Great Potato Famine Essay

1525 Words 7 Pages
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 …show more content…
When the winters were harsher in the 1700s the Irish would use them for food in the winter, when all other sources of food were scarce. Thanks to Ireland’s weather conditions the potato was very easily grown and could be produced in mass amounts. By the end of the 1800s the potato was a main staple for the Irish and they would eat the potato as part of their daily lives. Eventually, the poor people of Ireland would rely on the potato as their only food source. The land consolidation laws forced the farmers to grow potatoes in a tightly packed space, as you don’t need much room to grow potatoes. A lot of potatoes good fit in one acre of land and could feed a family for a long time. Since, the potatoes were all grown in one confined space the P. Infestans had a very easy time spreading to each potato, thus resulting in P. Infestans spreading to different fields. “The pattern of consolidation, making larger farms from smaller farms, increased competition for land and pressure to acquire land.” (p. Land consolidation was making the most effective use of space for a farm. So instead of growing the potatoes properly spaced apart, they would be all jammed together in tighter rows. Also, not much land was available so the land that was available was fought over my English landlords. This led to much political debate in Ireland at the time, so instead of the politicians contributing
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