The early crop, known as the new potatoes was lifted in late August and the generalcrop, called old potatoes, was lifted in October. They provided protein, carbohydrates,and vitamins riboflavin, niacin and vitamin C. The potatoes from the previous year normally lasted through the beginning of summer, and then there was a shortage for about two months. This period was referred to as “the hunger” by the locals”. (7)Imagine, if you will, if every man, woman and child in the state of Idaho died either fromhunger or from some opportunistic disease. The population of Idaho today is close to 1.6million. This number is equal to a conservative estimate of the people who died or left on“coffin ships” during the famine years. Coffin ships are the name given to the ships that sailedfrom Ireland to North America during, and just after the famine years, in which over cramped,diseased conditions led to the deaths of thousands of emigrants. It is generally agreed byhistorians that around one million men, women and children died and another one, millionemigrated between the years 1841 and 1851. Although the famine was caused by blight, itseffects were magnified by a British government who stood by and allowed it to happen withoutadequate aid to the starving people across the Irish Sea.According to an article in the
Journal of the Irish Society for Archives
, “Times were verytough for the Irish, and by all accounts, its people were the poorest in Europe”. ( ). After hundreds of years of British occupation, the land was owned by the English aristocracy. Theywere known as absentee landlords, as they only visited Ireland once or twice a year and rentedtheir farm holdings to Protestants who had come to Ireland, or were “settled” there in thesixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These Protestants in turn rented to landless peasants, whoreceived basic food and shelter, but had to pay for these essentials. If they did not pay rent, theycould be evicted at anytime.