The Great Potato Famine

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A great famine occurred in Ireland from around 1845 to about 1852 and devastated the country. Approximately one million people died of starvation or diseases caused by this famine, and about one million more people emigrated Ireland and moved to other countries to try to find a better life. One country that a lot of people moved to is the United States. Numerous people immigrated to the U.S. and created settlements all around the country. To provide for themselves in these settlements, most of the people farmed the land because that was what they knew how to do. The primary cause of this famine was a fungus-like protist called Phytophtera infestans that attacked Ireland’s potato crop, causing them to rot. Unfortunately, the people of Ireland were heavily dependent on potatoes, not only as a main source of nutrition, but also as a main source of income and export. Ireland’s land consolidation, agricultural laws, and their relationship with England did not help the people with this problem. The Great Potato Famine in Ireland was a terrible event in history that changed the lives of millions of people. “The potato, from the perennial Solanum tuberosum, is the world’s fourth largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize (Potatoes Goodness Unearthed, Inc, 2014).” The potato was first grown and domesticated by the Inca Indians in Peru and Bolivia in the Andes Mountains of South America between around 8,000 B.C. and 5,000 B.C. They did not just use them for food, though. To promote healing, they would put raw potato slices on broken bones, or carry a potato in their pocket to help with toothaches. They would also put baked potato slices in stockings and tie them around their necks to help soothe sore throats, or rub the water tha... ... middle of paper ... ...14, 2014, from Potato Goodness Unearthed: http://www.potatogoodness.com/all-about-potatoes/potato-fun-facts-history/ Abbot, P. (2001). The Famine 1: Potato Blight. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from The Great Famine: http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/famine/blight.html Bloy, M. (2013, August 13). The Irish Famine: 1845-9. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from The Victorian Web: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/famine.html Fradin, D. B. (2012). The Irish Potato Famine. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark. Ibis Communications, Inc. (2006). The Irish Potato Famine, 1847. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from EyeWitness to History: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/irishfamine.htm Mintz, S., & McNeil, S. (2013). The Irish Potato Famine. Retrieved January 14, 2014, from Digital History: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/irish_potato_famine.cfm

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