The Irish potato famine originated in a potato blight that struck in 1845. Potatoes were the dietary foundation for most Irish families. For five years, people hoped that the blight would end but were disappointed when crops continued to be ruined. Politicians did not offer effective relief. Queen Victoria was empathetic but powerless to force Parliament to aid the Irish farmers. Landlords often acted cruelly to tenants, evicting them because they could not pay rent. As a result, many Irish died, emigrated, or participated in hostile actions against authorities. Relief groups provided some food, funds, and comfort to famine victims.
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