Irish History - Independence and Partition
The Great Hunger
Narrated by Liam Neeson. 175 years ago Europe was struck by a devastating famine. The food crisis was triggered when a deadly fungus escaped from South America and destroyed the potato crops. 100,000 people died of starvation and disease in France, Belgium, Holland, Scotland and the Kingdom of Prussia.
In Ireland, where half the population relied on the potato as their main source of food, the impact was even more extreme. One million people died and between 1845 and 1855, two million emigrated. Today Ireland is the only country in the western world with a population lower than it had in the 1840s. The famine had broader repercussions. It caused the fall of the British government led by Robert Peel in 1846, was a catalyst for the revolutions that rocked Europe in 1848 and became the root for the global Irish Diaspora that today numbers 70,000,000 across the world.