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Irish potato famine

In the 19th century, the potato was an indis­pensable food. In 1845, blight (a para­sitical mould) con­tam­inated potato crops, leading to a famine with con­sid­erable loss of life in Ireland, where almost a million people died over the course of a decade.

At the same time, the English decided to expel the peasants from their land because they were no longer able to pay their land taxes. The famine and the expul­sions fuelled a massive wave of Irish emig­ration, with around two million people leaving the island, mostly for the United States and Canada.

The potato blight-​​induced famine also impacted Northern Europe as a whole.

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