The role and importance of potato in history

South America[ edit ] Cultivation of potatoes in South America may go back 10, years, [3] yet the tubers do not preserve well in the archaeological record, and there are problems with exact identification of those that are found. The fact that the Altiplanos chose to represent the potato in their vessels shows they had great social significance to the people there.

The role and importance of potato in history

English and Anglo-Irish families owned most of the land, and most Irish Catholics were relegated to work as tenant farmers forced to pay rent to the landowners.


Great Hunger Begins When the crops began to fail inas a result of P. Still, these changes failed to offset the growing problem of the potato blight.

With many tenant farmers unable to produce sufficient food for their own consumption, and the costs of other supplies rising, thousands died from starvation, and hundreds of thousands more from disease caused by malnutrition.

Complicating matters further, historians have since concluded, was that Ireland continued to export large quantities of food, primarily to Great Britain, during the blight.

In cases such as livestock and butter, research suggests that exports may have actually increased during the Potato Famine. In alone, records indicate that commodities such as peas, beans, rabbits, fish and honey continued to be exported from Ireland, even as the Great Hunger ravaged the countryside.

By then, the damage was done. Although estimates vary, it is believed as many as 1 million Irish men, women and children perished during the Famine, and another 1 million emigrated from the island to escape poverty and starvation, with many landing in various cities throughout North America and Great Britain.

However, the significance of the Potato Famine or, in the Irish language, An Gorta Mor in Irish history, and its contribution to the Irish diaspora of the 19th and 20th centuries, is beyond doubt. Tony Blairduring his time as British Prime Minister, issued a statement in offering a formal apology to Ireland for the U.

Irish Hunger Memorials In recent years, cities to which the Irish ultimately emigrated during and in the decades after the event have offered various commemorations to the lives lost. In addition, Glasgow Celtic FC, a soccer team based in Scotland that was founded by Irish immigrants, many of whom were brought to the country as a result of the effects of the Potato Famine, has included a commemorative patch on its uniform—most recently on September 30, —to honor the victims of the Great Hunger.

A Great Hunger Museum has been established at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut as a resource for those seeking information on the Potato Famine and its impact, as well as for researchers hoping to explore the event and its aftermath.

What was the Irish potato famine? How was Queen Victoria involved, how many people died and when did it happen?Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the 19th century was the potato, which had three major advantages over other foods for the consumer: its lower rate of spoilage, its bulk (which easily satisfied hunger) and its cheapness.

The potato flower in Louis XVI’s buttonhole, a species that had crossed the Atlantic from Peru, was both an emblem of the Columbian Exchange and one of its most important aspects.

Europe’s imperial glory is only a distant memory. But the potato continues to thrive in Ireland and the world as a whole, expanding its consumption empire by the day. Despite the important role the potato was later to play in Irish history, we still don’t know how the potato reached our shores.

Aug 06,  · Potatoes. History Geographic Production Seasonal Production However, the potato was already an American crop; documentation of its cultivation dates back to early colonists.

The importance of potatoes in U.S.


agriculture has been documented since when USDA first included them in crop production statistics. . In the s a major outbreak of potato blight, a plant disease, swept through Europe, wiping out the potato crop in many countries.

The role and importance of potato in history

The Irish working class lived largely on potatoes and when the blight reached Ireland, their main staple food disappeared. Destroying the statue was a crime against art, not history: Drake almost certainly did not introduce the potato to Europe.

And even if he had, most of the credit for the potato surely belongs to the Andean peoples who domesticated it.

How the Potato Changed the World | History | Smithsonian