Ireland: Europe’s Appendix

Ireland: Europe’s Appendix

There are many unsolved mysteries in the universe. How do you use the three seashells? How does a bicycle stay upright when you’re
riding it? What wouldn’t Meat Loaf do for love? And then there are mysteries that people continue
to think are mysteries, even though actually know the answer. What was in Marcellus Wallace’s briefcase? Diamonds. What? The writers have said that many times, they
just thought it would be cooler not to show them – but it was diamonds. Huh, okay… What does the appendix do? That one’s a bit more complicated, let me
uhm… check your phone. C’mon, Trillions?! Top of the mornin’ to ya my name is- Hey
hey, hey! Stop…. Take it off. Now do it normally. Ireland – the reason many of you probably
still have a hangover. Or at least, the excuse you gave yourself
in order to reinforce a negative stereotype. Kinda like what I just did. You probably told yourself that it’s okay
because you’re one-sixteenth Irish or something. But a lot of you actually are – how did that
happen? Before the Romans, there were the Celts who
arrived around 400 BC give or take… Who were before the Celts? Someone, but we have to start somewhere, alright. The Celts mixed cultures with the previous
inhabitants and eventually created Gaelic culture, with their pagans and druids and
lucky charms. This is my only Lucky Charms reference, I
promise. The Romans arrived in Britannia in 43 AD,
when Ireland was still called Hibernia. But the first significant part of our story
doesn’t happen until 432, when St. Patrick arrived. This is when “history” starts for Ireland
since this was when the first historical account was finally put to paper. St. Patrick converted the Irish from paganism
to Christianity and according to legend, banished all the snakes from the island. He is now the patron saint of Ireland, engineers,
Irish engineers, Nigeria, Missouri?… Boston, at least that one makes sense, and
a few other places. The Irish went all-in with Catholicism, like,
hardcore. Which is good too, because after the collapse
of the Western Roman Empire, when the rest of Europe plunged into the Dark Ages, Ireland
did not. The monasteries kept on preserving Latin literature
and Christian texts as if everything was normal – it was during this time that Ireland became
known as the land of saints and scholars. And once the Dark Ages were over, it was the
Irish who re-educated and brought culture back to Europe. At least, according of Thomas Cahill’s book
How the Irish Saved Civilization – by civilization he mostly means western Christianity, which
was pretty important during the medieval period. They also preserved many secular literary
works, but those were also preserved by the Byzantines, so there’s a bit of redundancy. As for saving civilization as a whole, I’ll
leave that for you to decide. Now you might be wondering when I’m going
to get to why the video is titled the way it is. Because you probably think the appendix is
just a ticking time bomb in your body. I could explain it, but I’m a social studies
guy – I talk about history and politics and psychology and stuff. If only I knew someone with a degree in biomedical
sciences… I’ve got this one KB! Although we’re not fully sure what the appendix
does in the body, rather than being a ticking time bomb, one popular theory suggests it
could actually be an unsung hero by acting as a storehouse for good bacteria. You’ve got trillions of bacteria in your
gut. Yes, trillions. However, this gut flora is not invincible. It can get flushed out by bad diarrhea, or
damaged by strong antibiotics, or purged by disease. The storehouse theory of the appendix suggests
that if all hell breaks loose in our gut, your appendix is positioned in such a way
that it can act as a safe haven for bacteria. And so, when the coast, or the colon, is clear,
the good bacteria that have been hiding away there have their time to shine and can be
used to repopulate the gut. Cheers appendix. Look at that, you’re learning you’re learning
all sorts of stuff today! Keep that in mind it becomes important. The Normans invaded England in 1066, and then
the Normans, now technically the English, invaded the island now known as… Oh man, now whenever I see this I want to
channel my inner zealot – My life for Aiur! – but I know that’s not right… It’s pronounced Éire. Thank you, the English invaded… Éire … in 1171, and soon after, the King
of England declared himself the Lord of Ireland. People are going to be really mad about how
much history I just glossed over. Anyway, skip ahead to 1347 – what happened
in 1347? Ring around the Rosie, Pocket full of Posies… Why are little girls so creepy? Did you know that song isn’t actually about
the plague? But everyone thinks it is, so, the plague. In 1347, the Black Death arrived in Europe
from the east and reached Ireland in 1348. By 1350, between a third and half of everyone
in Europe was dead. But not the Irish, who remained mostly unaffected. The most plausible explanation for this is
that English in Ireland lived in castles and cities, whereas the Irish mostly lived on
farmland. Living in close proximity to other people
without soap usually lends itself to disease. Or, since a lot of people at the time thought
that the plague was some sort of divine retribution, and gingers don’t have souls, the grim reaper
just kinda passed them by. Gingers have souls! You’re right I’m sorry… And not all Irish people are gingers – some
of them have rather dark complexions and black hair, and they’re known as Black Irish. And every once in a while someone like Joan
Walsh tweets about how they’re a person of color because they’re Black Irish, clearly
not understanding what that means. There are a lot of theories about how these
non-ginger Irish people came to be, but I’m going to tell you one of the most widely held
and my personal favorite. In 1588 the Spanish Armada was destroyed by
the English. That’s just one of those things that I know. I learned it in 8th grade from Mrs. Reyes’s
English class. Not even history, I have no idea why she taught
it. But I know I’ll never forget it. When people ask how old I am, I have to do
the math. If I have to write today’s date and my birthday
on the same form, there’s a good chance going to say I was born this year. If I ever get Alzheimer’s, long after I’ve
