How could this be? At that time the Irish Catholics (80% of the total population) were considered by the English Protestant-oriented government as an inferior race (or ethnic group). The Irish Catholics were prohibited from owning or leasing land, and voting or holding office; despite a few reforms around 1830. They were forced into almost an indentured servitude status. They were only allowed to rent very small plots of land. Potatoes were grown as they were the only crop abundant enough to feed the renter’s family. When the potato crop failed so completely, the Irish had no hope left.
Other countries offered aid to the starving Irish people. The Turks offered money directly to the Irish farmers to relieve the suffering, but Queen Victoria felt that it was an amount (which was greater than the British government provided) that would embarrass
the crown and denied its use. The Turks did secretly ship boatloads of food to Ireland but it was too late to save a majority of the poor. Even some Native American Tribes, who had starved during their forced migration to Oklahoma a decade earlier, sent a little money to help the Irish.
As a result, 750,000 Irish died and two million emigrated elsewhere. But what comes around goes around. Today Ireland’s economy is booming. The 2010 Human Development Index ranks all U. N. member countries according to the level of human well being; Ireland is ranked #5 in the world, Britain is ranked #26. This spread is not a fluke and is estimated to continue for the next 20 years.