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SOCI 1P80 (42)

The Irish

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Brock University
Professor Cottrel

Irish Americans The Irish came to the New World as early as Columbus The wave of newcomers would later swell to the extent that people of Irish descent in the United States today outnumber those living in Ireland by three to one The Irish Catholics were an oppressed ethnic group in their native homeland as well as in their adopted homeland the United States In the 1640s when Oliver Cromwells English troops defeated the army of Charles Stuart King of England Scotland and Ireland they forced thousand of Irish Catholics off the land to which they had legal title executed thousands more and sent others to live in the bleak infertile western territories of Ireland Many more were transported as slaves to Virginia In the 1690s the discriminatory Penal Laws were enacted by the British Parliament These laws reduced the Catholics a numerical majority about 75 percent in Ireland to the status of minority group At the beginning of the nineteenth century Ireland was the most densely populated country in Europea situation that would soon change In the 1820s the first potato crop failure in Ireland occurred and starvation followed By the 1840s a much more devastating form of potato blight destroyed almost half of the basic subsistence food crop of the Irish Catholics Many saw no choice but to abandon their country and move to the United States This massive movement of people has been
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