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The Great Famine of Ireland Essay
Check it out! As far as we know from various historical sources, potato was the main daily product for Irish families. No wonder that when the potato crop was merely lost in result of a potato blight phytophthora infests , Irish people were doomed for starvation and death.
The aim of this essay is to discuss the conditions that contributed to Famine, to explore various sources related to the Great Potato Famine, and to examine the social, political, and economic reasons that led to the Potato Famine as well as environmental conditions. We will also dwell on the relief efforts, namely food aid, participation of governments, countries and international organizations, etc.
Several days after the Irish peasants dug potatoes from the ground, the crop began to turn into a blackish mass of rottenness. The expert panels were called to investigate the reasons of such unusual disease, however, they came to an erroneous conclusion and suggested that it was a result of static electricity or the smoke that billowed from railroad locomotives or the mortiferous vapours rising from underground volcanoes n. However, it was a phytophthora infests, the disease that caused potato blight and, finally, contributed to the great Potato Famine. The spores of phytophthora infests were carried by the rain, wind and insects.
Potato blight, accompanied by dysentery, cholera, infestations or lice, and scurvy spread all over Irish territories. The historians witnessed seeing children crying with pain and looking "like skeletons, their features sharpened with hunger and their limbs wasted, so that there was little left but bones Digital History Website, n. Famine fever caused more than , deaths over the next 10 years and another two million people emigrated to the United States, Canada, and Greta Britain.
However, it is very difficult to find the exact number of deaths, as there are lots of debates. Modern historians and statisticians estimate that between , and 1, , died. Some historians suggest the death-toll was in the region of , to , Wikipedia. In such a way, within 5 years, population of Ireland was reduced by twenty five percent.
Social, political and economic reasons contributed to Great Potato Famine According to Return of the Potato Blight, the deaths occurred in result of the Great Potato Famine were not due just to disease, but also to overpopulation, extreme fragmentation of holdings, enormous income inequalities between rich and poor, and British hostility to Ireland.
Irish Potato Famine Causes and Consequences
Was it true? First of all, lets remember that British-Irish conflict was one of the longest conflicts in the world history. The Irish people relate it to the 12 th century and claim that Ireland was considered the first colony of Great Britain. They remind the Ulster Plantation where Scottish Protestants settled and local inhabitants were forced to move out of the lands. Under Oliver Cromwell's government England issued the law depriving Irish people their right for the land. Instead, many rented small plots of land from absentee British Protestant landlords. Half of all landholdings were less than 5 acres in Digital History Website, n.
Ireland was under the brutal colonization of England during that time. The poor Irish farmers had to pay taxes to their landlords under the rules of this colonization.
On this Day
Despite the famine conditions that lasted from until , eight million dollars was paid in rents, taxes, and agricultural exports to the British government and landlords. If the tenants failed to pay their rent, the unscrupulous landlords would evict the tenants, burn their homes, or had the head-of-the-household jailed for non-payment. Without the means to pay for their food, and the inability to grow their only food source, the potato, left tens of thousand to starve to death along roadsides. This was one of the worst spectacles that the world had seen when the starving Irish families were forced to eat grass.
There were so many dead that many mass graves were built all over Ireland. England continued its exports of agricultural products, such as barley, wheat, cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens, out of Ireland, despite the mass starvation. This created a lot of internal problems as well.