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Irish Potato Famine

            In 1845, a disease infected the potato crop all over Ireland. The potato being the main food source of the Irish made this result into a horrific, deadly famine killing millions. Some of the Irish people fled from the infected land in search of a new and pure world. They sought refuge in America and Canada. The others who stayed true to their homeland faced a war of life that shattered many dreams and put fear into the hearts of the Irish people. Some people blamed the famine on nature, some on God, and others put forth the notion that Britain, England and the rest of Europe were the sole causes of the potato blight. Although nature did present the Irish people with the potato blight, it was, in fact, the actions of the British and English, which caused the mass starvation and devastation among Ireland. .
             The Irish potato was first found in the Andes Mountains of South America. The proper name for it is Solanum Tubersum. It is not only important to the Irish, it is also an important food crop world wide (IHW). The potato was introduced around 1590 AD and could grow in the poorest of conditions with very little maintenance (TGF). The efficiency and ease of growth is what made the potato become so rapidly popular in Ireland. Between 1800 and 1845 AD, around sixteen food shortages had occurred in various parts of Ireland. However, during the Famine, crop failures became national for the first time, affecting the entire country at the same time (TFI). The actual cause of potato failure was phytophthora infestans, or also known as potato blight. The spores of the poison were carried by wind, rain and insects, which came from Britain and Europe (TIF). The potato plants were affected with a fungus, producing black spots and white mould on the leaves, eventually rotting the plant to a squishy type substance. Prime Minister Peel bought two shipments of Indian corn to feed the people, only to discover the corn meal would cause scurvy, diarrhea and citizens with unsatisfied appetite to the former potato-eating Irish (TIF).

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