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Irish Potato Famine

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A presentation prepared for a English class related to the British Rule.

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Irish Potato Famine

  1. 1. Irish Potato Famine 1845 - 1851
  2. 2. Gustave de Beaumont
  3. 3. Prior to the Famine <ul><li>80% of Ireland was Catholic </li></ul><ul><li>Many were tenant farmers w/ less than 10 acres </li></ul><ul><li>No cause evictions could occur </li></ul><ul><li>Ireland was among the poorest </li></ul>
  4. 4. Prior to the Famine (cont.) <ul><li>1171 England began political involvement in Ireland’s affairs </li></ul><ul><li>1361 Barred pure-blooded from holding positions of power </li></ul><ul><li>1366 Banned Irish/English marriages and barred English from speaking Gaelic and following Irish customs. </li></ul>
  5. 5. 1562 Elizabethan Wars <ul><li>The English did two things during this “war”. </li></ul><ul><li>1.) Hunted down and killed all Irish found </li></ul><ul><li>2.) Decimated anything that could be used towards human sustenance </li></ul>
  6. 6. Prior to the Famine (cont.) <ul><li>1603 James I ascends the throne and enforces English law </li></ul><ul><li>1608 English seized 4 million acres of the Irish land </li></ul><ul><li>1649 English took more land and turned it over to Englishmen </li></ul><ul><li>1665 – 1702 England passed more penal laws </li></ul>
  7. 7. Catholic Land Ownership <ul><li>1688 – 22% of land held </li></ul><ul><li>1695 – 14% is held </li></ul><ul><li>1714 – 7% owned </li></ul><ul><li>1778 – 5% is all they have left </li></ul>
  8. 8. A New Food <ul><li>1570 – Sir Walter Raleigh brought them from South America </li></ul><ul><li>Damp climate was good for growth </li></ul><ul><li>Became a staple food; especially among the poor </li></ul><ul><li>1840 – 1/3 of Irish were dependant </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Potato Famine Begins <ul><li>NOTE: there are no accurate statistics available </li></ul><ul><li>Estimate #1: at 1 million people died </li></ul><ul><li>Estimate #2: 1 to 2 million people emigrated to U.S., Canada, and England </li></ul>
  10. 10. Phytophthora infestans <ul><li>1845 to 1851 </li></ul><ul><li>Wind carried from England </li></ul><ul><li>1 plant can infect 1000s in days </li></ul><ul><li>Leaves would turn black and curl up </li></ul><ul><li>Potatoes rot in only days </li></ul>
  11. 11. England’s Help <ul><li>Provided corn meal </li></ul><ul><li>Corn meal lacked Vitamin C </li></ul><ul><li>This caused a scurvy outbreak </li></ul>
  12. 12. More than Starvation… <ul><li>Typhus/typhoid fever or “black fever” </li></ul><ul><li>Dysentery </li></ul><ul><li>Cholera </li></ul><ul><li>Relapsing fever </li></ul><ul><li>Famine dropsy </li></ul><ul><li>Hunger Edema </li></ul>
  13. 13. James Cork <ul><li>Lived in Cork, Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>1847 – toured Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrated London News wanted to make British aware of Ireland’s situation </li></ul>
  14. 14. United States Navy <ul><li>1847 </li></ul><ul><li>USS Jamestown & USS Macedonian </li></ul><ul><li>Food donations from Americans </li></ul><ul><li>Because U.S. ignored British government </li></ul>
  15. 15. James Donnelly <ul><li>Prohibit the export of grain </li></ul><ul><li>Continued the soup kitchens longer </li></ul><ul><li>Paid better wages in the workhouses </li></ul><ul><li>Poor-law should have been less restrictive </li></ul><ul><li>Blocked mass evictions </li></ul><ul><li>Willingly treated the famine crisis as a responsibility </li></ul>
  16. 16. Reasons not to help… <ul><li>England’s economic doctrine (Laissez – Faire) </li></ul><ul><li>The Protestant belief in divine Providence </li></ul><ul><li>The prejudice against the Catholic Irish </li></ul>
  17. 17. Three Final Interesting Facts <ul><li>The British press portrayed the Irish as freeloaders. </li></ul><ul><li>Ireland’s population is still only about 60% of what it was prior to the potato famine. </li></ul><ul><li>This story essentially has all of the feel of British prejudice that every story we have read has. </li></ul>
  18. 18. A Few Famine Reminders
  19. 19. Websites <ul><li>http://oll.libertyfund.org/?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=2030&chapter=144909&layout=html&Itemid=27 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.southern-style.com/IrishScottishTimelineofHistory.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761581284/Irish_Potato_Famine.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/famine/index.html </li></ul>
  20. 20. Websites (cont.) <ul><li>http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/pfirishfamine.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/famine_print.html </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/potato_famine.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.irishpotatofamine.org/flash.html </li></ul>

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