In the 1800s, Ireland was essentially a rural country. Its economy depended only on agriculture, and its industrial system was very weak. Therefore, Ireland was very poor compared with its neighbour, England. It is considered most of all as an island belonging to England and integrated by this fact into its economic system. Its population was rural and its economy was late, although this country knew some progress in the last decades. It is in this specific context that in 1845, a terrible famine appeared that had dramatic consequences on the future of the country. But, why did Ireland suffer so much from this famine, while the other European countries that too were affected, were largely spared? What were the direct and indirect causes of the Great famine in this country, and what consequences did it have on the demographic and migratory evolution of this country?
[...] So, labourers represented a group that disappeared more and more in the course of time, and this, until 1850s; whereas the Great Famine established finally a demographic surge for farmers. The rural communities indeed began to have a stronger weight in the country, financially as well as politically. Nevertheless there was always rural violence and conflicts between farmers and landlords. Landlords were so accused of having widely abused their legal rights by forcing the farmers to pay higher and higher rents, to be able to expel all those who could not cope with the situation. [...]
[...] The main destinations were North America and England but one of the problems in this big wave of emigration, was the high mortality rate (more than 5 during the journeys on sea. Indeed, with the insufficient sanitary conditions of boats, often overladen, the diseases quickly propagated. Preventing and avoiding this, was going to be once again very difficult for the country. In 1847, when the famine became more and more important, the government tried to establish a tighter legislation of controls. He imposed the presence of doctor on every boat, but very fast, they were going to be overtaken by the increasing number of patients. [...]
[...] So, the Great famine underlined in Ireland and in other countries, the importance of industrialization, which could compensate to a certain extent in the event of a crisis. Finally, certain historians, accused English people of being partly responsible for this disaster. It is for example the case of the historian John Mitchel, who explains in his book " the last conquest of Ireland " that English people and their dominion contributed to create a context of poverty, misfortune and decline: " The Almighty, indeed sent the potato blight, but the English created the famine They were held as responsible for the gravity of the situation. [...]
[...] The context preceding the Great Famine contributed partially to weaken the country and can be also considered as one of the causes of this crisis. Since 1815, the farming knew disturbances, further to Napoleonic wars. It suffered first of all, of a depression of the prices, after the battle of Waterloo. So as one witness to parliamentary commission said: " It would have been better for the Irish farmer if Bonaparte never lived or never died. The harvests of potatoes were poor. [...]
[...] It counts today, hardly 5 million inhabitants. Finally, the Great Famine was much more than a devastation of the crops. It was a real disaster that transformed durably Ireland, with respect to its economy, its society and its population. Additionally, this famine is responsible for the decline of the Irish language, for some renewal of the religious worship, and for the changes in agriculture. It also fuelled hostility against Great Britain and thus strengthened the movements for national independence. Moreover, the population continued [...]
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