Today in History: Potatoes first introduced to England

There were other somewhat important things that happened today such as the official end of the Cold War being announced by Gorbechev and Bush and the first human heart transplant but I think we can all agree that potatoes are probably a bigger part of our daily lives.

The year was 1586

https://www.veggieprezi.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170731_214129-555x688.jpg source

It's hard to imagine this being the case, but England, and the rest of Europe either didn't have potatoes at all or were unaware they were growing under their feet. I'm pretty sure it was the first thing.

They were brought back to England by an astronomer, mathematician, translator, and all around scholar named Sir Thomas Harriot. Just to show that not much has changed about how humans attribute celebrity he was a pioneer in all of those fields and made tremendous advancements in the world of academe... He was also the first person to ever make a somewhat accurate drawing of the moon months before Galileo... so what do we remember him for? Potatoes!

76e7833a39d2757a9e9565839a9e0341.jpg source he wouldn't be known as "Bron" until G.O.T. was released many years later

It's a little embarrassing for the English that Spain had "discovered" the potato nearly 50 years prior and England wasn't even aware of the fact that this had happened. This could have a lot to do with the fact the when the potato first arrived in Spain it was first declared poisonous and later the church was against its consumption (they were pretty religiously sensitive back in 16th century Spain.)

One would presume that something as ubiquitous as the potato is at British dinner-tables would dictate that the kids would at least get a day off school to shoot off some fireworks (or potato canons!) but believe it or not, there are almost no mentions of this achievement at all. It's a bit insulting if you ask me. Dude goes to all that work to bring potatoes all the way back from Colombia, it immediately takes off as a major part of pretty much everyone's diet, and they are just like, "yeah thanks whatever... why don't you go draw some moon pictures or something..."

To be fair there is a lot of grey area about who should really be attributed with introducing the potato to England and some potato history nerds (and yes there really are potato historical societies out there) will argue that it was actually a number of other people but for me anyway, it doesn't really matter - I'm just happy the potato exists and will grow in pretty much any environment.

download.jpg source

Happy potato day to all my friends in the U.K., now let's go get some french fries!


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  • @aur

    The biggest fact about potatoes was Ireland's potato famine. When the British government induced famine in Ireland, attempting to carry out genocide through starvation. As people were starving in Ireland, their government (controlled by Britain) was exporting mass amounts of food without any concern for the people they were supposed to represent.

    "Throughout the entire period of the Famine, Ireland was exporting enormous quantities of food. In the magazine History Ireland (1997, issue 5, pp. 32โ€“36), Christine Kinealy, a Great Hunger scholar, lecturer, and Drew University professor, relates her findings: Almost 4,000 vessels carried food from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, and London during 1847, when 400,000 Irish men, women, and children died of starvation and related diseases. She also writes that Irish exports of calves, livestock (except pigs), bacon, and ham actually increased during the Famine. This food was shipped from the most famine-stricken parts of Ireland: Ballina, Ballyshannon, Bantry, Dingle, Killala, Kilrush, Limerick, Sligo, Tralee, and Westport. A wide variety of commodities left Ireland during 1847, including peas, beans, onions, rabbits, salmon, oysters, herring, lard, honey, tongues, animal skins, rags, shoes, soap, glue, and seed."

  • @belemo

    I bet early farmers already ate potatoes but hadn't given it a name until the Game of thrones guy finally did. Come to think about it, did the potato asociation speculate who gave it the name? And then we have to find out when tomato came to existence and flag one of them for plagiarism ๐Ÿ˜‘

  • @shuvo35

    Thanks for review

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  • @kingscrown

    ij scared of this potatoe guy

  • @steemitbloggers

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  • @slobberchops

    he wouldn't be known as "Bron" until G.O.T. was released many years later

    Oh yeah, that's Bron.

    French Fries?? It's chips I'll have you know m'lad here!

  • @hafizullah

    Happy Potato Day!

  • @free-reign

    Mmmm I'll have an order of those fries!

    I think the Spanish Inquisition was still a thing in the 16th century, so their religious negativity for the potato and Spain's declaring it poisonous "fits." Was it the church that also declared tomatoes to be poisonous? Someone did.

