Why Did the Irish Only Eat Potatoes?

why did the irish only eat potatoes

During the Famine in Ireland, the people did not have enough food and the only thing they could eat was potatoes. The potatoes had been infected with Phytophthora infestans and it caused the late blight. This caused them to starve.

Phytophthora infestans causes late blight in potatoes

Phytophthora infestans is a pathogen that causes late blight in potatoes. It is caused by an oomycete that makes spores that are water-borne. These spores follow stems and stolons into the soil, and infection occurs. The spores can survive in soil for years, and if they contaminate the tubers, it can lead to disease.

Late blight is a very severe disease, and can rapidly destroy an entire potato field. To avoid late blight, crop rotation and good air movement are important. These can help reduce the moisture in the crop canopy. The shape of the field also affects the ease of fungicide application. If the tubers are not properly treated, a potato plant can be destroyed within a day.

The early 1990s were a time of widespread outbreaks of Phytophthora infestans. The disease was caused by three genotypes: US-1, US-6, and US-8. In addition to these genotypes, PE-3 appeared in 1997.

A recent study examined the diversity of Phytophthora infestans. Researchers looked at collections from 1997 to 2013. They found that each of the genotypes had different traits. They also found that there were several clonal lineages. The most common were MLG221 and MLG179.

Cannibalism in Ireland

During the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s, cannibalism was a problem. One million people died, including many lower classes. It’s one of the darkest things to happen in human history. It’s also one of the more obscure topics in the Irish context.

Cannibalism in Ireland was reported, but it wasn’t as widespread as the Connelly case. The Connelly case is one of the few that’s been conclusively proven.

According to Greek geographer Strabo, the Irish were known to consume dead people. He wrote about it in his book Geography.

The practice was also mentioned by Matthew Arnold, who wrote On the Study of Celtic Literature. He also complained that the Irish are “full of blarney” and feathery.

In the 15th century, Scottish cannibal Sawney Beane lived in a cave. He was married to an Edinburgh girl. He also lived in Galloway, Scotland, which was fairly inhospitable. He had to travel a long way to get a decent place to stay.

Poverty in Ireland before the famine

During the Great Famine of 1845-50, more than one million people died. This was a major disaster for Ireland. It exposed the limitations of financial and social arrangements. It also gave the opportunity for London politicians to implement assimilationist policies.

In the immediate run up to the Famine, poverty was widespread. About six percent of the Irish population was living in poverty. There was also a large number of beggars. This was due to a large number of families not having enough to feed their children.

Before the Famine, Ireland had ample food resources. It exported large quantities of grain crops to England. However, the potato blight caused crop failure for three consecutive years. These two factors drove families further into poverty. The result was mass emigration from Ireland. Most Irish became city dwellers in America.

The main crop produced on Irish farmlands was potato. These potatoes need little maintenance. They are susceptible to a water mold disease called late blight. The disease caused a large number of deaths. It also led to the collapse of the Irish textile industries.

British Corn Laws

During the 18th and 19th centuries, British Corn Laws protected local grain farmers from foreign competition. As a result, the price of wheat was kept high. As a result, most people grew little “corn” in the American sense.

After the Napoleonic Wars, food prices were expected to fall. When trade with Europe started up again, it was estimated that corn would be available. However, the prices of foreign grain were high, and it made buying from abroad unaffordable.

During the 18th century, Britain was in dire economic conditions, and trade with Europe was expected to boost its economy. Economists believed that free trade would increase employment and improve international relations.

The main motivation behind the Corn Laws was the financial interests of British landowners. These landowners dominated Parliament. They also feared that wages of factory workers would increase. The high price of bread made people spend less on necessities, such as meat, as they could not afford to buy them.