Title

HUNGER ON THE ISLES: THE POTATO FAMINE THAT LEFT IRELAND STARVING FOR CONTROL AND SCOTLAND SUFFERING IN THE SHADOWS

Presenter Information

Tori Ainsworth

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

It sounds almost comical to say that a potato altered the course of history. For one country, however, that statement has become an undisputed fact. The Great Potato Famine gave birth to modern Irish nationalism and proved to be a crucial rallying point during the Irish fight for independence. During this period of hunger, Scotland experienced a similar famine that failed to produce the same nationalistic sentiments from its people. Drawing from firsthand accounts such as famine diaries and newspaper articles, as well as other scholarly sources, this paper examines what factors led to the divergent paths of Ireland and Scotland following their respective famines. My research suggests that the history of British exploitation, based on religious differences and manifested in economic practices, left Ireland exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of the famine and spurred the Irish independence movement. Scottish nationalism, however, focused merely on increased autonomy rather than complete independence from Britain because the effects of the famine were minimized by Scotland’s strong religious ties to England. This paper reveals the importance of religion in solidifying national identity and transcending ethnic boundaries to sustain multinational states.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 15th, 9:00 AM Apr 15th, 9:20 AM

HUNGER ON THE ISLES: THE POTATO FAMINE THAT LEFT IRELAND STARVING FOR CONTROL AND SCOTLAND SUFFERING IN THE SHADOWS

UC 326

It sounds almost comical to say that a potato altered the course of history. For one country, however, that statement has become an undisputed fact. The Great Potato Famine gave birth to modern Irish nationalism and proved to be a crucial rallying point during the Irish fight for independence. During this period of hunger, Scotland experienced a similar famine that failed to produce the same nationalistic sentiments from its people. Drawing from firsthand accounts such as famine diaries and newspaper articles, as well as other scholarly sources, this paper examines what factors led to the divergent paths of Ireland and Scotland following their respective famines. My research suggests that the history of British exploitation, based on religious differences and manifested in economic practices, left Ireland exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of the famine and spurred the Irish independence movement. Scottish nationalism, however, focused merely on increased autonomy rather than complete independence from Britain because the effects of the famine were minimized by Scotland’s strong religious ties to England. This paper reveals the importance of religion in solidifying national identity and transcending ethnic boundaries to sustain multinational states.