  • @jaynie

    Potatoes definitely take priority!!! haha! And as for the whole "down play" or disregard to the magnitude of the potato and its "presenter"... just take a look at how the Enlish reacted to South Africa winning the rugby world cup... hehehehe

  • @wales

    I love spuds in all shapes and sizes fried, boiled and any other way too..

  • @brittandjosie

    Hahahaha and that the day after SPUD where the potato is in the leading role, Have a great day Gr from Holland

  • @iamraincrystal

    Amazing! Potatoes really are that popular. My daughter loves fries. I just enjoy it with her. I totally enjoyed reading this post ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š !trdo

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  • @carolinacardoza

    I didn't know many of those things, and in the comments I also found things I didn't know. The church has participated in everything, even in the wars, there is still much to tell, good post

  • @marblely

    The potato is so cute! Thank you for the history. I didnโ€™t know that for sure. We always learn something new on Steem :) Ooo and you must add #googlyeyes to your tags and join the @googlyeyesโ€™ contest for Mr. Potato!

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  • @hlezama

    Interesting. Fun read

  • @joanstewart

    Than all along... I got that one wrong, I thought is was the Irish LOL....

    Potato guns, we had awesome little toys when we were young, jamming a potato into the exhaust of a car (yup when we were young) fun memories, thanks for interesting read @gooddream and Happy Potato Day!

  • @redheadpei

    Interesting facts. I thought the potato was eaten since the beginning of time. ๐Ÿ˜‚ They certainly are a food staple today.

  • @wonderwop

    I love me some fries @gooddream ๐Ÿ’•

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  • @birdsinparadise

    Love this @gooddream! Where would we be without the good old potato! Hard to believe this guy doesn't get an annual tribute for his discovery, I know my family would certainly raise a cheer for him :)

  • @ireenchew

    Potato Day ? Now that is a first time I've ever herd of it.. But yes, thank goodness we have potatoes.. it's in so many of our cuisine here in Asia

  • @justclickindiva

    Thanks for your post. Some interesting facts about the potatoe that I didn't know. And a little bit of history refresher to go alone with it. Good job.

    Have a great day, and take care.

  • @bozz

    I don't think I would want to live in a place that had never heard of the potato. That is just a crying shame. I would have thought it had been introduced the other way actually. It is just so synonymous with certain areas that it certainly seems like it would have been the English that introduced it to Colombia. Very cool post though. Nice information!

  • @dswigle

    Haha! It's a staple in this house! Who doesn't love french fries, chips, pomme frites or whatever you want to call those delicately fried mouthfuls of deliciousness??

    In moderation, of course.

    Dude goes to all that work to bring potatoes all the way back from Colombia, it immediately takes off as a major part of pretty much everyone's diet, and they are just like, "yeah thanks whatever... why don't you go draw some moon pictures or something..."

    OMG! Yes! So much for his status. Perhaps he should have sketched a picture of a potato?

    Congrats on being selected for the Rally! Have a great day~!!

    !tip .20

  • @wwwiebe

    That's really kinda neat. I love learning facts such as thing, particularly for something as universal as the potato(e). It's a staple for my kids diet. Sometimes I think they'd starve if it wasn't for the french fry.

  • @papilloncharity

    Ha! I agree with Lady @joanstewart, as teacher that loved to cane me often found a potato stuck into the exhaust of his car. Of course it wasn't me Lol Indeed a blemish on the English record!

  • @blueeyes8960

    Happy Potato Day - love me some potatoes. I had someone tell me over the weekend that baked carrot fries are just as good as baked french fries - I'm going to have to reserve judgment on that until I can try it myself, lol.

  • @blockurator

    Ha ha this was great. I guess it's not something many of us think about. Certainly not me. But the potato is a staple in the diet of many cultures. I wonder when it came to America. Probably with the pilgrims.

  • @jayna

    Wonderful history lesson on potatoes, @gooddream! I really enjoyed reading this. Interestingly enough. I heard today that we are having a potato shortage in the U.S. I think the spring and summer were really rough with wildly varying amounts of rain that affected both planting and harvesting.

    I was so interested to read in your post about the notion that potatoes have not always been around. At least not for all populations. And now I need to go look up the potato famine!

  • @owasco

    hahaha. You're funny AND informative. That's my kind of learning.

  • @janton

    Haha! very cool and interesting post gooddream! Very deserving of the Rally vote too, well done!

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