The Irish Potato Famine was a famine in Ireland that happened from around the years 1845-1855. The famine was caused by a fungus that killed potato tubers. While in many countries, this would not have caused as severe panic, but Ireland’s main crop was potatoes and many families relied on it as their main meal. Many people began to starve, so many people decided to leave for America.There are no clear leaders of the migration. The event was not organized or planned, and many people were trying to get out of their home country as quickly as they could.While the event was not a forced migration, the push factors to leave the country were very strong. One reason to leave Ireland was, quite obviously, the massive famine, and Britain, who had control over Ireland at the time, failing to help. The country was not industrialized, so farmers who were without work had no way to find a new source of income.The pull factor towards America was that it was going through the Industrial Revolution, making it an ideal place to find jobs. Since jobs in factories required little to no training and no previous education, immigrants from Ireland viewed them as opportunities for income. The trip to America was dangerous and grueling. As boats straight to America were too expensive for the broke and starving Irish, they instead took lumer ships to Canada and the cross the border into Maine and New England. The conditions on these boats were terrible. Since they were cargo ships and not meant for passengers, there was no comfort. Many people died before making it to Canada. Once finally arriving in America, many of the immigrants settled in Boston, facing the stigma of being an Irish immigrant. The citizens viewed them as a strain on the city’s resources. The Irish, many of whom were illiterate and spoke no English, were forced to take the lower paying jobs with more intensive labor. In the mid 1800’s, the population was at about 8,000,000 before the famine, and about 2 million died or left during the famine. This means that the population decreased by about a fourth in just 10 years.The modern day results of this mass immigration are easy to see by looking at the ancestors of many U.S. citizens. About 11% of the population is of Irish descent, and most people can trace their family’s arrival to the Potato Famine.
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