32 33 Potato production during the Great Famine. 34 Note: years 1844, 1845, 1846, and 1848 are extrapolated. In 1844, Irish newspapers carried reports concerning a disease which for two years had attacked the potato crops in America. A likely source was the eastern United States, where in 18 blight largely destroyed the potato crops. Ships from Baltimore, philadelphia, or New York city could have brought diseased potatoes to european ports. posited that it was transported on potatoes being carried to feed passengers on clipper ships sailing from America to Ireland. Once introduced, it spread rapidly. By mid-August 1845, it had reached much of northern and central Europe; Belgium, The netherlands, northern France, and southern England had all been stricken.
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Phytophthora infestans is an oomycete (a variety of parasitic, non-photosynthetic algae, and not a fungus). In 1851, the census of Ireland Commissioners recorded 24 failures of the potato crop going back to 1728, of varying severity. General crop failures, through disease or frost, were recorded in 1739, 1740, 1770, ppt 1800, and 1807. In 18, the potato crop failed in Munster and Connaught. In 18, mayo, donegal, and Galway suffered likewise. In 1832, 1833, 1834, and 1836, dry rot and curl caused serious losses, and in 1835 the potato failed in Ulster. Widespread failures throughout Ireland occurred in 1836, 1837, 1839, 1841, and 1844. According to woodham-Smith, "the unreliability of the potato was an accepted fact in Ireland". How and when the blight Phytophthora infestans arrived in Europe is still uncertain; however, it almost certainly was not present prior to 1842, and probably arrived in 1844. 30 The origin of the pathogen has been traced to toluca valley of Mexico, 31 whence it spread first within North America and then to europe. 46 blight was caused by the herb-1 strain of the blight.
The British taste for beef had a devastating impact on the fuller impoverished and disenfranchised people. Pushed off the best pasture land and forced to farm smaller plots of marginal land, the Irish turned to the potato, a crop that could be grown abundantly in less favorable soil. Eventually, cows took over much of Ireland, leaving the native population virtually dependent on the potato for survival. The potato was also used extensively as a fodder crop for livestock immediately prior to the famine. Approximately 33 of production, amounting to 5,000,000 short tons (4,500,000 t was normally used in this way. 25 Blight in Ireland Suggested paths of migration and diversification. Infestans lineages herb-1 and us-1 Prior to the arrival in Ireland of the disease Phytophthora infestans, commonly known as blight, there were only two main potato plant diseases. One was called "dry rot" or "taint and the other was a virus known popularly as "curl".
The large dependency on this single crop, and the lack of genetic variability among the potato plants in Ireland (a monoculture were two of the reasons why the emergence of Phytophthora infestans had such devastating effects in Ireland and less severe effects elsewhere in Europe. 23 Potatoes were essential to the development of the cottier system, supporting an extremely cheap workforce, but at the cost of lower living standards. For the labourer, it was essentially a potato wage that shaped the expanding agrarian economy. The friend expansion of tillage led to an inevitable expansion of the potato acreage and an expansion of peasant farmers. By 1841, there were over half a million peasant farmers, with.75 million dependants. The principal beneficiary of this system was the English consumer. The celtic grazing lands. Ireland had been used to pasture cows for centuries. The Irish, transforming much of their countryside into an extended grazing land to raise cattle for a hungry consumer market at home.
Potato dependency An Irish peasant Family discovering the Blight of their Store by cork artist Daniel MacDonald,. For economic reasons, the Irish peasantry had become dependent on potato crop. The potato was introduced to Ireland as a garden crop of the gentry. By the late 17th century, it had become widespread as a supplementary rather than a principal food because the main diet still revolved around butter, milk, and grain products. However, in the first two decades of the 18th century, it became a base food of the poor, especially in winter. Furthermore, a disproportionate share of the potatoes grown in Ireland were of a single variety, the Irish Lumper. 21 The expansion of the economy between 17w the potato make inroads into the diet of the people and become a staple food year round for farmers.
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According to woodham-Smith, the commission stated that "the superior prosperity and tranquility of Ulster, compared with the rest of Ireland, were due to tenant right". Landlords in Ireland often used their powers without compunction, ballad and tenants lived in dread of them. Woodham-Smith writes that, in these circumstances, "industry and enterprise were extinguished and a peasantry created which was one of the most destitute in Europe". Tenants, subdivisions, and bankruptcy In 1845, 24 of all Irish tenant farms were.42 hectares (15 acres) in size, while 40 were of 26 hectares (515 acres). Holdings were so small that no crop other than potatoes would suffice to feed a family. Shortly before the famine the British government reported that poverty was so widespread that one-third of all Irish small holdings could not support their families after paying their rent, except by earnings of seasonal migrant labour in England and Scotland. Following the famine, reforms were implemented making it illegal to further divide land holdings.
The 1841 census showed a population of just over eight million. Two-thirds of those depended on agriculture for their survival, but they rarely received a working wage. They had to work for their landlords in return for the patch of land they needed to grow enough food for their own families. This was the system which forced Ireland and its peasantry into monoculture, since only the potato could be grown in sufficient quantity. The rights to a plot of land in Ireland could mean the difference between life and death in the early 19th century.