forgotten my birthday or which cereal was magically delicious, the last memory to go
will be that the Spanish Armada was destroyed in 1588. And this is the only time that information
has ever been useful. Thanks Mrs. Reyes. Anyway, those who survived couldn’t get
back to Spain through the English Channel since the English were blocking it, so they
had to take the long way around, hit a storm, and crashed in Ireland. And that is why we have Black Irish people
– and they’re white. But hey, maybe Joan Walsh was talking about
white people with black hair from Ireland. Yeah, except that she thinks Obama and Frederick
Douglass were Black Irish. The latter of which is near the top of the
“do not confuse with Black Irish” Black people in Ireland Wikipedia page. So now we need to talk about the King of England,
who remember, was also Lord of Ireland. It gets a little confusing with the multiple
titles. In 1542, Henry the Eighth declared himself
King of Ireland. He wasn’t the king of any united place,
he was the king of two places. In 1603, James the First slash the Sixth,
added King of Scotland to the list. In 1707, they decided to combine England and
Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain. And then in 1800, the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland was formed. Throughout all of that, there were numerous
rebellions, with varying degrees of success, but in the end, they’ve always kind of been
under England’s thumb. They’ve never really had their own united
royalty, at least not until recently. Which brings us to the watershed, defining
moment in Irish history – the Irish Potato Famine. Whenever the Great Famine is brought up, the
same question inevitably follows – was it a genocide? I’ve talked about genocide a lot on this
channel recently, and I’ll be honest, it’s kind of a drag. Nobody wants to be known as the genocide channel. But I’m gonna talk about this one because
someone specifically asked me to – only this time I’m going to give you the tools
to be able to think critically about any other potential genocides yourself. So you can stop asking me. Let’s start where all good legal arguments
start, the definition. According to the UN, genocide is “any of
the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:” We’ll get to the acts in a moment, but I’ve
hit on this before – it’s the intent that’s important. There’s a difference between killing people
in order to take their land and resources, killing them through economic exploitation,
and killing people for the sole purpose of exterminating that group. Only that last one is genocide, it’s the
intent, the why behind the killing. It all looks the same in the end, however
many people died. But when you’re trying to define a crime,
it’s the intent that matters. So the acts, number one, killing members of
a group. That one should be obvious, it’s pretty
self-explanatory, it’s the kind of genocide we all think of when we think of genocide. And I can tell you that no, the British weren’t
running around Ireland intentionally murdering people just for the sake of murdering people
– at least not on any large scale. Number two, causing serious bodily or mental
harm to members of the group. This means maiming and torturing; starving
doesn’t count under this, so no. We’re going to skip the third one for now,
and you can probably guess why, but number four: Imposing measures intended to prevent
births within the group. To put that simply, sterilizations, the kind
of thing Amer – nevermind this isn’t about us, no, the British didn’t do that. Number five, forcibly transferring children
of the group to another group. The kind of thing Canada and Austral – Sorry,
again, no, this didn’t happen in Ireland. So, back to number three. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions
of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. This is the one that has the strongest case,
so keep that in mind while we talk about what happened. The Irish Potato Famine was caused by potato
blight, which is a water mold. Were the British in league with… oh man…
really? You’re not- uhm… phytoph- P. Infestans. That’s way worse. No, they obviously weren’t, nor did they
introduce it to Ireland in order to induce a famine. In fact, it had hit all of Europe in the 1840s,
but it hit Ireland especially hard in 1845. Why? The majority of Irish people were dependent
on the potato for a number of cultural reasons, but also economic and legal reasons. Let’s take a look at those since those would
be conditions inflicted on them rather than choices. The first problem was Absentee Landlords and
Tenant Farming. To put it simply, the Irish people living
on and farming the land didn’t own the land or any of the profits from anything they produced,
yet still had to pay all the taxes. This isn’t unique to Ireland, in fact we’ve
done it for centuries in the United States. But, the majority of Irish were Catholic,
and the English were not, so additional sanctions were imposed on them like the inability to
inherit land. So a large portion of Irish land was owned
by English, who didn’t even live in Ireland. The point being that they didn’t really
care what was going on on the land they owned, or about the conditions that their tenants
were living in, as long as they were making the most profit possible. And the most profit came from cattle. So a lot of the land was cleared and converted
to pasture for cows. Kind of like what’s going on with the deforestation
in Brazil right now. This meant that the Irish tenant farmer had
even less land to work with to grow food for their family. Enter the potato, which grows in even the
poorest soil and contains a lot of calories in a little package. Yes I really did buy this one potato just
for this joke. This was also the time of Mercantilism, when
all of the colonies of the British Empire sent their raw materials to England to be
manufactured and were then sold back to the colonies. And despite the fact that Ireland was part
of the United Kingdom proper at this point, it was still very much treated like a colony. As a result of the Corn Laws, no corn, or
wheat, or any other grain could be imported to Ireland, except through England. These conditions – the trade laws, the extraction
of wealth, and the potato monoculture – set Ireland up as somewhat of a house of cards
for blight to come blowing through. Throughout the famine, Ireland remained a
