The Potato Blight

The Potato Blight

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  • In 1500, Ireland  were a torn and starving country fighting with British rulers meaning that farmers could hardly grow crops for them let alone anyone else. 
  • The potato was introduced to Ireland in around 1600 thought to be washed up on the beaches from a Spanish shipwreck, or brought by Sir Walter Raleigh.
  • Potatoes quickly became Ireland's favourite crop. As there were lots of potatoes and they were able to feed so many, Ireland's population began to grow rapidly as more people relied entirely on the potato for food going from 3 million to 8 million in just a few years!
  • Then in 1845 a disease came to Ireland that affected the potatoes making them turn black and rotten. People were turned onto the streets not being able to pay for the land they rented.
  • Because there was no food, shelter or a good future for the Irish, around 4.7 million people decided to emigrate to America between 1820 and 1975.   
  • Up to 1 million people died from the worst of the famine between 1845 and 1849. It was long after that when the Irish were able to stop being angry at the British who they think could have done more to help them.
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