The Water Supply and Sewage Networks in Sixteenth Century Lisbon: Drawing the Renaissance City

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Towards the end of the fifteenth century, Portuguese monarchs began implementing a sewage network and the general cleaning of their capital city. The authorities also set out plans to enable access to clean water with the opening of wells and the building or renovation of public fountains, not only for the benefit of its inhabitants, but also to supply the needs of Lisbon’s dynamic waterfront, where maritime and commercial activities were concentrated. This emerged simultaneously to an urban regulatory process with the clear aim of bestowing monumentality on the city, especially along the riverside area, where the king and the elites had established their palaces. Thus, during the sixteenth century, water and its control were not only a matter of necessity, but also a sign of modernity. The past few years of rescue archaeology have provided a huge amount of information on Lisbon’s water systems prior to the 1755 earthquake, with most having been built in the sixteenth century. These data are here cross-referenced, both against sections of its architectonic remains and, especially, against archival documentary sources. This interdisciplinary approach has led to far more accurate knowledge about the importance of water in these early modern societies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe History of Water Management in the Iberian Peninsula
Subtitle of host publicationBetween the 16th and 19th Centuries
EditorsAna Duarte Rodrigues, Carmen Toribio Marín
Place of PublicationBirkhäuser, Cham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-34061-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-34060-5
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameTrends in the History of Science


  • Water Supply
  • Sewage Networks
  • Renaissance
  • Lisbon


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