The Great Famine Of Ireland Essay

1633 words - 7 pages

During the mid-1800s, an event called the Great Famine happened in Ireland. This event was caused by the organism phytophthora infestans, commonly known as the potato blight, which infected the farmer’s potatoes and rendered them inedible. During this period, P. infestans left many people suffering or even dead because of their lack of food. This paper will go over various topics on the famine such as how it arrived in Ireland, the potato, effects of the famine on the Irish people, and the people’s dependency on potatoes. The Great Famine was a national tragedy for Ireland and caused mass devastation in the country.
Many researchers think that the first large movement of P. infestans happened during the 1840s. There were reports of potatoes being infected in Philadelphia starting in the year 1843. The potato blight was spread around to the northeastern United States, the Midwest, and Canada by 1845. In June 1845, a new disease was being observed that was occurring on the farmer’s potatoes in Belgium. As soon as October 1845, P. infestans was already spread as far as Germany and even Ireland. Researchers believe there are two possible ways the protist had traveled from North America overseas to Europe. They speculate it either came from Mexico over to Europe or started in Mexico, moved up into the United States, and then finally made its way over into Europe. There is a high possibility that the blight traveled throughout the world by international trade of potatoes that were coming out of the European region. Most potatoes that were infected were easily detected but some were not. The potatoes that were grown in the cool regions of Europe had a lower chance of having the virus unlike the potatoes grown in areas such as Africa, South America, and the Middle East.
The first potatoes were farmed around seven thousand years ago in Peru and Bolivia. Throughout history, the potato evolved into a staple crop for many places in the world. During the eighteenth century, the potato’s popularity skyrocketed. One of these reasons is that when other crops such as rice or wheat grew large the plant had a high risk of breaking while the potato can grow as much as it can when nested underground. Also, the potato could easily feed rapidly growing populations such as many countries in Europe. The potato is used for many various reasons throughout the world. Some of these are food for livestock, starch, and plant research. Currently, there are over four thousand types of potatoes that are known. High carbohydrates are one of the things potatoes are known for nutritionally. Today, the potato stands fifth in the list of the most important crops worldwide. The top potato-producing countries in the world are China and India. Also, “the European and North American adoption of the potato set the template for modern agriculture—the so-called agro-industrial complex” (Mann, 2011).
Laws were in place during the famine that affected the people, one of these were a group...

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