An introduction to the history of the great irish famine

In Ireland[ edit ] Political reaction resulting from the Great Irish Famine was muted, because of the extremely limited electoral franchise that existed at the time. Parnell was also instrumental in establishing the Irish Land Leagueto achieve land reform. The Independent Irish Partyformed in Junedisintegrated within four years, but it was in major decline from when tenants benefited from a recovery in agricultural prices.

An introduction to the history of the great irish famine

How crop overdependence and poverty created the perfect conditions for disaster. Many farmers had long existed at virtually the subsistence level, given the small size of their allotments and the various hardships that the land presented for farming in some regions.

The potato, which had become a staple crop in Ireland by the 18th century, was appealing in that it was a hardy, nutritious, and calorie-dense crop and relatively easy to grow in the Irish soil. By the early s almost half the Irish population—but primarily the rural poor—had come to depend almost exclusively on the potato for their diet.

The rest of the population also consumed it in large quantities. A heavy reliance on just one or two high-yielding types of potato greatly reduced the genetic variety that ordinarily prevents the decimation of an entire crop by disease, and thus the Irish became vulnerable to famine.

In a strain of Phytophthora arrived accidentally from North Americaand that same year Ireland had unusually cool moist weather, in which the blight thrived. Although Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel continued to allow the export of grain from Ireland to Great Britainhe did what he could to provide relief in and early He authorized the import of corn maize from the United Stateswhich helped avert some starvation.

Much of the financial burden of providing for the starving Irish peasantry was thrown upon the Irish landowners themselves through local poor relief and British absentee landowners.

Because the peasantry was unable to pay its rents, however, the landlords soon ran out of funds with which to support them, and the result was that hundreds of thousands of Irish tenant farmers and labourers were evicted during the years of the crisis.

British assistance was limited to loans, helping to fund soup kitchens, and providing employment on road building and other public works. The Irish disliked the imported cornmeal, and reliance on it led to nutritional deficiencies.

The History Place - Irish Potato Famine

Despite those shortcomings, by August as many as three million people were receiving rations at soup kitchens. The impoverished Irish peasantry, lacking the money to purchase the foods their farms produced, continued throughout the famine to export grain, meat, and other high-quality foods to Britain.

Similarly damaging was the attitude among many British intellectuals that the crisis was a predictable and not-unwelcome corrective to high birth rates in the preceding decades and perceived flaws, in their opinion, in the Irish national character. The famine proved to be a watershed in the demographic history of Ireland.

The number of agricultural labourers and smallholders in the western and southwestern counties underwent an especially drastic decline. A further aftereffect of the famine was thus the clearing of many smallholders from the land and the concentration of landownership in fewer hands.

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Thereafter, more land than before was used for grazing sheep and cattle, providing animal foods for export to Britain. The number of Irish who emigrated during the famine may have reached two million. By the time Ireland achieved independence inits population was barely half of what it had been in the early s.Research Paper: Irish Potato Famine “Beginning in and lasting for six years, the potato famine killed over a million men, women and children in Ireland and caused another million to flee the country” (The History Place-Introduction).

An introduction to the history of the great irish famine

The legacy of the Great Famine in Ireland (Irish: An Gorta Mór or An Drochshaol, litt: The Bad Life) followed a catastrophic period of Irish history between and during which time the population of Ireland was reduced by 20 to 25 percent.

The. Ireland is in your hands, in your power.

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If you do not save her, she cannot save herself. I solemnly call upon you to recollect that I predict with the sincerest conviction that a quarter of her population will perish unless you come to her relief.

Introduction: Part 1 of 8 at The History Place. Beginning in and lasting for six years, the potato famine killed over a million men, women and children in Ireland and .

Great Famine (Ireland) - Wikipedia

A famine is when there is a very severe shortage or lack of food for a large number of people. During a famine, there is hunger, malnutrition, starvation and often death among the people.

Ireland had its worst famine in when a famine called the Great Famine . If you’re planning your trips to Ireland and want to learn more about the Great Famine, be sure to check out the Dunbrody Famine Ship in New Ross, Co. Wexford, the Portuma Famine House in Portuma, Co.

Galway, or the Strokestown Park and Famine Museum in Strokestown, Co. Roscommon.

History of the Irish Famine and Great Famine - Tenon Tours