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The Potato Famine in Ireland


the Potato Famine in Ireland

far fewer people to work the land, it might be thought that landlords would be less harsh on their tenants as they had a vested interest in having their land worked. Irelands rural population had rapidly grown in the Nineteenth Century. Beginning in 1845 and lasting for six years, the potato famine killed over a million men, women and children in Ireland and caused another million to flee the country. 177 of these people came from one estate owned by an absentee landlord. Another attempt by the government to get the most out of the already starving and disease ridden Irish was to establish Work houses for the starving. Most of the poor Irish grew a variety known as Lumpers, a high yielding, but less nutritious potato that didn't mature until September or October. First domesticated in southern Peru and Bolivia more than 7,000 years ago, the potato began its long trek out of South America in the late 16th century following the Spanish conquest of the Inca. It was felt that they would feel more worthy knowing that they were not accepting food for free. Many of those going to British North America (which later became Canada) travelled in overcrowded, poorly maintained and badly provisioned vessels that became known as coffin ships due to the number of lives they claimed.

The Potato Famine in Ireland
the Potato Famine in Ireland

The Irish often drank a little buttermilk with their meal and sometimes used salt, cabbage, and fish as seasoning. Relief Commission to distribute food at cost and established locally funded work schemes that together kept the death toll at bay in 1845. Between 18, the population of Ireland dropped by 2 million which represented 25 of the total population. The American blight was first identified in France and the Isle of Wight in 1845. They also lived in a state of permanent insecurity with the possibility always looming they might be thrown off their plot. Therefore, they believed that the only people who could help the Irish were the Irish themselves.


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