Irish American History Timeline
In 2002, New York City unveiled The Irish Hunger Memorial commemorating the many people who suffered due to the potato famine. An estimated half million Irish left for America, on so-called "coffin ships" which were overloaded, filthy, and resulted in a number of deaths on-board from disease. Many of the individuals who survived the voyage began their new lives in New York City.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy elected President. He is the great-grandson of Patrick Kennedy an Irish immigrant who came to the U.S. as a laborer in 1848.
William R. Grace becomes New York City's first Irish-Catholic Mayor. Political clout leads to increased opportunities for the Irish.
A mysterious blight affects the potato crops, causing them to rot. The potato was the primary food source for more than 3 million impoverished Irish. The blight was later found to be a fungus.
The massive Erie Canal, which connects the New York’s Hudson River to Lake Erie is completed, due in large measure to the backbreaking work of Irish immigrants who were paid a dollar a day.
This year began 18 years of independence of the Irish Parliament. The Irish Parliament was corrupt but initially did try and increase prosperity through several methods, which was successful in various parts of Ireland.
By this time sever religious laws known as "penal laws" which began in 1691 had great impact. The amount of land owned by Irish Roman Catholics was minimized and additional laws were enacted to trivialize Roman Catholic influence.
Wealthy Irishman Charles Carroll immigrates to North America; his descendent, another Charles Carroll, signed the Declaration of Independence.
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