Causes Of The Potato Famine

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Beginning in 1845 and lasting until 1861 the Great Potato Famine of Ireland killed over a million people, and causing another million to leave the country. The famine began in September 1845 as leaves on potatoes suddenly turned black and curled, then rotted. The cause was an airborne fungus (phytophthora infestants) originally transported by ships traveling from North America to England. Many other factors contributed to this devastation. Britain played a huge role in the potato famine, not so much in finding a cure for the potatoes but trying to help the Irish from starvation. Some people have argued that the British deliberately let the Irish starve to death, but others argue that they were unaware of the situation at hand. After the Napoleonic War ended Britain set “corn laws” to keep agriculture a healthy business. These laws set high tariffs on imported foods. (Stork) These laws were good and bad for Ireland, because they were able to sell their crops for a good amount of money, but it distracted them from the industrial side of things that would’ve given jobs to the poor during the famine. (Stork) Once Sir Robert Peel received the information about the hunger, he sent 100,000 pounds of Indian Corn to America, which was cheap enough to not effect Britain’s economy, but fed the Irish. The problem never was supply as much as demand, because most Irish had no corn to sell which left them with no money to buy the corn or other food imported. Once Prime minister Lord John Russell was elected, who was a conservative who believed that things should be left and nature will do its thing. He immediately stopped the importing of cheap corn and other grains (the only thing most Irish could afford) which left many families with no food... ... middle of paper ... ...o Ireland, but this only hurt them worse. Potatoes are very nutritious, and the transition of corn which lacked the nutrients caused scurvy. But in the end the British assumed if they just kept buying from the Irish they would pay their rents and buy some of their food from Britain. (History) In my opinion Britain had all the opportunities to help the Irish but were to proud and cared to much about its own economy and the well being of themselves. If i were an official at the time and I knew I could have done more to help I would've carried all of those deaths on my back for the rest of my life! Eventually Ireland rebuilt and is now starting to strive. In this report I learned a lot of things I never knew or would never know throughout my life. It gives you a thankfulness for being in a place were foods always been on the table and a roofs been over my head.

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