Great Potato Famine Essay

Great Potato Famine Essay

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The Irish Potato Famine occurred in 1845 and had killed tons of people. Over 750,000 people had died and more than a million had emigrated. At the time Ireland’s population was only about 8 million so this famine had devastated many families. The people of Ireland at this time were so dependent upon the potato that it was a main staple. The Irish would consume the potato with almost every meal, and for some the potato was the only food that they were ever able to eat. The famine was produced by a protist called Phytophthora infestans (P. Infestans), when it was introduced from central highlands of Mexico.
The potato blight originated from Mexico, and then spread to America. Since Britain and Ireland did many trades with America there was a high possibility of the P. infestans to spread, and it did just that. A batch of potatoes from America was infected and a ship sent over, that batch had caused nearly every potato in Ireland to become infected as well. The P. infestans were very easy to spread as it germinates on the leaves of the potato plant, and in the soil near it. It is hard to realize that a potato has been infected until later in the growing season as the darker spots on the outside of it don’t show until later. After a potato is infected it will develop sporangia, a place in which spores and formed asexually, and will then release these spores to further contaminate other potatoes.
“The potato, from the perennial Solanum tuberosum, is the world’s fourth largest food crop.” (Potato History) The potato was originally from the Andes Mountains and a field could be planted with numerous amounts of them making them very good for growing in places with very limited space. The Inca Indians were the first to grow potatoes...


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...s. (n.d.). Retrieved Jan. 15, 2014, from history: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/irish-free-state-declared Web.
Japikse, C. (n.d.). The Irish potato famine: Science Reference Center. Retrieved Dec. 18, 2013, from Ebscohost: http://web.ebscohost.com/scirc/detail?vid=3&sid=f785f035-485d-40fc-a67f-a27fa5020625%40sessionmgr198&hid=122&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWNvb2tpZSxpcCxjcGlkJmN1c3RpZD1zNzMyNDk2NCZzaXRlPXNjaXJjLWxpdmU%3d#db=sch&AN=9501267766 Web.
Potato History. (n.d.). Retrieved Jan. 15, 2014, from potatogoodness: http://www.potatogoodness.com/all-about-potatoes/potato-fun-facts-history/ Web.
The Irish Famine. (n.d.). Retrieved Jan. 15, 2014, from victorianweb: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/famine.html Web.
The Irish Potato Famine. (n.d.). Retrieved Jan. 15, 2014, from eyewitnesstohistory: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/irishfamine.htm Web.


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