Outline the Causes and course of the Irish Famine of 1845-51.
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Outline the Causes and course of the Irish Famine of 1845-51. Briefly comment on its subsequent impact in Ireland and people of Irish descent.] The Irish Famine, although a pivotal event in the development of modern Ireland, was for decades marginalised or ignored by Irish historians. Between 1846 and 1851 more than a million Irish people, the famine emigrants, sailed to America. At the same time, the Irish potato famine claimed a million lives. Thus the famine had a huge impact on Ireland and it's people. "The famine of 1845-9 is a major dividing-line in the history of modem Ireland. Politically, economically and socially, the period that followed it appears sharply distinct from the period that preceded it." - JC Beckett, The Making of Modern Ireland, Queen's University. There are various reasons for the cause of the Irish famine - many historians have summed up the Great Famine's cause as "Nature caused the potato blight. The British government caused the famine", which can be supported through the policies that the British government maintained towards the Irish population during the famine years. ...read more.
When blight damaged nearly half the crop in 1845, millions of peasants faced a winter of partial famine. Continuous rain until March 1846 provided ideal conditions for the spread of the fungus and the worst conditions for those already succumbing to starvation and disease. Ireland as a nation had very little industrialization throughout its land and remained an agrarian country and society, coming to rely heavily on the potato crop as the main source of food. The poor class in Ireland, often landless and mostly tenant farmers, were the main group that solely survived on the potato crop. When the potato crop disease spread from Europe and eastern U.S. to Ireland, the first hit were the poor class of Ireland whose lively-hood depended on the potato crop. Many British viewed the Irish as a backward nation full of ignorant, lazy and uneducated masses causing many British to view the famine as an act of God or divine intervention that was meant to change the Irish. ...read more.
Peel also ordered the Board of Works to create relief employment to those who were suffering from the famine and provide wages to them as well as structural improvements throughout Ireland, which did help the Irish population and not many died from starvation and disease in the year 1845-1849 population and not many died from starvation and disease in the year 1845-1846. Politically, as well as economically and socially, the famine had a profound influence on later developments. It left in the popular mind a feeling of resentment against the whole system of government in Ireland; and from this time onwards Irish nationalism takes on a new bitterness, particularly among the emigrants in America. The impact on the US of the arrival of waves of Irish who were bitter about the British Government's treatment of the famine (they saw it as English treatment of the famine) ... then to the growth of violent Irish nationalism with the Fenians. However, the famine was a highly significant event and its impacts upon Irish people are still being felt today. ...read more.
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