net exporter of food, primarily cattle. Why didn’t the Irish just eat their own
cows? Because then they would have gotten in trouble
for that – and the punishment for stealing something that valuable was usually worse
than starving. During previous famines, the Irish closed
down their ports to keep Irish food in Ireland – but not this time. A year into the famine, the Whigs thought
that free market capitalism would provide the answer and stopped the limited government
aid that was already happening. Capitalism didn’t save the day in this case
and things just got way worse. In 1847 when they finally decided to try government
relief again, they made it so that if you lived on more than a quarter of an acre of
land, you couldn’t get it. That’s not even a fifth of a football field
– most farms were 1-5 acres. So if you were starving and your crops were
failing, you had to give up your land to get food. Of the 8 million people in Ireland prior to
the famine, about 1 million died either from starvation or disease – which spread primarily
thanks to the fact that everyone was starving – and another million or so left for cities
like Liverpool, New York, and Boston. Emigration continued for decades afterwards
and the resulting diaspora means that even today, 170 years later, Ireland’s population
has not recovered. The famine itself ended in 1852, the Corn
Laws were repealed a few years before that, and government aid eventually reached the
level it needed to be at, though certainly not fast enough. So, was this a genocide? The Irish people, culture, and language, certainly
suffered as a result of this famine. But, was it deliberately inflicting on the
group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or
in part? Or was it a series of short-sighted economic
policies and neglect? I leave that for you to decide in the comments
below. The famine is the reason why we have such
a large Irish population and why St. Patrick’s Day is such a big deal here in America. Do not under any circumstance ever, call it
St. Patty’s Day. It was also the start of the Irish Home Rule
movement for independence. But it really kicked off in 1916 with the
Easter Rising in the middle of World War 1 – an Irish Rebellion against the Crown,
during which, the Germans tried to send weapons and ammunition to help. The Germans supporting an independence movement
against the United Kingdom in the middle of a World War?! That’s unheard of! The rising itself failed, but it did drum
up support for independence, which was officially declared in 1919. Which started the Irish War for Independence
between the Irish Republican Army and the Royal Irish Constabulary. The war ended in 1922 with the establishment
of the Irish Free State, which was still a dominion of the Commonwealth Realm, much like
Canada and Australia. The United Kingdom therefore had to change
its name to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland because the protestant
majority in the north decided to remain part of the UK and not join the free state. In 1937 the Irish Free State left the commonwealth
entirely, didn’t participate in World War 2 – once again while Europe burns itself
to the ground, Ireland is just over there minding it’s own business – and in 1948
the country officially became the Republic of Ireland, or… I wanna say Poblakt nah Iran? Poblacht na hÉireann Oh man I wasn’t even
kind of close. The Republic of Ireland controls 26 of the
32 counties on the island – the other six are in Northern Ireland and are viewed kind
of like occupied territory. The Irish constitution claimed the entire
island. A few years ago I took a class in the Sociology
of Global Terrorism… along side a few others. I am still able to fly, believe it or not. But the vast majority of the terror attacks
we learned about regarded the Troubles, which was the conflict between Ireland and the UK
over Northern Ireland. This is a map of every terror attack in Europe
between 1970 to 2016. It looks like we have a rather acute case
of appendicitis there doesn’t it? And these were proper terrorist attacks, including
mortar attacks and car bombs – so many car bombs. In fact almost every car bomb set off in the
1970s was related to the Troubles in Ireland or the UK. The Troubles were between the Republicans,
supported by the IRA – who thought that Northern Ireland belonged in the Republic
of Ireland. And the Unionists who thought it belonged
in the UK, supported by the Ulster Volunteer Force. This isn’t some civil war that happened
in the before time, in the long, long ago. I remember this, I was alive for this stuff,
and odds are, so were you. The Troubles lasted for thirty years, from
1968 until the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The agreement was that Northern Ireland will
remain part of the United Kingdom, unless a majority of the people living there vote
to join Ireland. If you’ve been paying attention to the whole
Brexit situation, this may happen sooner rather than later. The border between Ireland and Northern Ireland
is open and people can freely move across it – which again, might change with Brexit. C’mon Britain, we know you don’t really
want to do it, it’s not too late to reverse this. And lastly, anyone born in Northern Ireland
who wants to attain Irish citizenship can do so. And a lot of them do. The British Olympic team is branded as Team
GB, rather than UK – so just Great Britain, almost intentionally excluding Northern Ireland. So three quarters of the Olympians from Northern
Ireland choose to play for Team Ireland rather than Team GB. As time goes on, more people in Northern Ireland
are supporting rejoining the republic, so soon, Ireland may look like this… or this. I hope you enjoyed the craic and the next
time someone tells you that the appendix doesn’t do anything or that Ire- Hey I looked it up. What? What Meat Loaf wouldn’t do for love, it’s
in the song. But then why do people act like it’s some
big mystery? I don’t know, if they actually listened
to it, but they should know better. Hey that’s… Oh, whoops. So what do you think, did the Irish save civilization? Was the potato famine a genocide? What about Northern Ireland? Let me know down in the comments and don’t
forget to partition that subscribe button. Also make sure to follow me on twitter and
facebook and join us on the subreddit.

