Here are the answers to the questions I asked you to find out about potatoes…
- The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C. In 1536 Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru, discovered the flavours of the potato, and carried them to Europe.
- Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have introduced potatoes to Ireland in 1589 on the 40,000 acres of land near Cork. It took nearly 40 years for the potato to spread to the rest of Europe. However, some historians believe that potatoes had already been introduced to England by Spanish explorers. Sir Walter Raleigh was a favourite courtier of Queen Elizabeth I.
- In the 1800s more than 3 million Irish peasants lived on a diet of mainly potatoes. But between 1845-1852 Ireland suffered a great famine. One of the main causes was a potato disease known as potato blight which killed the potato plants. The shortage of potatoes led to the death of around 1 million people who were dependent on them as a food source.
- Potatoes are used in many different foods and drinks, I’m sure you thought of lots! (I thought of quite a few, including crisps, chips and vodka)
Finally, some scientists say that humans can survive on just potatoes (chips don’t count!) and milk!