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    Potato Famine

    In 1845, disaster struck Ireland's potatoes and population.

    A new type of fungus - Phytophthora infestons - hit the potato crop. The new blight was fast-acting and unpredictable, and it reduced entire potato crops to rotted compost in a short time.

    The blight then goes into remission, only to resurface in 1846, preventing the sowing of that year's crop.

    Finally, in 1847, the disease declines long enough for Ireland's agriculture to get back on its feet... almost.

    Ireland, already ravaged by its first two bouts with the blight, is forced to fight another battle with famine. After this round, Ireland's economy is in shambles and the common people are despondently poor.

    The Laboring class is, as usual, hardest hit by the famine. Between 1840 and 1911, the population of Ireland decreases from 8,200,000 to a staggering 4,400,000 due to disease, starvation and emigration.

    As many as a quarter-million people left Ireland each year, and the famine-related death counts are confirmed at around 750,000, and estimated at about 1,500,000.

    Ireland was also losing money in its foreign affairs; Ireland imported five times the grain that it exported, and much of the grain it produced was sold to the English by profit-hungry landowners.

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