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What Impacts Did The Potato Famine Have On Ireland's Society?

2297 words - 9 pages

1.0) -IntroductionFrom roughly 1845-1850, a famine hit not only Ireland, but other countries in Europe. This famine spread devastation around the country, and killed over 1 million people, nowadays, it is known as The Potato Famine. In this paper, I will look at Ireland before the famine, and also the cause of the famine. Then, I will be describing the social, economical and political impacts. I will also be looking at emigration regarding North America and Britain. The Potato famine was the climax of social, economical and political catastrophes, caused by both Irish and British factors. The disaster that struck Ireland changed its society, and made Ireland what it is today.2.0)- 2.1) -Ireland before the FamineBefore the famine had even struck, Ireland was extremely poor, and thus caused the effects of the famine to strike even harder on Ireland's society. In the 1800's, Ireland was one of the poorest countries in the western world. A British survey in 1835 found that more than half of the families in the rural areas of Ireland were living in mud cabins, with only one room, no windows and no chimneys. This shows us that the living conditions of most Irish peasants were very poor. When living in these conditions, when the famine struck, it was near impossible for the Irish peasants to survive because of the condition in which the peasants lived in. Overall, the living conditions of these peasants did contribute to the death of over 1 million Irish men, women and children.In 1800, Ireland became a part of Britain and was placed under the jurisdiction of Britain's imperial parliament. Ireland was allowed to be represented with 100 members, but not one of those members was Catholic. In Ireland in 1600, Protestants had owned only 10% of the land, but in 1778, Protestants owned 95% of the land. When a Catholic landowner died, the land was divided up among all of his sons, but, if any son converted to Protestant, he automatically inherited all of his father's property. Before the Famine, there were 130 workhouses, together, capable of holding up to 100,000 people. Before the Famine, work houses were 75% empty even though Ireland had about 2.5 million people living in a state of poverty.Potatoes did not originate in Ireland, but were shipped to Ireland in approximately 1590; peasants in Ireland soon realized that the potato grew extremely well in Ireland's moist soil, and that they could grow more potatoes per acre than wheat, and could also be used for income. By the 1800's, the potato had become Ireland's primary crop. More than 3 million Irish had become dependent solely on the vegetable. Having only one food source was not safe for the peasants, because if they did run out, or something happened with the supply, they could depend on nothing else.The Great Hunger (The potato famine) was not the only famine to strike Ireland. Between 1816 and 1818 the potato crop had failed due to bad winters. Due to the failure of the crop, an estimated 50,000~65,000...

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