This lecture addresses the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and tsunami as a means to explore the dissemination of international news to the Dutch Republic in the mid-eighteenth century. It will deal with the kind of news about the earthquake that reached the Netherlands. Main questions are: How did Dutch editors process the events in their news media, and which sources did they use? How did Dutch news media react to the Lisbon earthquake that had happened far away and weeks or months before they could read about them? In other words, what did ‘topicality’ mean for these media and their readers? In short, this lecture elaborates for eighteenth-century news media the idea of contemporaneity, a concept defined by Brendan Dooley as “the perception, shared by a number of human beings, of experiencing a particular event at more or less the same time.” Furthermore, the Lisbon case offers insight into the working of European news networks, in this case stretching from the southwestern part of Europe to the Dutch Republic.
Biographical informationDr. Joop W. Koopmans is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (https://www.rug.nl/staff/j.w.koopmans/). In 1990, he obtained his doctorate at the same university for his research about the organization of the States of Holland during the Dutch Revolt against King Philip II of Spain His present field of interest is the history of early modern media and politics in Europe. Recently he published a collection of his articles in the volume Early Modern Media and the News in Europe: Perspectives from the Dutch Angle. He is also the author of the Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands (3rd edition, 2015) and co-editor of the Nieuwe Encyclopedie van Fryslân (2016). Until 2017, he was chair of the Flemish-Dutch Society for Early Modern History (VNVNG) and chair of the editorial board of the annual De Vrije Fries (existing since 1839), both for several years.