayers for the departed.

The devastation was so profound that even King Ferdinand VII took notice.

He responded by issuing a Royal Decree, allocating 1,500,000 reales from his personal funds and those of the queen to aid those affected.

Additionally, he called upon wealthy individuals, corporations, and religious leaders to contribute to the relief efforts.

However, the quake of 1829 wasn’t an isolated incident in Spain’s history.

Historical records reveal other significant earthquakes in Alicante province, like the destruction of a mosque in Orihuela in 1048 and another in Muro de Alcoy in 1644.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.