Homework Help

What was one reason for the mass migration of many Irish to North America in the 19th...

user profile pic

jorgecity | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 30, 2013 at 11:36 PM via web

dislike -1 like

What was one reason for the mass migration of many Irish to North America in the 19th century?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 30, 2013 at 11:50 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

The main reason why so many people from Ireland migrated to North America during the 19th century was the event that is commonly known as the Irish Potato Famine.  This was an event that began in 1845 and is commonly said to have ended in 1852.

At this time in Ireland, the peasantry was terribly poor.  Most of the peasants subsisted largely on potatoes.  These rural poor made up about half of the entire population of Ireland.  In 1845, a disease hit the Irish potato fields.  The disease killed large portions of the potato crop.  Then it kept coming back.  This meant that Irish peasants had to either leave the land or starve to death.  Huge numbers of them left Ireland and migrated to North America. 

Thus, the potato famine was the biggest reason for this migration.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes