How did the Irish Potato Famine Happen?

How did the Irish Potato Famine Happen?

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  1. Like any national tragedy, the Great Irish Famine was not simply due to only one factor, like one crop, it but was the final straw, and centuries in the making.

    Under fierce opposition, the Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes erroneously referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland (previously in personal union) to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acts came into force on 1 January 1801, and the merged Parliament of the United Kingdom had its first meeting on 22 January 1801.

    By 1900, the population of Ireland was half.

    Even by 1870, only 3% of Irish farmers owned their own land while 97% were tenants. By 1929, this ratio had been reversed with 97.4% of farmers holding their farms in freehold.

    All remaining penal laws were only repealed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland by the Government of Ireland Act 1920.

    ‘She is in your hands—in your power. If you do not save her, she cannot save herself. One-fourth of her population will perish unless Parliament comes to their relief.’

    Daniel O’Connell, 8th February 1847, House of Commons…

    In 1695 harsh penal laws were enforced, known as the 'popery code': Catholics were prohibited from buying land, bringing their children up as Catholics, and from entering the forces or the law. Catholics could no longer run for elected office, purchase land, or own property (such as horses) valued at more than 5 pounds. In the early years of the 18th century the ruling Protestants in Ireland passed these laws designed to strip the "backwards" Catholic population of remaining land, positions of influence and civil rights.

    By 1778 Irish Catholics would own a meager 5% of Irish land. Furthermore, the Catholic educational system was outlawed and priests who did not conform to the laws could be branded on the face or castrated. As a result, much of Catholic church services and education and record keeping was forced underground, to operate only under extreme secrecy. The religion and culture were kept alive by secret open-air masses and illegal outdoor schools, known as 'hedge' schools. All Irish culture, music and education was banned. By the time of the census of 1841 the Irish were impoverished, landless and leaderless by the eve of the famine.
    Professor Lecky a British Protestant and ardent British sympathizer, said in his "History of Ireland in the 18th Century" that the object of the Penal Laws was threefold:
    "To deprive Catholics of all civil life; to reduce them to a condition of extreme, brutal ignorance; and, to disassociate them from the soil.:
    Lecky said, "He might with absolute justice, substitute Irish for Catholic, "and added a fourth objective: "To expatriate the race."

    Where did they go?

    "I am assured from the best authority, the major part of the American Army was composed of Irish and that the Irish language was as commonly spoken in the American ranks as English." ~ Luke Gardiner, 1st Viscount Mountjoy, addressing the Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland, April 2nd, 1784

    There would be no USA, no Washington, who’s life was saved by an Irishman, no earlier Irish document at the time of Edward Bruce, brother of Robert, The Remonstrance, to inspire the US Declaration of Independence and no continental army worth writing home about without the Gaelic speaking native Irish born who were thrown off their land in Ireland.

    The Irish in The American revolution

    The romance and myths of the American Revolution have long obscured the disproportionate contributions of the Irish, who numbered as high as one half million of America’s two million population.

    George Washington Park Custis, Washington’s adopted son and a careful student of history, placed the significant Irish contribution to the American revolution in a proper historical perspective:

    “When our friendless standard was first unfurled for resistance, who were strangers [foreigners] that first mustered ‘round its staff when it reeled in the fight, who more bravely sustained it than Erin’s generous sons? Who led the assault on Quebec [General Montgomery] and shed early luster on our arms, in the dawn of our revolution? Who led the right wing of Liberty’s forlorn hope [General Sullivan] at the passage of the Delaware [just before the attack on Trenton]? Who felt the privations of the camp, the fate of battle, or the horrors of the prison ship more keenly than the Irish? Washington loved them, for they were the companions of his toil, his perils, his glories, in the deliverance of his country.”

    Yet, the role of the Irish has often been written out. No chapter of America’s story has been more thoroughly dominated by myths and romance than the nation’s desperate struggle for life during the American Revolution. Unfortunately, America’s much-celebrated creation story has presented a sanitized version of events.

    The long-accepted proper imaginary of the typical American patriot was that of an Anglo-Saxon who descended from early English settlers. This popular perception became a permanent part of the national mythology, in regard to the people who were seen as having been most responsible for sustaining and winning the revolutionary struggle.

