Essay on irish patato famine

1482 Words 6 Pages
Ireland in the 1500’s was a very unstable country. The country’s English rulers fought

with the local Irish civilians and the Irish nobles. The Irish nobles also fought among themselves.

The English landlords owned the land that the peasants lived and farmed on. As a result of this

continual fighting, it was hard for the peasants to grow enough food to feed themselves. The

British passed laws to deny the Irish peasants freedom. They were forbidden to speak their

own language, to practice their own religion, to own a horse worth more than ten dollars, to go to

school, or to hold a public office.

     Potatoes were first introduced to Ireland around the 1600’s. Some say that Sir

Walter Raleigh, an English
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      Potato’s were also used as cash crops. They paid the rent for the house and the land.

The farmers had to give a share of the crops that they grew to their landlords. The little that

was left over was what they used to feed their families. One and a half acres of land planted

with potatoes could feed a whole family of six for a year, including pigs, cattle, and fowl.

Planting, tending, and harvesting the potato’s was very hard work.

      The potato soon became the single major crop of Ireland. Almost ninety percent of the

population was dependent on it. It was very dangerous, as we know now, to be dependent on

one crop. If something happens to that one crop, there is nothing else to take its place. The

Irish Potato Famine began in the fall of 1845. It lasted until around the year 1849-1850. This

was one of the greatest disasters of the nineteenth century. It became known as the Great

Hunger, or the Irish Potato Famine.

      The fungus first appeared in Maine which is in the United States. It spread across the

country to the great plains of the Midwest. One of the diseased potatoes crossed the Atlantic

ocean by ship. This is how the fungus got to Europe. From there it spread to Germany, then

Belgium , France, England, and finally Ireland in 1845.

     The cause of this famine is a disease called potato blight.

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