73 Replies to “Ireland: Europe’s Appendix”

  1. Jeez, this guy is so bias that many of his videos are difficult to watch. Just stop constantly adding your own moral opinions in yours videos if your going to teach history, especially opinions that have only gained sway as of recently because people compare actions of the past with today's ethics.

  2. "capitalism didnt save the day" Well, yeah, capitalism isnt there to save the day, its a thing that works over time.

  3. 15:15 I find it hilariously ironic that the only non-car bomb was a truck bomb from America of all places. That's just so fitting.

  4. Heard Real Engineering’s voice and did an internal “Yasss!” Also he sounds amazingly close to Ryan Hollinger. Also, potatoes are my choice for the most versatile and delicious vegetable of all time. Call me simple, or a heathen, but just coating potatoes with butter, sprinkling salt and pepper on them, and then baking them til the skin is crisp is my favorite treat when I’m broke and need to get a filling snack or meal.

  5. Ah good ol Phytophtera infestens (for a botanic name you write the genus capitalised and the type in lower case). The fungus that made Kennedy president…

  6. on a side note, the most handsome man is one of them black irish: aidan turner.
    also, thx ireland for creating my favourite beer… guiness.

    But nice vid man

  8. A lot of annoying inaccuracies, semi accurate, lazy or overly simplistic statements here.

    The Romans name for Ireland was Hibernia – it wasn’t already called Hibernia when the romans arrived to Britain – they named it this!

