The Great Potato Famine

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Dylan Gronset Mr. Vitale British Literature 8 April 2014 The Economy of Ireland During the Great Famine The Great Potato Famine, which lasted from 1845-1852 did not only destroy the potato crops but also the Irish economy. The famine brought job loss, lowered the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and left many homeless. Ireland was in a time of despair having to depend on other counties aid. The famine was a contributing factor to the failing Irish Economy but not the only cause. The British policies and laws also contributed to the decline. “I saw the dying, the living, an the dead lying indiscriminately upon the same floor” said by James Mahoney describes the Great Potato Famine perfectly. The Great Potato Famine did not only encompass death and dying but also a destruction of the economy. It was a time of great need for the people in Ireland causing starvation, the population to drop and the economy to diminish. With the great population drop the economy was affected in ways Ireland had never seen before. The Irish people lived off the potato and the economy was based off of the potato. When the famine hit there was essentially no economy left in Ireland. The potato is what sustained the people of Ireland because the agriculture of the potato provided jobs, and income for the people and the country. With little money, families began to migrate because they could no longer provide in the failing Ireland economy. In the 1800's nearly 1/3 of Ireland's population had been dependent on potatoes. The potato was a very nutritious and easily produced crop that could survive in very poor soil. The potato also had a very high yield in a little area of land and the cost was very low, this was why the potato was one of the greate... ... middle of paper ... ...y a majority of the cost with little aid from England. The English essentially made the Irish a territory not an equal who would have to save itself from the famine brought by the trading ships from Mexico. The Great Potato Famine was a problem that did not only cause starvation and disease but a drop in the economy. Known as the greatest epidemic of the 19th century the Potato Famine will have forever made an impact on Ireland. The Irish were damned from the start with little to no assistance from England with the exception of what they could get for themselves. With laws restricting the grain trade and no regulation on other goods Ireland had no fighting chance to make a turn around. With England living off of the principle “Irish property must pay for Irish poverty” Ireland was in need of outside assistance and that is exactly what many countries came to do.

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