1ES3 The Great Hunger
The Great Hunger
The text is chapter 28 from a nonfiction book entitled The Great Hunger, written by Cecil Woodham-Smith in 1962. It is the work of reference on the Irish famine.
The principal cause of the Irish famine was the bad relation between landlords and tenants; the former were English, the latter were Irish. This repartition was the result of the Act of Union of 1801. The properties were managed by Middlemen.
Most Irish people lived on potatoes, so when the blight struck, the crops failed. The tenants were evicted. They started dying from hunger and cold.
To the English, the problem was blamed on the rebelliousness of the Irish. There was no pity for them. The first result was a rise in the price of potatoes. But the English feared a rebellion more than anything.
The following year, more people died, mainly from typhus, and other diseases. The English decided to help with grain but it was corn. However, corn needs to be milled; But there were no mills in Ireland, so the corn rotted.
The next step was to help them by providing work. A program of public welfare works. However, few structures were needed. So, they built roads from nowhere to nowhere. This exhausted the Irish, and diseases spread, mainly diarrhea. That is precisely when the English decided to open soup kitchens.
The immigration started at that time, mainly to England. So, the English sent them freely to Canada. But they traveled in the stern.
There was a war of independence in 1848, but it lasted two hours, and opposed 6 police officers to 8 insurgents.
Immigration to the USA only really became important after the Great famine. Irish wards were created in Boston, Mass., for instance. The jobs they would do were: prostitutes, plucking chicken, lampooners, laying tracks…
The Great Irish Famine had consequences: Ireland and England became even, bitterer enemies. During the World Wars, Ireland stayed out of the conflicts. The IRA only disarmed three years ago.