Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 Themes

Susan Campbell Bartoletti
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Black Potatoes.
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Culture in Chaos

In 1690, Protestant King William of Orange defeated the Irish at the Boyne River and enacted "Penal Laws," which contained a clause that prohibited the Irish from giving their children a Catholic education. Nevertheless, by 1800, Ireland was 80 percent Catholic. The British established a National School system in 1831. It provided free primary education but prohibited use of the Irish language--and replaced Irish with British history. Most children attended "hedge schools," named so because on nice days, school was conducted on the shady side of hedges. A number of the National Schools had headmasters who followed the hedge school curriculum and didn't bother informing the Board of Education.

In less than five years, during the famine, Ireland lost over a quarter of its population, but probably twice as many emigrated as died from starvation and disease. During a single eight-day period in County Cork in 1851, eleven ships sailed for...

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This section contains 1,862 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1850 Study Guide
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