The Largest Library in Latin America

What is the largest library in Latin America and the seventh largest in the world? This one:


The Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro, (that is, the national library of Brazil) the origin of which is quite striking. The interesting geography website Atlas Obscura recently featured it, and today we do here – for our “Friday fun” post.

Here’s the first part of the story of how Brazil came to host this mammoth library. Find the rest of its history at the link provided.

On November 1, 1755, a massive earthquake almost destroyed the city of Lisbon, the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal. Between 10,000 and 100,000 people were killed in the city, and countless buildings turned to rubble, in what remains one of the deadliest earthquakes in history.

Also lost in the quake was the 70,000-volume Royal Library inside the devastated Royal Ribeira Palace. At the time, this library was considered one of the finest and most important in Europe.

Soon after the earthquake, King Joseph I of Portugal organized the construction of a new Royal Library, and over the next half century the collection grew significantly with many valuable books and prints. Still, the threat of another major quake loomed over the library, prompting talk of moving the entire collection to the Portuguese colony of Brazil.

And here is a picture of its magnificent interior:

Inside of the National Library. Image shot 03/2010. Exact date unknown.


Published in: on February 2, 2018 at 8:58 PM  Leave a Comment