In the 1500s, there was war going on between the English rulers and the Irish inhabitants. As a result, peasant farmers had a hard time growing food to feed themselves and anyone else.
There are multiple theories of how the potato came theories was that it was washed to be known in Ireland. One of those theories was that it washed ashore as part of a shipwreck.
Effects Of The Potato Blight
By the 1800s, the potato was so important in Ireland that some of the poorer parts of the country relied entirely on the potato for food. Some warned that it's dangerous to have a lot of people rely on it, but nobody listened...
Migration To America
The disease attacked the potatoes as they grew in the fields. and up to half of the crop was destroyed. In 1845, between one-third and half of the potato crop was destroyed by the disease now called 'potato blight'.
It's estimated that between 500,000 and 1,100,000 died because of the famine. One million Irish people emigrated because of this. Of those who left, may died on board the boats they were traveling in because they were so crowded and dirty. The boats were later called "coffin ships"
Immigrating to America was called "The American Wake". Those who pursued this path did so only because they knew their future in Ireland would only be more poverty, disease, and English oppression. America became their dream.