Beginning in 1845 and lasting for 6 years the potato famine killed over a million men, women and children in Ireland, and calls another million to flee the country. Ireland and the mid 1800s was an agricultural nation populated by 8 million persons who were among the poorest people in the western world, a British survey in 1835, found half of the royal families in Ireland living in single room, windowless mud cabins that didn't have chimneys. Up to a dozen persons lived inside a cab and sleeping in straw on the bare ground, sharing the place with a family's pig and chickens. The average tenant farmer lived at a subsistence level on less than ten acres by law and improvements they made such as building a stone house, became the property of the landlord, thus there was never any incentive to upgrade their living conditions, landless laborers often rented small fertilized potato plots from farmers with a portion of their potato harm is given up as payment of rent. Farmers and laborers alike lived in a state of permanent insecurity with the possibility always looming that they might be thrown off their plot of land. Both groups were dependent on the potato for their existence. About 1590 potatoes were introduced to Ireland, farmers quickly discovered they thrived in the country's cool moist soil with very little labor. And by 1800, the potato had become the staple crop in the porous regions, with more than 3 million Irish peasants, subsisting solely on the vegetable. The famine began quite mysteriously in September, 1845, leaves on potato plants suddenly turned black and curled and then rotted, seemingly the result of a falls that had wafted across the fields of Ireland. The cause was actually an airborne fungus, originally transported in the holds of ships traveling from North America to England. The blight spread through the fields is fungal spores settled on the leaves of healthy potato plants, multiplied, and were carried in the millions by cool breezes surrounding the plants. The attack plants fermented while providing the nourishment the fungus needed to live, emitting a nauseous stench as they blackened and withered in front of the disbelieving eyes of the Irish peasants. There had been crop failures in the past due to weather another diseases that the strange new failure was unlike anything ever seen, the Iverson the countryside began to live off wild BlackBerries 8 nettles turnips old cabbage leaves, edible seaweed shellfish roots, even green grass, they sold their livestock, palmed everything they owned, including their clothing to pay the rent to avoid certain eviction, and then bought what little food they could with any leftover money. Making matters worse the winner of 1846 and 1847 were the worst in living memory as one blizzard after another buried homes and snow up to their roots. Many people died not from hunger, but from associated diseases, like typhus dysentery, fever, and dropsy in an air when doctors were unable to provide any cure. Many penniless tenants were thrown into jail. Others were sent overseas to British North America, landlords would make phony promises of money, food, and clothing, then pack half naked people, and overcrowded British sailing ships, poorly built and often unseaworthy the beam known as coffin ships. And so the great famine was a period of starvation disease and mass emigration between 1845 and 1852. During which the population of Ireland was reduced by 20 to 25%. Approximately 1 million of the population died in a million more emigrated from Ireland shores. The impact of Irish culture is still felt today.