    Black Irish??? Have never heard that one. It’s common for people in Ireland to have dark hair and dark complexions, particularly on the west coast where DNA profiles more closely match Ireland’s original prehistoric inhabitants than in other areas. These originally inhabitants are believed to have arrived from northern Spain but to attribute dark complexions to just the Spanish Armada is plain incorrect.

    Cattle farming has always been common in Ireland and the amount of cattle an individual owned was a measure of wealth for large parts of history (arguably even now!). This video implies that the English imposed cattle farming on the local farmers which is not true and to compare it to Amazon deforestation is a bit of a stretch!

    Just some of the things that annoyed me about this video but I did enjoy the premise. The conclusions made sense but some of the back up facts leading to them were incorrect.

  9. You're leaving out huge details that are the reason people claim that the famine was a genocide. You also imply that the British government actually gave a flying fuck

  10. I don’t think the potato famine was a genocide because the English owners and Irish government weren’t deliberately trying to destroy the people with any method, but the people were being destroyed and the Irish government didn’t act as they should’ve, so a failure certainly, but I would’ve classify it as genocide

  11. St. Patrick: 'converts' all the irish from paganism to christianity (probably kills most of them)
    Irish today: wow he was such a great guy
    English: try to convert irish to protestantism but fail
    Irish today: The English are genociders and the most evil force in history


  12. Took some adderall to watch this….ended up learning how to code, and wrote an app that watches informative YouTube videos for me. Thanks man!

  13. By vanishing snakes they mean st Patrick banished the sinners non Christians and most bad people who were called snakes

  14. "The english lived in castles or in towns, whereas the Irish lived mostly in farmlands"
    Errr..; it's the middle-ages, that's pretty much the case everywhere, with like 5-10% of peoples who lived in towns and the vast majority of the population lived in farmlands. It didn't saved them from the Plague ^^

  15. American doesn't understand brexit london isnt the uk, only london, NI and very small bits of britain are majority remain, that's not anymore than like 30% of the country. you need >50% for that idiot

  16. Would you ever catch a hold of yourself ! , tell me difference between the lines on the road and the lines in the zoo ! ….


  17. 11:55
    You can't have capitalism when you have overt, heavy-handed government interference in it.
    That's socialism, dipshit, and you literally cover it in another video.

  18. I don't understand how you didn't know this. The Black Irish were there first. They were Caucasoid, as you pointed out earlier, but with more black and curly hair, think of Welsh or Cornwall stock. Then the Gaels came with ginger and blond straighter hair. They killed most of the Spaniards.

  19. No normal Irish person gives a fuck if you do a Irish accent
    be as paddy as you want and don't spread the idea that doing it is insensitive
    we have enough whiny liberal virtue signaling pricks as it is

  20. "free market capitalism will fix this"
    "also you have to import everything through england youre not free to import directly to your own market"

  21. Actually it was the British weather who destroyed the Armada, not the English seamen. They did manage to capture and defeat a few ships, then the Dutch blockaded them from bringing Flemish troops to England, but the Armada wasn't decisively destroydes until they were returning to Spain via the Irish Sea, where they were wrecked.

  22. Did the Irish save civilization (Christianity). Since memory tells me that since the author fails to use footnotes, the German invaders did not destroy all writings in the West, that the Eastern Roman Empire existed for nearly 1000 years after the West collapsed and the Catholic and Orthodox churches did no officially split until around 1050 ad, someone else can look up the exact date, I will have to say no.

  23. Kind of reminds me of a family story from my Grandma's family that the reason her family has always had black hair because some spanish seaman from the Armada is supposed to have somehow come to the swedish west coast

  24. I would say it could be considered a genocide simply because of the "in part"… part. The Irish did not need to be completely wiped out by it to count.
    Though the issue of England not starting the blight is important, I am under the impression that they enjoyed it and had deliberately enacted policy to accelerate death rate.

  25. About the Spanish Armada. There is one place in northwestern Ireland where the oral tradition is that locals had found some shipwrecked sailors dead on the beach and buried them. However, a Spanish officer who survived the encounter claimed that his men were robbed and killed. The place in question has a Gaelic name that translates to "field of blood".

  26. Ffs we had other crops other than patatoes but the English took our land and rent it back to us so u had to give all the crops you can real grow except patatoes as rent

  27. It’s wasn’t free market capitalism when the government put erroneous corn laws in place…you have some good shows, but your bias really shows. No governmental system has uplifted more working class people than capitalism!

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