Interesting Facts

How Greek prime minister in 1830’s tried to spread the potato in Greece

A Greek prime minister in 1830’s tried to spread the potato in Greece but people weren’t interested so he put armed guards in front of shipments of potatoes so people would think they were important. People later started stealing these potatoes a lot which spread the crop to all of Greece.

According to legend, Sir Walter Raleigh brought potatoes to Elizabethan England. Antoine-Augustin Parmentier is credited with starting the potato industry in 18th-century France, while Ioannis Kapodistrias helped this vegetable gain popularity in Greece soon after the 1821 Revolution.

The Potato

For many years, one of the most significant foods has been the potato. Around the time of the Discoveries in the 16th century, it was imported from South America to Europe.

Before the potato made its way to Europe, Native Americans in the Andes of Bolivia and Peru were said to have known it for some 4,000 years. The first known evidence of potato importation into Europe is a document dated 28 November 1567 from a potato exporter from the Canary Islands to a merchant in Antwerp.

Farmers in Europe were immediately interested in the new plant when they realized that it would be much simpler to raise and would yield a far larger crop than wheat and oats. By 1650, it had a significant impact on Irish food and mostly supplanted cereal crops. The potato was first introduced to North America by Irish settlers.

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By the end of the eighteenth century, potatoes were extremely common in France and the surrounding nations. To spread the word about the potato, people in Greece had to wait till the Revolution was ended and the first Governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias, had arrived. Kapodistrias had tried it on his travels through Europe and thought it was a basic and wholesome diet for the wintering Greeks in the years following the Revolution. In the Tiryns region, potatoes were initially experimentally grown on a modest scale. Growing potatoes was crucial throughout the trying times of the World Wars because it provided food and kept many people alive. Today, one of the basic foods of the Greek population is the potato.

Kapodistrias and the potatoes in Greece

In an effort to raise the standard of living for the populace, Kapodistrias restored the local government and brought potato farming to Greece. It is said that when he placed an order for a shipment of potatoes, he first instructed that they be distributed to everyone who expressed an interest. The farmers, however, reacted coldly to the potatoes, and the plan appeared to be failing. However, Kapodistrias had a strong understanding of his countrymen’s psychology and moods and mimicked Frederick the Great of Prussia, who had employed similar tactics. Kapodistrias gave the order for the entire consignment of potatoes to be unloaded and secured by guards on the Nafplion docks for public viewing. Soon, it became common knowledge that the potatoes had to be extremely valuable to be guarded with such vigilance. People would gather to view the crucial potatoes, and some would soon try to steal them. In the end, all the potatoes were “taken,” making Kapodistrias’s plan to import them to Greece a success. The guards had been instructed to ignore this activity.

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There are writings that inform everyone that potatoes were produced in Greece before Kapodistrias brought them, despite the fact that many people think he began the practice. For instance, the Irish agronomist Stevenson, who immigrated to Greece in 1828 and made a substantial contribution to the spread of several agricultural crops and tree plantations, wrote about the spread of the potato in his articles in the “General Gazette of Greece.”

The spreading of the potato is another topic covered in writing about the Greek agronomist Greg Paleologos. In 1830, potatoes were grown on the Tiryns estate, where he served as the director. HW William, an English explorer who visited the Ionian Islands and mainland Greece in 1817, passed in Zakynthos on his way home and said, “There I observed the first marks of civilization: potatoes, fresh butter, and gallows! ”

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