    As could be expected, the seemingly endless romantic myths about America’s founding were created as part of the usual process of countries constructing self-serving myths for national self-gratification.

    Americans today believe that the upper-class elite, especially the Founding Fathers, and the traditional New England model (the popular romantic New England stereotype of the middle-class yeoman soldier of Anglo-Saxon descent) were most responsible for America’s success in the revolutionary struggle.

    But this romanticised focus of America’s creation story from the top has overlooked what was actually more significant in determining winner from loser during the American Revolution: the historical, republican, and cultural legacies brought to America by hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants before the war’s beginning and the disproportionate contributions of the Irish from 1775 to 1783.

    Without sufficient resources to purchase land, lower class Irish settlers had pushed toward the setting sun in the search of land and the promise of a fresh start.

    Here, on the western frontier, they created distinctive ethnic communities, like “Little Ireland,” and “Little Dublin,” before the American Revolution, while laying America’s most sturdy foundation for resistance to the so-called Mother Country. After all, England was the ancient enemy of the Irish people, and she was definitely no Mother County to them.

    Most of all, it was the lowest class colonists who made the most important contributions to America’s ultimate victory over an extended period. They were the ones who fought and died in disproportionate numbers (as in leading the way west—literally an Irish vanguard—and settling the western frontier) to make America an independent nation. And no social class in America was lower (after African slaves, of course) than the Irish, who served in the ranks in large numbers from every colony (later states) during the revolutionary struggle.

    Unfortunately, the romance and myths of the American Revolution have long obscured the disproportionate contributions of the Irish, who numbered as high as one half million of America’s two million population.

    But these extensive contributions by the so-called lower class “mob” from the point of view of the wealthy, aristocratic revolutionary elite, including the Founding Fathers, were overlooked for political, economic, and social reasons (not to mention prejudices) that became so deeply ingrained in American life.

    But what cannot be denied was the notable fact that the Irish responded to the call of liberty en masse.

    However, because so many of these diehard patriots were recent immigrants from Ireland and members of the lowest class, they were considered outsiders and foreigners, especially Irish Catholics, who were not deemed worthy of mention by generations of America’s leading historians and scholars.

    Mostly from the northeast, these influential Anglo-Saxon historians possessed ample good reason to obscure the truth about America’s creation story. Quite simply, without the disproportionate and significant contributions of the Irish on all levels (political, military, and economic), America would not have won its struggle for independence. In consequence, the Irish odyssey during the American Revolution is one of the best-untold stories of American history.

    Indeed, the Irish played disproportionate roles in every phase of America’s struggle for liberty because the Irish already fully understood (unlike the majority of colonists of British descent) what would become America’s tragic fate, if Great Britain was allowed to turn this land of plenty into another Ireland.

  2. The sad truth is that literally every bad thing that's happened to Ireland in the past 1000 years – since Brian Boru himself – have either been caused by, or made much worse by, the English.

  3. You fail to mention the potatoes are an American plant. 🥔 The Catholic Spanish introduced it for the Catholic Irish. If it wasn't Columbus the Native Americans potatoes wouldn't have fed Europe for all these centuries since 1492.

  4. You mean how did the genocide happen? Denying that what happened to us, and Armenians, was genocide, will never change the facts. Kinda like denying Israel being an apartheid state, does not change the facts.

    For decades people, including quislings in Ireland and Irish Americans, have denied it was a genocide, before being refuted. I noted this looking at 2 different articles in The Washington Post in the same year in the 90s, in which a response post pointed out all the data omitted in denying it was a genocide with some intent…like marching along Armenians, get me? Exporting to meet quotas and having reduced a population once self reliant for thousands of years before colonisation to living in hovels and relying on potato crops like college students rely on cheap instant noodles, may just have been part of the problem. Most "people" are fools so you excuse Britain because you watch Doctor Who, I have no respect for anyone without the sense to see it was a genocide. Its funny brits whine and play victim saying everyone hates them. Uh, no they don't? BBC propaganda and YouTube videos with posh English accents being popular would disprove that. I see a lot of anti-Irish sentiment and blaming the Irish though, so brits need to shut their rotten toothed lime eating pie holes. Where my Greek Cypriot bros at? Don't you be forgetting our common struggle in the 20th century!

