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Potato Famine: IrishPotatoFamine

Irish Potato Famine, 1847-1852

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What was the Potato Famine


The Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, began in 1845 when a fungus-like organism called Phytophthora infestans (or P. infestans) spread rapidly throughout Ireland. The infestation ruined up to one-half of the potato crop that year, and about three-quarters of the crop over the next seven years. Because the tenant farmers of Ireland—then ruled as a colony of Great Britain—relied heavily on the potato as a source of food, the infestation had a catastrophic impact on Ireland and its population. Before it ended in 1852, the Potato Famine resulted in the death of roughly one million Irish from starvation and related causes, with at least another million forced to leave their homeland as refugees.  
Continue reading from History

 

Famines in World History


Famine, severe and prolonged hunger in a substantial proportion of the population of a region or country, resulting in widespread and acute malnutrition and death by starvation and disease. Famines usually last for a limited time, ranging from a few months to a few years. They cannot continue indefinitely, if for no other reason than that the affected population would eventually be decimated.
Famines, like wars and epidemics, have occurred from ancient times, achieving biblical proportions not only in biblical times but throughout history. Examples from the 20th century include the Chinese famine of 1959–61, which resulted in 15–30 million deaths, the Ethiopian famine of 1984–85, which caused approximately 1 million deaths but affected more than 8 million people, and the North Korean famine of roughly 1995–99, which killed an estimated 2.5 million people.  Continue reading from Britannica

 

Irish Immigration to America 

Irish-Catholic immigrants came to America during colonial times, too, and not all Irish-Catholic immigrants were poor. For example, wealthy Charles Carroll immigrated to America in 1706. His grandson, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signed his name to the Declaration of Independence.

Ireland’s 1845 Potato Blight is often credited with launching the second wave of Irish immigration to America. The fungus which decimated potato crops created a devastating famine. Starvation plagued Ireland and within five years, a million Irish were dead while half a million had arrived in America to start a new life. Living conditions in Ireland were deplorable long before the Potato Blight of 1845, however, and a large number of Irish left their homeland as early as the 1820s.

In fact, Ireland’s population decreased dramatically throughout the nineteenth century. Census figures show an Irish population of 8.2 million in 1841, 6.6 million a decade later, and only 4.7 million in 1891. It is estimated that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930.  Continue Reading from Library of Congress

 

Books and Videos About The Great Potato Famine and Irish History

Link to Great Irish Potato Famine by James Donnelly in the catalog
Link to Graves are Walking by John Kelly in the catalog
Link to The Oxford Companion to Irish History edited by S.J. Connolly in the catalog
Link to Ireland a history from Paul Johnson in the catalog
Link to Irish Americans by William D Griffin in the catalog
Link to The Irish Potato Famine by Jill Sherman in Hoopla
Link to The Famine Irish by Ciaran Reilly in the catalog
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