According to the historian Cecil woodham-Smith, landlords regarded the land as simply a source of income, from which as much as possible was to be extracted. With the Irish "brooding over their discontent in sullen indignation" (in the words of the earl of Clare the countryside was largely viewed by landlords as a hostile place in which to live, and absentee ownership was common; some landlords visited their property only once. The rents from Ireland were generally spent elsewhere; an estimated 6,000,000 was remitted out of Ireland in 1842. The ability of middlemen was measured by the rent income they could contrive to extract from tenants. They were described in evidence before the commission as "land sharks "bloodsuckers and "the most oppressive species of tyrant that ever lent assistance to the destruction of a country". The middlemen leased large tracts of land from the landlords on long leases with fixed rents, which they then sublet as they saw fit.
They would split a holding into smaller and smaller parcels so as to increase the amount of rent they could obtain. Tenants could be evicted for reasons such as non-payment of rents (which were high or a landlord's decision to raise sheep instead of grain crops. A cottier paid his rent by working for the landlord. As any improvement made on a holding by a tenant became the property of the landlord when the lease expired or was terminated, the incentive to make improvements was limited. Most tenants had no security of tenure on the land; as tenants "at will they could be turned out whenever the landlord chose. The only exception to this arrangement was in Ulster where, under a practice known as "tenant right", a tenant was compensated for any improvement they made to their holding.
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Their cabins are seldom a protection against the weather. A bed or a blanket is a rare luxury. And nearly in all their pig and a manure heap constitute their only property. The commissioners concluded they could not "forbear expressing mini our strong sense of the patient endurance which the labouring classes have exhibited under sufferings greater, we believe, than the people of any other country in Europe have to sustain". The commission stated that bad relations between landlord and tenant were principally responsible. There was no hereditary loyalty, feudal tie, or mitigating tradition of paternalism as existed in England (Ireland was a conquered country). The earl of Clare observed of landlords that "confiscation is their common title".
Some of their estates were vast; for example, the net earl of Lucan owned over 60,000 acres (240 km2). Many of these landlords lived in England and were known as absentee landlords. The rent revenue—collected from "impoverished tenants" who were paid minimal wages to raise crops and livestock for export—was mostly sent to England. In 1843, the British government considered that the land question in Ireland was the root cause of disaffection in the country. They established a royal Commission, chaired by the earl of devon, to enquire into the laws regarding the occupation of land. Daniel o'connell described this commission as "perfectly one-sided being composed of landlords, with no tenant representation. In February 1845, devon reported: It would be impossible adequately to describe the privations which they the Irish labourer and his family habitually and silently endure. In many districts their only food is the potato, their only beverage water.
1844, "a starving population, an absentee aristocracy, an alien established Protestant church, and in addition the weakest executive. Laws that restricted the rights of Irish Catholics In the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish Catholics had been prohibited by the penal laws from purchasing or leasing land, from voting, from holding political office, from living in or within 5 miles (8 km) of a corporate. The laws had largely been reformed by 1793, and the roman Catholic Relief Act 1829 allowed Irish Catholics to again sit in parliament. Landlords and tenants During the 18th century, the "middleman system" for managing landed property was introduced. Rent collection was left in the hands of the landlords' agents, or middlemen. This assured the landlord of a regular income, and relieved them of direct responsibility, while leaving tenants open to exploitation by the middlemen. Catholics, the bulk of whom lived in conditions of poverty and insecurity despite catholic emancipation in 1829, made up 80 of the population. At the top of the "social pyramid" was the " ascendancy class the English and Anglo-Irish families who owned most of the land, and held more or less unchecked power over their tenants.
The famine was a watershed essay in the history of Ireland, which was then part of the. United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The famine and its effects permanently changed the island's demographic, political, and cultural landscape. For both the native irish and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory fn 1 and became a rallying point for. The already strained relations between many Irish and the British Crown soured further, heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions, and boosting Irish nationalism and republicanism in Ireland and among Irish emigrants in the United States and elsewhere. Contents causes and contributing factors see also: Chronology of the Great Famine since the Acts of Union in January 1801, Ireland had been part of the United Kingdom. Executive power lay in the hands of the lord lieutenant of Ireland and Chief Secretary for Ireland, who were appointed by the British government. Ireland sent 105 members of parliament to the house of Commons of the United Kingdom, and Irish representative peers elected 28 of their own number to sit for life in the house of Lords.
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"Irish famine" redirects here. For other famines in Ireland, see. The, great Famine irish : an Gorta mór, an gɔɾta moɾ ) or the, great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration. Ireland between 18It is sometimes referred to, mostly outside Ireland, as the. Irish Potato famine, because about two-fifths of the population was solely reliant on this cheap crop for a number of historical reasons. During the famine, about one million people died and a million more best emigrated from Ireland, causing the island's population to fall by between 20 and. The proximate cause of famine was potato blight, which ravaged potato crops throughout Europe during the 1840s. However, the impact in Ireland was disproportionate, as one third of the population was dependent on the potato for a range of ethnic, religious, political, social, and economic reasons, such as land acquisition, absentee landlords, and the, corn Laws, which all contributed to the disaster.