When European discovered the potato in the Americas, they had found a solution to their growing problem of feeding an ever-rising population. Especially the poorer regions of Europe, Prussia and Ireland, embraced the potato as a food crop. Potatoes provided a nutritious staple with limited work and even in poor soil. During the Napoleonic Wars (1804-1815), Irish farms provided supplies to the British army and gave Ireland one of the healthiest populations. Ireland was an exporter of foodstuff, especially grain. The northern region of Ulster provided flax and linen. Faced with the potato blight and the danger of food shortages, the Sir Robert Peel government abolished the Corn Law’s restrictions on grain imports. Irish crops no longer enjoyed a favorable position.

Image: Robert Warthmüller, Der König überall, 1886, Deutsches Historisches Museum