Irish Famine In The 19th Century

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In the mid-19th century, a famine hit Ireland that forced many Irish to leave their homes and emigrate to America in hopes of rebuilding their lives and rising out of their impoverished and starving state. Many Irish emigrated to the eastern part of the United States, specifically to New York. The Irish immigrants did not have an easy life in New York because of anti - Irish sentiment and their inability to assimilate into American culture. The most common place in New York where the Irish lived was an area in the Sixth Ward District called Five Points. The immigrants piled into Five Points, which was notorious for being full of poverty, crime, corruption, and desperation. Only the most impoverished people lived here because it was infested …show more content…
The potato crop had become the staple diet of Ireland by the 18th century, and in the 19th century, the rural population of Ireland was growing rapidly. The potato was hardy, dense, nutritious, and relatively easy to grow in Irish soil. By the 1840s, nearly half of the Irish population depended exclusively on the potato for their diet, and the rest of the Irish population also consumed it in large quantities. In 1845, the Irish population expected an unusually productive harvest because the weather had been favorable, but instead, the potato crop rotted and failed because it was taken over by late blight. Late blight is a disease of potato and tomato plants that is caused by water mold, and it destroys the leaves and edible roots of the potato plant. In the year of 1845, 50% of potatoes were lost. The famine continued to get worse in the following years and went on until 1849. By then, around 2 million people had left the country, which represented 25% of the population. Many of the Irish who left made their way to America’s Atlantic seaboard, and 75% of Irish coming into America went to New …show more content…
The Five Points area was infested with mosquitos, overcrowded, had horrible sanitation, and was filled with disease. The new immigrants were starving and impoverished so they settled into the cheapest and most run down places they could find. Landowners constructed large, multiple - family, brick tenements for the immigrants and extreme poor to live in, which were well below modern standards of living. The buildings were normally four to five stories and were intended to hold around eight to ten families, but most of them ended up holding around twenty families. The inhabitants gave the tenements names such as “Gates of Hell.” However, compared to the previous conditions they were living in in Ireland, some Five Pointers may have perceived the tenements as

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