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Word Count: 780
One hundred and fifty three years ago in the year of 1845 one of the greatest human ecological disasters in the history of the world began in Ireland In the early 1800s the potato was an extremely important part of the diet of the Irish people The potato was presumably a gift from the New World and probably reached Ireland via Spain around 1590 It was the most valuable crop in the country People depended on the potato for a source of food and income A large quantity of potatoes could be grown on a relatively small plot making it possible to feed many with only a small section of land The potato crop produced more food per acre then wheat and could also be sold The Irish economy was thriving as the 19th century rolled on due primarily to the English who were controlling Ireland at the time The English were the primary consumer of Irish agricultural products allowing the Irish economy to prosper But as is the case with every period of prosperity a severe bust was looming in the future By 1841 the population of Ireland had increased from approximately 5 million in 1800 to near 8 million Over two-thirds of the Irish people were dependent on agriculture as a source of income The other one-third were in industry This business was not as prosperous because the Irish industrial system could not compete with that of the British The Irish people were careless in establishing industry They did not have any economic strategies products or markets to compete with the rest of the world They also did not have the resources to support economic growth This would prove costly for when the main agricultural crop was destroyed the Irish had nothing to fall back on The famine was first noted on September 9 1845 when a fungus disease was discovered to be destroying the potato crop
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