Ireland is the only modern country that has a lower population today than in 1840. This is due to the the deaths and emigration caused by the Irish Potato Famine.
Sweet potatoes from Peru were already being grown in the Pacific Islands when Europeans first arrived there.
Let me guess. Globull warming?
we all know it was George Bush’s fault.
Parents came over here when I was eighteen. Cereal famine. Couldn’t get a bowl anywhere. Bad. ‘Tis a beautiful country though; lush rolling hills, and the peat, ah the peat.
Meanwhile, the British were exporting most of Ireland’s other crops and beef leaving what many considered the surplus Irish population to starve at the time.
A different account, posted a few days ago:
I’m trying to think of a PC way to discuss preventing illegal Mexican immigration in light of this discovery.
“was triggered by a newly identified strain of potato blight that has been christened “HERB-1,” according to a new study”
the famine was not caused by the potatoe blight
the same potatoe blight hit most of europe
but most of europe, though experiencing the great potatoe blight, did not experience the famine that Ireland did
British imperial policies toward Ireland created the conditions in Ireland from which the pototoe blight became so devastating in Ireland. Under British policies the potatoe, and mostly one single variety, was feeding 1/3 of the Irish population and many more were dependent on potatoe farming for income from domestic use, sale or export. Had Ireland been independent it would have had a diversified farming industry and the potatoe blight would have been no worse in Ireland than it was in the rest of Europe - a bad thing but not a famine.
I grew up on a potato farm in Idaho where the Burbank Russet was (and is) the primary variety grown. It's a clone too, and while several strains exist with varying disease resistance, the old-time Russets I grew up with are now under attack by various diseases. It's hard to find good Russets for baking these days. One day not long from now they'll disappear.
The French wine industry nearly collapsed in the 19th century when their varietal grapes fell victim to a plant pathogen introduced (they think) by an aphid native to the U.S. Their industry was saved by grafting the old varieties to resistant rootstock from the U.S. Today American agriculture is strongly dependent on cloned monocultured crops. It's good that seeds of old varieties are preserved in seed banks to reintroduce greater genetic variety in case of a calamity like the Irish suffered.
1) the population exploded because an acre of potatos provides 3 times the calories as an acre of wheat. Some suggest that the introduction of the potato made the industrial revolution possible - peasants could move off of the land into industrial locations and still be fed.
2. “Trinity” by Leon Uris describes the impact of the British laws in Ireland. For example, the law of inheritance was imposed which required equal division of a deceased father’s property among the children. This broke up Irish landowner’s holdings, and reduced the population to having small plots ... which grew potatos.
3. The vast tracts of land containing wheat and animals were owned by the British, which sold and exported them to London. However, even with the purest of intentions, it is not clear that there were enough calories in the food shipped to London to save the Irish population. And it is fairly clear that the British politicians did not really understand the magnitude of the problem until a majority of the population starved or emigrated.