فصل 06

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 06

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CHAPTER SIX

The Great Hunger

In 1795 and 1798 the Irish, with the help of French ships and soldiers, fought the British. But the British won, and many Irishmen - mostly Catholics - were killed. Three years later, in 1801, the Act of Union made Ireland and Britain one country, with one Parliament, in London. For a hundred years after this, Catholic Irishmen (called Nationalists) wanted to change the Act of Union, and Protestants (called Unionists) wanted to keep it.

At this time, in the west of Ireland, many poor Catholics lived on very small farms. They had very little money, and often they had only potatoes to eat. The poor, stony land was not good for many things, but it was good for potatoes. But in the 1840s something killed the potatoes. One day they were fine, and then suddenly they were black and dead. The poor Irish farmers and their families had nothing to eat. Thousands of them died, and many more went on ships to America, to find a new and better life.

Some rich Protestants were happy when the poor farmers started to leave. They wanted to keep cows on their land, so they asked the ships to take the poor people away from Ireland to America. But hundreds of people died on the ships too.

When the Irish people came to America, they lived in big cities, like New York. Every year on St Patrick’s Day thousands of Americans march through New York, and remember how Irish people died, because there was no food. It is the biggest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world, because so many Irish people live in America.

When these poor Irish people died, the Irish language nearly died with them. Most Catholic churchmen spoke English, and the government told Irish teachers to use English in school. Only poor people spoke Irish. ‘Irish is not important,’ the teachers and churchmen said. They thought that speaking English was more modern.

But some people thought that this was wrong. In 1893 a group of Irish writers tried to help the Irish language. ‘Irish is the language of the Irish people,’ they said. ‘Many countries have a language, games, music, and stories that belong to them. We must have those things too.’

A lot of people agreed with them. These people called themselves Sinn Fein, which is Irish for ‘We Ourselves.’ At first, the people in Sinn Fein were only interested in Irish language, music, and games. But later, they began to think about other things too.

‘We don’t want to belong to Britain,’ they said. ‘We want Ireland to be a free country.’

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