Causes Of The Great Potato Famine

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During 1845-1846 events in Ireland would change the lives of many. The Great Potato Famine was a major incident that shocked the entire world. This incident was cause by a disease that traveled from ships overseas. The Great Potato Famine affected one of the biggest crops at the time, which was the potato. Many people got sick from this disease otherwise known as, Phytophthora Infestins. Phytophthora Infestins killed about 1 million people in Ireland.
In the ruins of ancient Peru and Chili, the remains of potatoes dating back to 500 B.C. have been found. Potatoes were such a part of Incan life that they not only ate them, but they worshiped them. "O Creator! Thou who givest life to all things and hast made men that they may live, and multiply. Multiply also the fruits of the earth, the potatoes and other food that thou hast made, that men may not suffer from hunger and misery."- Incan Prayer used to worship potatoes.
Due to the relative ease of growing the potato it became the major staple in the diet of the people in Ireland. An Irish legend wrecked of the Irish coast in 1558, were carrying potatoes and some of them washed ashore (Stradley, 2004). The potato was cultivated by the Inca Indians from Peru in about 8,000 B.C. to 5,000 B.C. (Potatoes Goodness Unearthed, 2014). It is believed that the potato arrived in Northern Europe because of Spanish exploration (Mann, 2011). Forty percent of the Irish ate no solid food other than potatoes. In fact, according to Cecil Woodham-Smith, "That cooking any food other than a potato had become a lost art. Women hardly boiled anything but potatoes. The oven had become unknown after the introduction of the potato prior to the Great Starvation." Small land holders could grow potatoes easily ...

... middle of paper ... potato famine lasted for several years, resulting a reduction of land holdings for small farmers and nearly a million Irish dead. Those farmers who survived the Phytophthora Infestins were able to buy land back from the land lords under the Encumbered Act of 1849 (Johnston). A non-violent peasant revolution occurred as the number of farms over 15 acres increased from 19 percent from 1841 to 51 percent in 1851 (Johnston).
In conclusion, this potato affecting disease, Phytophthora Infestins, resulted in killing over a million people in Ireland. In the time, the Irish relied heavily upon the potato crop. This devastating even greatly impacted the people through starvation, migration, and loss of land. The climatic change led to the end of the Phytophthora Infestins affecting the potato crop. The future generation diversified their food sources as a valuable lesson.
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