1787 May 02 UTC
Possibly the strongest earthquake that has affected Puerto Rico since the beginning of colonization occurred on May 2, 1787. This was felt strongly throughout the Island and may have been as large as magnitude 8.0 on the Richter Scale. Its epicenter was possibly to the north, in the Puerto Rico Trench. The quake was felt very strongly all across the Island. It demolished the Arecibo church along with the El Rosario and La Concepcion monasteries and damaged the churches at Bayamon, Toa Baja and Mayaguez. It also caused considerable damage to the castles of San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal, breaking cisterns, walls and guard houses.
Translated from "Terremoto," written by Jose Molinelli Freytes, Puerto Rico Civil Defense, under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).