1846 - Potato famine in Ireland

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During the 19th century, many strides were made to improve farming techniques all over Europe, which had extremely positive results. In Ireland they realized that it was possible for them to grow potatoes in their sandy soil which had lain barren for many years. Once Ireland began to grow potatoes, they used the potatoes in the majority of their meals, in place of oatmeal and rye bread because they could feed more people off of the potatoes. This country became extremely dependent on the potato because it grew to be a staple item in their diet. This hurt Ireland a lot when in 1846 a fungus destroyed their crops of potatoes, leaving them with nothing. People became desperate and diseased from
starvation and malnutrition, which made the people of Ireland have to resort to drastic measures. Some people would take cow’s blood and placed it on rotten potatoes and cabbage to try and get some nutrients into their bodies. Others decided that the only hope was to immigrate to America on ships that were called coffin ships. This potato famine lasted for two years and it was one of the most devastating famines in Irish history. One out of every four people died because of this famine, which left huge deflation in the population of Ireland for many
years after the famine ended.


McNeill, A History of the Human Community, 1997. http://www.toad.net/~sticker/nosurrender/PotatoFacts.html