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Potato Paper

1265 words - 6 pages

In Ireland in the years 1845-1852 a great famine caused a mass die off of potato crops throughout the country. Beginning in 1845 the weather in Ireland were abnormally chilly and damp for a summer season in Ireland, providing the perfect type of whether to allow diseases to spread rapidly. Phytophthora infestans, the cause of the great famine, can spread in the blowing wind. Shortage of food caused many Irish people to immigrate to other countries yet, some citizens of Ireland stayed most of which became struck will illnesses or died of starvation. Many farmers consolidated their land and shared the harvested crops creating another shortage of food for consolidated farming families. Potatoes ...view middle of the document...

Phytophthora infestans can travel by wind, permitting the disease spread like wild fire especially in the cold damp weather Ireland was experiencing in the late 1840s and early 1850s. Phytophthora infestans remain in a dormant stage in hot or dry weather. Phytophthora infestans destroy both the leaves and the roots (potatoes) of the potato plant. Phytophthora infestans When the potatoes are harvested the vegetable seems normal but after being store for a few days they become dark brown and sponge textured. The disease can also infect healthy potatoes that are dug up, because if it is raining the rain water can drip of the infected plants carrying spores and depositing them on the healthy potato plants.

To make matters worse for the people of Ireland, a law made the Irish people unable to export their grain to without paying a very high wager so money made from selling grains to buy other foods was not made.

Potatoes were first grown in South America and in Mexico by the Inca people. Potatoes are one of the most reliable food crops because they harvested potatoes grow underground and hold the plant in place rather than grains which can tip over from their small roots. In Ireland potatoes are easy to produce potatoes in cool fall temperatures as well as warmer summer temperatures. Potatoes Required very little labor are training another reason that the Irish people found that potatoes were a great choice to grown on family farms.

The Agriculture laws or The Corn Laws were designed to protect agriculture by imposing high fees on imported food, crops, or goods. Middle and lower farming classes did not appreciate the laws because their opinion on the Corn Laws was composed of the idea The Corn Laws favored the richer classes. The chairman of the 1813 Select Committee, Sir Henry Parnell, agreed agriculture laws should provide a lowest cost of 105 shillings per quarter of crops.

Sir Henry Parnell was also an Irish landlord. The British charged eighty schillings a quarter for corn sold, which for the average farmer was an affordable price to pay for shipment of crops. Both of these laws made selling and buying corn almost impossible for the Irish people, especially the ones affect financially by the potato blight. Parnell was personally affected by the blight in July 1845 but did not report the problem until October of that year. Peel knew that his food shortage would not show itself until the next springtime but, in November of 1845,

Peel did try to help the situation somewhat by establishing a Relief Commission to provide food for the citizens effected by the famine. He also set, without the approval of the committee, to...

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