  5. the saddest part is if the British government wasn't full of monsters that rather saw children starve to death instead of helping Irland, because of their terrible believe that it would "help" Ireland, not nearly as many would've died. this incident shows why the British government sucks, because even though they don't starve their member states to detach they drag them along with any stupid idea that they have like Liz truss most recently.

  6. of all the sob stories of the world and peoples that have suffered, I really feel bad for the Irish… they became utterly hated by the English all because Henry the 8th had issues conceiving a son and was a spoiled bitch that had to create his own fake religion to divorce Catherine of Aragon… this creation of the Anglican Church fueled and justified the abject hatred fof Celtic Catholic Irish and the conquests that followed put the Irish in a helpless situation even though the Spanish and French tried to help them throughout the centuries … then it only got worse for the Irish in the 1700s with the Penal Era where they were stripped of land ownership and were little better then slaves in their own country… many Irish fled to Galicia Spain in that period… the Penal Era set the conditions for something like the Potato Famine to happen and I could totally see why the Irish became so nationalistic and violent towards the British… the funny thing is we are in a position now where Ireland may yet be reunited (due to Northern Ireland wanting to stay in the EU despite Brexit) yet the New Age Irish have gone totally Globalist and Woke and prostituted their Country to foreigners … all those years of resistance fighting just to give away your nation when you finally have it is sad.. the Irish truly have a tragic history on this Earth.

  7. Ireland grew many varieties of potatoes but it is estimated that 2/3 or 3/4 of the potatoes grown was the Irish Lumper. The lumper originated in Scotland and was introduced by returning Irish workers from Scotland during the early 1800s. The lumper was able to thrive on poor quality soil and grew into huge size hence the name lumper. It was originally grown as food for livestock but it prevalence demonstrated the increasing poverty among Irish rural communities. Other varieties were susceptible to the blight but the lumper was the worst hit. Ireland did have other food source like wheat, rye, barley and other grains but they were exported to Britain or its oversea colonies and the Irish got nothing. The Irish were treated as second class citizens in their own country and British policies did very little to aid them or prevent the famine. The famine was avoidable but it was British policies that resulted the famine. Potato blight was the cataclysm rather than the true cause for the famine.

  8. My great grand da on my father's side came over at that time. He was Scotch/Irish. I wear the family plaid to this day of our ancestry started in Wales. He married Cherokee as did my grand father. He had photos of him.

  9. They could have just converted from Catholicism, could have avoided so much pain. We tried and tried but they wouldn’t bloody listen. Well, god has no mercy for unrepentant heretics.

    The irony then, that after all that, all it took was Apple moving in to make them turn their back on the pope’s lies.

  10. England Scotland and Wales also had famines and blights around that time . as you said it came from Mexico on ships . do you think only Ireland got the infected spuds ?. my great grandfather came over about that time . we have always had Irish immigration . how do you think we built our canals and roads . the biggest problem with Irish history is , they have never really had a large manufacturing base . so the only work was farming . the Irish have been emigrating since the 1600s .

  11. Yes I guess I back then the amount of money meant more then, but 10000, to 2000, sounds like absolutely nothing. Yes I realize these amounts, even then are not very big, but god damn. Why bother sending this at all?

  12. absolute bastards were killing innocent people this is just so unjustified that if god did that I would be against him for such a massacre even India and other colonies in Britain suffered. Thank nature that
    Irish people are now being liberated from absolute tyranny

  13. Great video! It's worth pointing out though that it wasn't caused by a fungus. Potato blight is an oomycete from the Phytophthora genus (which you do mention – water mould is an alternative name to oomycete).

    Fungi and oomycetes are often conflated. Due to convergent evolution they look very similar, but oomycetes have large spore filled egg sacks, hence the "oo" part of their name meaning egg. From an evolutionary standpoint, oomycetes are heterokonts, meaning their cells have two different flagella, while fungi are opisthosporidia, which means they have only one flagella (the same as human sperm). This difference means they diverged millions of years ago even though they look very similar!

  14. It wasn’t a fucking famine it was the English forcing the Irish to export all of their crops instead of feeding themselves

    It was an intentional genocide.


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